May 10th, 2011

me: ooh!

Twenty-four hours to home time

Shipping container, with bear

I have accomplished the primary objective of this trip to the States. All the stuff that was in storage in the US is now in this shipping container and on its way to the UK.

This is it. This feels final. None of my belongings will reside in this country once that ship has gotten underway to Southampton, where it will arrive in 12 weeks, creating a whole new logistical headache for me to enjoy. I’m committing to being an expat for the long term.

Being here makes me feel adrift. When I’m in Britain, I know I’m an expat. I have a solid understanding of what that means, the perpetual uncertainty of my welcome and heightened cultural awareness that it involves. When I’m in the US, I no longer feel like I’m home. I don’t fit in completely here any more than I do in Britain. The Americans I meet assume I’m British. When I checked in at the storage space for the last time, the girl at the desk confided to me, “I love your accent.”

Committing to becoming a dual national doesn’t make me feel accepted in both cultures. It makes me feel like I’m barred from ever being fully comfortable again in either. That sounds negative, but I don’t mean it entirely in that way. I think the increased consciousness and observation of propriety that being an expat have given me are positive qualities. I just don’t know how to belong any more - if, indeed, I ever did. I could be romanticizing and missing something I never had in the first place (see: my complex racial/ethnic identity issues).