“Kathy, I'm lost,” I said, thought I knew she was sleeping. "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why."
Such strange, strange times. And yes, I know I should be enjoying the adventure, embracing the fact that I've made an epic leap across continents, have come home to my roots, but you know what, this is hard. This is really, really hard. It's grey and cold, and I'm really crap at laying fires, and I miss my (grown up) babies more than I can say, and the worst part? I don't know who I am. I'm have a major identity crisis. Now, granted, I am aware that I sound dramatic, and of course, I will be much better tomorrow, but as I drove home from London today, after having lunch with a particularly warm and kind family of a great girlfriend, and listened to Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Little Princess" on Radio Four, barreling down the always slightly depressing M25, I found myself trying to remember where I come from. Once, many years ago, when I first contemplated coming back to England, an old friend said to me "You can't come back; you're not English any more." And he was right. I'm not sure I've ever been that English, with my Norsk mother, but certainly now, after 30 years in Los Angeles, I don't feel English any more. I still like Marmite and Roast Beef, of course, but I'm just not sure what I'm mad of any more.
Speaking of roast beef, my friend Laura's mama makes a very good one, with yorkshire puddings, and roasted beets and potatoes, and leeks and peas. How particularly nice it is to sit around a table with a lovely family, three generations and a dog, even if it isn't yours.
The dogs weren't sure about Shoreditch. After running around on three hour rambles here in the Chiltern Hills, I'm sure they felt restricted. Certainly last night's 11.30pm walk around the hot spots of Rivington Street and Great Eastern Street was eye-opening; young, drunk people littered about with starry eyes like those in the Giles cartoons. And plenty of discarded kebabs for the dogs to schnarf about for. I was happy to throw my self into a big, white, bed under a big, fat duvet at midnight, doors doubled down again the marauding herds.
After a very good lunch, we drove home to the fog and the drizzle, to just a few spots of old snow from Friday's flurries. I put the dogs in their little coats in case they were cold. I put four layers on in case I was. The green was a little damp. The crows were out. The scouts were gone. I felt suddenly rather melancholic and alone and cold and wondered, as one does, sometimes, but this was my first time, and even as I wondered it, I knew that it was fleeting: what have I done? I had a good life, a thriving business, a nice house in the canyon, good weather, lovely friends, and I've left everything I know, including where to buy the best bread, where to dry clean vintage dresses, the secret hiking trails, the gate code to the short cut to Mulholland, from being the master of my own domain, to being a visitor. I'm in a rented house. I miss my children. I miss my girlfriends. I'm cold. And my lovely boyfriend is in Berlin for another week. I'm constantly asked by English people whether I was born in LA. And I'm constantly corrected by English people on my vocabulary (sidewalk/pavement, store/shop, etc.). Let me tell you something: you cannot unlearn thirty years in a week. Reader, I'm a little lost. I'm sorry. And I'm not sure why.
"I don't know what I am" I said to Charlie. He is good and kind, and he has one of those balmy voices you want to hear when you're upset. The dogs are running around in the mist, happy. I'm standing in the middle of the cricket pitch looking into the greyness. He says "remember to embrace this adventure you're on." And then I remember that if you don't take risks and do things differently, things will just stay the same. This journey is good for the soul. It's an adventure. It's creatively fulfilling. It's inspiring. I've never been one for an easy life. I always, to a fault, want the challenge. If there are two options I will choose the most difficult one. I always pick the tricky horse. Searchers gotta search, and all that. His voice is what I need. He purrs at me. I just miss him.
So here we are. People on Facebook are predicting WWIII. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have rounded up hundreds of people in California, Texas, Nevada. This is the beginning. And it's not good.
"There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness." -- Andrew Sullivan
Update: Monday morning, February 13
The sun is out! It's a balmy 4 degrees in Tring!
This is what you do: you wake up, and you decide to be happy.