The decision

It’s made! We’ve decided! After weighing up all the pros and cons, and countless sleepless nights we have decided it’s time to move to the UK!! We’re starting our next adventure. Now we’ve decided I’m actually incredibly excited! The children are at peace with it too – Hugh is excited, and Poppy is thrilled about some things, and fearful of others – but the promise of being able to design, decorate and furnish their rooms appears to be keeping them happy at the moment. Poppy is also compiling a list of ‘weekend break destinations in Europe’ – she has wanderlust and is obviously her father’s daughter.

I won’t lie – I still get palpitations and freak out moments where I’m asking myself ‘what the fuck are we doing?’, but they are fewer and fewer as time passes. Last night I cried with frustration, questioning if we should have done it sooner? If we should be doing it at all? How I’m disappointed that I don’t feel anything is keeping me here in Atlanta. The strangest emotion is that I actually feel a little resentful towards Atlanta for not giving me anything to keep me here after 18 years. I guess I had hoped to feel more sad about leaving, which ironically makes me feel sad that I don’t. You following me? I’ve had messages from people asking ‘are you really going? Don’t go! We’ll miss you!’ — but where were these people when I was looking for inclusion, and to feel part of a tribe here? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to take friendships further with the offer of lunch, dinner or a coffee — then it was tumbleweed. Hey maybe it’s me? Too late to change now! Once again I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such a supportive husband who gets it all, even when I’m struggling to articulate it all. I’m hoping the bitterness is just a side effect of stress and that it will pass with time.

My head is spinning 1000mph and until I’m sitting on that plane I doubt it will slow down. To be honest it won’t feel real until we’re forced into action when our house is sold. With any luck that will coincide with the end of the school year here in May. Until then we’ll be continuing our conversations with the children and encouraging questions so they have all the reassurance they need. Dave and I will have consistency too – we’re so fortunate to be able to work wherever we need to and I’m so grateful for understanding business partners.

After countless searches, research and surveys on instagram we’ve identified Leeds as our top spot. Key factors for this choice include

— well connected with London

— close to Manchester airport

— we can live within walking distance of the city center while having access to parks and great schools

— it’s close to the countryside

— easy to reach friends and family

We will rent to start with which will be challenging with 2 big dogs, but smart too. If the stars align we’ll sell quickly, move, and identify our ideal pad quickly so we can nurture those roots and get them replanted quickly.


15 thoughts on “The decision

  1. Diane

    Joanna, we should meet up when you move over. I work full time, but feel free to reach out for a coffee. I can show you the sights of Altrincham. Take care xx

  2. Andrea Schwochow

    Hi!!! I love reading your recent post about living in the us as a foreigner.. I’m Hungarian, living in Columbus Ohio for 17.5 years now with my American husband and spent every minute of the last 17.5 years wishing for the things you have mentioned. I feel your pain!!! 🤗 I don’t understand why we are so different?! How can culture put such divide between us? I’m happy for you taking action and making a change for yourself and your family! It takes much courage what I’m for sure lacking…
    I know you are going to be very busy with new adventures in your future, but please continue updating us!!!!

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      Thanks for your comment Andrea – it’s interesting as I wondered if having a US partner made it easier for people to make friends!? At least your partner already has friends here? I definitely think as we age our priorities change too – mine certainly have…xxxx

  3. Kristy

    I loved reading your thoughts. I’m sending long distance hugs to you & your family as you make this transition in your lives.

