Cue the tears. Despite my task-oriented brain’s attempts at bullying them into submission, I do have feelings, and they are being put through their paces.

This week, a song on the radio reminded me of a fiddle tune my dad played throughout my childhood. Instantly I was crying, realizing I won’t have the opportunity to hear those sounds for a year at least. Calling my mom with a quick question about banana pudding yielded similar results. A good-natured tease “correcting” usage of the term “fall” rather than the more British “autumn” pushed a button. Suddenly I was aware I had feelings of insecurity paired with fear of being either misunderstood or forced to give up parts of my cultural identity in order to have friends. And I don’t think being a purdy little lady with a Southern drawl and grin will be nearly as disarming in England as it is here.

I’ve been thinking about other loves, too. Contra dancing. Creeks and rivers so warm and clean you can swim in ’em. Fried okra and fried green tomatoes from the back yard.

It is not an easy thing to give up. My heart knows it and feels more deeply than is practical to admit. But even if I don’t express it much, it’s true. There’s nothing to do but just let those feelings wash over me, admit they are there and acknowledge them. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my land and my city and my culture, and I will miss them significantly.