June 2016 – Leaving DC

June was a month of two halves. We said goodbye to the US, and came home to the UK.

It was heart-breaking to actually be leaving the States. Although I really wanted to come home to the UK, to London, and to our friends and family, I knew we would miss so many aspects of our American life, especially the friends we had made. We tried to see as many people as we could as we raced around booking the movers, packing, and trying to cram in as many DC experiences as we could in our final two weeks: our last ballgame, our last brunch. I noticed the little things more than ever – the way the evening sunshine fell on the balcony, the sound of blue jays in the gingko trees…

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We were prepared to be homeless for a month, as our tenants still had some time on their notice period. We reasoned that we wouldn’t have any of our stuff anyway, so it would be difficult to live in the flat, and that it would really be fine living for a month with family…

In the event our tenants moved out early, and we jumped at the chance to be back in our own place, even without cutlery or a duvet, after only about a week and a half camping out in Oxford. Not that it hadn’t been a pleasant stay; we had really enjoyed those things that you do in an English summer – walks by the river, Sunday roast al fresco, beer gardens, and a party for the Queen’s birthday – but we wanted to be home, in London.

The day we took back possession of our flat was quite eventful. I spent most of it at John Lewis (so British middle-class!), buying things to make the flat habitable again, and then we went out in the evening with some friends. Coming home though, at around midnight, we were greeted by the blue flashing lights of a fire engine – our block of flats was on fire!

Luckily our flat survived unscathed and they got the fire under control. More worrying was the fact that no fire alarms had gone off – we owed our safety to a passer-by who had seen the flames and called the fire brigade.

You might think that would be enough drama for one month. But then, of course, came Brexit. Despite our postal votes and our hours of campaigning in the rain, the UK voted, by a slim majority, to leave the EU.

It felt like we had come home to a rather different country than the one we had left just two and a half years before…

 

Related post: Homecoming

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