Last weekend we made the long journey to Brighton from Cornwall. It took us nine hours there and seven back (with stops, obviously). I feel like it may have taken us all week to recover. I knew it would be an epic. The annual journey back from Bristol had been hardcore enough but this was, well, further. It laid the stage for my biggest fear in moving down here to be realised: that we had cut ourselves off from the rest of the country.
Laurence, having lived here before, kept insisting that you don’t feel that way once you’re here. Five months in, it’s true. I wouldn’t trade what we have down here for closer proximity to the things we knew. Already our lives have radically changed, living more outdoors than in, growing accustomed to wildly beautiful spaces and regular doses of the sea. I’m sure that alone is doing amazing things for my mind.
For the first time since we moved away from Brighton seven years ago, nostalgia didn’t turn into a little longing to live there again. Perhaps Bristol wasn’t different enough? For the first time since moving to this country twelve years ago, I don’t feel like I’m just passing through. Maybe this isn’t where we’ll stay forever but it would take something big to move us on.
Roots take time to grow but already friendships are forming. We’re settling into a new church and I feel like God is telling me a lot of stuff. I have changed so much in these few months. My driving has greatly improved, for a start, and I’ve become more confident in taking the children to unfamiliar places on my own or with new friends.
I still have to push away the old insecurities in meeting new people. Sometimes it just feels like so much work but it is work I’m softening into, more willing to take the initiative and open up than I have in the past.
Still, there was relief in seeing old friends in Brighton with whom we have the familiar shorthand of each other’s histories, not needing to hide our hurts or poke into the past. The journey, though longer, is, as ever, worth it. We continue to do life together, even over the distance.
A friend’s spot in the Brighton Fringe set the date for our visit. I’m so glad I got to see Katrina’s debut performance of her one-woman show Individual Medley. She’s bringing it down to Penzance too, incidentally. The show tells her story of moving through the teen years and moving countries from England to Zambia and back again, swimming a constant theme in her life.
While it is uniquely her story, it’s every girl’s story, moving and hilarious in turn. I’m massively inspired by this woman for her bravery in taking something so personal to the stage and for smashing it.
I feel like we’re hitting a flow with the way we home educate too. Just a few months ago I felt so much angst over things not looking the way I felt they should. But I think I just generally felt unsettled and overwhelmed by life and home education became a focus for that.
Now we have a happy mix of their ideas and mine coming to the table. Nothing has really changed other than that we’ve organised our home a bit more, we know which groups are a fit and we know a few more people now. Yet those little details can affect quite a lot, can’t they?
Oh and we bought a little boat. Sailing has been a big part of Laurence’s life and he’s kept on coming back to the thought of it. We actually looked into it and realised it would be something the family could do together and a pretty exciting way to explore Cornwall. This means I need to learn about sailing too, though, so I’m trying to remind myself that I’ve learned a lot of new things lately – that I can learn new things. I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes.
For the first time, there’s no next thing on the horizon and I’m hoping it’ll stay that way. It’s time to live in the present and look for ways to do good where we are, far away but not cut off.