4/14/2009

Wayfaring stranger

Yeah, so not to seem all needy and stuff, but 20 visitors in one day is just shameful. A girl more paranoid and blessed with sufficient sleep would wonder what happened to all of her blogging friends. I know what happened - I got pregnant three years ago and a huge chunk of them jumped ship. Things just ain't like they used to be. Wah wah wah, etc etc.

Ok, I'll try and pull myself together. I'm reading a lot of books lately, so perhaps I shall make them my new friends, harrumph. Please don't remind me that I'm so shit at commenting that most of you probably don't even remember my name - we'll just brush that under the carpet, ok? I'm digressing again, aren't I...I'm going to do a real post, I promise.

Do you recall that we were going to move to Canada? Weeeell, it appears as if that's off the table now. Once we submitted our final paperwork (prior to the required medicals), The Dude started to haunt ex-pat boards and ended up frightening himself out of it. I remained positive for a whole day or two before his negativity made me second guess my own optimism, and now I'm all, "Booo! America's hat wants to keep the non-Canadian down, booo!!" He is of the opinion that Canadian employers are unlikely to hire non-Canadians, and that job security is a foreign concept. I suspect that these perceptions originate from posts on the ex-pat forums from embittered, narrow-minded people with a rigid sense of what they perceive to be "right" or "wrong". Most of the women on my American expats in the UK list are provincial shrews who just cannot bear to accept that life is not the same in the UK as it is in the US. I imagine a lot of British people living in Canada are the same way.

With this recent development, our perspective has shifted and now I am looking at re-patriation. I check a specific job listing site as if that itself is my job, and I may even be applying for a position in my home state within the next couple of days. I'm exceptionally nervous about the prospect, as it dawned on me yesterday that I've never had a "real" job in the US. I have only ever worked a standard Monday through Friday job in the UK. My familiarity is with UK working culture, and it's bizarre to think that I would likely feel like an outsider in my own country's culture.

This isn't just an update about our migration plans. I acknowledge that only a couple of you have been marking my whereabouts with drawing pins connected with string on a large map on the walls of your living rooms. All of this talk of living here, living there, and all points in between makes me worry that I am a bit too migratory for my own good. Will I ever settle down and believe that I want to stay in that place?

I didn't have a transient childhood - we moved to a different local school district when I was 11, and that was it. Due to money issues and my Dad siphoning my college fund to support his drinking and gambling, I had to stay at home while I went to university. Toward the end of my studies I was desperate to the point of insanity to get out of the town in which I grew up, and I moved to the UK after graduation.

In the nearly seven years that we've been here, we've always had this goal of living in our ideal house in the perfect location. In the first couple years that could have been in the UK, until reality set in and it occurred to us that we could never have that life here barring a large financial windfall or 24 hour prostitution. After that, Canada came into the picture. The rambling house on the fringes of suburbia started to take shape, and my chickens called Ted and Dot became a realistic possibility. So much of our lives in the past seven years has been, "When we have our proper house..."

I've reached a point now where I desperately need to get out. I want that life now, in Canada or the US, and though for years I was content to cheerily say, "We'll have that one day!" Polyanna has done packed her bags and hopped on the earliest red-eye. I'm nearly 31 folks, I ain't getting any younger.

Now I'm concerned that this next step, if it takes place, will still not be enough. Am I always chasing a perceived happiness which isn't remotely steeped in reality? I know it's not all about material goods, and honestly, what makes me look forward to this hoped-for future is that P will have a big yard to run around in, trees to climb, outdoor toys to play with, and a house big enough that she isn't always in the same room as her parents. Here she lives on the top floor of our building, has no garden, and can only spend time in one of a few rooms. This poor kid strokes out when a friend of hers produces a bike and rides it around an open space. It's a completely foreign concept for her, the poor mite.

I hope you're still reading a couple of years from now when I'm ensconsed in my nice house, airing my firmly middle class concerns like the irritating prat that I am. I just hope I don't get pregnant before then - my only reader will be my brother. Can you imagine the embarrassment...

22 comments:

Melissa said...

I read, I read! I am just a lazy commenter.

For what it's worth, a friend and her boyfriend, both U.S. citizens, just moved to Canada and got themselves gainfully employed without too much trouble.

Not that I'm discouraging you from the U.S., but the Kit-Kats are better in Canada. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I read too!! I work with a lady from the UK who married an American and she is doing great! They just bought a "proper home"!!

OK no more !!. I will still be reading in 3 years.

Jill

Jen said...

I'm excited for your move! I must say, after years of apartment living, having a house with a real yard (especially with a young kid) is a true joy. I think you will really enjoy it!

DrSpouse said...

With my disjointed family, I've known many people like you speak of - "it would be so lovely here if it weren't for the natives, and if it was only just like home".

We are also talking about a more permanent move some day to the US, but are worried about job permanency (in my case, because of what I do it is a lot easier to find something permanent in the UK), working conditions (again mainly for me) and in particular about medical insurance (mainly for Mr Spouse who isn't a citizen and would likely be retired by the time our plans came to fruition - we just talked to a British friend out here whose mother is paying $1000 a month for just her for something not very exciting in an HMO).

I still think you should move to the North of England. Houses are pretty cheap now and salaries in the university sector are pretty much standard nationally.

Molly said...

Looking forward to having you back stateside!

Enjoy your ten to fourteen fucking days of vacation a year!

