Here we go again… I find myself in an all too familiar place. A place where my heart hurts all day long and I try to ignore it all day long. I think I expected that after nine years of being an expat, I would become more used to it over time. That the conflict between choosing a far away life and being close to my family would ease with the passing years. However, I have found that this is not the case. I do not want this to be a sob story; as my mother frequently reminds me, “you chose to live there”. Yes, I did. There are so many reasons why I love my life in Australia, too many to list here but that love of being here will never allay my desire to be surrounded by my family and friends. It is not homesickness that I suffer, for my desire to live in the UK is no longer a factor; it is people sickness. I have been home for 4 days now and I still cannot think of my niece without a lump forming in my throat and my eyes welling up.
My reflex, when faced with sadness or boredom or disillusionment is to cook. Being active is soothing to me, not quite as soothing as it is for my darling sister whose capacity to sit down and do nothing is somewhat lacking, but soothing nonetheless. So my last few days have been a whirlwind of gardening and exercise and cooking. But mostly cooking. If I am upright and in charge of hot things, then it is much less easy for me to give in to jet lag and take a little snooze. Which, in our first few days back, meant me having a little nap, only to wake up 7 hours later at midnight, cursing myself for giving in.
As I so often find, cooking is the tonic for my soul. The last 2 days have seen me make a myriad of things. First, there was the Brazilian cheese bread I made for my lovely Brazilian friend. It was my 3rd attempt at perfecting the recipe. When I handed her one to try, on what was a hot Sunday morning, she devoured it, whilst smiling constantly and proclaiming it to be the perfect breakfast. This was followed the next day by Korean pajeon, which is a spring onion pancake. The chewy texture took a bit of getting used to but the dipping sauce which accompanied it, was delicious. The pancakes served as entrée, before I made a whole steamed fish with ginger, chilli and spring onion. Suffice to say, I’ve been cooking the pain away.
I think it must be time to make something sweet. I was greeted this morning by an overcast sky so I feel that cake and endless cups of tea is the only appropriate way to deal with the inclement weather. And so, I shall keep cooking and running and gardening until the pain eases a little and daily life takes precedence over missing people.
We are all very lucky to have people to love and who love us in return. This is quite the most sentimental post I have written, possibly ever. In an effort to counteract the cloying sentimentality, you can listen to this Peaches song which has slightly different ideas about how to alleviate pain… Parental advisory 😉
The photos scattered throughout this post are a collection of things I either ate or made on my travels.