After 18 months away from the UK, our first sight of ‘Blighty’ was from the Cruise liner Windjammer Restaurant window as we drank our mugs of tea and scoffed a bacon sandwich. The early morning sun was shining over the Docks of Southampton, we were home!
It was a strange feeling being back in England and as we drove away from the port, an assembly line of Kebab shops and Chippies filled the main road, trees were lush and full . Derek my splendid brother in law had picked us up and as we headed into The New Forest, I have to say I marvelled at how compact everything looked in this green and pleasant land.
Both sets of little old grey parents were waiting to greet us at my sister’s house, there was a lot of hugging and a few tears – they hadn’t changed at all, maybe a bit smaller and they were in good spirits. Betty wasn’t letting her Bradley out of her grasp, after all she’d only been waiting 18 months for his return! Within a few hours it was as if we’d only just been away on holiday.
I wanted them to notice we’d changed, we were intrepid travellers who had ridden buses, climbed volcanos, saw the Big Heads and stood atop of ancient Incan cities…but when you go home things are still the same and we didn’t look any different. But inside, our goals, our attitude to daily life and something in our minds had changed. I hadn’t expected this and the positivity is still here. Travel had definitely opened up our minds.
In the weeks before coming back, I had made a mental list of everything I was grateful for, a list of all the beautiful places we had seen and a list of all the wonderful things we were returning home to. I was determined to make all these small positive thoughts set the tone and the attitude for my homecoming. It’s working and I’m happy. My life back in the countryside is pretty sweet but I could do with some summer sunshine!
So it’s been 8 weeks since we sailed into port and I’m putting on my best smugface as I have to say it’s been great coming back. I wish I could whizz back and tell my crying self in the Puerto swimming pool that it’s all going to be ok “Don’t worry about slotting back into your everyday life as if you’ve never been anywhere, don’t be anxious about going back to work, you’ll be better than fine and the best bonus is that you won’t have the post trip blues!”
The transition back to regular life was ridiculously easy. This was all down to the organisational skills of Mr E who had arranged everything and I mean everything before we actually left Puerto and a month before returning, all I did was pack the bags and cried. Mr E picked up his new Learner Car and the moving van was ready to collect, new furniture all arrived on the day we moved back into our dinky Corsham home, Sky and BT internet was switched on and the post stopped being redirected. Our fantastic renters had moved out and into the house next door and I swear the house was cleaner than when we left it. The only bummer was that we had to wash everything that had been in storage and Eileen at the local Laundrette did a great job with 4 ginormous bags of musty smelling towels, blankets and bedding all for the economical price of £50. Luckily the sun was shining and we could scrub the stink away in the garden before putting things back in place in the house.
We had cleared out huge amounts of ‘stuff’ before we packed up the house but I have now filled 4 charity bags with more ‘stuff’ we absolutely don’t need or want. So it was definitely a good job I bought new work shoes in Florida as I totally needed them…as I unpacked another 4 pairs of work heels, I can’t be expected to remember everything, now can I!
I have been thanking my lucky stars I had a new job to start and I was returning to the same company I had left in October 2014, I half expect them to ask for the leaving gifts back! My company car was delivered the day before I went back to work and I set it on autopilot down the M4 to my head office in Luton. Back to Comensura, back to C.net, back to excel spreadsheets, back to a lovely set of people who welcomed me with hugs and back to getting my brain in gear again. Last week I had the Eureka moment, this was week 5 when my brain put all the compartments back in order and finally brushed any remaining sand out of the corners.
Mr E has picked right back up from where he left off but probably hasn’t been quite as happy to resume work as I have – he’d rather not work. He had a great month and has a full complement of learner drivers again. His outlook has changed too, he’s become my own DIY ‘Matt Blashaw’ without the tool belt. This was the man who couldn’t put up a picture without drilling through the wall, but now he is sanding walls, painting doors, changing door handles and power washing garden walls! Unbelievable, there’s no stopping him.
It’s been a joy seeing our dearest friends, catching up on news and seeing how big the kids and babies have grown while we’ve been away. A lot can happen in 18 months!
So what have we learnt from our trip away…everything. But that’s for another time!