"Are we British?" my son asked. My Autistic son who rarely speaks in full sentences. Taken aback, I didn't answer. "Are we British?" he asked again. "No, we are Canadian," I answered. This conversation took place over three years ago. I am still not sure what prompted his question. Now, here we are living in England. Are we British? Obviously, the answer is still no, but we will have a marvellous time exploring and learning about England while we live here for the next few years. I hope that you will join me as I document and explore.
So far, it has been mainly chaos punctuated by lovely people, places, and cheese (I honestly would have moved here for the cheese alone). Travelling with three little ones is not easy, I know that people do it all the time (hooray for them). The particular little ones that I have been blessed with are especially challenging for me and Husband. Autism and twins (and all boys) can be wild! It is also beautiful and magical and I feel so very alive every day- is what I tell myself. We have never lived near family, so that much is not new, but there is something about moving to a new country and all that needs to be sorted and learned that really drains a person's battery. Finding appropriate school placement for our oldest is taking a lot of time and meetings and paperwork. Not having heat or laundry for the first month, and a series of misadventures with the British TV tax people, local council, finding a doctor, figuring out groceries, being utterly astounded and confused by the rules surrounding garbage collection, and resolving issues with utility companies have kept us on on our toes. Then there is the driving. TINY ROADS. PEOPLE PARKING WHEREVER THEY PLEASE. DRIVING ON THE LEFT. And the worst of all, SCHOOL DROP OFF. Hopefully we feel settled by Christmas...
One thing that I have noticed is that I suddenly feel unrelatable. I feel like my first world problems have become amplified to a ridiculous degree. I am someone who feels my privilege deeply, almost painfully. Being an artist, this has at times made sharing difficult for me. I am always creating, but sometimes I feel as if I have nothing valid to communicate, or that my difficulties are somehow not worth sharing as there are so many with far greater challenges than me. No one's life is easy, but maybe some people's lives are easier, due to hard work, choices, and I am going to say it, random luck of the draw. Deep down I believe that life is stories and stories are for sharing. Everyone has something to share, and everyone has something to teach me. Because of this belief, I am back to writing.
As for England... you are beautiful. I am already in love, okay let's be honest, I have been in love with the idea of England my entire life. I blame Virginia Woolfe, Jane Austen, and the Bronte Sisters. Those ladies stole right into this romantic's heart and had me pining away for England at a very young age. England is history, tradition, beauty, cheese, pubs, and a generous helping of "good British morals"- I am still not exactly sure what this means, but it is definitely written in a lot of places. England labels it's potatoes as British (it's important to know I guess), sells alcohol in all the corner shops, has perfected tea and sweets to an unbelievable level, puts fences around all it's parks and playgrounds (HOORAY SAYS THIS MUM), likes to work hard and party harder, and is so kind to let me and my family live here for a spell. The people of England I have found to be proper, warm, and hilarious. Quite the winning combination!
I am feeling grateful, and exhausted (mostly due to a 4:30 am wake up this morning by Mr. K). I am so pleased to be here in jolly old England. Life is good.