I haven’t really felt like blogging. Haven’t really felt like the things I want to say can be put into such a public sphere. I don’t know when my head changed about this, about when I felt like this wasn’t the place to say some of the things I want to talk about, but it happened.
There’s been a lot going on. I think we’re through the other side of the move tumult and life feels more settled. London is my city again, the city I come *home* to and the city I feel happy in. Work is there, complexity exists in my work status but nothing which can’t be worked through some how or other.
I’ve been travelling a lot in the last few months too. Since April 15th I’ve spent about 7 weeks away. Pretty much all of it good travel including two wonderful holidays which I really should write about.
All of this is to say that I think I might be ready, might be ready to try and put fingers to keyboard a bit more again and start revisiting my little corner of the internet again.
I’m currently in Dallas Fort Worth airport waiting for my flight to Salt Lake City. The sun is setting through the windows and I’ve found a quiet corner to while the time away. Airports are kind of funny places in someways, at once so transient and yet always there watching people come and go, seeing the emotions, the ups, downs and everything in between. That and the fact that quite often you get stuck in them for more hours than you might care to be and have the time to think, dream and switch off from day to day life.
I’ve been in DC since Wednesday, working and catching up with friends. It’s funny, everyone asks me if I’ve missed it and the truth is, not that much. The people yes, very much so, but living in DC I don’t really miss. It was odd going back though, at once so familiar and yet no longer mine.
I was nervous before coming over, I wasn’t quite sure why but there was definitely an unsettled feeling which came over me a few days before flying. It was fun though and nice to be back. It really is a lovely city and right now at it’s most beautiful. I’m looking forward to returning again with J, hopefully in the summer, a trip longer than 2 nights when we can really enjoy being back.
And now on to Salt Lake City, the home of the Mormons, the Rocky Mountains and apparently a lovely city. I’m looking forward to exploring somewhere new. Those itchy feet of mine have been on familiar soil for too long it would seem.
I went to Guinea for work recently, it was the first time I had been to West Africa and the first time I have been to a country which is as poor.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve been fortunate to have travelled a fair bit, but nothing quite like this. To start with there are the medical concerns, the yellow fever vaccination, the anti-malaria medication, the warnings about food hygiene, water safety and everything else you have to think of. Guinea is one of the countries where the mosquitoes carry cerebral malaria, the kind that kills you within a couple of days of contracting it, the kind you really really don’t want to get. Then there’s the cholera epidemic they are just coming out of the other side of. When you start to read about all the things which you can contract and which can cause you trouble it is easy to worry (or for me it is at least). Thankfully work and my client were excellent in preparing me and ensuring we had the necessary.
We arrived in the afternoon, it was hot and humid, a stark change from the cold and grey I had left behind in London. The airport was easy to navigate and we swept through quickly. The hotel we were staying at was a short drive away and we got our first chance to begin to get a feel for a Conakry. Unsurprisingly it is a low-rise city, with houses along the road and as we drove along we saw children playing football on make-shifts pitches, family gatherings and the ebb and flow of people’s daily lives taking place. Conakry has no sewerage system, so you also see piles of rubbish on the side of the road and the odd burning pile of rubbish where someone has decided that there is a more than enough and it needs to be got rid of. I also saw goats, cats and dogs wandering along and vendors walking along with their dead chickens or fish ready to sell.
Most of the week was taken up with work so we didn’t get out and about very much, in fact we spent all day working and then had dinner and a beer before crashing out under the mosquito net. However on the final day there my colleague wanted to buy a couple of things for his kids so we were taken to a local market to try and buy a football t-shirt and a dress. As soon as the vendors saw us we were surrounded, everyone wanting to sell us their goods, everyone knowing as soon as they saw us that we had money and could afford not to drive such a hard bargain. As we drove away we had kids knocking on the window asking for money, for a drink. It made me acutely aware of all that I had and how very lucky and privileged a life I lead.
I came away from the week away thinking about what could be done, about how when a country is somewhere down at the bottom of the GDP per capita table there is so much scope for change and how hard it really is to do that. It was a reality check seeing the poverty and the life that goes on and meeting people who were warm, friendly and full of optimism. I’m pretty sure I won’t be going back anytime soon unless work takes me there again but I am glad that I got the opportunity to visit a corner of the world I might never have been able to get to and to be able to reflect on what it is I have and how lucky and blessed I am.
2012 was a year of travel, a lot of it. It was another busy year, I remember feeling incredibly positive at the beginning of the year, I think because 2011 had been such a tough year in many ways. By mid-autumn admittedly that positivity had dropped, it felt like we were mired in just getting stuff done and dealing with crap.
In short I did the following travel:
2 trips to South Africa
1 to Australia
1 trip to France and the UK
4 trips to the UK
1 trip to Canada
1 to San Francisco
A few nights in New York
All of the above coupled with an incredibly busy work year and no proper holiday meant that by the end of the year I was exhausted, physically and mentally. If nothing else 2012 has taught me how much I really need to look after myself and what a work-life balance is not.
2013 starts with a huge change, we move back to London and have to work out living in somewhere we know so well but which will be different from before. I am hopeful again for next year. I am planning holidays in my head already, we have a friend to visit in Istanbul, we have Italy to explore and we have time to spend together on a beach doing sweet f.a.
