Happy New Year, friends! It’s been a year since I started writing in this space. We’ve come a long way since then on this joyful, exhausting, perplexing, and surprising ride that is parenthood, motherhood, stay-at-home-hood, and expat-hood.
The other day, my husband and I were taking Freddy to a birthday party and decided to walk there as it wasn’t too far from our home. Along the way, we passed one of the local Children’s Centres, and I explained to him that, along with weekly health clinics, the centre offered playgroups and classes, which I described as ‘more for new mums, so we don’t go to them.’ Then I laughed to myself. I suppose that’s right. I’m not a new mum anymore. We’ve somehow transitioned and moved on from that bleary-eyed, confusing, and befuddled stage of early parenthood. We’re old hands now, in a way. More just mothers and fathers and less ‘new.’ We’re more here now than there.
Over the Christmas break, we decided to try one of the four Turkish restaurants in our town. After enjoying a meal of familiar flavours and a bit of Oud music in the background, I was feeling rather nostalgic and decided to say hello to the cook. After a quick, ‘merhaba,’ he immediately asked if I spoke Turkish. ‘Evet, biraz.’ What followed was incomprehensible, and my hubris quickly faded as I realised that although I thought I could still speak Turkish, I in fact, cannot. It was embarrassing and humbling, and I later remarked to my husband that Turkey now feels much more our distant past than it’s felt before. We’re moved on now to our years in Istanbul as being fond memories that emerge once in a while at a drinks party or when seeing an old friend – less a lived experience that feels like it was only yesterday. We’re more here now than there.
And after two years in the UK, this is where I am beginning to feel firmly rooted. I’m soaking in all I can to make this place a part of me, and while it’s not zero sum, my life in America, my former career, my identity before I landed here is becoming something and someone else. Less diplomat, more mother. Less American, more British. Less restless, more steady. I’m more here now than there.
All that came before, the ‘theres’, are stored safely to make room for here. For the present, for the future. With that, I enter the New Year with new plans, new goals, and new adventures, always aware that, in time, these things too will become memories and things of the past all making space for other things ahead.