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« Landed | Main | Ah, Abruzzo »

There's No Place Like...

"I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home."
                                                                                                        -  William Hazlitt

I've owed you this post for a long time. When the first wheels were set in motion many months ago I assumed it would come out naturally, that I would even share more nitty-gritty details about the whole thing than you'd probably care to know. But then the days kept slipping past; I kept saying soon, I'll write about it soon, but there were always too many other things to do, too many tasks higher on the ever-expanding to-do list. And then before we knew it, it took over our lives completely, consumed every waking minute with planning and details and endless preparation until all of a sudden here we are, seven short days away, and not only have I not found the time to continue the normal food-related programming, I still haven't told you the news.

So, enough procrastinating; it's time to come clean. Next Saturday Manuel and I are putting ourselves and the few belongings that are not currently deep in the bowels of a transatlantic freighter on a one-way flight to the other side of the world. We're going to the land of spruce trees and salmon, the wild and tumultuous Pacific and the stately city on Puget Sound called Seattle. We're going home, and this time we're staying.

To be honest, it still hasn't sunk in. For the life of me I can't fathom that a week from tomorrow I will no longer be able to say I live in Scotland. I can't believe that medieval castles and cobblestones will no longer be part of my daily commute, and that I won't be instantly distinguished by my accent anymore. I can't imagine being so far from Europe, the continent I've called home for a third of my life, and which I know I will miss so intensely that at times it will seem like physical pain. I have no idea what it will actually feel like to celebrate Thanksgiving again, to not have to start thinking about Christmas plans eight months in advance, to talk to my family on the phone and know their clocks are reading the same time as mine. Above all, I can't imagine what it will be like to not be homesick anymore.

We've been actively planning this move for about ten months, and dreaming of it for longer than that, but it's still big, scary and uncertain. We'll have no guaranteed employment or income on arrival; just the savings we've set aside to see us through the first few months. We'll have no car, no furniture, no place to live. We'll have no experience with the maze that is the American healthcare system. Poor Manuel will have to learn things like pounds, gallons and temperatures in Farenheit. And both of us will have to learn to cope with living in a city where not everything is a fifteen-minute walk away.

What we do know is that there will be mountains and ferries and sushi and blackberries. There will be Trader Joe's and Uwajimaya and more farmer's markets than we can shake a stick at. There will be a whole new country, continent and hemisphere to explore. There will be a clean slate, new lives, new freelance careers, and almost certainly more time to devote to this site. There will also be family nearby, my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother, and my three younger brothers who have grown from boys to men in my absence. There will hopefully be a dog, and a garden, and a kitchen big enough to invite someone else in for a drink while I chop the onions.

Most importantly, we know that we're ready for change, and that we've made this decision with the best compass we own: not our heads, but our hearts.

So cross your fingers and wish us luck on the first stage of this crazy, terrifying, exhilarating adventure. There's probably going to be a few weeks of radio silence while we begin to settle into our new surroundings, but I promise to be back with an update just as soon as I can.

See you on the other side, friends.


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Reader Comments (82)

Wow. Good luck with your move - what a monumental life change! Scotland is a very bewitching place I know (I live in London) and I am drawn back to it in my thoughts after holidaying there a few years ago. I can't imagine the logistics of moving your whole life either!! Good luck in Seattle.

July 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Congratulations on the move! I hope it all goes well for you!

July 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarita Leone

It's been so long since I've read your blog and I'm so pleased to come back to it and find that you're in such an exciting stage of your life! I feel doubly excited because I made my first trip to the West Coast (Seattle, Portland and Bend to be exact) this past April, having grown up on the East Coast and lived in the UK & Ireland since 2002.

I can tell you (but you probably already know this) that the Pacific NW is a fab place to be. I love the coffee/breakfast/microbrew culture. When people ask me what I miss about the U.S. I always say, "Food - mainly the diner/breakfast culture. And places being open past 6, I miss that too".

I hope your move goes as smoothly as possible. My brother Chris is a chef at Lola in downtown Seattle - I suggest you slip in there one Sunday afternoon after peak brunch-time and order the Donut Bites - made to order with vanilla mascarpone and rhubarb compote. Snap a pic of the steam that will drift out.

Again, congrats!

July 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramanda

Good luck to you and Manuel. I hope that your transition is smooth and look forward to seeing you post again soon.

July 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

I'm *so* excited for you. My mom was just here with my for a month and I can't say that thoughts of at least an extended visit home aren't floating around my head....

Best of luck!

July 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbleeding espresso

Wow... well I guess it's time for me to delurk. I discovered your blog about 2 weeks ago and since then I have devoured every archived post! All of your amazing travels and fantastic food discoveries in Europe make me wish like mad I had the means to do the same, as I've wanted to visit Europe for many years now, but so far have to settle for dreams. However, Seattle strikes closer to home since I am a fellow northwesterner... welcome back! Looking forward to more of your adventures.

