Hello, world

Once a month I have a night or two of insomnia.

Despite a double-dose of painkillers my aches crunch on, dulled but unabated, and so I am left to ponder the world in a quietude all my own.

I’ve come to enjoy the peaceful time, the botherings aside, and consider it a small space where I can take stock of life.

And while sleep eludes me tonight, I think it’s high time we caught up.



Where were we?

Late last spring Bean and I decided to take the world by storm and concocted schemes of immeasurable grandeur. We were busy traipsing about North America like nomadic Goldilocks(es?) attempting to find the perfect city with the perfect jobs and the perfect home, and  — just days before we were headed to the West Coast to seek our fortune — an unexpected opportunity dropped in our laps.

Bean was offered a place on a postgraduate course.

He had always wanted to pursue further study, and we both expected it in the near future.  But we had decided to wait until some other ducks were pliantly in a row first, and dutifully put it out of our minds for a year or two.

And suddenly here it was.

We had finally finished the immigration mayhem and begun to plan our capital-F Future in America, and that Future had already zigged while we were zagging.

So, we zigged.

Within a fortnight he was at orientation, we found an apartment, and I busied about trying to remember how FAFSAs work.

Our new Future was suddenly, strikingly, set against the Chicago skyline.


It is exciting – this new/old city (I’ve mentioned my fondness for Chi-town before).

We’ve visited three or four times this year. Each trip I find new things about which to be excited. I went to my first concert in Millennium Park last week and it was delightful, and can’t wait to see the Lyric Opera shortly after we settle in properly.

But each time I also uncover fresh reminders of the struggles of city life. I may love urban adventures, but I am no high-rise, high-fashion maven. I’ll take grass over pavement every time thankyouverymuch.

I’m not going to lie, after the soft roll of Britain and a year in the open fields of Michigan, readjusting to crowds and traffic and tall buildings will be a challenge. But then this year without a billion festivals and museums and a distinct lack of Thai food has been its own adjustment. Both ways have their charms, and in each I think I’ll always miss a little of the other.

Besides, Chicago is still consistently one of the cleanest, nicest, most accessible cities I’ve ever known. I’m itching to get under its skin. To explore new places and unearth it secret treasures. To revisit old haunts and beloved institutions.

It will be so fun exploring somewhere new together, and so handy to be near to family and within spitting distance of a major international airport.

Plus, I know of the Five Things I Require it definitely has plenty of water and some of the most beautiful sculpted gardens. I’m eager to explore the city and surrounding countryside to ferret out the others – by the looks of things, southern Wisconsin may well sooth the bit of my heart that still pines for long walks in the Scottish Lowlands.

Yes, that’ll do nicely.


Now, almost exactly one year after getting off that plane, we’re moving into our new apartment. Nomads no more.

Suddenly I’m figuring our parking permits and gas companies and loan terms. It all feels familiar and stable and GrownUp. (Remind me I said this was a good thing when I have to sort out proof of health insurance for the billionth time).

This well-worn domesticity certainly has its own pluses and minuses. Getting a credit history as an immigrant is a ridiculous farce, and everyday new eddies of bureaucratic madness swirl about. But we troop on, looking forward to our new house and our new city.

And I’m glad and grateful, despite all the uncertainty, for everything this past year as brought us.

A new kind of closeness from braving this chaos together.

New friends and colleagues with which to share it.

Deeper, stronger relationships with our families near and far.

And a lifetime of stories and stupid adventures which we both treasure.

It’s been a hell of a ride, but boy am I glad to be headed home at last.


One Response to “Hello, world”
  1. Hilary says:

    ‘Both ways have their charms, and in each I think I’ll always miss a little of the other.’ Yup, got it in one lady. This new adventure sounds exciting, I must hear about it soon x


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