I felt very relieved when I finally got my passport, and then strangely enough, it hit me. It was almost time to actually leave. I’d felt very trapped and very stressed, and the passport issue drove me nuts because of feeling trapped, and totally not in control too, I guess. Now I had the passport, and I kinda sorta didn’t want to go. Of course I was going to miss people, but I was also going to miss the place. I never once drove California’s highways without appreciating the awesomeness of the mountains. I know they’re only mountains, but they are always there, usually in the periphery of vision when one is barelling down the highway, but spectacular nonetheless.
Going to California felt like a big new adventure when I set off from South Carolina. Driving across was an adventure in itself, although nothing like those TV treks that one sees – there simply wasn’t the time or the money for all the sightseeing along the way, or trying out restaurants and the like.
Well, for a number of reasons, California turned into more of a nightmare in many ways than a new dream start. Mostly financial. If money was no object, of course, one could live anywhere, and I’d have probably chosen to stay in California, although I did somewhat miss the charm and Southern sophistication of Charleston, South Carolina. The American South isn’t entirely populated by rednecks, by any means.
Home is where the heart is, at the end of the day, and although many people assumed I was coming back to England because that was where my heart was, and that I was homesick, nothing could be further than the truth. Sometimes I’d feel a bit of a pang when I saw programs such as Countryfile, and images of green rolling fields and other archetypal English scenes. All in all though, I’m a forward looking person 99% of the time. After all, one has to live in the present. One can’t forever dream about the future, or turn the clock back either.
So back I came. Farewells are never easy for me. I’m way too emotional, or rather, I’m absolutely hopeless and hiding my emotions. I don’t weep along to every darn thing, but on the occasions when I do get upset, I can seldom contain my sadness, it just overwhelms me. Goodbyes are always like that for me, even if they’re only temporary ones.
The first couple of days were exceedingly weird and mixed up. I was overtired but not sleepy, and jet-lagged. I’m only now just really getting back into UK time after two weeks. During the first couple of days, I just wanted to get on a plane and go back to California.
Anyway, back to now. I’ve been back two weeks, going into the third. Has much changed since I was last here in 2004? The Government has. One bunch of incompetents has been replaced by another bunch that seem largely less competent that their predecessors. Still, here is not the place for politics. Life for the average person goes on, and Britain in 2010 doesn’t seem hugely different.
I’m in London now, and not Kent. That does make a difference now, and it always has done. I’ve always liked London. Here I’m in a pleasant neighborhood. It’s peaceful and quiet, and one rapidly ignored the planes coming in the land every 3-4 minutes all day. I really only notice them when I’m out in the street. I try not to look up, because everyone will know I’m new in town, because no one else seems to take any notice of them.
I’ve been to the supermarket, and bought all the (mostly bad) food items that I’ve missed. Sausage rolls, scotch eggs, black pudding, good quality British Bangers, Branston Pickle, Brown Sauce, and Brioche. OK, I know the last one is French, but I never saw it in the parts of America I was in.
What do I miss? Not much from California really, but I was only there five months. I’m not much a fast food fan, but I do like In ‘n Out burgers. Yes, I’ll miss getting a double double with everything on, and fries. A tasty burger with fresh salad, and real fresh cut potato fries. From the east coast, I miss juicy plump Gulf Oysters, a wonderful beer store, and many superb eating places. Charleston, at some point, I shall return, if only for a visit. Much as I liked California, I simply wasn’t there long enough to call it home, and I can sit here right now in London, and feel I did leave a little bit of my heart in the Lowcountry.
The first week back here, I felt like an alien. How does one prove one’s address on the second day of return, but yet cannot get anything done without it? There’s been a few brick walls for sure.
Still this week things are moving forward. Took a driving assessment yesterday, and passed that. Today I’ve had a medical, and except for getting told to get new glasses, everything was fine. As soon as I get my renewed licence back, I can start work. That’s a good feeling after feeling like a spare part in my previous home in the desert.
Tags: awesomeness, charleston south carolina, clock, countryfile, going to california, heart, highways, mountains, new dream, nightmare, pang, passport, periphery, Restaurants, sightseeing, sophistication, where the heart is
A couple of mornings ago, I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife, eating breakfast.
The extractor above the stove top was still running, and I got up to switch it off.
“Is that annoying you?” said my wife.
“A little”, I said adding that we seem to live in a world of constant noise these days.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like conversation, I like music, and I wouldn’t want to live in a world of silence.
However, I recalled when I was a small child, and we used to visit my great-grandmother, and also a great aunt. In the pauses between conversation all you could hear was the ticking of the clock. A ‘real’ clock too. This was long before the age of digital anything!
Now as we sat there in the kitchen I could hear, that extractor, the refrigerator, the air conditioning and the washing machine. Outside someone was running some power tools. Many times on top of this cacaphony is the babble from a television that no-one is watching.
The only thing I couldn’t hear was the relaxing rythmic ticking of a clock.
I got up around seven something. I don’t know exactly, I didn’t look at the clock too hard, but it was after seven and before eight. OK, I checked my IRC log, as I know I went in there first thing. It was 07.28 so I must have got up a few moments before that.
Anyway, I made some coffee, and continued with some of my system housekeeping here. Still trying to fight off this darn cold, which at times makes the little men hammer in my head. No, it’s not a hangover – not a drop has passed my lips in almost two weeks, so I know it’s not the demon drink!
I’m never hungry when I first get up, well very very seldom, but I am after a couple of hours. So I headed to the kitchen and, as it was Sunday, I thought I’d have something cooked – usually I’ll eat a bit of fruit, or have a slice of toast or two.
So I made a bacon sandwich, and then realized the bread had nearly all gone, so while the bacon was cooking in the George Foreman, I got some bread started. That only takes five minutes, and then the machine does the rest for the next three hours.