July 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

You must be in Seattle right now. So, welcome home, Melissa! Wishing you all the best to you and yours.

July 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWarda

I am so looking forward to seeing you!

July 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTea

I've been reading and enjoying your blog since it began,but I've never left a comment before. Good luck for your move! Keep on blogging.

July 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Well I for one am really looking forward to your blogs from Seattle. Cheers.

July 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Hey Melissa, All the very best on the move.. Seattle is a great place with fantastic restaurants.. I'd recommend B&O Espresso - its an awesome coffee shop + dessert place (their poached pear is a killer :) and its open late!

July 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAsha

Wow....big move. But I have to say, it's our gain, so welcome to Seattle. I can't imagine leaving Scotland, but Puget Sound will try hard to fill the hole.

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLani

wishing you all the best and looking forward to your posts from Seattle!

July 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Dear Melissa,
Yowsers! Can't wait to hear how you are doing.


July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterS

What a big change in life! Welcome back to the US (in advance). I think like many people who have lived the expat life for so long, you will always be someone with two homes in your heart.

As an American who has been living in Germany for the last 12 years (and thinks about the pros and cons of staying or moving back), I can completely relate to what you must be going through. Good luck with your move and can't wait to hear how everything turns out. I really like your blog and the combination of food, photography, and travel!

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie levy

What an exciting adventure for you. I'm sure there will be challenges, but how nice to be closer to your family again. I remember when I barely started blogging your mother wrote to me and complimented me on my blog. She seemed so proud of you (and rightfully so!) and I'm sure she will be happy to have you closer.

July 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKalyn

All the very best with your move Melissa.How wonderful that the destination is home.I look forward to reading your posts from that part of the world.

July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJyotsna

We wish you the best of luck. It sounds very bittersweet.

This is my first comment on your site. I made the Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Brioche last week and yes, I fell in love! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

July 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Come back! Come back! we miss you posting. Hope you're settled and happy..

August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClairec

How's that move going???

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKitt

Your post really touched me. Congrats on returning home, finally!

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiri

Congratulations on the move. I have been reading your blog for a long time, but am only finally now delurking. I used to write a beauty blog, but have now switched the focus to more of a lifestyle blog (citygirllifestyle.blogspot.com) which includes a cooking post every week. This week's is your amazingly wonderful Catalan Chickpeas.

Hope you get settled in and start posting again. I love your blog.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCity Girl

If you are going back to Seattle, you should try Tutta Bella for pizza, and for the best Mexican try Rossitas near Greenlake. Good Luck!

August 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkelleyn

Aah, moving...a difficult task but quite an exciting one too. Meeting new people, discovering new places, new foods...even if it was your first home, places change, people change, it's like starting all over, re-adapting, and you probably have changed too. Happy moving and settling. Oh and, I love your writing - so captivating with lots of personality. Continue the good work.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterQlinArt

Welcome back!!! When I first started reading your blog I thought you were in the States, but then it became ever so apparent you were definitely more expat, so the question now is; Are ya gonna' be ready for the very amped up hyper-holidays, endless amount of television, and shopping-malls? Those seem to be things that I was a bit blown away with when I moved back from Europe. p.s. Will ya finally get an ice cream maker?! :)

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMasPinaSarap

Hey, there’s a new website about to launch called Behind the Burner: it features exclusive tips on products and cooking techniques, as well as video demonstrations with New York City’s best chefs! Be sure to check out the website, www.behindtheburner.com, where you can sign up for email updates and more info.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkristina

When I first started reading your blog last year I remarked that we had the same name...but not that big of deal, lots of people are named Melissa! But now I read you're moving to the city where I live...Quelle coincidence! Then again there are probably lots of bloggers in Seattle name Melissa, but not whose blogs I enjoy like I do yours! Anyway - I look forward to reading about your food adventures in Seattle and comparing them to my own! Best of luck with the move!

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Please say you'll pop back up on September 28th? So 3 months from when you wrote this post?

September 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

Hi guys!!! Two things:

a) This is long overdue, but thank you all SO, SO much for your well-wishes, encouragement and support. I've read through your comments more times than I can count over the past couple of months, and they've always cheered me up immeasurably.

b) A new post is imminent. Really.

September 19, 2008 | Registered Commentermelissa

Oh, I'm so glad you're nearly back and have made it through your enormous move. I keep rolling by to check - I miss your posts. I've been cooking away through Diana Henry and Tessa Kiros (so thanks for those too).

September 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheidi w.

I've just wiped a few tears from my ears. Literally. As an American expat in Ireland, I too know how it feels to be so homesick it hurts. May you enjoy every minute of your new life and may you be constantly inspired by it's changes. (And don't forget to gorge yourself on good sushi every few weeks in memory of those of us across the Atlantic...)

November 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergeorgie

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