RELOCATION, DISLOCATION, AND DISCOMBOBULATION
Farthest temporary move: England to Iran
Biggest regret about living in Iran: Not taking the time to really learn Farsi. Not seeing prettier towns like Shiraz and Isfahan.
Farthest permanent move: England to America
Worst homesickness: First weeks of college at 18. First months in Florida at 28.
Hardest adjustments on arrival in the US: Different words for things, or the same words with different meanings. Driving on the other side of the road, changing lanes in fast traffic, and turning left. Too much choice at the grocery store, unfamiliar items. How to feed a new husband?
Shocks: My husband chewing gum when we opened a bank account and a deacon’s wife chewing gum in church - both frowned on where I came from.
Reasons to move: Romance. Divorce. Adventure. Job opportunity. Be close to the city. Get away from the city. Be close to family. Get away from “bloomin’ relations.”
Unusual finds: Someone had dropped a molar, halfway up the stairs. I put it under my pillow for the tooth fairy, and she left me a tinfoil sixpence! The attic of that house was filled with cherub paintings and floral chamber pots that went to the auction rooms.
Welcome gifts: In Iran, home-made pizza from the American students’ moms, who also lent us clothes, because our luggage had been misplaced. In Florida, a home-grown avocado from our Dutch neighbor.
Most refreshing moving-day gift: Six bottles of ginger beer (non-alcoholic) from a Canadian couple at our church in Texas.
Surprises: Mexican dinners for the Ex-Pat community, made by the US Army cook in Iran. Transatlantic Brides & Parents Association in Dallas. Meeting Nona, who’d taught in Iran the same year as I did. British shows on PBS. Radio 4 on the Internet. Golden Oldies at the grocery store in Kansas. Lakes and rivers whenever I missed the sea.
Mother’s response to news of Mark’s job transfer to Surrey: “Oh Hazel, that’s wonderful - and you’ll be near Linda!”
Care packages: Candy corn, Blow Pops, and Kool-Aid from US to UK. Easter eggs, Yorkshire tea, and Christmas pudding from UK to US.
Hardest adjustments on relocation to the UK: Driving on the other side of the road. Figuring out the coins while jet-lagged. Gloomy grey sky for days on end in winter.
Hardest thing on returning to the US after three years in England: Teenage daughter leaving a close-knit bunch of classmates there, discovering her old friends had moved on to different pursuits. Sorting out academic credits with the HS registrar.
Most humbling requirement for a teaching certificate: After my degree from TWU, one semester of student teaching, in spite of seven years’ experience overseas.
Funniest requirement for US citizenship: Having to prove my grasp of the English language by writing the sentence, “They could not find the dog.”
How to feel at home: Get a library card, volunteer at a school, join a church, and seek out arty, crafty people. They are everywhere!
Ice-breakers: Dogs and children
Number of trips taken by husband and dog from TX to KS with a load: Nine.
Unusual send-off: Texas tea with ladies in gloves, jeans, and lampshade hats.
What helped sell our house fast: Decluttering, a bowl of fruit, and location.
Number of boxes unpacked in KS after all the giving, selling, pitching, and ditching: Too many to count. Some are still in the attic.
Number of moves in my life: Thirteen, not counting temporary rentals.
Number of times I want to move again: Zero. But you never know…
How to keep in touch with roots: Facebook, and fly back for one fortnight a year.