Well exci(t)ed about my imminent move to London. Having never really planned to live there again, I am bizarrely warming to the prospect of return. Am not envisaging this voluntary resettlement becoming permanent, but one learns (reluctantly) to never say never.
My hear(t) language, with i(t)s dropped ts and lazy grammar, bubbles to the surface and I stop bovvering wiv the standard Oxford voice I’ve picked up over the years of local language acquisition. I grin at my oyster card, my travelling companion of the moment encased in the lovely personalised ‘Emily in the world’ walle(t) tha(t) Hannah gave me for my birfday. Picking up my walking speed to ci(t)y tempo I negotia(te) a parf frew the crowds. Home swee(t) home.
Still kind of sad that I’m still kind of in England, but happy that I’m moving back to the Big Smoke with my eyes and heart open to the communities around me where I can be as close to faraway as possible.
On a late bus home from a meal with close friends, I savour the remaining taste of Pimms and pork chops, grateful for good food, fine wine, laughter, conversation and quality people around me. That’s me, yet this is also me: Gazing out of the window at the shisha smokers in the Arab World that is Edgware Road, at bleary-eyed Somali kids opening fast well after their bedtime, at fruit/veg/gold/phonecards/fabric/plastics/spices etc shops that are still doing a roaring trade well into the Ramadan night.
I’m gazing at bit of the world that is home and that is familiar yet is seen afresh through the readjusting eyes of a returnee and the expectant eyes of a new arrival. My heart sort of leaps for joy and sort of breaks with pain at the same time. Perhaps that’s the bittersweetness of coming and going. Or perhaps that’s a hint of a sense of calling realised.
Bring i(t) on. Inshallah.