The grass is always greener on the other side of the Atlantic

When Sophie was home, she kept asking how long until she got on the airplane to see her daddy. Now that we’re here, she keeps asking how long until she gets on the airplane to go home to see her friends. I’m afraid I feel the same way, even though I should know better.

I miss my kitchen, well-stocked with spices. I miss Sophie’s toy kitchen, too, and her water-table and straddle-bike and other good toys that we left behind. I miss my own house, which is filled with all the colors and openness that I like, with my favorite sort of pillows on my favorite sort of mattress. Our apartment here isn’t bad, just orange. It’s full of doors that are constantly needing to be propped open. And it’s hotel-like. I got my revenge on the anonymous, tepid art by posting Sophie’s manic Pollock-like scribbles on top of the blameless Spanish countryside print of blurry nothingness.

I shouldn’t complain. The weather is balmy, even hot. This town is great. As soon as I go home, I’m going to miss the maple trees in the park here, the constant cooing-dove sounds, the ability to bike everywhere I want to go. I’m going to miss the lack of pressure to make conversation with other mothers, since I’m only here 3 months, and not really sure if I want to put in the effort to make friends. That lack of pressure actually often makes it easier to have an interesting conversation at the park. I think I actually found two mothers who make me laugh, two who are fun to talk to, and that’s as much as anyone can ask for. But our newness also means that, like any new people anywhere, it’s mostly the lonely crazies who bother to befriend us.

We did just find a really great take-out Indian place. There’s a lot of competition for that title in Britain, thank Goodness for post-Imperialism, at least for what it’s done for British food. We’re starting to get good routines here, although then we disrupt them every weekend. I really don’t mind that every afternoon, lately, Sophie wants me to bike her to the nearest horse pasture (a six-minute ride along the river, past grazing cows and college rowers) and then to the best-designed park I know.

Most of all, though, I miss my friends, my yoga teachers, my colleagues, my home. I’m glad to be breaking out of old habits, this summer, and breaking away from Sophie’s dependence on physical toys — but I miss those habits and those toys.

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