  4. Isa

    Dear Joanna, wishing you all the best with your huge change. Remember that whatever you do there are pros and cons to every decision. Hindsight is annoying x all we can ever do is make the best decision with the information available to us at the time. It has been great reading about your life as an expat in the US and I hope you keep blogging about readjusting to life in the UK. X

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      I don’t think I have any regrets – and reading my last post again I do think a lot of my angst is derived from stress about leaving! It’s easy to get angry with a situation when it’s not the one you want to be in! I’m really trying to focus on being happy and in the present right now – I’m already kicking myself that we’re in April and I’m still consumed with the move lol – I just want to be there now and enjoy each day of 2018 xxx

  5. Karen

    Hello Joanna, I’m coming out of lurkdom to congratulate you and your family on your decision! (And confess to envy – I wish I was moving to the UK.) You and your husband seem to be great parents so I’m sure your kids are going to be happy as long as they are with the two of you. And they can only benefit from being closer to family. As someone who was born and raised in the Northeast US and has now been living in the Southeast for about 30 years, I feel you on the friends aspect. My experience with Southern Hospitality is that it’s a facade. Whatever is inside is not meant to be shared with a “yankee” like myself, but after 30 years I don’t think it will ever change. Except for one person, the closest friends I’ve made here are all from other countries. Go figure. So it’s not you.

    Congratulations again. I look forward to reading about your new adventures and living vicariously through your move to the UK.

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      That’s a really interesting perspective from another American – interesting how regions can vary so dramatically. My close friends here are all European too – maybe it’s because we can all relate so easily to the challenges of life in the South. xx

  6. Christine

    Joanna, I’m following your journey back to the UK with interest! We’ve had 4 years in NJ and are currently at 18 months in TX. The decision whether to return home or stay longer has been a back and forth for months – all pros and cons have been exhaustively debated! But all things considered, we’ve decided to stay for a while longer before heading back. Everything you’ve articulated in these posts about moving back to the UK has resonated with me and I look forward to your updates as you head “home” – wherever that may end up being! x

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      Good for you! I think it’s healthy to debate it every so often – we certainly have over the 18 years and till now we’ve obviously decided we had more to achieve here. As we’ve matured and aged our priorities have definitely changed and I think that has impacted our decision now as much as anything – we no longer seek the advantages of US living – higher salaries, more space, bigger house etc…when we wrote it down as pros and cons it became apparent that for us it was a list of material versus emotional needs and this time we’ve opted for the latter!

  7. Julie Dolan

    In defense of Atlanta … it’s a transient city. Sometimes that makes making friends easier, and sometimes that makes the friendships more shallow – people come and go. I first moved here almost 30 years (eeek!) ago and as I look back over friends I’ve made, far more than half have moved away. And then there’s the stages in life. Responsibilities change, people change with those responsibilities and other changes … Maybe Leeds will be different, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you felt a bit of the same.

    For me, if you’d reached out (other than with R+F) and I’d rebuffed you, I’m sorry. I’ve always been slightly intimidated, but for so much of the time I’ve been trying to keep my head above water. Having a baby, getting through infertility, working full time with a small child, dealing with various issues … hasn’t left much time or energy for anything that isn’t right in front of me. And then there’s the growth of the Internet and social media and that time suck. … How many others are going through their own version of that?

    Give yourself a break – you’re not so different or odd – and give others a break. Please don’t leave bitter.

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      An interesting perspective. I guess I got tired of doing all the ‘reaching out’ – I was definitely working harder at maintaining relationships than I feel a true friendship necessitates – it should be easy right? I also think my R+F business exposed a lot of inauthentic relationships – it’s certainly easier to spot a lack of support when you’re asking for it outright. I’ve certainly lost friendships through it – but I truly believe those friendships were vulnerable, else surely a real friend would be able to say ‘look I don’t want to be involved but thanks for asking’ instead of just going radio silent? I expect a lot from friends as I give a lot so maybe my expectations are too high? On the other hand I find it interesting that the close friends I do have here are European as well. Birds of a feather flock together?

  8. Shelley

    Well done on making the leap! I too have recently returned to UK after 17 years overseas. I really sympathise with your conflicting feelings about the the US not having enough to hold on to you. I don’t have that as I was in several different countries but I know exactly what you mean. I am certain you won’t regret it and Leeds is lovely (was at uni there a million years ago). Good luck!

    1. Poppy's Style Post author

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and support Shelley! I have a good feeling it’s all going to work out just perfect xxx


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