Life As An Expat: A Changed Plan

I have a strong sense of self.

Though indecisiveness definitely doesn't escape me (As far as I'm concerned, "Thai or pizza?" is a rhetorical question), the big decisions have always felt clear. Once I decide what I want to do, I do it, and I stick with it.

This strong sense of self, the feeling of knowing where I stand, has come to be more and more in the recent handful of years, that's true. Age and all the rest.

But even so, I've always felt led by an inner compass.

Making big decisions and big moves and big changes doesn't scare me. I know, and maybe always have, that ultimately it's going to be ok. Whatever comes up, comes up, and I'll work it out as it comes.

This is why the decision I've made during the past few weeks has been hard for me. Really hard. I made a plan, I gave my word, and I'm not sticking to it. The very idea of that makes me feel unmoored and uncomfortable.

I'm wondering why my compass led my astray.

Here's the thing: I'm going back to London. Just for a bit.

I won't get into the details here because, you know, Internet, but there's been some delays with our plans. We found out about this a few weeks before I was scheduled to come to North Carolina but were hoping that something would pan out that would make the delay shorter, and therefore make our time apart more bearable.

That thing didn't pan out. It fell through. The plan failed. And now I'm going back – for a while. Though we can't be positive, it should be late spring or early summer before we'll both be able to come to North Carolina. We can't be apart for six months, and logistically it doesn't make sense for us to live in two countries for that long.

So I'm returning.

That's where we stand. D and I were both out of our minds with stress when we first found out about the delay. We've done three years of international long distance dating, followed by two and a half years of paperwork in London, and now this.

But it is what it is now. We're dealing with it as we go, learning, sharing our story with others, doing what we can and knowing that we will get to the point where we can have a house and a goddamn dog. (Is it so much to ask? Sometimes it feels like it is.)

I'll be in North Carolina through the end of January, then heading back to London. I'll get another chance to see the local dogs in our park, to go to pubs with friends, and to complain about the weather. I'll get another chance for all of it. 

And then.

And then we'll both come to the U.S. together in May or June, just in time for my niece's first birthday and the sweetest, sunniest months of the year.

I can't wait, though I will. As long as I need to.

And with that, maybe my compass is back on track after all.



Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/