I’ve been a bit quite because a) I wasn’t very well and b) then I went home for a couple of weeks of “rest”. It is never actually a restful holiday as any expat knows. It is literally spent chasing around seeing as many friends as you can, and trying to maximise your quality time with your family!
It was a hugely successful trip though. I feel really refreshed and energised for it. I think hanging out with people who I have known longer than a few years really grounded me again. Not that I was turning into an expat wanker, but I think that sometimes you need a good reminder of who you were in order to be the best version of who you are now.
This trip was all organised around a family wedding. It was then extended for a couple of weeks in order to miss the first bits of Ramadan, which can be a little hard sometimes with all the nicotine and caffeine withdrawals!!
I don’t have a big family, but my Mum however blessed both my sister and I with the best God-parents you could ask for. I have Aunty Caroline, Uncle John and Aunty Pat – all of whom I got to see on this trip! My sister has Aunty Caroline, Aunty Kitty and Uncle Bob – all of whom I got to see on this trip too! Easier when Aunty Pat and Aunty Kitty are sisters, Uncle Bob is married to Aunty Kitty, and Aunty Caroline and Uncle John are married too!
Aunty Kitty’s daughter, Jenny, was the lucky bride and she was fabulous at it. The rain came down in sheets all day – so heavy at one point that it managed to collapse a gazebo that had been erected for the day. Not at any point did she lose that smile though and it was just the best to see my God-cousin (yes, that’s a thing in my world!) married to the man she loves. He looked to be having a great day too, in case you were wondering!
Photograph stolen from the very talented James Homer Photography!
It also is the best way to catch up with family and extended family. Some of my favourite people in the world were at that wedding and the love that was in the room not only for the happy couple, but for everyone, was immense. It lifted my heart, my mood and my outlook in life so much. It was exactly what I needed and I could feel the healing going through not only my mind but my body. I ate more than I had in about 3 weeks!
Also, as an aside, Hanbury Manor is one of the nicest places to stay in Hertfordshire and if you’ve not been, you should! I know I will head back one day and make use of the gorgeous spa facilities!
The other lovely bit of being in Hertfordshire was being able to nip in to visit with Aunty Caroline and Uncle John. Not only do they own a hugely successful tomato farm but they also do something terribly clever with bio-gas that I don’t understand at all. They live on the farm in a beautiful old farmhouse, and its one of my favourite places to be. It’s so quite and yet so packed full of life.
The rest of my time was split packing in some good Aunty time with my 2 nephews and my niece, big sister time with my little sister, and daughter time with my Mum. A few times in between those fun bits, I got to catch up with friends who I haven’t been able to see in the better part of 2yrs for various reasons.
I don’t have a huge circle of friends. I know a bunch of people but my proper friends are fairly small in number. They are however the best friends you could have. They made time to see me despite having crazy hectic lives with children and horses and, well, life! It means so much when that happens. I am a fairly terrible friend mostly. I am fiercely loyal and I will love you with all my heart, but communication is not something I am excel at. I may speak to you every day for a week, and then nothing for 6 months. My people are like this too, and instead of reprimanding each other, we just pick up where we left off. It is a blissful feeling and I really hope that you know it too.
One other fun bit about being in England is the food! I know that it’s not somewhere that springs to mind if you want a foodie adventure, but I really think England is a bit of an unsung food hero. I ate my way round and will blog my heart out for the next couple of weeks so that I can sing the praises of the yummy food places I found. One of which was in a less than salubrious area, and you would walk past and think “oh no” but turned out to be unbelievably good! Stay tuned peeps!
Finally, I have to say that my Mum and my sister are just the best. Especially Mum. She goes out of her way to make sure that I have the best time every time I visit. What I am pretty sure she doesn’t realise is that just by seeing her, my day is made better. My sister not so much since she has started to train her kids into making me feel guilty about leaving again!
So, that’s it for my brief “hello, I’m still alive” post. Now I am going to spend the foreseeable future looking over the hundreds of food photos I took, and writing up my thoughts on where they came from!!