The expat guilt I am currently feeling is unlike the previous one. When asked how I am enjoying living in London I often answer with, “It’s okay.” Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting the museums, having a drink at my local and popping over to mainland Europe when funds and time permit. But I don’t feel settled. I am not “home.” So I often feel guilty that I don’t love living here. I’m just not the city girl that I used to be. Having been happiest in a small big city I know that’s where I belong. And although living outside London isn’t impossible, I’ll tell you what may be: owning a house. Pay is less and expenses are twice as much when compared to life in Austin. Owning a house in London feels like a grand dream. And damn it, we want a house, with a big ‘ole kitchen.
I’m in total nesting mode. I want space. And I want to fill it up with visiting family, friends and little babies (okay, maybe just one baby). I want to design and set up my sewing/craft room. I want to pick up the phone and just call my friends and parents rather than have to plan a day and time we can Skype. I want to see the rest of the U.S., driving across it with music blaring and camera in hand.
This seems like a copout but life in Austin was simply easier, happier. Expecting to continue that same quality of life in London was my first mistake, I was doubly disappointed. I was silly to think life would be the same but with a different backdrop. We are very thankful for our experiences here but we think we are quite satiated (although we won’t stop looking, visiting and doing!). We moved here not knowing if we would extend our stay in London or move back. Now I can say without any doubt that we are thoroughly looking forward to moving back to Austin in a year or so. Home is where we feel settled, where we feel at ease. Home is Austin. So why do I still feel guilty?