When people hear that we used to live in France they nearly always ask "Whatever made you decide to come back?". People seem think that it must have been so much nicer than here.
Yes it was lovely - we had a super house in a big garden and the people were all very welcoming. We had lots of friends and a busy social life BUT....
It wasn't where I wanted to be - I felt that I would never be other than an immigrant, my roots were not there and it held no history for us.
Just because it was France didn't mean we had wonderful weather all the time either and in fact the climate was very similar to here except that when it was hot it was hotter, when it was cold it was colder and when it rained it rained more heavily. The thunder storms were a force to be reckoned with and losing one's electricity or the computer modem was a regular occurence whereas in UK our storms are normally much less ferocious.
On my trips back to visit friends in the UK I never refered to where I lived in France as "home" and however much I felt I should it just never really seemed like home to me for after all home is where the heart is and my heart had never really left England!
I think I always felt that it was not a "forever" move and more of an interlude in my life and I doubt if I would have had the courage to go if I felt there had been no coming back.
Now that I have come home (notice how easily that word tripped off my fingers!) and am living where I used to live before my marriage all those years ago I have a real sense of belonging. Even though my husband never lived in this area he used to visit me here and after we were married we continued to come on a regular basis to see my mother so he knows the area too and we can say "Do you remember when..."
Living as I do now with scenes such as these practically on my doorstep the question I ask myself is not how could I come back but how could I ever have left!!
I didn't know how much my country means to me until I left it behind and how much I loved it. Now of course I miss the friends we made in France but I never miss France itself.
Sometimes heaven is right under our noses if only we realised. Perhaps what is needed when we think we want something new is not something different but a different point of view instead.
Am I sorry we went? No! Not at all because I have made a few really good friends who I would otherwise never have had the priviledge to get to know, I have learned how different our two cultures and customs are but also how similar in many ways and now at least when we sit in our rocking chairs (metaphorically speaking) by the fire we shall never say "I wonder if we might have liked it"! We gave it our best shot - we integrated well ,in fact I made many really good French friends - we go back to visit and the cafe owner and the lady in the market rush out to kiss us (well me they just shake hands with my husband of course!) BUT... Home is definitely where the heart is!