It was called Check back in 6 months for those who don’t want to read the whole thing, this is how I imagined my day, today in fact December the 11th
It’s December, coming up to Christmas(of this I can be certain!) We will be in a rented apartment in a small town, we may have sourced some sort of tree, branch maybe, and a string of fairy lights. I will go off to my teaching job in the morning, introducing the topic of Christmas and traditions around the world. At lunchtime (I finish work at lunchtime in my new job) I will walk through the small town and get some groceries, I will spend the afternoon on the balcony marking, preparing lessons. I can’t imagine my view, at the moment I imagine street traders and crowded shops, Colombian voices,mostly women with latin temperament, for some reason, I can’t hear any men. From the other window, I can see mountains in the distance and goats wandering on a rubbly path.
It’s hot, not sunny. Later, when it’s cooler, we will go out and meet up with some people we don’t know now, but will know then. I have some chores to do, but the wifi is on the blink, so I read my book instead.
I will have spoken English in the morning, Spanish at lunchtime and a mix of the two in the afternoon and evening. I will have been for a walk, eaten simple, homemade food, taught, relaxed, socialised and had a little nap to get over it all. I will have time to sink into this life, smiled a lot, worked a bit, thought of home a little.
I will check back on 11th December to see how this panned out, probably nothing like I imagined, but some things are certain. I won’t be battling Christmas crowds in the rain trying to buy yet more stuff, or planning the coordinated decorations for my tree, I wonder if I’ll miss that.
Well things did not go at all to plan, and here is what my December 11th 2015 is much more likely to look like.
I am temporarily staying with a fantastic friend in Bearwood in Birmingham, the wind is howling outside and there is mixture of drizzle and mist in the air. At 7.30 the alarm goes off and I get ready to go to work, I am temping in an office in the centre of Birmingham so I catch the bus each morning. I sit with all the other commuters, fiddling with my phone and reading my book on the half an hour journey to work. I temp all day in the office, doing spreadsheets and organising events for teachers. At 5.30 I pack up and catch the bus back, just like everyone else. It’s Friday so I go to the pub and meet some of my friends, we chat about nonsense for a bit and then I have to go and sort my temporary colostomy out, a nightly procedure that reminds me I am still ill.
This week has been amazing in many ways, I found out that my tenants have found somewhere new and I will return to my own house just before Christmas. I got offered a job in the NHS working in an area I know and care about, it gives me great security and I know I will enjoy it. Maybe the best news of all; the hospital gave me a provisional date for my surgery . Bit by bit my old life is returning, I will be well, living in Moseley, going to work in health and social care.
It feels odd, I couldn’t have imagined that this is where I would be. When I was ill in Mexico, I wanted to be home more than anything. I wanted to see my children, my friends, my home all familiar and safe things. When I landed at Heathrow, I would have happily handed over my passport and never moved again. To some extent I still feel like that, I am safe I am surrounded by people who love and care for me.
I miss adventure , I miss an uncertain future and I miss Simon. It is so hard watching him doing our trip. He really deserves it and I couldn’t be happier that he has settled, is happy and is making such a success of it all. I think of him every time I get the bus home, with all the other anonymous commuters he knows this, because I text him to tell him,”I’m on the bus” – no envy has been detected yet!
It’s a confusing mix of so glad to be well, cared for and safe and of craving what might have been and feeling like I failed.
For now,I am where I need to be and, given what I went through .I feel pretty amazing. In just a couple of months I will have rebuilt my old life. I took a risk, it didn’t work, but I’m OK.
One day I might try again, I’m certainly not ready to even contemplate it yet.
I think 2016 will be a calmer year and for now that’s what’s needed.