My biological father, step-mum, and kin have generously invited me to stay with them in England. I’ve not been to their new home but I imagine it is on a picturesque rolling countryside where one picks up priceless relics from the war of the roses instead of dandelions from the yard.
As a child, I had the privilege of visiting my father in Britain on holidays. The trips followed a beloved formula. He would ask what I wanted to do, I would name a place that was both inconvenient and expensive to visit, then he’d work out the details to make that happen. He tried to reason with me that we were down in London and the Loch Ness Monster was all the way up there in Drumnadrochit. Children are rarely reasonable. I loved Scotland.
Moving permanently to London would be tricky. As an American, I couldn’t work in the UK so I would be mooching off my father like I was in my gap year again. That seems like an unflattering position for an adult to be in. My father asked me recently if I planned to work in the future and I said, “I haven’t decided.” So he asked, “Well, do you have financial obligations?” And I said, “I haven't decided.”
Another sticky wicket about moving to London would be being so far away from Chicago. I love Chicago with a sycophantic enthusiasm that most people reserve for their honeymoon. Since moving to Chicago from London for graduate school, when I leave the city, I am compulsively compelled to evangelize about Chicago to anyone with the misfortune of being my cab driver, concierge, or fellow elevator rider. I’m sure that people assume I work for the tourism department. I talk about Chicago like she’s the one that got away. When I return, I stare at the skyline and gleefully think, “Lucy, I’m home.”
Still, absence makes the heart grow fonder. A visit to my English family would do me some good. I miss them.