Big news!

No, not pregnant.


pregnant cycling 37 weeks


We’re moving back to the UK in the summer.

I know!

We came out to California 6 1/2 years ago. I didn’t want to come. We had just had a baby. I wanted to buy a house near my mum, put up pictures on the walls and snuggle my baby.  But we got this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move here and so I agreed to come for one year (maybe two). We said goodbye to everyone we loved, got on a plane and landed in the Bay Area.

Golden Gate Bridge Warming Hut SF

Suffice to say that we loved it. One year stretched into two. Then three. We renewed our visas for a bit longer. We renewed them again a few years later. But come this summer, we’ve been on our visas for seven years and we can’t renew them any more. We have to choose between getting a green card and moving back to the UK.

If we get a green card, we may as well buy a house and if we buy a house, we will never leave.  And in the meantime, our families go on without us on the other side of the world. Our parents get older. They’re still all ridiculously healthy, for which we are grateful, but realistically they won’t be forever. And  we want to spend as much time with them as we can whilst we still have them. We’ve lived in dread of ‘that phone call’ since we moved here and whilst I am eternally grateful that we haven’t yet had it, we never want to choose between looking after our families and living in California.

Also…we miss them!

Airport adrenaline
One of my favourite photos ever!

So we’re moving home.

Whilst there is a LOT we are looking forward to about moving back, I can’t deny that we are also heartbroken to be leaving. We love it here. We love almost everything about California. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about it. I’ve already started crying in church about leaving the loveliest church I’ve ever been to. You can only imagine how weepy I’m going to be all 2017. But we all feel very peaceful about this decision. It’s the right one and we are ready. My parents being here over Christmas made it all much more real and also much more exciting.

In terms of ACTUAL plans…they’re a bit vague. The overall plan is to move down south to where I grew up, in a large village on Salisbury Plain. We are thinking about building a house in my parents’ garden but we’ve also seen a house for sale that we really like. We have applied for a place for the Dude at the primary school (elementary school) that I went to. That felt a bit weird.

My future regular running route!

We have more questions than answers still, but this much is fairly set. Come the start of June, we’ll ship my beloved cat back to the UK to stay with his grandparents and we’ll be doing a road trip around the US for a month or so. In August, we’ll get on a plane and head back to that small, green, grey-skied island inhabited with grumpy people with hearts of gold and we’ll be settling back into life near our families.

Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.


31 Comments Add yours

  1. bt says:

    To quote you, “I’m gutted.” But, I agree that it sounds like the best decision and I can completely understand that it brings you peace amidst the sadness. Be sure to come back to visit!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Definitely. And our spare room is yours!

  2. Michaela says:

    Wow! That is big news! I will all miss you here in the U.S., but I’m very excited for your next adventure and the reunion with your family. Much love and safe travels!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you! I’m here till the summer if you’re planning a Bay Area trip?

  3. It’s always good to be going back home. I’ll miss reading about your CA adventures, but I’ll be reading your UK ones. Enjoy the rest of your time in the States and GOOD LUCK with the move.

  4. Layla says:

    The person who made the visa rules has NO idea what the U.S. is losing. But at least we have the wonderful internet to keep in touch, and you will always be welcome to stay with me, wherever I land. But until then, I can’t wait to hear about this road trip!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks – yeah, the Visa limits are frustrating but we’re grateful for these years here. Any thoughts on the road trip are welcome!!

      1. Layla says:

        The two road trip tips I always give people: First, audio books on road trips are great, even when you’re not solo in the car. Second, to find quirky photo opportunities along the way — that site is why I have photos with the Jolly Green Giant in Minnesota, a very large pencil in Washington, and a yard containing a sunken Cadillac in Wisconsin.

      2. Cathryn says:

        Ooooh…thank you!

  5. Amy says:

    Oh wow! The Bay Area is indeed a very difficult place to leave, but there is nothing like being close to family. And now you can be the star of a “running around the world” post! Enjoy your time here!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It will be so hard to leave but it will be nice to be ‘home’, wherever home is. And hahaha, yes I can interview myself 🙂 Not narcissistic at all, hehehe.

