860 days ago my husband and I kissed my kids goodbye to get on a plane from the US to England. It is hard to believe that next month it will have been two years and a half since we embarked on this Expat journey. I thought I would look back on the time so far with a little recap of some of the bigger moments and hurdles we have had to overcome.
May 2011 | A tearful goodbye at the airport as we say goodbye to our kids, not knowing when we will next be together. We are leaving them in the US with family until we can find jobs, a place to live, and a school for them to attend. We joke that Ryan and I will end up living on the streets like Dennis and Deandra in a tongue-in-cheek spin off called ‘It Is Always Sunny in England’. We were living one step up in a hostel for our first few weeks in England in a room with up to 10 other occupants. I did not have to fend off meth addicts, but did have my beauty products stolen from two girls who arrived late one night and left early in the morning.
June 2011 | Unfortunately sometimes the best made plans can go wrong. Ryan has to leave to go back to the US to apply for a different visa, which he cannot apply for outside of his home country. Leaving me alone in England. Before he leaves I am able to find a room for rent and can leave the hostel and I have been able to find a temp job available for a couple of weeks.
July 2011 | I land a salon job and try to keep busy with work and enjoying my new life in England while Ryan and my boys are still back in the USA.
August 2011 | With his new marriage visa, my husband returns to England just in time to celebrate our 8th Wedding Anniversary. I surprise him with a weekend getaway to the historic town of Lewes. We stay at a bed & breakfast, Ryan visits a castle for the very first time, and we see the Anne of Cleaves house.
September 2011 | A busy month that begins with a move into our own flat in a town near where I work. My kids finally join us in England, making our family complete once more. The kids begin school and start assimilating to their new culture. Ryan begins his semester at the Uni of Sussex and a part time job on the side.
October 2011 | Our first Halloween in England and we found two houses and a pub that were participating in trick or treating. Not that we are very big about Halloween in our family, but it was definitely a little culture shock for the boys.
November 2011 | A really exciting month for our family. Beginning with the first Bonfire night my husband or boys have ever experienced. We got to march in the procession with my boys’ school which included being able to carry a flaming torch! Also it is a big birthday month and my husband turned 30 this year in England.
December 2011 | Our first Christmas in England and it was a very special and memorable one. Great cultural aspects like my boys seeing their first panto and participating in the Christmas plays at school and church.
January – June 2012 | We start of the new year with my son turning seven and holding our first ever birthday party in England. We get our first snow fall and life continues being busy between school and work for our entire family. Even the weekend are quite crazy as Ryan and I work alternating days and the amount of time we are all home at the same time is very small.
July 2012 | We again kiss our boys goodbye as they visit grandparents in the US for an intended short break as Ryan and I take a trip my home in Italy and our 9th Anniversary in Paris, France.
August 2012 | I fly to the states afterwards with the intention of a short stateside vacay before the three of us all return home. However after visiting with my husband’s family and my family we realize going back home to England now will have to wait. Ryan is still searching for a job after completing his masters course.
September 2012 | I start homeschooling my boys while being in an very uncomfortable situation living at my in-laws. Not worth my breath stating the reasons why again for this post.
October 2012 | I miss Halloween with my boys this year as I fly back home to England for a job interview. While the interview was hopeful and went really great, they ended up hiring from within.
November 2012 | I celebrate my big 3-0 at home with Ryan, a much quieter version of the party I had planned. But at this point I just want to find us both jobs so we can get our boys home sooner.
December 2012 | Ryan lands two jobs, one in London and one in Bath. We end up deciding to move to Bath and now have to find a place to live very quickly. Within a matter of weeks were are packing up our stuff and moving to Bath. My boys arrive with my mum just a few days before Christmas. We move into our house on December 23 and unpack the christmas decorations first. My sister arrives and we celebrate Christmas with family in our new house.
January 2013 – July 2013 | My boys are both in different schools due to cap size limits on class sizes, and neither school is the closest school to our house. However we enjoy our location and make the most of it by going on country walks nearly every weekend in the sun, the rain, and the snow. We are making friends and I start blogging every day on ACR. When we reach our two year mark of our expat life, I hardly can believe it. Time is flying by very fast.
August 2013 | Ryan and I celebrate 10 years of marriage with a vow renewal ceremony in Wales with an intimate gathering of family and friends. We also visit London with my family and go up to Oxford, the city of my birth to show my husband and kids the first house I ever lived in.
September 2013 | The boys are back in school again and life is resuming back to normal after the summer break.
October 2013 | Ryan’s two year marriage visa is now expiring and he is applying for his ILR. This begins with taking the Life in the UK test which he has aced. Since visas are expensive it is just a little added stress in our life, but another hurdle we have to overcome in our expat life. We also find out our landlady is not renewing our lease in December (for unknown reasons) so we will have to be moving days before Christmas again this year. Please send good wishes that the leasing agent will allow us to stay an extra month as obviously this is the most inconvenient time to move, especially with children already excited about Father Christmas.
So that is the overview story of our
so-called Ex-pat life in England and the 860 days later that followed. I really love November through January with all the things I can do with my boys for the holidays and birthdays. Especially as an expat there are so many things I have been looking forward to since the beginning of the year. Just really hoping that the stresses and costs of visas and moving do not overshadow the awesome memories we hope to create. I am aiming to remain positive.
Things I’m looking forward to in our Ex-Pat life for the rest of 2013:
– Halloween, making costumes, and going trick or treating with our expat friends.
– Bonfire Night and Fireworks on the 5th of November
– November Birthdays as my husband and I celebrate birthdays a week a part.
– Celebrating Thanksgiving with our expat friends
– St. Nicholas’s Eve and St. Nicholas’s Day in December