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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Return to America

I married a Brit almost twenty years ago.  It was the best decision of my life despite his appalling lack of knowledge in some crucial areas:  Mexican food, sourdough bread, the art of a good bbq.  What kind of world view is that?

But despite his shortcomings, it's been a wonderful adventure since our eyes first locked across 6,000 miles in cyberspace.  (THAT is another story. . .)

We've travelled a lot, are raising four amazing kids (having fostered many more), and, ten years ago, found ourselves going back to England for what we thought was to be a year.  Somehow, it turned into 8 ½.  Last year, however, we made our way back to California and I have to confess, it's been a major readjustment for our family.

When we left, our two oldest, Lindsay and Hannah, were 7 and 5.  Nathan was only 2.  Noah James wasn't even in the picture yet!  So, they all have spent significantly more time in England than the US and have a British identity in many ways.  They've had to get used to foods, accents, and a way of life that's largely unfamiliar to them.  Overall, though, they've done a pretty decent job. Kids are mostly flexible, and ours are no exception.

Funnily enough, it isn't the kids who've been having the biggest readjustment struggle.  Nor is it Ian, who is British and only lived in the US for 7 years prior to our return to the UK.  It's ME who's finding California a bewildering place in so many ways.

What's up with people wearing pajamas to school or to do their shopping?  When did the fast lane/passing lane become the 'driving even if you are ten miles under the speed limit' lane?  And, worst of all, when did Americans forget how blessed we are to live in a country with so many freedoms and privileges?

Don't get me wrong, I understand the impact of the recession.  Personally.  I understand the fear and grief and frustration of millions who are struggling to provide for their families.  Personally.  And I know there are a LOT of issues here in America that are in desperate need of fixing.  But, after getting the opportunity to live in another country, especially one in close proximity with Europe, I will always remain grateful for what we have in the US.

I know that, with hard work, a loving family, a strong community, and a gracious God, we will do just fine.  I'm grateful for that. . .the knowledge that our future is right here, if we care to work hard, avoid an attitude of entitlement, plant seeds and be patient for the fruit.

We don't have much at the moment in the way of material wealth, but what we do have, I deeply value:  love, friends, faith and family.  My little prairie home is right here.  All the rest is pan-gravy.

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