I am rapidly approaching the two-year mark here in the UK. In many respects, I think I've done well adapting to a very different way of life, completely different health delivery system and surprisingly different culture. I am treated to living among some amazing history; the castle I can see from my flat was built in 1100 AD. I am a short (and cheap) flight to the continent and will have visited four countries by the end of this year. In November, I will apply for my "permanent leave to remain," the equivalent of a green card. My spousal visa is only good for two years. After that, I must get a green card or go home. It is creating more of an emotional issue than I expected.
It has been profoundly difficult making new friendships here. Being of a certain age, one just doesn't hang out in the pubs or clubs anymore and most of the people my age already are busy with kids or grandkids. This is also a small community where I am reminded of a scene from the movie, "Jaws." Ellen Brody is sitting on the beach with a local and asks, "When do I get to be an ‘Islander?'" To which the woman answers, "Never, Ellen, never! You have to be born here!" I will always be an outsider here. That is difficult.
Facebook and the New York Times keep me posted on what's going on back home. Skype allows me to see and hear family and friends. But recently, I have just wanted to be home; someplace where I belong, where I don't "talk funny," where I know the social norms and where my own history resides.
To slightly alter the words of an old Neil Diamond (now I'm really showing my age!) song: "UK's fine but it ain't home, New York's home but it ain't mine no more."