Saturday, 9 July 2016

Next Chapter: London

So we have moved again.

I'm still pulling together the pieces of me that have felt both squeezed and scattered over the past few months, in the stress, pressure, uncertainty and tiredness of moving and a busy season at work and that commute and generally not feeling settled in the place we've been in since September.

So this is more of a selection of reflections that have stuttered out of me over the first two Saturdays in our new home, the first couple of day in ages when the clock and email and to-do list haven't ruled and my body and mind have had an opportunity to slow down.

I still feel a long way from myself, if that makes any sense. My thoughts come clumsy and half formed, eluding definition. But I'm trying to shape them into some form, trying to turn them into stepping stones out of one season and into the next, so that I don't get stuck in the middle for too long. So even though this post keeps subsiding into a shapeless jumble, I'll post it. Because marking the moments is important, isn't it?

There's photos too, because for the first time in ages last weekend I got to go out walking with my camera and no time limit. Last weekend, on the morning of a long long awaited opportunity for a lie in, I of course woke up at 3.30am (why???!!), couldn't get back to sleep and so after watching the remaining episodes of New Girl, I decided to get out in the early morning light and explore our new neighbourhood.

Which is Camden! Still can't really believe it. We're finally in LONDON, and a whole lot more central that we even thought we'd be. Room-hunting (in shared houses) felt a lot like how I imagine online dating is (managed to pretty much avoid that): searching through profiles, making contact with people you like to look of, showing up slightly nervous at their house, putting your best self forward, trying to think of interesting questions, hoping you made a good impression, trying to imagine your future together, waiting for a call, waiting for a call... wondering if they liked me, do they want me, waiting for a call... having to turn down some perfectly nice people in the hope of something better...going back for a second 'date', opening up a bit more, finding out about likes and dislikes, waiting for a call, getting your hopes up and then having them dashed with 'it's not you, it's me'... starting the process again. And again. 

And then with time running out we expanded our search and found the place we're now in. And apart from the week we had to spend painting and cleaning it to make it live-able, and despite the rat in the garden that won't go away despite hubby's best attempts to block all the possible gaps in the fences, it's pretty perfect. It ticks a whole lot of boxes. We're happy. Hooray! Come visit for brunch or a BBQ in our garden.

When I say the week we spent painting and cleaning, it was mainly Mr Q while I was doing 11 hour days on a big work project, coming home in tired tears. Marriage and life at the moment is the definition of teamwork, I think, of carrying each other through. There's no way the move would have happened without him. I am grateful.

And it all went OK, in the end, with the much appreciated help of friends loading and unloading the van [which I managed to damage before even leaving the carpark of the hire car place >> please, people, always pay that little bit extra to avoid that VERY big extra you'll have to pay if your van skills aren't quite as up to scratch as you thought. You'll regret trying to save the pennies. Sad times. But as we keep saying, 'it's only money; no one died'...]

This is my thirteenth ‘home’ since leaving my parent’s house in Oxford at 19; the 21st house that I can remember in my life. I guess there's a whole lot I could say about that. But maybe that's for another day. Maybe that's partly why some possessions are particularly special: my Rabbit soft-toy, photos journals and letters - the thread that holds my life together, that reminds me who I am. There is no place that does that.

And all these places have been so different. Like in just over three years we've gone from central Brighton to very rural Cornwall to not so rural Cornwall to suburban commuter town to 15 minutes walk from King's Cross! I can't believe a year ago we were spotting dolphins, surfing and saying our goodbyes to the West country. Then you know that the past year didn't work out how we expected, and that despite our intentions to make the best of it, Hatfield and us just weren't a good fit. It's been pretty tough to be honest. As there were in Cornwall, there's been a lot of lonely moments. But also as with Cornwall there's been people who pop up just when you wanted to give up. There's been new friendships formed in Hertfordshire, there's been faraway friends cheering us on.  I am grateful.

This is for sure a year of new birth. My facebook feed is filled with bumps and babies. At our 30th birthday celebration with old friends I think I’m going to be the only one who’s not pregnant or mother to a young child.

I’m not pregnant, but I am hoping that turning 30 is going to birth something new. And maybe something old. Something I’ve been hoping for all my life. I'm hoping this move is the start of it. It feels good. But I'm scared to hope too, I have to battle the anxiety that this something good is going to get taken away from us. But I will hope. And I will hold onto that early early morning that came like an unexpected gift, when the world was at peace and I remembered myself and my Maker, and the light bounced golden off the water and the path wound back and forth and suddenly there was a rainbow, faint but still, a rainbow...

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