It's official - we will be headed back to company headquarters in Texas next summer once the teen graduates. I'll admit I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride about the whole thing. I do want to return to the states, but England has really grown on me... and not in a cold sore or wart sort of way. To get a better handle on the situation, I decided to list some of the pros and cons so I could get a grip on my feelings about the repatriation process.
I'll miss living in England because...
1. cooler, wetter climate so everything stays green year round - I do NOT miss the Texas seasons, hot and hotter
2. easy access to London and all the benefits of a lively big city - can't beat the theatre district, shopping and cultural/historical attractions
3. short flights to Europe where we can travel to see the sights - gotta get busy making June travel plans for Ireland and Poland
4. a school the teen loves where she has made some great friends - and school uniforms, can't forget how lovely it is to have those
5. really long summer days and lots of outside dining options
6. a newfound commitment to recycling and thriftiness, a less is more attitude - I'll be whipping out my reusable shopping bags at Wal-Mart and HEB back in Texas
7. new vocabulary I've discovered - loo rolls and one off and such
8. sticky toffee pudding with warm custard sauce
9. breakfast tea with a splash of milk in the morning
10. the royal family
I'll look forward to leaving England because...
1. no bottomless drinks, including iced tea - and not even iced tea at Starbucks in the summertime over here, which oughta be against the law
2. British beef - gamey and just ick
3. total lack of Tex Mex food - a warm breakfast taco with fresh pico de gallo can't be underestimated and it certainly isn't the same when you have to make it yourself rather than sit down to enjoy it after Lupe the sweet little Mexican grandma who owns the local hole in the wall taco joint has lovingly prepared it for you
4. drive thru's don't exist - banks, food, drugstores, cleaners, etc
5. everything is more expensive in the UK, from toilet paper to dog food - a bottle of saline solution for my contact lens costs $15
6. can't see friends and family on a regular basis - my mother's Sunday lunches, birthdays, crawfish boils, Sunday school class get togethers and everything in between
7. super short days in the winter - most annoying that the sun sets by 4:00 pm for at least two months so that the girls catch the bus AND return home in the dark
8. no AC or ceiling fans in homes coupled with no screens on any windows - come right on in, stinging wasps and clothes consuming moths
9. pricey private school education that is NOT any better than our local public schools back in Texas - the tween isn't as impressed with the American/Int'l schools as her older sister
10. driving on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car and roundabouts everywhere instead of traffic lights or stop signs at intersections - plus a driver's license process that is a pain in the patootie since no reciprocity
11. gas that costs about $9.00 per gallon and expensive road taxes just because I drive an SUV
12. all things Texan we don't have in England - chicken fried steak smothered in cream gravy with a side of cornmeal dusted okra, cowboy boots, cheerleaders, football's Friday night lights every fall, bluebonnets growing along the side of the road every spring, y'all, redneck politicians, pick up trucks, sir and ma'am, deer season, concealed handgun licenses and Blue Bell ice cream
Will I be sad to leave England - sure. Will I be happy to get back to my house in the Texas hill country and resume my teaching career - absolutely. Will I look back on this amazing experience with awe and thankfulness for the rest of my life - always.