I can't believe we've been back in the USA for a year. A whole yeaR!
It's been a wild and strange ride and even though we're from the USA - Florida is a whole different bird than the Midwest. It's like the flamingo compared to the robin. Night and day.
I love the weather (really, I do) and there are fewer mosquitos than I ever imagined here. I even like our little community... but everything here seems forced and nobody is happy. The daily grind is too much and everyone suffers. Maybe we'd feel differently if we lived either in the city OR in a proper little single-family neighborhood (wait, did I just say that?!?!) but we're halfway between Miami and Ft Lauderdale in a sort of suburban twilight zone. This is not what we signed up for when we moved here, full of hope and great expectations a year ago.
It's been a learning experience for sure. BUT to be honest, this time in the USA has helped us in many ways, too.
- Brad and the girls have acquired Italian citizenship through his paternal grandfather's line.
- I was able to claim Dutch citizenship through my mother. With this and #1, that means the whole family now has EU passports!
- We had amazing visits from our parents. It was a wonderful time to have the kids spend so much time with their grandparents and many memories were made.
- We were able to get all of our worldly possessions out of my father-in law's basement after 7 years and we're doing some major purging of stuff now.
- We realized that this place is not for us long term. Meaning the USA. Meaning now. This was a big realization because while we were in South America, we (I) had this idea that I wanted to be back in the USA, at least for a time and I was all for this move.
But we're finding many things that we don't love here, and the good doesn't outweigh the bad for us: The lockdown drills at our children's elementary school, practicing for the event of an active shooter. The rat race. The commuter (and consumer) society. The lack of a social network. What we disliked 10 years ago about life in the USA, we still dislike.
Our lives are certainly richer from being here and experiencing life in the USA again and I'm glad we came here, if only for a year. We are a family that extremely thankful for our options, though!
Since we have these newly acquired EU passports burning a hole in our pockets and a 20-year-long dream (since our first vacation together to Spain in 1997) to live there someday, that dream is finally happening.
We visited Valencia, Spain in April 2017 as a family vacation and we're now in the throngs of preparing to move there.
We'll be out of our apartment by the middle of June, then after a bit of travel, we'll arrive in Valencia, Spain the second week in July.
Then it starts all over again: Looking for an apartment, furnishings, schools, bank account, residency, utilities, friends, health insurance, doctors and medications -- not necessarily in that order!
Plus, this is the first time we're moving with a proper shipping container, albeit a small one. That's an adventure unto itself. Our two dogs were the most stressful part of the move to Uruguay back in 2009. I think the shipping container will be the most stressful part here!
Stick around. I can't guarantee that we'll have a lot of time to write over the next few weeks, but we WILL have a lot to write about. :)
To learn more about us and our family's international adventures over the past 8 years, click the "About" button on the top right side of this page.
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