We have officially been back in the US for one month. Prior to this, we were living in London for the past 14 months (read about it here, here, and here). I actually hadn’t been on US soil since January 2019, crazy to think I spent 5 months away from America.
I naively thought that since we were moving back to our house (we kept it while in London) with our furniture and dishes and all the things, the adjustment would be easy. Wrong.
When we got back we literally got in the car the next day and traveled 3 hours away and then launched into weeks of visitors and figuring out our new normal. We had to buy Ryan a car since we sold his before we moved, we had to get Sully adjusted into her new school, all while navigating jet lag. We also had to update things around our house that had just gone awry form being gone over a year, get utilities back up and running, and gosh don’t get me started on bank accounts and all that jazz. I could go on and on – I think you get the point.
Then there’s just easing back into the American lifestyle – the wonderful and relinquishing the things we’d loved about living abroad. Here are 5 of the things we’re really having to adjust to now that we’re back…
I legit had not driven a car since September 2018, so phew, that was a weird adjustment. It felt so normal, but also foreign. I now feel like I spend 40% of my life in a car and I’m not going to lie y’all… I don’t like it. My body and mind were so happy being outside and walking everywhere, even with the rain and busyness of London. So ensuring that I’m outside and moving every day is now a huge priority of mine, one I’m very, very grateful to London for giving me.
How People Interact
Okay, y’all, Americans are LOUD! Haha! We really are and especially in the South, we’re also all so dang nice. The nice part I love, it’s fun to greet a stranger and smile at each other. Now, it also can feel insincere sometimes. I enjoyed how you could be anonymous in London when you wanted to, or make a new friend from another country when you put yourself out there. It’s really pushed me to have genuine and meaningful conversations, even with strangers, and also to put boundaries around relationships and interactions that don’t fuel each other.
This one is hard y’all and honestly feels a little vulnerable to me. We’ve moved so much. Now, we do have some phenomenal core friends, but they’re spread out across the country. On one hand our moving and the fact that our best friends are spread out has pushed us to meet people we never, ever would have met before. I can honestly say that we have really good friends in every place we’ve lived that I know I could call and lean on anytime. On the other hand, our moving has prevented our friendships in Charleston, our forever home, from growing deep. I’m really eager to get back and “friend date”, find our group that is in Charleston and is going to be our ride or die. 🙂
Adventurous Spirit (+ An Awareness of Narrowmindedness)
Now, here’s the part that for lack of better words, I’m really mourning. Living in such a huge city, there was always something new or exciting. Not to mention, having access to Europe and cheap flights so easily was just a dream. I’ve said this before, but in one year, how I view the world and who I am has changed more than in the past 10 years of my life (and a lot has happened in the past 10 years!). Sully keeps asking about our “next family adventure” and it breaks my heart that we don’t have one that is travel related in the works. Our adoption is currently our big adventure honestly! 🙂
I’ve also noticed that some of our relationships have changed. Ok, this is going to sound… I don’t even know the word, but the jealousy, mean comments and things that seep out of people based on the life they viewed of us on Instagram this past year is just downright hurtful. We also have had conversations where we leave and feel like some of our past friends/acquaintances have such a narrow view of the world and are so unfocused on the things that truly matter vs. material things, for example. We’ve noticed we now seek out and gravitate to people who love to travel, or who have moved a lot, or who have lived in different environments.
It’s So EASY To Live In America
I can get laundry done in 1 hour! Y’all! This is huge. I used to have to take DAYS to do a teeny, tiny load. Also if we want to go somewhere, we just get in the car and GO, no looking at schedules or understanding commute time. Oh and there are stores (like Target!) that have everything you pretty much need. Everything here is also quick and efficient. I just laugh sometimes when I overthink things because I’m used to having to in London!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I 100% am SOOOO incredibly happy to be back. I would rather be in America in our home with our family and pursuing our domestic adoption than be in our little flat so far from family and having to put growing our immediate family on hold again.
Next week, Ryan and I sit down to plan out the remainder of 2019 – including a fall trip back to London! So my yearning for adventure and Europe will be fulfilled soon enough, but for now, I’ll just be digging through the past year of content and sharing it here with you all via travel guides! YAY!
Have anything to add? Let’s hear it below! I would love to hear from anyone else who has lived abroad for a substantial amount of time and how it was adjusting back.
London Photos: Nkima Photography
Charleston Photos: Aneris Photography
Read all our London posts here!
Sending you all the love. We miss you terribly and cannot wait to see you again in the winter if you make it back to London Town. Hang in there, as they say, “everything happens for a reason.”
Friendships and dynamics were always going to change and if you have to fight to hold onto them maybe they are not worth it? We have been so surprised at the narrow mindedness of many friends and family back home when we express our love for living abroad and the travel and adventures that we as a family get to experience. I think it’s all a mix of jealousy and whatnot.
Chat soon lovely lady. I’m loving your posts makes me feel like I still get to see you and Sully xx
I know what you mean. Since you spent so much time in England it may just be culture shock, but there’s also reverse culture shock. So experiencing another culture, growing accustomed to and even enjoying some things, and then going back to your old culture and experiencing the shock of some of the things. I did a month long study abroad in France, was living in Raleigh at the time, a decent sized city with decent cultural variety, so came back to Raleigh (and was mostly shocked by the size of wedding rings), and then within a month moved to Seneca, SC. It was pretty extreme.
But welcome back! I’d love to go on a friend date with you. And consider moving downtown. We still drive a decent amount but have the option of walking or riding our bike. It’s nice.
I lived in Madrid for a year and a half right after I graduated college. I am truly thankful for the experience I had. I loved being in a city where you could walk right out your door to walk to the market or bar. I loved speaking Spanish and having friends from all over the world! The public transportation was awesome as well! I don’t miss doing laundry and having to hang it all up to dry and sometimes waiting forever because of rainy days. I love traveling and am excited to plan our next family trip once my new baby is a little older. I hope you find some great new friends in Charleston ❤️
HEATHER ALLEN says
This post is SO great! My husband, daughter and I live in California and are trying to move to Charleston. I love seeing all the pictures of your hometown. Fingers crossed a job offer comes through soon. We completely fell in love with Charleston and think about moving there every single day. Wish us luck!!
Jess at Just Jess says
I completely understand. I lived in Germany for three years while my dad was stationed there. It was an adjustment when we came back to the States. I still miss Europe and their transportation and it has been almost 20 years!
Heather Sanders says
Yes, 100%. My family and I live in Japan right now, but I’m already mourning our move back to the States next year. So many feelings happy and sad. You can never return to the person you were before moving abroad.