Tag Archives: family

May 2016

By May we knew that we were going home to the UK, and soon. We had been discussing possible reasons for returning for a while: I really needed to get on with my career, but I couldn’t find work in the US that would give me a visa, and wasn’t allowed to work on my current spousal visa; my sister had just had a baby; R’s sister was pregnant; we missed our friends and family in the UK; and we missed London.

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A conference trip to Chawton in Hampshire coinciding with the birth of my nephew rather decided me on the matter…

 

There were reasons to stay too: we hadn’t made it to the Grand Canyon yet; we loved our lifestyle in DC; and we had great friends. We had really fallen in love with the America we had found in DC and on our travels and had (mostly) felt accepted and welcome.

 

My work restriction sucked, and the process of getting a new visa had been horribly stressful, and doing tax in two countries is the absolute worst – but apart from all that it had been a really positive ‘immigrant’ experience which had us at times considering how we could find a route to live there forever and bring up kids there. It’s funny to remember that now, given the current action being taken by Trump.

In May changes at R’s work and an offer of a new job based back in the UK decided us – we were going home. It was sad and exciting in equal measure, but there wasn’t much time to think through it all. Things had to happen quickly; there’s no grace-period with an H1-B visa, so as soon as R’s notice period expired we were technically illegal – which didn’t give us much time to pack up our lives! In the meantime all our friends wanted to say goodbye, so there were lunches and drinks, but we also had R’s mother coming to stay, and wanted to take that opportunity for one last road trip…

Related post: going home

Going home

I write this as I wait for the movers. We’ve separated out what’s being shipped and what’s coming with us in our huge suitcases. I’ve washed up for the last time; we’re now reduced to drinking water (or gin) out of red solo cups. We don’t fly until Tuesday. Luckily we don’t need to ship the furniture – we have an almost identical set of IKEA things waiting for us back in London – so we’ll have a bed to sleep in and a couch to sit on until the junk removers come on Tuesday morning. I’ve declared a moratorium on washing – whatever’s not washed by now will have to come with us dirty.

Quite a lot has happened in the last couple of months. The big news is that R got a new job, still with the opportunity of travel, but based in the UK. This was great news, especially as R’s work had some issues when their biggest client decided to bring much of the  work in house…  There was the possibility of job hunting in the US, and transferring the visa, but given our experience of how slowly these things move, finding a new, UK-based job was a better option for our sanity.

Also, in happier news, I’m now an aunt for the first time, and R’s sister is also expecting a baby this year – so it’s really exciting to be moving closer to family.

Still, we’re sad to leave DC, and all our friends out here. Goodbyes have had to happen quickly if at all – there’s no grace period with an H visa in which to pack up your things and leave the country. It’s so hard to say goodbye to people we feel we were just getting close to – especially with such short notice. ‘But we’ll see you again before you leave?’ people exclaim, and it’s really hard to answer ‘maybe not…’

Because as anyone who has moved countries knows, there’s lots to do! Apart from the packing, there’s all the financial things to sort out – we want to leave in good standing after all! One thing we had to do – which we only knew because of Tomaz’s blog – was to make an appointment at the tax office to apply for a ‘sailing permit’. This consisted of a tax office employee checking our latest tax returns and checking that we had no tax outstanding. If we had, we would have had to pay there and then; however, in the case of them owing us – which is the case – they get to pay us in their own sweet time…

At any rate, we’re coming to the end of our to-do list. And the movers are here now, speedily wrapping our plates in paper while we stand around awkwardly. By the end of the month we will be back in our old flat in London – waiting for our things to cross the Atlantic on a container ship. (By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what life is like on one of these ships, you should check out the Nicholls retirement project blog – written by someone who decided to return home on one!)

I’m sure there will be plenty to blog about as we settle back into the UK, and I also have a few saved blog posts on road trips in the US, life in DC, and on the intricacies of the visa system still to share. So although it’s goodbye to ’18+ months in DC’, it’s hello to ’26 months in DC (and after!)’.

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