THE BLOG
11/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Migrant Worker

After twelve years on and off in London, I had finally decided I would remain there forever. So when work unexpectedly brought me back to New York two years ago, I left reluctantly. English quirkiness had grown on me. (Really, they aren't quirky, just different than me.) And my unavoidable American-ness had mellowed into something palatable to them. So I arrived in New York kicking and screaming and a little heartsick. But in a few months, New York had worked its magic and I was smitten again with home.

I love London. So I feel surprisingly blindsided by the emerging possibility of having to move back there. I was looking forward to a recent trip for work interviews and fully expected to be elated on my way in from Heathrow. But instead, I felt glum. I wasn't ready to leave my beloved New York again.

I turned on the television. The newscast was just straight news. I had lamented leaving this behind for the "news-as-entertainment" in the U.S., full of bombast and bonhomie. But it now seemed sombre and slow moving. I'm sure I saw the anchor nearly nod off during a particularly tedious story. It was something about the migratory habits of hedgehogs. The English are obsessed with their hedgehogs, celebrating them in song and prose and I'm sure the odd summer fete. We call them porcupines, and do not laud them.

But I digress.

Prices were more ghastly then ever. A one-way ticket on the Underground was a breathtaking £4 ($7). In my convoluted, convenience-based wisdom I decided taxis were the smarter option. A $40 meal in New York was £40 in London. My Monopoly Money bank account, a "fun money" slush fund I had left there for slightly extravagant stateside purchases, is now more Marvin Gardens than Park Place.

My business meetings went well. It is likely I will move in the next few months. In typical fashion, I have already projected it's a fait accompli, propelling myself into a state of worry about all I would need to get done. It is a major pain in the ass moving continents. And I should know, I've done it four times. So I begin the list making and try to plan for every eventuality, my biggest worry being that I will not be able to find a tenant to sublet my almost reasonably priced light and airy river view. I fear an oncoming apartment glut due to so many losing their jobs.

I know I sound ungrateful. My friends think this move is a glamorous problem. Let's face it, I have not been moving back and forth between Scranton and Duluth all these years (with apologies to those cities, neither of which I have ever actually visited). But really, I am just a single, self-supporting working woman in search of engaging work. My next gig (the current one is ending), just happens to be in London. I can't get arrested in New York at the moment, and God knows the job market ain't gonna get better anytime soon.

On the one hand, I feel incredibly fortunate to have lived abroad for so many years. It can be exciting and enlightening and has given me a world view I could not have had remaining in the U.S. Over there, I am perceived as a little exotic, a little different - not a bad thing. But it can also make me feel rootless, without a clear cultural identity, a citizen of everywhere and nowhere. And when I'm not in New York, I always feel like I'm missing something, like I'm not where the action is. And I was really looking forward to being here for a Democratic administration.

But maybe I should consider that the universe knows better than I where the best place for me is. And I know I'm lucky to have work during this tough time, and new projects that are right up my alley. If I'm honest, much as I have loved being back in New York, it hasn't been without its difficulties, though some of those were self-inflicted and no fault of New York's. And maybe a truly bi-continental existence is a future possibility that I can manifest.

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