Thursday, September 30, 2010


I've been a little homesick lately. But I'm not quite sure for what. I always long for Pennsylvania, but after going-on-5-years of marriage and living elsewhere, I don't miss it quite like I used to. I love going back to visit, but realize we'll probably never put down roots there. And for the first time in many years I'm okay with that.

I definitely miss Virginia Beach. I still have many, many Facebook friends that are there and keep me updated on what I'm missing out on. The move is still fresh, but I'm sure in time I'll come to view that place much the same as Pennsylvania - wonderful memories, lovely to visit, but no longer home. We could end up moving back some day with the Coast Guard, but our life there would never be the same. I've come to realize the best time to live at the beach is when you are newlyweds, young marrieds, or young marrieds with one small child. Anything beyond that presents its challenges! Then again, can't you just see Jack and Jude being total surfer dudes in high school one day? :)

Oddly enough, I've been missing a bit of my undergrad too. I was more than ready to leave that place when the time came, I even overloaded on courses so I could finish up a semester early ... and wound up getting married and moving south before many of my classmates had taken their finals. Living in quintessential suburbia has me really missing the coffee shop, pizza joint, diner, cobblestone streets and quaint shops of my old college town. And I bet the leaves around the lake at the school are just starting to turn. *sigh*

But today is dark and rainy. Jack is watching "Baby Genius" and I'm typing to the tune of a string orchestra, taking a break every few seconds to sip hot tea, with a spot of milk, out of my Blackwell's mug. The mug that survived 4 moves (one overseas) and is still going strong. Bits and pieces of the Jane Austen autobiography I read weeks ago are still resonating in my mind, and I've just finished looking at my friend's pictures of Nottingham on Facebook. Guess what I'm missing today?

England. Good ole England. Who stole a piece of my heart that can only be filled with tea, digestives, good literature, the Oxford Boys' Choir CD and an occasional rainy morning. To soothe my sappy souled self, I decided to re-visit a few of my old haunts via Google Earth.

The street I lived on, which backs up to a toilet manufacturing plant.  Did I mention that the entire back of the building is windows?  And that we did not have curtains in our flat?
The end of our street - Park End, full of random walking paths, vegetable gardens, canal boats and cows.

The Co-op, our grocery store.  Where I fell in love with digestives, and learned that English food generally comes in smaller quantities.
New College, my campus for a semester.  The computer lab where I typed many a paper and blog post was behind one of these windows.
Blackwells.  Purveyor of books.  Donator of favorite tea mug.
I don't know what it is about the Motherland that captivates me so. I love the land, the rain, the fog, the green fields, the streets, the oldness, the richness of culture, the people and their accents, dry wit and understated view of the world. I wish they needed some U.S. Coast Guard officers over there so we could pack up, live in a "flat," enroll the boys in boarding school, buy them khakis and blue blazers, and teach Jack how to play rugby. I pray all the time that God will open a door for us to live in England, just for a little while. Or, if not, give me somewhere new to love, a bit more local. But for now, I try to restrict these dreams to the occasional rainy morning and focus more on the here and now. Which, at the moment, is in the family room, with two little boys ...

... making blanket forts on a rainy Thursday morning.

Do they build blanket forts in England?


Stephanie said...

I miss it so much it hurts sometimes too. It comes at the most random times- the smell of laundry that seemed to be just from our flat that I catch from time to time here, the drizzle in the morning jog, the comfort of the weight of the weather there and here, the academic energy that was so captivating, and such a joy in trying new things with delightful friends. I'm so very with you! It seemed magical over there.

Sally said...

how funny that I have the exact same mug!!! I told Marty just last week that I missed Oxford, so we watched Inspector Lewis...they really do help - murder mysteries set in Oxford with gorgeous camera angles that almost capture the beauty of the "city of dreaming spires" - I sure loved that semester and getting to know you!

J9 said...

Stephanie you speak the truth! Although the one thing I don't miss is not having a dryer and ending up with line-dried crunchy underwear. :)
Sally I keep seeing commercials for Inspector Lewis, now I have to watch it!! Everytime I watch "Pride and Prejudice" I remember our trip to Chatsworth though!

Jared said...

I hate to ruin the whole mood of the post and all...but Germany is your Mutterland, not England.

Janine said...

aw. we miss you too! these dreary rainy days make it worse too... stuck in the house with two little ones and too many kid movies. Abbie and I are both going nuts. We want friends to play with and places to go. Today I missed everyone who was not in my house with me... my husband, my family, my friends, going out to eat, Barnes and Noble... I missed anything but the inside of this house. Come play, Janine, Jack, Jude and John!

J9 said...

Jared I was speaking of the collective States, not myself.
Janine we're missing you too! After all this rain Abbie's shorts should be thoroughly rinsed out, since I keep forgetting to bring them inside! :)

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