It was almost exactly five months to the day that I returned to America and it felt strange. Though I do not drive in the UK, it was a little unsettling being on the "other side of the road". When I arrived in Houston it was a gloomy, grey cold day, which felt familiar and disappointing. I was hoping to return to the sunny days I left, I expected everything to be the same. I am not sure why I thought time in Houston would stop without me, but I'm kind of glad it didn't.
Cuddling with my cousin's dog Izzy, she missed me. Photo by @spike_johnson
I spent a lot of time with my family and friends and the food I love best. I tried to see as many people as possible, I had a lot of happy hours, coffee dates and bar hangs. It was great to feel at home and comfortable, to see familiar faces at familiar places. I never had to look at my map or wait for a train or check times for buses. I just hopped in my dad's car and did things on my own timetable.
It was comforting to know where I was going and exactly how to get there, to know more than one way to get there. I knew the times and places that would have the most traffic and how to avoid them. If there was construction on my normal route I could bypass it without having to consult my map. Basically, I know Houston like the back of my hand it was great to not have that little tinge of anxiety about getting places on-time, worrying if I am walking in the right direction, constantly checking my app to make sure I get off at the right stop. Traveling in the city was easy and stress free, if you don't count all the traffic everywhere.
Here is my friend Ashely standing next to our beautiful taco brunch the morning I was heading to Chicago.
Chicago is a little less familiar but I know the basics and how to get home and I honestly didn't leave the house much because it was freezing outside and I was happy to just sit at home and snuggle my doggies. When I did leave it was mostly with my sister doing our normal Target wanders, running errands like and even taking a day road trip to Milwaukee just for the heck of it. It was really nice to get back into the sister routine we had when we lived together and surprisingly we didn't argue once, though I think I left just in time before it happened. You gotta love siblings, they know all your buttons.
These are the photos from Milwaukee, WI. The outside and inside of the Milwaukee Public Market and this stunning view.
Thomas Hardy House by Frank Lloyd Wright and the SC Johnson Golden Rondelle in Racine, WI.
I spent 3 weeks in Texas and 2 weeks in Chicago, it was glorious but I missed home and my husband. Towards the end of my trip I was ready to come home. I was tired of living out of a suitcase, especially since I didn't pack very many clothes. (I am not a great packer but this was by far the worst packing job I have ever done, including the time I went to Chicago for a week and didn't pack a single undergarment). It was a strange feeling living out of suitcase in my own home, I felt like a stranger and a familiar all at once, I felt like a native and a visitor in my own city. I am struggling to describe the feeling and it may seem negative but I felt okay. Houston will always be my city and Texas my home but London is my home now and I love it.
Returning to London felt right, I don't really know how else to describe it. I thought I would cry on the airplane, sobbing quietly to myself under my hoodie neck pillow, but I was fine. I was excited to return home to my husband and my flat and friends and family there. I was excited to get the ball rolling on my job hunt and start living my life as a contributing, commuting Londoner. I was happy to head home.
All in all, I enjoyed catching up with everyone and seeing all the people I missed dearly, eating all the food I can't find here and spending time with my amazing family but I am happy to be back and find out what London has in store for me.