It's been a while since I had the opportunity to just wander around my own backyard aimlessly and photograph whatever catches my eye. The town looks particularly picturesque when the warm glow from the setting sun reflects on the surfaces of the buildings. We marveled at the beauty and considered ourselves very fortunate to be living here in Winchester. Five years seemed to have flown by in a blink of an eye.
We arrived in the U.K with the understanding that we'd be here for the long haul. The first year was tough. Initially, we settled briefly in a small town but boy, were we in for a rude awakening. The Lehman Brothers collapsed. U.K was hit by recession. It took 4 months to get the phone line working. Another month for internet. The neighbors were.........interesting. The playground was littered with broken glass, needles and whatnots. Teenage pregnancy was rife. The average age at these mommy groups was 15/16. I was 35. And we knew no one in Hampshire.
We were totally unprepared for our first ever blizzard in the UK (worst winter in 10 years). Our warmest coats from New Zealand were insufficient for the British weather. We were all violently sick on Christmas day AND snowed in. We ran out of medication and rationed what was left for Lil L. We waited till the 27th of December to make the mad dash to see a GP. I vowed to not let anyone spend a Christmas alone since.
I knew that what we'd experienced was nothing compared to my sister in law's family who'd escaped the Khmer Rouge regime under showers of bullets, diving for cover and hoping for the best. Or a university acquaintance who drank to forget the atrocities he'd witnessed at Tianamen square. He barely escaped with his life and was then smuggled out of the country. But he lived in fear that he'd be found by the Chinese government.
As my husband and I strolled down one of the prettiest streets in Hampshire, he said, "we're so lucky to live here. " I couldn't agree more. Five years on, we've made wonderful friends. Have you ever moved different continents? What's your experience been?