I know we all talk about how time moves so quickly, especially when we have kids. This is still totally true, but moving has just highlighted this for me. Four months ago, we got to the States. Four months ago, we left our life in South Africa behind. So much has happened since moving to the States, I thought I’d at least try to pause and look back.
On the one hand, I keep talking about all the things I want to do, to buy, the ways I still need to settle in. And yet, in just four months, we’ve gotten all our American admin sorted and set up our home. Sure, I still need certain things around the house and I’m still getting used to it all, but at the core, we are up and running here in the States.
Dean has his green card. We both have updated local driver’s licenses. We have moved into our own home where we’ve bought couches and a coffee table and desks for our (separate!) offices. We bought a new car! We have phone contracts and health insurance. Harley has started at a new school and is finally settling in properly, loves her teachers and has fun every day. Dean and I are used to our working situations now and just trying to figure out what our expenses really are each month so that we can plan our finances properly.
But it’s more than those tangible and visible aspects. I’ve started back at the gym for the first time since I found out I was pregnant with Harley. I’m slowly trying to wean her now that the major times of flux are over. I’m taking more time to look after myself, to spend time in my own head each day and take care of my body and soul.
I feel like I’m not even doing justice to how profound this change has been for us. It’s huge and hard some days. I miss being able to visit with friends, to have a glass of wine together or invite tons of people for Harley’s birthday party or meet for breakfast or all those other things I loved so much. I miss our friends a lot, and I’m trying really hard to keep in touch with everyone as best as I can. And yet, I am so, SO happy here, even without the social circles just yet. We don’t have any friends here yet, but I know that will come. Instead, I’m loving all the big and small things that are a part of our lives here.
I love that I can leave my bag on the passenger seat now. Not just that, I leave my bag, complete with wallet and cell phone, on the passenger seat of my car when I take Harley to school. Sure, I take my keys with me and lock the doors, but I truly know that no one is going to smash my window to steal my phone while I drop her off at school in the morning. I never worry about my personal safety here. Yes, I check that I locked all the doors before I go to sleep at night, but it’s a good thing that I do because more than once I’ve noticed that Dean and I didn’t lock the front door after taking Harley to the park in the afternoon. There is crime here – it’s not Utopia or something, but on a daily basis, I just feel safe and comfy. And while my bubble was very safe in South Africa, there were certain things I just did or didn’t do because of fears of hijackings or break-ins or smash and grabs or whatever.
I love that I can meet with my mom for lunch. After living on different continents for over a decade, it’s just so wonderful to be able to see each other without needing to plan an international visit. And it means that she is able to watch Harley grow up, too, and that Harley knows her. It makes me so happy to see how Harley calls for “Omi” when we get to her house, runs into her arms for a big hug.
Our things have arrived from South Africa, and it has made me so happy to have those items again. It really sounds silly to write it out, but just having my favorite Le Creuset spatula and frying pan, my trusty old cheese grater, my broken-in slippers – it makes this place feel like home. And it IS home. That’s the other things that is becoming so real now. We’ve only lived in this house for about a month now, but it’s feeling like home. I drive on auto-pilot when I come back from the highway or dropping Harley at school, and it just feels normal to push that garage door opener and drive on in.
That’s the main thing, I suppose. There are still many things that I need to organize, like certain cookware that we need, or a vacuum, or figuring out how on earth we’re going to save money when our expenses just keep coming. And yet, it all feels normal now. We have a daily routine. We have typical, day to day life where I’m not shocked by the way we’re able to live. I’m getting to know our grocery stores and where to do the regular things that need doing. We have a local pizza place and a park where Harley likes to play.
Some of the people back in South Africa keep asking me how things are going, if we have any regrets about leaving. I don’t know if it’s that they need to keep telling themselves that life is better there, or if they are wondering what it’s really like here. The reality is, it’s hard moving. It’s hard starting over. But wow is it worth it. I look at the schools Harley might go to, and that alone is worthwhile. But then I also look at our lives here, at where Dean and I can grow in our careers and hobbies, and there is just so much more opportunity here for all of us. It was never going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile is. And this has been so worthwhile already, even after just four months.