In a few days time, we will have been in the UK for five months. That’s almost half a year! It has gone by so quickly, but I also think I should get some kind of a badge for the 143 days of “settling in” graft I’ve put in.
Repatriating has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. It sits somewhere above emigrating and mercifully quite a bit below IVF on my hard things to do chart. I think what I find hardest is the underlying sense of being just a little bit lost in my life. Which is even more unsettling when you are a 41 year old wife and mother, who should really have her shit together by now.
In actual fact my level of “togetherness” is probably not bad, all things considered. I feel like I grew up a lot in my thirties and it turned out to be quite a decade of achievements and milestones, personally and professionally. I have my faults and I still wonder at how I can be such a selfish wee rascal sometimes, but on balance, I’m relatively at peace with who I am. So I’m not a basket case or anything….yet.
Listen, it’s not like I’m getting up in the morning, forgetting to put socks on and walking through my days distracted by the feeling I have left a child somewhere. I know where we all are and from one week to the next, I have a long list of things I need to do and places to be. However, in terms of the greater picture of who I am and why I am here, I feel a little like a child who has wandered from her mother in the kitchen department of John Lewis and is now standing in mens clothing with a ball of panic in her tummy, nervously spinning around looking for her mum (aka safety and security) to appear over a rack of shirts any second.
The dust of the move back has settled. We are not only unpacked into our house, the local water board knows where to send the bills. The children are in schools, albeit two different ones whilst we try and get the oldest into the village school. Honestly, you would think I was trying to get her on the front row of London Fashion Week. Sadly financial bribes won’t work in this instance and we just have to wait….patiently.
School dilemma’s aside, life is essentially in working order now.
It feels like this may be the hardest phase of repatriation. The rush of arriving, familiarising yourself with your new surroundings, catching up with friends and family and setting up the machine that turns to make family life work is now over. Hubby is not so new in his job and the children are making friends and joining clubs. I have all the usual domestic tasks that have been mine wherever we are; shopping, cooking, cleaning, organising etc but there is no meat in the sandwich that is my day. No work.
In the last two weeks I have missed my old job so much. I was in a team, I had a purpose, I learnt as much as I gave, the workload fit with our lives. I loved it. It is by far one of the biggest sacrifices we made to come home and I have felt really sad, and a little angry, that I had to give it up. As I grieve for the job that I loved, I struggle to know how to go about getting another job. There is no way I can replace it, because there were lots of unique things about it that I can’t have here; like the people, the location, the clients, the culture.
And yet, I have hope that there are other people, places, clients and company cultures that I will fit into and enjoy, maybe even just as much. The trick is finding it. So here I go, signing up for the alerts, sending out the requests and hunting for work. The next battle is upon me to win and so, “once more unto the breach, my friends, once more”.