And six weeks of maternity leave! UNPAID! :)

Major Bedhead said...

I'm still reading although I've been slacking on commenting at anyone's blogs, not just yours.

I think that yearning for something different, something better, is a constant. It is with me, I know. I just thought it meant I hadn't grown up yet....

statia said...

Um, Hello? You didn't even comment on my catheter post, and that shit was FUNNY. Not to mention, I listen to you complain on IM all day.

Oh wait, that's me that complains? Nevermind then, carry on.

Beautiful Mess said...

I'm REALLY good at being Polly Anna. Shall I stand in? We don't own, but rent a house and I've always been very happy with renting. I hope you guys find a solution.
*HUGS*

Nic said...

I'll probably still be reading three years for now. Although my commenting has also gone to shit recently, so I may not be saying hello that often...

I don't think you've moved around that much, so I'm willing to bet when you do decide where you want to end up, that you'll all be happy there.

Helen said...

Damn right this isn't America in the UK - where's my damn Target, I ask you? And who do I have to kill to get a smoothie around here?

I think you'll settle down when you settle down. You'll just know. I had a hugely transient childhood and adulthood until we bought this house. Now I'm of the view that my blood, it's UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS. We are not moving. We are home.

You'll find that too.

T said...

1. Did I write this post?
2. Um - healthcare? Ours just went up to $1500/month. I know most people have that kooky benefit through work, but some employers don't find the need to pay more than 33%. Thanks! Speaking of digression. Not that I wouldn't want to have you 12 hours down the road...
3. I was very transient until I moved back to Boston. Even though we 'may' move towns for a better school system in general (we have a lottery system in Boston), we're in this location until we retire and get into full fledged alcoholism somewhere warm.

Why do you want to move from the UK?

Ok - maybe I should start on my taxes now, eh? Heh heh. Ugh.

Caro said...

I'm just catching up - bloglines ate your posts. As for the move I second the North of England option.

And ex-pats? They are just as bad here (in Denmark).

Rachel said...

Ooh, if you move back to your hometown you will only be a couple of hours from me!! No pressure, though. :-) And just think, you'd get to hang with the Brain Trust on the regular. What better incentive are you looking for?

electriclady said...

Bloglines sez you have 51 subscribers there, and we don't get the updates so much, as you know. It's a miracle that I got this post in timely fashion.

I feel you on the yearning for space and home. We are contemplating a move from Big City for that very same reason. Same as you--always thought we'd be able to have a decent place to live etc. here, but have finally realized that it's never going to happen.

If you move to near where you grew up and I move to where I'm thinking of, we'll be less than 2 hours apart! Would love to get P and BG in a room together.

The Gossamer Woman said...

Having lived in California for 22 years, I would opt to live in Canada instead of the U.S. I think it is a much more user friendly country. The U.S. is tough going and not at all what it is cracked up to be.

Emily said...

Well as a Canadian/British couple who just moved (and moved back) to Canada 18 months ago I can tell you that your husband is wrong and right.

Its been a tough year - but you have to be realistic and see that its tough everywhere and once you have that in perspective Canada is doing a lot better than most places (US & UK included).

It can be hard for non-Canadians to find work but it really depends on what you do. Husbando is a cameraman and has seriously struggled but a friend is an engineer and another a builder and they have waltzed into work and never been happier.

Canada was built on the backs of immigrants and it never really forgets that. There is work if you want it - it might just take you a while to get into your chosen field (depending on what it is and I can't remember for the life of me what your other half does.)

Here we have a big(ish) 3000+ square foot, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house in a great neighbourhood for less than our 1000 sq ft ex-council house in a bad neighbourhood. We live within 10 minutes of 3 other couples all who either have or are having kids and who we spend time with every week. Travel is expensive (not jetting off somewhere exotic for the weekend) but with a baby on the way we are surrounded by tons of kid friendly activities, parks, schools and facilities.

We struggled a LOT in that first year but Husbando was just back in the UK and said he wouldn't be willing to give up everything we have hear to go back.

Yes there are plenty of people who got here, struggled and then turned back (sometimes only after a matter of weeks) and then who go on and on about how terrible Canada is to immigrants. When I arrived in the UK it was incredibly tough too - just depends what you want out of something. Canada isn't the be all and end all - the streets aren't paved with gold (or maple syrup) but if you want it you can make a wonderful life here.

wheelsonthebus said...

your brother will stop reading before I do.

I am sad that you are having a hard time getting readers, because you are definitely one of the better-written blogs I read.

Anonymous said...

NEVER!

Thalia said...

I haven't completely understood why canada, why US? There are cheaper places to live in the UK as Katie says - including if you moved out into the country near where you are now, but of course much more so if you go to the North of England. Is there a reason you've ruled that out?

I hope you are able to find your HOME soon.

Isabel said...

Canada had lots of snow. It was cool and all, but SNOW. Just sayin'.

mm said...

Delurking to say that I'm still your biggest fan/stalker (albeit a silent one). Also, did it occur to you that Bloglines is to blame for your lack of comments?? This is the first post that's come up in months! Well, at least now I have a fun way to procrastinate today... I can catch up on your brilliant writing. That will be loads more fun than watching that Susan Boyle clip on youtube again. I cry so much it makes my face hurt.

Lut C. said...

Ahem, you're complaining about lack of comments?
I can count comments at my place on the fingers of one hand. Of course I'm not doing anything exciting like planning to move country. Just boringly doing ART all over again.