Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dear (American) Baby,

Dear (American) Baby,

Tomorrow marks a very important day.  It is my last official day as a teacher at KES.  After eight years I am finally making good on my promise.  We are going home!  

I know in 10 years you are going to ask why we left England.  When I was younger, I would have loved to have lived somewhere a bit different.  You may not think much of Ohio, but I'll tell you what - that place gets under your skin.  I am so passionate about our great state - and not just because it is home.  It's a good place.  It really is.  There really is no place like home.

The word "home" has been playing on my mind recently.  What exactly is "home?"  If I asked my students they would tell me it is a place where you feel safe and loved.  It is where you have family.  You have two passports and you have a family who loves you on both sides of the Atlantic.  That's incredibly lucky.  Your situation is a little bit different - but I think that is part of what makes you as special as you are.  You are both English and American - plus you would have lived in both places.  So where is your home?

Home is where Daddy and I are.  We could make a cardboard box home.  Because really - it doesn't matter where we are living or what cars we are driving or who we are surrounded by.  We are going to be happy wherever we are together.  

I didn't realise that when I was younger.  Perhaps I knew your Daddy was out there an I just needed to find him.  Back in 2007 I promised Nonna I would only move to England for a year.  One year.  I was going to teach in this exotic place called King's Lynn.  The only thing I knew about it was that there was a Youtube video that showed someone driving around the one way system in the town.

I think it was luck that I ended up here because nearly everyone I meet always asks me "Why on earth would you move to King's Lynn?"  Fate?  Maybe.

One year turned into three so I could finish my Masters at Cambridge University.  Then, Daddy finally had the guts to ask me out.  Eventually, one year turned into eight years so he could finish Medical School and complete his US Medical exams.  

It was now or never.  I couldn't let Nonna down.  

Living in England has taught me a lot about life.  I learnt who I am as an individual - I did something pretty ridiculous when I picked up and moved across the Atlantic.  I discovered that I am actually a little bit brave.  I learnt that I can do what seems impossible.  I learnt my strengths and weaknesses.  As a teacher, I have learnt who I am in the classroom.  I found my voice and I know how to teach a subject which I love.  I am thankful for the chance to meet so many fascinating people - they really taught me to become the person who I am.

If I'm honest, I'm a little bit scared of moving back to America.  I've been gone for so long. So many of my friends have moved on - is it fair to come back and pick up where we left off?  I've gotten used to the English way of doing things - can I pick and choose which way to do things?  Am I going to remember to drive on the right side of the road?

There are so many things that I have loved about living here - the coast, the cups of tea, the castles, the random sheep hanging out in the road.  I think I'm going to miss a lot of things - but then I remember all of the things I miss about Ohio and I get confused.  I know that I can love both places and love different things about each place.  But I don't think we have to like one place better than the other. I don't think that is the point of having a history in a place like this.  I think we need to look back on our chapter entitled "King's Lynn" and smile at the memories.  We can look back and remember - there is nothing wrong with that - but we also need to look at the Present - the here and now and love and cherish everything we are DOING. 

Whilst the move back to America is daunting and overwhelming, I am enjoying it. I am enjoying going through our things and remembering. I'm OK with passing certain things on to someone else because I know they are going to create their own memories with something that meant a lot to me.  

This, Emma Rose, is a huge adventure.  You are only little and have no idea what is happening around you, but trust me - everything is changing.  This change is going to be happy and sad, scary and uncertain, exciting and stressful.  

My English baby - you are also an American baby.  Never forget where you come from - never forget where you are going.  After all, both places have made you (and me) into the person you are.

Love always,

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