1 year after our big adventure

The past year has gone by very quickly.  When we first came home in October 2011, I think we experienced our biggest culture shock of the previous 2 years! Nothing had really changed but, I certainly felt very different – I felt quite detached for a while and a bit lost.  I had no job, I’d never been a housewife before; but soon began to enjoy that.  Paul picked up a lot of internet stuff, the girls had school & nursery.

Gradually we drifted back into normality – OK, perhaps eating meals in the garden in November in England isn’t typical behavior, but the wet weather of 2012 soon beat that out of us and we gradually ate in the house more and more. We had a memorable barbeque last March where the temperature hovered around 6′C, the rain bought us inside.

Just before Christmas 2011, I got a call asking me if I was interested in a temporary job – so that got me back to work in January, doing 4 days a week. This was another huge shock to the system. I went through times where I felt imprisoned – trapped in the routine of having to be somewhere at a certain time – when for the previous year I had enjoyed the luxury of not having to set an alarm clock (unless there was a flight involved!).

It took the children a couple of weeks to settle into school & nursery, but then they took it in their stride.  Emma finished year 2 in the top 3rd of her class  (which was reassuring for me). Her friends remembered her from reception & were very happy to have her back.  Holly thrived in nursery. In September last year Emma started juniors and Holly reception (kindergarten).  They both enjoy it and are doing well.

Before we left on our trip we got a lot of comments around how much would the girls remember – Holly was only just 3 when we left the UK.  She remembers some things in amazing details, other things she doesn’t remember; Emma remembers a great deal with a lot of clarity – she loved sharing her experiences of visiting Rainforests with her classmates when they did a Rainforest project.  But I think the really valuable things they learnt are things they don’t know they’ve learnt – they’re incredibly close for 2 sisters with a 3 year age gap.  They have an awareness of different people, the world & culture which I don’t think even I’d truly appreciated until we spent that time away.  Holly has a very accessible view of the world – she thinks nothing of watching a wildlife documentary, then asking if we can got Madagascar to see the lemurs and she’s desperate to get to Arizona to see giant cactus!

The further we get in time from our return to the UK, the more distant the whole thing feels. I look back on the trip and think things like “Did we really use local babysitters in Indonesia?”, “did we really have ice in our drinks?”, “did I really use a squat toilet on a train in Thailand?” – the idea of doing that now we are back in England seems to alien. But at the time we were totally comfortable with what we were doing and felt safe in the moment – which we were.  There’s no point worrying over the what if’s now!

Holidays last year were on a much smaller scale – we had a couple of wet camping trips in Wales, which were fun but wet!
In September Paul & I had a sneaky trip to Italy, we flew to Naples to see his cousin get married in Positano before getting the train to Rome.  I think before our big adventure we wouldn’t have bothered adding the Rome bit in at the end, but it was easy peasy & great fun!

In October we went to Paris for a short break – doing all the typical tourist sites and of course Disney (I don’t intend to go back to Disney for a very, very long time!) We used some of our planning skills we picked up on our trip to make the most of the days in Paris, but not be too difficult on the girls.

I miss our big adventure and it’s frightening how quickly normality sets in.  Friends often ask me if I’d do it again and I always say not for as long, but I think I could handle 3 months away every few years!

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at 7:04 pm and is filed under Random Stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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