Released On 18th May 2022
Caroline M's blog: Upping Sticks
There is a song my Father-in-Law likes to sing and the opening lines are as follows; “This is my homeland, the place I was born in, no matter where I go it’s in my soul……
In August 2006, I moved to London ‘for two years’ with excited visions of what life I might create. The two-year cycles continued until this year when myself and my now husband felt the stars had aligned to send us on our merry way home with our two children and dog in tow, as well as 16 years’ worth of life accumulated.
Inertia has replaced practical planning. Following years of debate, and finally pulling the trigger on the move, I find I am resistant. The Homeland has changed significantly in that time, as have the eyes through which I see it. The London culture has seeped into my soul and pushed out the old ways.
One of my fears about moving home has long been that ‘real life happens’. It’s not that it doesn’t happen in London. It’s just that life events are less shared and borne in smaller groupings, particularly as an expat. London has felt and still does feel like a permanent holiday, a hardworking holiday I should say. There has always been that option to ‘move home’ or move on to the next adventure. By executing that option, what is left in the Plan B bank?!
My memories of my early days in London will resonate with many - Smiling on the tube, attempting to strike up conversations enthusiastically, as well as seeking out new adventures and places with a keen energy. I was green to say the least. It has eroded away over time as I fell further into the London way of living.
I have loved raising my two girls here. They have been exposed to the most beautiful diversity from their ‘day ones’. They have been afforded opportunities we now take for granted. London has been on their doorstep, whether we availed of all it had to offer or not. As a friend pointed out recently – they know no different than here. We know the education system here. We have built up our own personalised social infrastructure supported by so many friends.
Ultimately, we are a family of proud Irish Londoners. My girls love blasting out ‘ Maybe it’s because I’m an Irish Londoner, Maybe that’s what makes me what I am….’. I can only hope this move is the right fit for them and they can hold on to the bits of both worlds that matter to them.
The blurred future we tried to envisage for them is becoming clearer now. It looks like a sea of more time spent with extended family, hopefully more involvement in the local community and sports, slowing down ever so slightly, and finally anchoring our roots.
Recently I was in my local area here in London, and a hearse drove by. Nobody stopped. Nobody batted an eyelid. The great world continued to spin.
At home, people stop. Silence descends. Strangers bow their heads. They take the time to recognise that ‘real life’ has happened.
Caroline M is starting her new role at an Asset Manager in June. She will relocate to Dublin with her husband, two wonderful girls, and skittish dog as part of the new chapter.