I am also looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, keeping new ones and taking the next steps in J and I’s life together. We want to buy a house at some point, we’d like somewhere of our own, who knows maybe that’s what 2013 will hold for us.
We spent Christmas together this year, just the two of us in San Francisco. For the first eight years together we went our separate ways for Christmas, it was the easiest thing to do, I saw my family, he his. Sometimes we might visit the other one after Christmas and before New Year but in the main we kept things as they had always been.
The last two years have been different. Last year we were in DC, sharing Indian takeaway with friends. This year we were on holiday, our first holiday which was longer than 4 days since probably last Christmas. It was a quiet affair, the weather in San Francisco was horrid, truly truly horrid and so we didn’t have much of a desire to get out and about. Instead we made one foray to the restaurant for lunch and then spent the rest of the day relaxing, I even squeezed in a two hour nap.
Lunch was dim sum, a big departure from the more traditional Christmas fare, and certainly no pudding, Brussels sprouts or even Port. In some ways it was good to be doing something so different, it made it less odd to be so far away and just the two of us.
As much as it was lovely to be spending the time together and having a very relaxed time, having done things differently for two years I now feel ready to return to more traditional ways and to sharing it with family as well as friends. At some point J and I will get to build our family traditions for Christmas, thankfully this shouldn’t be too contentious as both families are relatively aligned. In the meantime however, I will look forward to next year knowing that it will again be different from the last two but familiar too.
I’ve been under the weather for about 3 weeks now and after a while it really starts to get to you. Normally I’m in fairly rude health and this most recent stint of illness has made me realise how much I take it for granted that I’m healthy. It’s also made me think about how I really do need to take better care of myself.
This year has been busy, work has been intense at times, good but with no let up and I have travelled a lot. I’ve not had a holiday where I’ve had an entire week off since last Christmas when my in-laws visited. I really need a break to relax properly and give my body a little love.
I’m contemplating a cleanse, I’ve never done one before but with the illness has come very few gym visits and comfort eating so that of course means a slightly more relaxed waistline than I would perhaps like… The next few weeks are crazy busy though, we fly back to the UK for a few days to try and find somewhere to rent, then I have a work project for a week, the following week we head to San Francisco for a few days and throughout this time we also have to sort everything out to move. Fun times.
Still I can’t complain, I’m feeling better, things *are* happening and slowly but surely we’ll get there, one way or another. As a wise friend said recently you have to eat an elephant one bite at a time.
On our last Thanksgiving in the US (until the next one we spend over here…) I am thankful for:
- My husband, for sharing his life with me and being an absolute rock of support and love
- My family, for their understanding, patience and support
- My friends, both those who I have grown to love dearly in Washington, DC and those I am returning to rekindle my friendships with in London
- All of you who read this blog and who chatter with me on Twitter and Instagram!
There are many more things I am thankful for, however for now I will keep it brief. Being reminded to think about all you have and all that it gives you is very special. I shall certainly try and bring this celebration back to the UK and to make sure I spend that one day thinking extra hard about all I have and how lucky I am to be where I am and surrounded by so many special people.
Sending good wishes your way, eat, drink, be merry and enjoy an afternoon nap if you can!
I found out this morning that I am now a thrice Auntie and the two most recent additions to my brood have come in the last four weeks. Which has all been very exciting. Both are little girls and both born with lots of hair! (Which I happen to think is very cute in a baby)
But what’s so nice about all of this is that I have been learning (a little) about pregnancy and birth from my sisters. Which both fascinates and scares the s**t out of me. I think pregnancy is such a miracle and all that the body does is amazing. There was a time when I thought about midwifery but I think I’m not cut out for it. Although getting to help with the experience of bringing new babies in the world every day, wow. So for now I shall stick with the delight of babies without actually having one.
This is because I don’t think that just yet I am at that baby stage. In fact I’m more than certain I’m not ready at the moment. There are too many other things I want to do first, which is not to say I don’t ever want to have babies but not just yet.
It gets you thinking though, seeing other people’s babies, especially those related to me, makes me think about my own one day…
Things have been a little tougher than normal in the Wife in the City household recently. There’s something on the horizon which is taking a lot of thinking and is quite big. And big stuff tends to have an impact on relationships. J and I deal with things in different ways. I talk, talk, talk and work through things by talking aloud (sometimes this gets me in trouble but most of the time it works for me). He doesn’t talk (until I piss him off so much by niggling he finally breaks, which is never a good way to extract information). But we also focus on different aspects so get caught in that moment of mis-click where you’re both aiming for the same point via a different path and those paths sure as hell don’t cross.
The thing is we’re married. We got married to work together through big and tough things (or a big and scary as trademarked by Peonies). And we’re working through it. I cry and he hugs me close and tells me it’ll all be okay. Or we work through how it’ll be okay and what the options are. But it’s hard, in all the time we’ve been together (almost eight years) things have always been relatively easy, university, jobs, family, living. So having a challenge is probably good for us but it’s also unchartered territory, and as such just takes a bit of getting used to.
And when we have a tough week and come out of it smiling I know we’ll be okay. Because we have invested in this relationship too much for it not to be okay. And because I love J too much not to work through a slightly tougher than normal time.
And then soon I’ll finally share this thing which has been chewing at us. Until then my apologies for horribly cryptic posts. And hopefully I’ll be perkier after we return from Paris this weekend!