I have been in London now for four days, and in the morning, I'll head for the airport to come home, or to where home currently is, anyway. I have been here looking for our future home, and suddenly the magnitude of this move is real to me. I am seeing where we are coming. I am noting what we are gaining, but also what we are losing. I was feeling so strange today, not quite myself, and it hit me: what I am feeling is grief. As much as we have wanted this move - as much as we have worked for it and hoped for it and done everything we can to make it happen - it still brings with it a lot of change, and a lot of loss. So very much loss.
We are leaving behind friends. We are leaving behind a house we've loved. We are leaving behind being in the same country as family. We are leaving behind familiar currency, all our electrical appliances, even meanings of certain words. It is a big deal. A huge deal. It is not nothing, losing these things. It is everything, really. In many ways, we are starting over.
It is a big risk to take on. It's not like it's irreversible, but it's not so easily changed. We can't just go, "Meh, nevermind," if we don't end up liking it as well as we thought we would. We are laying a lot on the line for this move, and it's not just Jarod and me who are doing it. We are bringing our children along with us. The risk is theirs, too, and I feel this particularly keenly in Zinashi's case, knowing that this is one more move for her, one more unknown, one more gigantic uncertainty. I feel so sorry about this part of it, about the hard part that will come as we say goodbye and as we get settled in the beginning. I wish the loss weren't part of it. I wish we could just erase the loss, bring all those familiarities with us, have the best of both countries.
But we can't. We have to choose, to embrace this risk and open our arms wide to the possibility that maybe, hopefully, all this will be worth it.
There is so much here that we will gain. I see so many more faces in varying shades of brown everywhere here. In the neighborhood where we hope to live, I saw more brown faces than peach ones, and I dared to hope that maybe we could finally do this part right, move into a neighborhood that would better reflect our family makeup. Out and about, I notice the women especially, dressed in clothing reflecting their culture, and to me, this is what London is about for us. Closer not just to Ethiopia, but closer every day to people who are from everywhere. We will be immigrants here, too. We will build our lives anew, too.
Tomorrow I am hoping to get a call telling me if any of the offers we made on rental houses were accepted. If one was, then we will pay a large sum, and we will sign papers that say that we intend to be here for the long term. It will be too late to turn back, at least without significant financial loss. That feels exciting, but it feels scary, too.
Until I came here, I didn't have much room for the grief part of this process. But I see now that in order for this new thing to truly be good, I have to recognize the good of what we're leaving behind, and give the grief of losing that its own space. We will gain a lot, but we will lose a lot.
And that? Well, it's hard, but I think it's okay, too.