I’ve been in fear that this blog might be dead. Some of you may have already come to that conclusion seeing as it’s been over a year since my last entry. I have tried to forge ahead but everything I write seems to be so dull that I am left with no choice but to abandon it half way through. It’s not as if there hasn’t been loads to write about. Still, I have been unable to muster up the enthusiasm to eek out 1000 words or so on the hundreds on interesting things happening on both sides of the pond. However, I have recently been inspired, at a 2 year olds birthday party of all places. I got talking to the grandmother of the birthday boy who reads my blog on occasion. She asked if I was still writing and I confessed my ongoing internal dilemma. I was not being lazy, I just couldn’t write it. She regarded me for a moment, sipped her tea and then asked if I thought it was because I was becoming more anglicized and therefore the conflict of living between the US and the UK doesn’t exist for me anymore? I froze mid bite of chocolate cake. I think this is what people refer to as a ‘watershed’ moment. Was this true? Am I no longer ‘floating’ but fixed? Maybe, but this is not an easy thing to admit. My politics have already branded me ‘un-American’ from time to time. I am deeply offended by this term and my worry is that this theory adds fuel to that annoyingly persistent fire. But it’s something I have to look at. It’s true, my world has become more insular. I’m raising three children in Bedfordshire, England. This is our home and the things that happen here are what my day to day life consists of. I’m on the PTA and one of the local preschool committees. I am involved in a local protest against a strip club being erected (sorry, couldn’t help myself) in the beautiful market town I live in and I watch my oldest son play rugby every Sunday at Ampthill Rugby Club. As much as my husband and I are determined to raise our children with a world view, we reside in a bubble. Don’t get me wrong, I love this bubble. I have no desire to ever leave it. And I suppose that is exactly the point… I feel like I belong here. I am indeed, fixed. Not floating at all.
I had an acting teacher in New York, Fred, who used to say, ‘If it ain’t personal, it ain’t shit’. I could never quite connect to this as an actress. I was far too young and self conscious, but the words stuck and this is now how I approach writing. My aim for every blog entry has been to stay true to the title, ‘The Floating Expat’, not fixed in one mind set or the other. However, It wouldn’t be completely honest to claim that I still ‘float somewhere in the middle’ as I mentioned in my opening piece ‘About’. Before anyone takes away my passport, I still feel like an American but I don’t feel the land I’ve ended up in is so strange anymore. Being a parent makes you land. I make firm decisions every day regarding seemingly small and insignificant things that will help shape the character of my three children. I can’t afford to ‘float’. Kids smell indecision from miles away and use it to wear you down. My goal in child rearing is not to be liked all the time but to be consistent and therefore, hopefully, respected and loved. Diplomacy is a good, honourable trait, but can also feel like a bit of a cop out.
Fred also said never to worry about ‘how good it is’. I’ve been true to this so far which is why the moment I did start worrying about it I couldn’t write anymore. I have no idea where this leaves us. I won’t say this is my last blog because no one respects a fake retirement but I suppose I do feel things starting to go in a different direction. The whole ‘having it all’ concept is a myth, so it’s possible it will be another year before I write again because I’ll be busy changing nappies, doing laundry and cooking dinners no one eats. But I will leave you with a few words on a small handful of the missing topics I couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t cover this year…
The Olympics… Amazing!! I was in Atlanta in 1996 and London for 2012. Lucky me! Both experiences were equally fantastic yet utterly different.
Ampthill History… Paul, my husband, recently sent me some information on the first governor of New York. His name was Richard Nicolls and you’ll never guess where he was from. Ok, I’ll tell you. Ampthill! Born and Buried. It’s a small, small world.
Chick-fil-A… Come on people, agreeing with homosexuality is NOT the issue. Is America a country of equal rights or isn’t it? Chick-Fil-A appreciation day was truly ridiculous. However, I will hand it to that dude, he makes a mean chicken sandwich. That pickle! Yum.
Obamacare… Obama was never going to save us. He is not Jesus. Nor is he the Anti-Christ. Anyone who thinks so is nuts. If Obama achieves one thing in that oval office of his, I hope it’s to make headway in America’s broken health care system. Everyone deserves healthcare. The most conservative British person would not argue this.
One last and final note… I hate to name drop BUT I happen to know a well known celebrity who lives here in Ampthill. No, it’s not the Queen. It’s Tinky Winky from Teletubbies. His real name is Simon and he has just had his third child. He is not gay. He’d like the world to know that it was a lap top case and not a handbag. I wish Jerry Falwell was alive to read this. I’m sure he’d feel enlightened.