Tuesday 22 November 2016

Ten good things about being back in Brighton (so far!)

It's coming up to two months since leaving London. Not very long, still, in the grand scheme of things. Because life is life, there have of course been ups and downs, there always will be. It's the first time I've ever returned to a place and I'm finding the apparent sameness and the subtle changes both reassuring and alienating. I'm the same and different to who I was three and a half years ago. We've got to figure out this new relationship. But little by little the dust is settling, and I think I'm starting to feel like myself again. There's been moments when I wonder what the hell we've done, but there's also been more moments recently when I've thought YES, this is good, I'm glad to be here.

So in the spirit of keeping thankful, here's a few of the things that have made my heart happy and feel more at home.

1. Friends and fireworks

I spent fireworks night in London on a friend's amazing balcony, watching the tiny sparkles glimmer over the city. It was a pretty cool perspective with great company alongside. Those few days made me glad that I have gotten to know London a little, and I will still enjoy discovering more of it as I return regularly to visit friends and family. BUT nothing beats seeing fireworks up close, so the following weekend we trooped out in the mist and drizzle to see the local display on Shoreham Beach - where we're living at the moment. The smell, the smoke, the sound, the warmth of the huge bonfire didn't disappoint. And then our little Shoreham crew - hubby's brother and best friends who are pretty much all like family to us - stopped by for one drink at the local pub. Which turned into several more, and tunes on the jukebox and a little bit of mad dancing to the song we walked out of our wedding service to. And ended in ordering the worst kebab ever at 3am. A solid Saturday night. :-)

2. Hot yoga

On a more healthy note, I found a good deal on some hot (bikram) yoga classes. I used to find the idea of it horrifying, said I'd never do it. (A bit like karaoke, which I still have never done, but I'm warming to the idea...). However in my rather unfit state, and in wanting this season to be one of de-stressing, it felt like it might be just what my body needed. I've done a few classes and I'm enjoying the challenge. I like that it pushes my body but the tone of the class is calm and there's numerous chances to pause and be still and remember to breathe steadily and gently through it all. I might not be able to afford to carry on once my ten classes are up, but happy to be doing it now.

3. The sea

Of course! One of the reasons for moving back to the coast. Drinking in the waves in all their different forms, on sunny mirror days and stormy wild days.

4. Favourite cafes

Can't beat a good cafe. I've managed to visit some old favourites: The Blue Man, Moksha, Marwoods and some new discoveries: Presuming Ed, Mozzino and The Green Welly Cafe in Ditchling.

5. Visitors

The great thing about having friends to visit is you stop to enjoy the place you're in. It was Maddy's first time to Brighton so we strolled around, taking in the classics: Pavilion, Lanes, Pier, Snooper's Paradise, Vegan eateries(!) and general people watching that this city is so good for.

6. Church

By this I mean the group of people that's also our Brighton family. Where hubby and I met, the people who were at our wedding, who have hosted us, helped us and visited us while we were away. The eclectic, creative and diverse bunch who are committed to loving God, loving each other and loving the city. I've especially appreciated one-to-one catchups with several awesome women and thankful for the welcome we've received. Grateful that there is space for the questions and doubts we return with. Like any group of people it's not all perfect, and the last few weeks have not been easy for reasons I'll write about another time, but in the midst of it I know we'd feel a lot more lost without them.

7. Christmas lights

Nuff said.

8. Job!

I've almost certainly found a job, hooray hooray. Sigh of relief. It's totally different to what I've done before. More on it another time, once I've actually started.

9. Haircut

I wasn't too happy with my last cut, which was a bit annoying because it was meant to be part of my 'new chapter'. So I went more dramatic this time, and to a barbers because they aren't scared of using clippers! I like this one, even if it is going to be more chilly!

10. Creative plans

I'll finish with some exciting news: I'm going to be doing a one-woman spoken word show in the Brighton Fringe Festival in May next year!! Thought I'd set myself a challenge... so here goes...

More info to come, but keep 4pm on the 6th, 7th, 27th or 28th May free :-)

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