We have been home for about three weeks and I can’t settle back into my normal routine. My usual tendency is to enjoy and appreciate the ordinariness of everyday life but I haven’t quite got back into that rhythm yet.
I wasn’t expecting to feel this. I was expecting to have a definite sense of ‘there’s no place like home.’ I was talking yesterday to a well-travelled friend I bumped into at the mall about this feeling and she described it as a yearning. Yearning – ‘a strong feeling of wishing for something, especially something that you cannot have or get easily’ – that’s a pretty good summation.
I know that visiting is not the same as living there. But experiencing the almost physical weight of history and culture for an extended period of time seems to have had a profound effect on me, and I was overcome by the beauty of so many of the places we visited. Maybe its because we never did the big OE when we were younger so the impact is so much greater now.
I miss so many of the places we visited, especially in the UK. I miss London especially with an ache that I can’t put into words.
I miss the museums, the theatres, the art galleries, the masses of people, so vibrant in their diversity. I miss the Thames winding its dirty way through the city. I miss the Underground (believe it or not!). I miss the pubs with their beautiful hanging baskets. I miss the red double-deckers. I miss the majestic parks. I miss the historic buildings. I miss the sense of tradition, the sense of place.
But I am now home and I have so much to be thankful for now we are home. I need to remind myself of some of these things.
Firstly that I am so fortunate to live in New Zealand. What used to be called the tyranny of distance now looks like an advantage as we watch the news, especially during this eventful US election cycle. Having to fly longer to get anywhere now seems a small price to pay.
Our food and wine culture is as good as anything we experienced overseas (well maybe with the exception of Heston’s restaurant). We have access to amazing fresh, organic produce. I can walk to a farmers’ market in the weekend. Fantastic!
I can hang out with with my friends who I value dearly.
I get to see our grandchildren whenever I want now I am home. The cliches about them growing too fast are all true. I wouldn’t want to be away all the time!
Our family will be together for Christmas. It will be lovely, loud and messy.
Summer is just around the corner. Christmas decorations are in the shops, BBQs are being cleaned and people, including us, are planning their annual summer escape to the beach.
My vegetable garden is back under control after 9 weeks of neglect (check out that rhubarb below).
OK, that’s a good list to start with and has helped actually with the yearning a lot. Home is actually a pretty good place to be!