everyday i change my mind. one day i cant wait to move and the next i am ready to go. i feel like my heart is being ripped in thousands of pieces regarding the decisions we are making. if ever i have needed clear direction, it is now.
in april, rhys and i started the process for immigrating to america. we received our first approval back yesterday. 3 months after we sent in the first set of paperwork. we now have to fill in anotehr set of forms, rhys has to have a physical and two sets of shots, plus we have to have an interview as a couple. as for time frame for the aforementioned things? the embassy has told us anytime from now until may 2011. awesome. that is not helpful. at all. it gives us no real opportunity to try and plan out what life will look like for the next year essentially.
we are out of london and living with rhys' parents. and whilst they are lovely people, and they have a lovely home, its not our home. its difficult to live in someone elses space. especially when you are living there for an indefinite amount of time. we packed up most of our clothes and things when we moved in because we thought we were leaving in august. about half the time when we go to get something we cant find it because it is somewhere packed up in a box.
rhys' parents live in llanfihangel talyllyn. it is a tiny village in south wales. when i say village, i mean village. they have a local pub, a village hall, a handful of house and more farm animals than you can count. but thats about it. no tube to hop on to go shopping on oxford street, or thrift stall looking in camden, or china town or covent garden. no parks to walk in, no sidewalks to get to the town centre (mostly becasue the village doesnt have a town centre) it is very different.
the closest town is a few mintues drive away, but it too is small. about 1/8 the size of say, siloam springs. no 24 hour Tesco that i have grown to love so much. and becasue it is small they dont really have the best medical care. we had to take e to the hospital the other day because she had a SUPER high fever (103) that wouldnt go away (4 days). when we got there we were told the doctor had just left and wouldnt be back for a few hours. but we could talk to him on the phone. really? one doctor for the hospital and he wasnt even there. that makes me nervous. e just has a virus and a throat infection, but what if it was more serious? the NHS makes me nervous.
and its because of those reasons that i cant wait to move to america.
i love europe. i love that in our tiny village, there is a local pub. no food shops, post office, police station, but their is a pub. and the pub quiz on monday nights is great. i love that there is still a butcher and bread maker. i like that most of the villages and towns around here are a shout back to Britian in the 1940's and 50's. There are certain things about the UK that American just doenst have.
For example, last weekend i went to the royal polo. fancy/formal dress to stand around in the mud, drinking wine and champange, whilst watching the wealthy ride around on horses, hitting a tiny ball. Prince Harry was helicoptered in and we were hob-knobbing with celebrity. ok, so maybe I wasnt, but some people were. it was a really good time. similar to ascot and dog racing, who else gets dressed up for sporting events?
plus i love that eleri is getting to know her british grandparents, counsin and great grandparents. i love that we are all sharing one roof, living everyday life together. it is a unique opportunity for little ele and i love that she is having it. it makes for some really good laughs.
and there is NO comparrison for continental europe on my doorstep. instead of going our on regualr 'date nights' rhys and i save that money for travel. because it is SO cheap to fly between european countries, rhys and i have the opportunity to go all over. we have paris for our anniversary and then rhys, e and i are going to spain in september. there are options for more fall trips to switzerland and austria. i would take that over movie and dinner any day. and i know that as soon as we move, i will lose all of that.
but it is more than just travelling, its the holiday time as well (vacation days). In the UK, standard is 23 days. but most companies offer more. i had 28 and rhys had 29 at our last jobs. that is over 5 weeks of vacation time plus national holidays. in the UK EVERYONE has public holidays off. not just the post office and the banks. everyone. and whilst it can sometimes be frowned upon in big buisness in america to actually take all of your holidays, it is strongly encouraged and expected in the UK. The holiday time offered does wonders for family life. it seems that the majority of people take several family holidays a year. even if it is just local, that amount of time off offers the opportunity to spend quality time together throughout the course of the year. not just one time of 5 days for the year. I am quite nervous about the holiday time, or lack there of, in ameica.
there is something to be said about the way europe views family. children seem to go everywhere with their parents. and i like that. kids seem to have more freedom to play and roam. and i like that as well. i have not had children in america, so perhaps i am just not aware of how things are done. but.... how to put it nicely.... let me try this way. for example, the park in watford was awesome. open paddling pools, zip lines, giant, although very outdated, play gyms and slides. i would say about 2/3 of the things out to play with would not be allowed in the sue happy culture of america. parents have to take responbility for their kids here. if something happens it is not because there wasnt a proper fence around the water or the slide was too old metal and sharp. you cant raise a fuss, hire a lawyer and win millions. people dont sue. so there are more relaxed situations. it doesnt seem to work the same in america. there are rules and regulations and less freedom to play and be a kid. becasue the culture here lacks the mentality of suing, in general things just seem more relaxed. people of the freedom to push the limits and do more without the threat of a lawsuit. i like that.
before the comments come, i am not bashing america. just pointing out some differences that i have noticed. you can disagree with me if you want. but that is my opinon.
and its for those reasons that i dont want to move back. i want to stay in the UK forever.
but it flips and flops on a daily basis. health care? cant wait to move to america. work/family life? really want to stay in the UK. travel? UK. living options? America. you get more for your money in america, but the money is worth a lot more in Europe. and i could go on and on. for every postive for america there is a positive for the UK.
i have no idea what i really want. and i have no idea what or when anything will really happen.
i suppose the only thing i know is that sometime between now and may 2011, i will live in america, whether i like it or not!
(disclaimer: i am proud to be an american. i love my country. once i get there and start life in america, i know i will love. take what is written, as it is written. i love my country but that doesnt mean i cant like the way thigns are done elsewhere as well)