  6. Such a beautiful and sincere post. I know, first hand, all the struggles and questions when you live far away from your family. Decisions and choices have to be made. You’ve done yours. I’m pretty sure it’s also a relief (to have reached a decision). Enjoy the time you still have to spend here. A new adventure is ahead 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      You understand the dilemma so perfectly! Never entirely happy, half your heart always somewhere else. It’s a strange feeling to be an expat. Please can we see each other again before we leave?

      1. OH YEAH! Baby, get on the planning train. We WILL see each other before you leave. Promise!

  7. Mike says:

    Our loss in California = their gain in the UK. Sad to be sure, but at the same time glad you’ll have the opportunity to be near family again after being able to experience the wonders of the Bay Area for nearly 7 years. I trust you’ll keep blogging about all the excellent places to run near your new home, and I’ll be looking forward to your “100 things I love about Salisbury Plain” post. Best of luck with the transition!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I grew up there so I could write it now. Gorgeous countryside, rolling hills, lots of green, no mountain lions/rattlesnakes, footpaths, cottages, pub lunches. Also….grumpy people, bad weather, Brexit, no vegetarian options….ugh, never satisfied, am I!! But I’m looking forward to blogging about running somewhere else too.

    2. Cathryn says:

      Oooh…and I’m excited to rep RaceRaves like a British Boss!

  8. Fairy says:

    Happy for you, Cat – I totally could relate to this blog post, “dreaded phone call” and everything, being far from family is always heavy on the minds of folks posted overseas. Pretty sad I won’t be able to run in the Bay Area with you like we’re talked about, it’s unlikely I can come visit between now and when you leave for the UK. But of course wishing you and family all the best for the move back home where “grumpy people with hearts of gold” live. Maybe you could pick up Zumba back there too? Much love!

    1. Cathryn says:

      There is zumba in my village – I thought of you!! And we will have spare bedrooms when you decide to come and visit the UK!!

  9. Elizabeth Cairns says:

    At least we do have 2 female leaders 😉 the glass ceiling not quite so hard to break here…. I can imagine how hard it will be to leave you all seem to have had such a great time out there and I had visions of visiting you there one day – hey ho… never mind going home to Wiltshire to visit you will be equally wonderful:-) Hope all the logistics get sorted out ok and at least Arthur will be able to wave hello to his grandparents over the school fence – memories!!!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yes, I am grateful to be from a country which doesn’t flinch from having a woman as the PM! Keep us in your thoughts over the next few months – they’re going to be emotional.

  10. Grace says:

    Aaaahhhhhh!!!! Such exciting news! I completely understand the expat feeling of having your heart in many places. Such is globalisation. We’re just going to have to visit… 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Please do!!!! Seriously.

  11. Angela says:

    I feel like international visits may need to be in order…………just sayin’……….

    1. Cathryn says:

      YEP YEP YEP!!! Marathons aplenty in the UK and they are CHEAP!!!!

  12. Jen says:

    SOB. Let’s make the most of the next 6 months!!

  13. Rachel says:

    On a selfish note, yay and huzzar! But what a difficult decision, moving is always challenging but I can imagine leaving the Bay area and your friends & work there is a wrench. If you’re missing the bay area and feeling grumpy, you know you’ll be in good company, we’re as grumpy as ever, and as polite, usually simultaneously. The veggie food thing is improving and some great veggie food near us but smaller towns patchy I guess, the mushroom risotto is still king.

    Just wandering, when you return could you bring Jen and your other fab friends with you, there’s a few Brits we’d like to exchange.. 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      So many mixed feelings here but overall very excited. Tell me you guys will venture down to the beautiful south to come and explore with us?

      1. Rachel says:

        Oh yes to this, love to! We know the A34 well, just need to keep going bit further😊. And a lovely place for the next stage of Arthur’s childhood, fingers crossed for his place at your old school, they’d (they WILL) be lucky to have him.

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