A slightly long read ahead. I originally began writing this post before we even moved from California. To be fair, it was even before I knew that Nick and I were expecting a baby. Needless to say, life has had many changes over the past few months. I wanted to document them here, both for the sake of my reader (hi, Mom), and for my own memory. While this blog is hopefully a source of style & sustainability, of insight, of humor, and of improvement, it also needs the occasional update from me, to understand where I am coming from — and why.
Life Update One: Goodbye California; Hello United Kingdom
It feels like both a lifetime ago and just yesterday that I was posting about our big move to California. Nothing but sun, beaches, and opportunity awaited our impending international move. Needless to say, as much as ‘California Dreaming’ played on repeat in my head, life was’t quite as peachy keen as I had hoped — at first. While things inevitably improved, and I really felt like I ‘hit my stride’ as both blogger and human being, we ultimately realized our home (and hearts) lay elsewhere.
After 3 years, 6 months, and 1 day (exactly), Nick and I said goodbye to life in California and moved back to the UK. It had been a long time coming, and we both felt ready to start this new chapter again in our lives. We’re currently set up in London for now, in a house on a leafy street (a far cry from the center-city living we had done before — see Life Update #2 for why that is). While we don’t know where we’ll ultimately end up, we hope to eventually settle, to rekindle our friendships, and to make a home back in the UK.
But that’s not to say that our hearts aren’t still a little torn. The past 3.5 years in California have seen some of the best of our lives. The friendships forged there, the memories made, the changes wrought to both of our personalities, are irrecoverable. I will personally miss so much the sunny days, beautiful homes, and sweeping views of San Francisco. And, of course, as an American, saying goodbye to America once again was difficult.
A question that has come up from friends and family is: why? Why leave the California sunshine for gloomy UK weather? The answer is complicated, but ultimately, there were things about life in the UK that I preferred. I don’t want to live a life via car, and the UK provides places with much better walkability. California, while beautiful, has its issues — including how bloody expensive it is — and the pros just didn’t outweigh the cons for me. The US as a whole also has issues for me that I don’t know how to grapple with (what American doesn’t have a complicated relationship with America?).
I also hate hot weather. I know, I know, I will be complaining about the cold before too long. But when I spent my birthday (mid October) in 45 C / 113 F weather, I knew this wasn’t the place for me.
And truth be told, I have, at heart, always been a quaint-English-town, crumbling-country-cottage, grey-skies and historic-homes and medieval-history kind-of gal — rather than the boho-chic, southwest-style maven that I thought I could be.
Life Update Two: Wolf & Stag are having a Cub
Well, this was a life update that I didn’t expect to be writing. Nick and I are expecting a baby boy this Autumn. The entire pregnancy so far has felt like a whirlwind, with life consisting of giant international move peppered with doctor’s appointments, blood tests, and a changing body.
To be honest, sometimes I completely forget that I am pregnant (at the time of writing I am a bit over 20 weeks). Which is crazy to me, as I had always assumed pregnancy was this huge, ever-present, your life is altered kind of thing. But in reality? Life is kind of normal. Just with a few more weird symptoms — such as extreme food envy and a lot of gas.
While I wouldn’t say the pregnancy came as a shock, I will be frank and say that we didn’t quite expect to get pregnant so quickly. I do not take this minor miracle for granted; I know many, many people struggle with fertility. However, having been on the pill for over 10 years, I just expected that something wouldn’t quite work with me. That I would struggle to conceive, that hell, maybe I couldn’t even conceive at all. In retrospect, I don’t know why I thought this. The pill was just doing her damn job.
Still, we hadn’t quite expected we would fall pregnant just a couple of months before a giant international move. So much of the labor and burden of moving fell to poor Nick, who spent his days hoisting furniture up and down 4 flights of stairs while I lay on the sofa, nauseated. I am forever grateful of his rational attitude and ability to stay calm in chaos (unlike someone I know, and by that, I mean ME).
While I know many people gush and coo over their pregnancy and baby, Nick and I — the ever practical people that we are — are treating Little Cub’s upcoming arrival the only way we know how: like a project needing to be planned. We have a deadline (due date); we have a list of tasks; we have a literal Trello board. Gosh, what did parents-to-be do before Trello?
The clock is ever ticking, and his little nursery has got to get filled. So while I approach pregnancy like an uptight drill sergeant, I am trying to relish in the small, quiet moments of joy — his little flips in my stomach, or feeling ‘the feels’ gazing at a teeny onesie. As I said before, pregnancy is a whirlwind, a rollercoaster, and has gone by so, so fast. But at the same time, pregnancy has made me slow down and appreciate like I never have before. Maybe because I walk at the Speed of a Snail. But oh, have I just not cared to go fast anymore. And in doing that, I’ve appreciated my life more than I ever have before.
Who knew that pregnancy could help with my slow living journey?