Okay, this is kind of disjointed, but see if you can follow me to the end...
I used to pride myself on my ability to make the best of a budget situation. But when we booked our flight and accommodations for our trip in March, I suddenly got an immense distaste for yet another low-priced British hotel room. I've stayed in seven, count them SEVEN, this year. Needless to say, I'm quite burnt out by them. I didn't realize how much so until I returned to the UK in September to stay with a friend in her flat and found myself almost too delighted to have instant access to a computer, a clothes washer and a phone that didn't require dialing out first. Don't get me wrong: you wouldn't hear me complaining if I was toting the key to a suite at The Savoy. But until the USD/GBP exchange rate ceases to make me cry, I don't see that miracle happening.
So this time, with three ladies and the subsequent personality differences that come along with it, I made an executive decision. There will be no shoebox hotel room, no third foldaway bed, no dodgy television reception. Nope, we're springing for a proper flat. With the help of some accommodating English estate agents, I'm up to my nose in amenities like clothes dryers, central heating and lifts. But I'm finding that I'm having a very strange inner reaction to my quest.
Now here in Seattle, these "amenities" are practically expected. Central heating is simply an inalienable right, and a home with a washer and no dryer is simply confusing. But instead of most Americans who see these things as signs of inferiority, I'm finding myself yearning to be doing this for more than just a short-stay...and that kind of scares me.
My mother-in-law recently said to me, "I'm just so scared I'm going to lose my son and daughter-in-law to Great Britain." I had no answer. Several years ago, the thought of leaving the US was terrifying. But now, it's different. My husband and I have talked about eventual relocation. My family has even considered it. I read expat blogs complaining about the struggle to adjust and find myself wishing that was me. Logically, it seems so ungrateful to wish I was missing America, but I do.
What does it mean to wish you had to acquire your peanut butter and athletic socks through care packages from home? Is it a romantic notion, pure ignorance...or maybe a glimpse of what the future holds?