Four years ago today we flew from Denver to Heathrow with our cat and a lot of luggage, intending to spend five months in a cottage in the Cotswolds. Four years later we are still here with no plans to leave, but we have not made the decision to stay either.
As each year goes by, my memory of our life in the US fades. We returned to the US each of the first two years, but only because we had return tickets. After the second trip back, we let the return portion expire and have not been back since. Last year we sold our house in Boulder, where we had moved six months before we left for England. We have our house in Santa Fe, where we lived for 20 years, and all our possessions are in storage.
At times I think that at my age I should be settled down, not living the kind of uprooted life that we lived 25 year ago, before we settled in Santa Fe. But I am not the only person starting over. Other people my age are making big changes – downsizing, moving to be closer to grand children, changing how they live as they start retirement. So I should stop my whining.
Our life here has become more permanent. We own furniture, we have a car, we pay UK taxes, we have UK credit cards. We don’t own a house, but love the house we are renting (our third house in four years). When we travel in Europe, we use our UK (me) and Irish (Steve) passports and our UK driving licenses.
If we return to the US, we will have had several fabulous years in England. We have done miles and miles of walking in the countryside. Last year we walked the length of the Cotswolds on the Cotswold Way. We have traveled in England, to Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Two or three times each year we travel to France. One summer we went to Portugal. This year we went to Sicily, a part of Italy that we had always wanted to visit. We have done much of the European travel that we wanted to do while based in England.
I still feel “American” because I sound American and people here frequently comment on it. I don’t think I will ever feel British. I have my complaints about England, but overall I really like it here and the way of living works well for both of us.
I have set our five year anniversary, a year from today, as a deadline of sorts, to decide if we are staying here. Let’s see how everything looks in a year. Right now I am looking forward to another wonderful English summer!