I had written some eloquent words in my head in the last weeks here in England upon reflection of my time here. Now, with just a couple hours before I need to get my bags to Vicki's and meet a few friends for a last meal before I head off early tomorrow, I'm at a loss for words. I'm still questioning frequently why I am even leaving England, but then realize again why with the excitement of seeing my family and my Midwestern Urban family over the next few weeks. It's still surreal it's over and just two short years ago (give or take) I was getting on the wrong busses and struggling to understand the Black Country accent. Wait! I still do that!
Professionally I think I have grown a great deal and have had some challenging cases that I may not otherwise had the opportunity to work with in the States, because there is no way I would work for direct child protection services there. I found I was able to use a lot of my skills toward strengthsbased and solution focused practice, while still balancing an improved skill to be direct with people and challenge their actions when kids were at risk. I had two of the best managers I think that probably work in the area and therefore was lucky to be on one of the best teams in general. In addition, I was lucky enough to meet some people through work that became my closest friends in this country.
Personally I think I have grown a lot, as cliche as that sounds, and although there are a few personal experiences and relationships I wished would have played out differently, I am leaving a happier and more confident person than I was when I arrived. I have had the chance to see and do loads, although there was never enough time to do it all.
I'll miss everyone that I have met through my work, travels, and personal experiences. I'll remember even the strangers who only crossed my path for a few hours or days with fond memories. I'll miss waiting for my second bus these last weeks and staring up at at a castle (albeit a bit of a shabby one). I'll miss little chat breaks with the gals at work. I'll miss greasy egg sandwiches. I'll miss the guys at CAIU and how they always made me feel relaxed in awkward cases. I'll miss cheesey Brit pop and dance music. I'll miss Sarah Hughes Darke Ruby. I'll miss Bathams. I'll miss The Robin Hood when it was still Max's pub. I'll miss Cottage Street and the little water bowl in the corner. I'll miss being driven around in Minis. I'll miss being able to take weekend trips to Nottingham, Liverpool, London, and elsewhere. I'll miss pub quizzes. I'll miss our little house and Brooksie. I'll miss pints of guinness with Tom & Tom. I'll miss dinners at Rachael's house. I'll miss wine nights at Jackie and Martyn's. I'll miss parties with Lesley and her posse. I'll miss the Big Chill. I'll miss Bri's laugh. I miss Rusty. I'll miss dancing more than I think I ever did before (I suppose I'll have to continue that now). I'll miss really good currys. I'll miss the local chippy. I'll miss gray winters. I'll miss the Welsh seaside. I'll miss Camden. I'll miss old English gentlemen that chat away to me at the bus stop. I'll miss hearing people call each other Bab, or talk about the baby (pronounced bAby), or saying Tara a bit. I could go on forever, there is so much more I will miss.
But don't worry! I hope to be back to visit soon!