Small World Connection: The First Sabbatical Homes Baby!  By

Small World Connection: The First Sabbatical Homes Baby!

We were excited to recently discover that a family of 6 welcomed their lucky 7th member during their stay in a Sabbatical Home!

The Butchers, an American family from Ithaca, New York (Cornell University) relocated their family of 6 to the UK while on a 10 month assignment at Harefield Hospital–welcoming their lucky 7th member during their sabbatical stay. How did they do it? Christine Butcher says a number of convenient coincidences occurred, the first being that they found tremendous hosts in the Lewis family, and decided to let their Hertfordshire home.

The Butchers found their hosts excessively helpful from the get go, “even before and even regardless of whether we were able to rent their home,” said Jonathan Butcher. And they were glad that they did! Their hosts, the Lewises, had experience helping tenants connect with each other and the community to make the transition easier. The Butchers were grateful that the home had been specially prepared for their large family. And especially thankful that their hosts had reached out to neighbors to invite them to community events, like the Guy Fawkes Day fireworks. “While we firmly believe there was Providence involved, having spectacular landlords and putting the effort forth to connect with the community made our time unforgettable,” says Christine.

But the most unforgettable thing of all was undoubtedly welcoming their newest bundle of joy! “We were staying with our 4 children and had our 5th while living there,” explains Jonathan. Their four older children flourished in a school environment as it provided a daily routine and peer interaction, as well as regular, steady academic instruction. The routine of school and community interaction helped make Hemel feel much more like home. “We also connected immediately with a local church, full of engaging and welcoming people, whom we still call friends. So, in addition to being able to take short mini-trips on odd weekends and longer trips during school holidays, we were experiencing life as ‘locals’ generally were. I believe, that the only thing we would change if we had to do it over again would be to stay longer!” exclaims Christine.

The Lewis family wonders just how the Butcher’s managed it all, but they have quite an impressive story themselves too. Richard Lewis, an IT specialist and research fellow at UCL and his wife Chris, a library manager and textile artist were trying to find a new project as they neared retirement. So while renting out their home in Britain, they’ve spent time renovating a French village house. “Living in a new country, with a renovation project, has been quite challenging as we have had to learn new skills and grapple with working in a different language,” says Richard. But they enjoy the challenge of learning new things and participating in activities they never had enough time for while working. Making new friends, experiencing a different culture and joining the day-to-day village activities have been some of their favorite things about this adventure. “Renting out our home through Sabbatical Homes gave us the financial freedom to ‘take the plunge’ and explore living in a new country. At the same time we were able to rest assured that our UK home was occupied and safe.”

Here’s to enjoying life’s adventures from birth to retirement!

We love hearing from our members and writing about their extraordinary adventures. ‘Small World Connections’ is a place for us to share these amazing experiences. Do you have a Sabbatical Homes story you’d like to share? We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.