Goodbye Summer, Hello Reality
Summer 2018. The endless days. The quickest months. When we arrived back in England the country was firmly in the grip of a heat wave with World Cup and Love Island hysteria dominating every newschannel in existence (seemingly, anyway). And now it's late August and, apparently, Autumn. But we've managed two months of delicious summer when usually we'd only get treated to a couple of days of it...I'm FAR from complaining. But with the end of this glorious spell comes reality. We're in England. It's getting colder / windier / wetter / darker. And we're here to stay. Not that it's all doom and gloom, obviously it's not. It's actually pretty bloody fantastic. But it IS getting colder. And darker. Normally I'd be pretty miserable about this time of year, but 2018 is a different year altogether. This is the first year that my children will get the dubious honour of experiencing their first "proper" autumn and winter. Aircon will give way to electric blankets soon enough, they'll learn about the dastardly Guy Fawkes (and then join in the weird tradition of burning an effigy of him on a bonfire because, Great Britain), and - hopefully - I'll get to sit through a nativity or two come December. The silver lining to an otherwise very cloudy end of summer is looking quite alluring, actually.
The other excellent news about it being almost September is that we should finally be reunited with our sea shipment from Singapore. The eleven (ELEVEN!!!) weeks since we waved our belongings off in the back of a removals truck have dragged. Not that we're any closer to confirming a date for their delivery (52 boxes in case you're wondering, a small move but not insignificant), but we're coming towards the end of their journey certainly. Or at least, hopefully. UK customs have them so really who knows. This period of moving limbo has been extensive, and is starting to become tedious eleven weeks in. I look back at a previous move we did from Devon to the Midlands six years ago, before Clara's time and when Finn was only a few months old, and remember how stressed I was at being in moving limbo for a whole weekend. We stayed at my parents house then too. But it was for a weekend. With just a little baby. Now here we are, fully immersed into life in the town I grew up in not exactly out of choice but more of immediate necessity. So immersed in fact, that I have absolutely no idea what to do with most of the 52 boxes that are en route. All that stuff that seemed like the most important of our material belongings eleven weeks ago, the things I couldn't bear to get rid of by selling or giving away, now just seem like boxes of another persons life.
Repatriation has been so much more complex emotionally than I had anticipated. I'm back to being in one home and homesick for another. I miss my friends terribly, and the children do too. My Mum remarked on how often Finn will talk about life and friends in Singapore, and he spent most of his month in France discussing when one of his closest friends would come and visit. The trip is very much all planned, right down to the finer details of who will sleep where (and therefore what sort of beds I need to buy) to which days out the boys will go on. And as he's busy fine tuning the schedule of a tbc holiday, I'd be day dreaming about knocking back sparkling wine with the mums in the sunshine. A familiar sport albeit from an eleven weeks that feels more like a lifetime ago. It's like the last two years didn't really happen. And then the pangs of homesickness hit in the most peculiar ways, and I'm reminded of things, foods, smells, people and places, and I know that Singapore most definitely did happen. For more than a third of the children's lives we lived the strangest existence in a holiday bubble where a day at a water park on a tropical sun-kissed island with a picnic and friends was just another day. Oh how reality has changed in eleven weeks 'eh? My semi-permanent vacay vibe has well and truly disappeared.
But repatriation reality is good. It means school for the kids (with no threat of caning...), and it means reclaiming my life for me. Reality is acknowledging that the last two years have changed me in ways I didn't know I would change. Maybe it's because I've also just turned 30 (ok fine, it was six months ago), but I feel like I've - finally -grown into myself. I now know what I'm capable of as a woman, and a mother. Coming home to no home of our own, with only a few suitcases (initially, granted), no job, and really no fixed plan it could all have gone so terribly wrong. But it hasn't, and it won't. Coming HOME home properly for the first time since I left here when I was 18 and going off to university has complete a circle I didn't realise I was part way through making. However, that being said, if someone could employ me soonish that would obviously be great. As would our stuff making an appearance this side of Christmas. In the meantime, there's always the Hawker inspired food spots in Liverpool to help smooth out the little hiccups of repatriation reality. It has only been eleven weeks since our repatriation journey began. Just because we're "home" doesn't mean we can forget what a journey it has been getting here.