Tuesday, July 20, 2010

9 Months

On July 29th 2010 we will have been living in Carmel, Indiana for 9 months. A lot can happen in 9 months. It is not a huge amount of time but it has been just enough for the lives of my family to be changed and turned upside down.

9 months ago I was still in Northampton, England with my 2 children. Ben had already left the UK 3 weeks before and was trying to get the apartment habitable for our arrival. He had to get it furnished and ready for us whilst also going to work in his new job in Indianapolis. I was up to my neck in packing boxes and trying to cram as much as I could into 6 huge suitcases without making them too heavy and going over the weight allowance that the airline set. I was trying to get everything else in our house in the UK packed up and cleaned so it could go into storage in various locations. I had to keep checking I knew where our passports were as I was paranoid that I would pack them with something and they would end up in an attic and me having a nervous breakdown. Luckily my in-laws were around to help me sort everything and stop me from losing my mind. I remember it all like it was yesterday but it also feels like a lifetime ago. We left everyone and everything we knew to start over again in the US. We had no idea if it would work but we were going to give it a go.

Fast forward 9 months and how are we getting on? If you have been a regular reader of this blog, or of Bens, you will know there have been ups and downs but it has mainly been ups.

We got here just before Halloween and saw the enjoyment on the kids faces when they went trick or treating and the massive volume of candy they got. (There is actually still some left but don't tell the kids that) Then we had Thanksgiving and we spent that with a lovely family who went out of their way to welcome us to their home on this very American holiday. Next we faced our first Christmas away from our families. We threw ourselves into the holiday spirit and even got our first ever real Christmas tree. I even braved Castleton Mall on Christmas Eve! Through the wonders of Skype we were still able to see and speak to our family back in the UK so we were not too cut off from them. We were invited to a New Years Eve party at the home of some fellow British Expats and rounded off the year on a high. The other British Expats (and there are quite a few of them) who live here have been great to us. Z started the year moving down a grade at school but it was the best decision we could have made for him as he has thrived in this past semester at Carmel Elementary. The teachers and staff at the school have been so welcoming to us and Z loves going to school. (I just hope his sister feels the same when she starts KG in a few weeks!) The amount the school does for the children that go there is amazing. I have never seen a school get so involved in Valentines and St Patrick's Day. I loved going to the Family Fitness night and having a look around the school. I am planning on volunteering at the school in some capacity during the next school year. I never really got involved at the kids old school in the UK but I am going to make an effort to do something here. Plus I am not allowed to work so I have to do something with my time!

We have been helped out on numerous occasions by strangers since we got here in October. Once we were helped out when we were given a lift home by a kind couple we were stuck outside Subway before we had bought a car. Another time we were helped out when our car overheated and the engine started smoking. (Now that did freak me out a little when I saw smoke coming from the bonnet!) Then we were helped out when we got a flat tire and did not have a spare. Both Ben and I have, on separate occasions, been asked we needed a ride anywhere. I was asked if I needed a ride anywhere when I was walking back from a gas station and Ben was asked when he was walking back from the bus stop at Meijer. The people of Carmel have been very welcoming to us and we are truly grateful for that. We do get asked frequently where we are from and I am surprised that people think sometimes we are Australian. However, as my accent is slightly different from Ben and the kids, I don't get that quite as much. I get a few more puzzled looks and people just don't know where I am from. I have a mixed Scottish/English/American accent and it can change depending on who I am talking to.

Recently we were are CarmelFest and it was a lot of fun. It was a very hot day when we were there but we had a blast wandering around looking at everything. There was a great sense of community and it was great to see people of all ages there having a good time. On the day of the CarmelFest parade I was surprised to find myself feeling very moved by certain aspects of it. Every time the military went by and the crowds watching stood and applauded it brought a lump to my throat and I found it very moving. Also seeing all the kids involved in different ways was great. In fact there were so many people in the parade that I had to leave early before my kids totally wilted in the heat.

We are now nearing the end of our first summer here in Indiana and school will be starting soon. It has been difficult on occasions but overall I think it is fair to say that we have enjoyed our time here and don't want it to end. When both kids are at school and start developing their social circles and start having 'play dates' and getting involved in school activities/sports then that will be another new thing for us.

Thank you Carmel for the last 9 months and I hope the next 9 months is just as good.


  1. This is really heart-warming. It's wonderful to hear you've settled comfortably into a very different world and that people have been wonderful to you. I moved to Oklahoma from the UK and think that had I not moved into the heartland where people are good and kind, I would never have felt happy here. I like Boston, but I'm glad it wasn't the first place I moved to!

  2. I'm glad it's been a good 9 months and that you've enjoyed it so far. I haven't been stranded along the side of the road for a long time, but it's very encouraging when people stop and offer to help.


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