Posted by Clair
But I knew she wanted to. I didn’t want to believe it, wanted to dismiss it as something immaterial that given a bit of time she would get over. But really, I knew it was more than that. I knew she wanted, no needed to move back to England. For my mum the homesickness and loneliness in Germany, of five years of living there, away from her family, without ever learning the language to a degree she felt confident with, had just become too much.
Now, I need to say this straight away: I love my mum, completely. She’s the best mum in the whole world that I could possibly have. But at the time, I resented her making me move away from where I felt was my home. I was only five when we moved to Germany, dad’s job as an engineer forcing us out there. There wasn’t a great deal of my life before then that I could really remember, not compared with the last five years of my life anyway. We weren’t even going to be moving back to the same area were we used to live! We were moving to a different area, I’d be joining a completely different school system, I wouldn’t know anyone at all.
We moved back to England in February. I think I can remember there being a snow storm as we left. I definitely remember having a cold at the time, which had got worse when I had insisted on going swimming with my friends one last time. So, February, half way through the school year and I was going back into junior school, when I had been in senior school in Germany. Everything was so different, so confusing, particularly the teachers, who I never got my head around, who told me off for doing things the way I had been taught them for years. I never settled into that school, making only one friend in the whole time I was there (and she was american!)
Fortunately things got better when I went onto secondary school. Looking back (hindsight is such a wonderful thing) I can see that returning to England actually did me a lot of favours. The differences in the school systems meant that I had changed from being the youngest in the class, to the oldest. From being an average student, to the top of the class. I think that shift helped my confidence in myself a lot. (My confidence in me as a person anyway; my confidence in actually dealing with new people and foreign situations is still a bit dodgy even today.)
So, while I still treasure the time I spent in Germany, and still feel, from time to time, homesick for the place where I spent a good part of my childhood, I now feel that I belong back here. England, my home.