There's nothing like the beginning of a new year to have you feeling energised and full of optimism. I find it has the same effect that moving to a new location does. The opportunity of a fresh start. The chance to meeting new people and build new relationships. A blank page on which to write new memories.
Now imagine the possibility of starting a new year in a New location. What chance 'eh? Such opportunities are rare and so when they come along one finds themselves unwilling to believe it could be so. Until a freezing cold morning - one of those odd days between Christmas and new year when you don't quite know what day it is - a surly man with a thick accent looks at you from behind a glass and says "Your visas have been approved. Passports will be with you within a week."
You look at your husband with a mixture of love and intense pride. We did it. You look at your daughter who you just told about all this last night and whose little head is brimming with questions. These spill freely out of her mouth as she bounces out of the building. "Are we going to the airport now mummy?". "Not quite darling", you reply - determined to sound controlled and dignified as you push the pram, even though inside you feel like climbing the buggy board and scooting the pram down the stairs! You pass the police holding guns and smile nervously. One can never get used to seeing guns.
Then you pass through security where you just had to chuck away a nail clipper on the way in. Finally you're out and all you can think is - it's happening.
A little over a week later you're sitting on a plane, realising there is no dignified way to remove a pomegranate seed that has decided to become one with your tooth. The first page of your new beginnings is just starting. You imagine your arrival at the terminal. You wonder if they'll be as glum as the last time you were there. Or maybe this time they'll smile a little after thoroughly examining the visas. After all their counterparts in London happily issued you.
Maybe they'll even go as far as to say "Welcome to America".
To be Continued....