Monday, 7 June 2010

Homecoming - we made it!

Yes indeed, the eagles have landed! At long last Dan and I have completed our circuitous journey from London via 6 months in NZ and a day in LA to arrive in Seattle. We are nestled and caffeinated and both doing well in the Emerald City. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers during this entire journey which started 1 year ago when Dan began applying for his green card. Uncle Sam held him for an hour at LAX, stamped his passport and now my alien spouse is fully legal for work and play in the USA.

Landing in Seattle I had a stuffy and bloody nose and foggy head, I proceeded to get 3 migraines within 24 hours and it was pouring down rain in true Northwest form - but even circumstance couldn't dampen our readiness to finally be home and start nesting.

As a returnee I'm loving WA's forest-like conditions and the towering evergreens and rhododendrons that cocoon the Pacific Northwest and smell so nice. I've always been a tree girl and it's good to be home. I'm also acclimating to the disarming friendliness of strangers and enjoying how skilled Americans are at the art of small talk. I've known lots of Brits who think it's fake - and we've got plenty of fakers, I admit - but I also believe most people here honestly gain energy from inviting strangers into their daily lives, even for a minute, and genuinely want you to have a fan-freaking-tastic day. I've have upwards of 20 inter-stranger interactions since Friday and my repressed American earnestness is slowly being revived.

The best thing about coming home though is the feeling of slotting into place. Even after 8 years out of the US and 12 years away from the Evergreen State, I still know this place by heart. I feel fortunate to have a generous family to welcome us back and friends I can pick up with like I never left. I'm all about flinging myself out of the comfort zone - I've been well and truly flung for almost a decade - but coming home also feels pretty good.

One thing I've learned about moving around internationally so much is that everywhere has pros and cons, but I'm a lot happier when I focus on the good stuff.  So, what's the good stuff about where you're living now? I LOVE regional pride, so bring it on. :)

{photos on flickr from la tristesse durera toujours, Carolyn Coles & Seattle Municipal Archives.}


Rachael Randal said...

hey! Good stuff about living in Auckland? Where do I start? - you know all about that already! But here goes the top 3 (as I'm feeling right now)...

- I get to see the ocean and an amazing volcanic island every single day
- We can live in a lovely little 'cottage' complete with very sizeable garden and exotic-looking plants for the same price as a pokey one-bed London flat
- I can get a nice, stylish cut and shiny new blond hair from a lovely talented lady for 1/4 price of what I could in the UK ;-)

Keep enjoying the trees my friend. Looking forward to hearing more.

TheLadyWhoLunches said...

Amazing. Good for you for diving back in. I've started to become a bit nervous that all my learning and growth over the past year and a half will go to hell when I re-enter the US. Do you find yourself reverting back quite quickly?
So happy for you both! Although not so happy for the migraines and bloody nose - how awful!

enjoy your time in Seattle and look forward to hearing more.

Kirsten Joris said...

Your blog brought a lump to my throte whilst I read it here at work- It's so, so true and your comments about a time for everything and that there really is a season to have your dreams fulfilled really moved me... Also the thought of you guys nesting :) I love that thought of coming home too. We are thinking of you and so excited for you both as you begin this next season. It sounds like you have plenty of friends and community already waiting for you, but if you fancy a little more I'm sure our friends Christian and Mattie in Seattle would love to see you.
Much love
K xx

alisha said...

Ah, Rachael, I know too well the good things about Auckland! Miss you guys. :)

Lady, I feel like I'm slotting in easily but not anything - except perhaps my slight (very!) British accent. You've got nothing to worry about. :)

Kirsten, glad to encourage you. It sounds like you guys have got a fun season of your own coming up in a little while. Also, will definitely get in touch with Mattie and Christian. :)

And today it's 70 degrees in Seattle, so one more thing for me to love about where I'm at!

Anne-Margaret said...

Glad to hear you made it home safely and in one piece (save the nose bleed and migraine - ick!)

While I am looking forward to my move, I can still say there are many great things about where I live currently (Maryland).

- Close proximity to DC without being right in the midst of all the politicos.

- BALTIMORE! Gets a bad rap but is a great great city with awesome neighborhoods, great food, and a really vibrant art scene (American Visionary Art Museum anyone?)

- The fact that in this rather small state we have the ocean, the wonderful and bountiful Chesapeake bay, awesome and historic towns like Annapolis, the beautiful Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains (which I am lucky enough to live on the edge of), as well as lovely farms, country, and forests abound. (Not so bad for the 10th smallest state in the Union.)

- Last but not least, Blue Crabs and Natty Boh! (Need I say more?)

Nice to remember the things you love about a place, even when you're moving away.

amyrenee said...

The greater Los Angeles Area:

1) living close enough to catch a museum or a show on a whim, but far enough away to leave that dirty rush hour on it's own most of the time

2) summer nights

3) playing in the beachy water with my boyfriend

4) access to fruit and veg that's truly local (we ARE the bread basket of the world!) cause the tangerines came off of the tree in the backyard

Nadine said...

Welcome back to the States!! Hope you are settling in nicely!

Let's see, the good stuff here:
Definitely the weather.
And I love the ocean here.
Kindness of strangers.
The culture.
And the biggest pro for me is the simple life we live here.

Dee said...

Hehe--I love you small talk comments! Go Americans! Am also a fan of regional pride (which is not huge in NZ as you know) might need to start upping the ante.

Wishing all the best for you guys...

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