That is how long we have been here. Well, almost. We will have officially been here for six months on Wednesday. I cannot believe it has been six months already and yet, in the same breath, it seems like a lifetime has passed since we boarded that plane in Philadelphia leaving the last 12 years of our lives, our house, our friends, and the only home my kids have ever known behind.
I was excited to move to England. We loved it the last time we were here. I know I sound like a parrot here- because I keep saying, " I know we will love it again." That is me trying to be positive. I keep saying that over and over like some sort of mantra but it doesn't seem to be sticking. We are having a harder time here than we did last time.
Of course, I didn't expect it to be exactly like last time. I can't recreate that experience. I know that. I mean, I arrived here after my husband had already lived here for two years. He already had a house and a British car and had set up all the important things like television service, tv tax, road tax, electricity, etc. He knew his way around, was familiar with his job and had some friends. That meant that we had people to hang out with when I got here. Our neighbors were very friendly and Andrea would just pop by all the time and ask me along on errands or nights out, so I learned, from a Brit, my way around and how things worked. Since they were just next door, I could just pop over and visit whenever I had a moment or was bored ( and I spend a lot of time over there). Four months after arriving here, I started working on base (although it was not the most desirable job) and made some American friends too. I settled in, had friends, went out and enjoyed life in England.
This time around, I have two children to worry about. I have done my best to put on my happy face and try and show the children how fun England is and help them cope with the move. But, the reality is, I am lonely. I am miserable. Other than a quick, "Hiya", in passing, our neighbors don't talk to us. I don't even know most of their names. A few have introduced themselves in passing, but that is all. I have to come to terms with the fact that I am terrible at making friends! I kept excusing myself saying, "Well, I'm still new here.", but I've seen people get here in the last few months and already have friends and going places with them. So, it is me. I miss having a friend to just drop by and have tea/coffee/cake/cookies and chat. I miss having a friend to invite me over to do the same. I miss having someone to go shopping with, another family for my family to hang out with. And the thing is- so do my kids.
Many a night, Noah has come down the stairs after bedtime crying and saying he wants to go back to New Jersey. He had friends there. He went to play at his buddy's house, had friends over to our house and was comfortable there. Not one person has invited him to play since we have been here. Within the first month of school, he had identified two boys in particular that he plays with. I sent notes in to school to go home with them giving their parents our phone number if they were interested in letting the boys get together. Neither of them contacted me.
Zoe is having a hard time too, but being only five, she doesn't know how to express it. She's having serious behavior problems, exhibiting alarming (to me) behavior when she is her most upset. She cries because she hates her room and hates our house. She doesn't want to go to school- she just wants to stay home with me. She appears to be needing extra attention, but it is to the point of being ridiculous. She doesn't like for Noah to receive ANY attention. If we tell Noah "thank you" or "good job" on something, she is immediately asking, "What about me? Didn't I do a good job?" and the situation won't even be relevant to her. We do praise her plenty and thank her, but it never seems to be enough. We only have the weekend to all spend time together and I like to do things all together, but I have decided that perhaps we need to start splitting up and DJ taking one kid while I take the other and we have solo time with them. Of course the problem with that is that I don't get to spend time with DJ.
Both of the kids are in need of playmates and friends. They are not playing well together and just push each other's buttons, causing a fight and causing me to get angry with them.
DJ is grumpy. He's not feeling fulfilled in his job. He doesn't feel like he is accomplishing anything which makes him miserable. This bad mood carries over into other things in that when the little things go wrong, he feels overwhelmed (this weekend alone, our tv, that is only 3 years old has started going out and two space heaters- one that is just a few weeks old and one that is about a month old- have decided to intermittently quit working). The brakes on the Beetle seem a little flaky too and need to be looked at as well as the fact we never figured out what was wrong with the Zafira after it left me stranded on the side of the road.
So, while I keep telling myself "It will get better. We will love it here again.", I am starting to not believe it. Before, I was confident we would be fine and we would settle in, but now I am not so sure.
I told the kids this morning that they cannot keep comparing England to New Jersey. They need to accept this as a new experience and enjoy the thing they can do here that they can't do in America. I reminded them that if they continue to hang on to New Jersey, it will be a very long and miserable three years here. I need to listen to my own advice. I thought I had. I came here excited to be here, with an open mind, ready for adventure. I was ready to show my kids why we loved it here so much.
And yet, six months later- here I sit- with a silent phone and a dusty front door mat, unable to capture the magic I left behind twelve years ago. Here's to the next six months! May they go nowhere but up and may they be filled with love, laughter and acceptance.