9/13/11

Coming Home - Part I

Last year my husband and I went on a 3-week honeymoon to the United Kingdom. Being weirdos (and proud of it!), we passed on the traditional warm tropical island getaway and opted for a rainy, cold island. We made this decision for several very good reasons. In no particular order:
-     We are weirdos and the idea of lying on a beach sipping Mai Tais just doesn’t ring our bells!
-     I’ve never been to the UK and have wanted to go since I was 10 years old.
-     My husband is from the UK, lived there all his life until giving it up to move to sunny California in order to be with me (sigh!). During our courtship, he talked up the wonders of Edinburgh (where he lived at the time) and of course, I had to find out if he was exaggerating! Besides this, he really wanted to show me the world he came from and being totally infatuated with the man, I wanted him to show me the world he came from.
-    I’ve never been to the UK and have wanted to go since I was 10 years old.
-    My husband’s youngest sister was getting married and asked him to give her away. Isn’t that sweet? Of course we were going.
-    Did I mention that I’ve never been to the UK and have wanted to go since I was 10 years old?
We decided to take 3-weeks only because neither of us could take off 3-months from work! We’re not wealthy people, but kept saying to ourselves “who knows when we’ll get to go back? Let’s make the most of it.” A three week trip is a huge deal and as such, we knew we couldn’t just book a flight and pack a toothbrush! At first, we tried a travel agent, but Steve and I are basically “Indie” at heart. Yeah, our budget was tight, but we didn’t want to end up in the “typical” places. Essentially, we really wanted to plan it ourselves and make discoveries along the way. And although the destination is pretty cool, it really is all about the journey, man.
It took us a year to save and plan and organize “Our Fabulous Honeymoon,” as we called it. Sometimes, we faltered along the way, wondering how we were going to make this happen financially. We researched, agonized, planned, agonized, re-planned, re-agonized, went wildly out into Left Field (such a nice place. Love it there.), came back to earth (bummer!), planned again, bought tickets, put down deposits, made reservations, planned some more, finalized, crossed our fingers and held our breath. Planning our honeymoon was nearly as fun as actually going on the trip! Not really. But it was a lot of fun.
Having fun with Steve is pretty darn easy. My husband is extremely, amazingly wonderful. I waited a long time for him to turn up! He’s spontaneous and natural and witty and sexy and supportive…he is everything I ever dreamed.  Most importantly Steve suits me down to the ground and we just plain suit each other. Doing anything together is major fun: buying groceries, writing, watching TV, fixing the toilet, taking a walk, doing the dishes, going to a concert, and planning fabulous honeymoons.
I couldn’t sleep the night before we left, but who cares! We boarded our first plane and “excited” is way too mild a word for what I was feeling. I couldn’t believe it. I’m finally going to the UK and I’m going with this wonderful man who I happen to be married to. I mean seriously, how cool is that? The coolest!!
Guess I should let you in on where we went! In England we visited London, Oxford, Birkenhead (where the family is!), Liverpool, and the Northumberland area. In Scotland we visited the Borders region, Edinburgh, and Stirling. We flew into London, took the train to Oxford, picked up our rental car and Steve drove us through incredible scenery to Birkenhead where we stopped off for a freaking awesome wedding, then moved on to Scotland. And we saw castles! Lots and lots of castles! We tromped around everywhere, made two to three castles (or palaces or abbeys) a day and it wasn’t enough. Every night we went to bed exhausted and invigorated at the same time (told you we were weirdos!).
If you’re getting ready for me to drop the other shoe or a bomb of some sort, forget it. Not happening. We had an AMAZING time. I saw such beauty, it would make me cry. Steve would be driving and I’d be snapping pictures and balling. It’s so green. The skies are awesome, even when gray and filled with downpour doom. Yes, Beauty has a price and in the UK that price is paid in raindrops falling on your head (and shoulders and getting all over your glasses, completely ruining your hairdo…you get the idea!).
Rain, rain, rain!
Cows just outside the hotel where Steve's sister's wedding took place.
Craster, England
On the way back from Dunstenberg Castle

It was more than just the mere beauty that made me cry, though. I had this sense of returning. I belonged here. I belong in the UK. This is my real home and I was coming home. I’ve never had that feeling about a place ever and I’ve been to some incredible places, beautiful places…but nothing is like home. Nothing. And now I know that. What the hell am I doing in Southern California?? It’s as if my entire life the land of fish and chips, castles, royalty, amazing history, sticky toffee pudding, and rain, rain, and more rain had been waiting patiently for me to return. The feeling was so overwhelming that I couldn’t express it to Steve. I’d just end up crying. The tears were a curious mixture of sadness mingling with the utter and complete joy of coming home. The sadness is regret. Waiting so long to find my place in the world! Why did it take me so long? Why didn’t I make this happen 20, even 10 years ago? Regrets are an extravagance that I do not like to indulge in for very long. What’s the point? Learn the lesson and move on.
I believe that things happen when we are ready and I honestly cannot say that I was ready to experience all I did on this trip 20 or even 10 years ago. I was meant to go home last year, with Steve by my side. Now we’re back in sunny Cali and it’s been exactly a year since we were in the UK. I cannot tell you how much I miss home. I try not to think about it often, because again this would be an indulgence. Why wallow? What a waste of time! I really try to be grateful. At least I know, right? I have that. Or was ignorance bliss? Nah. Ignorance is for pussies!! Hah!
So this is part one. You noticed that, eh? Part two? I’ll leave you with this…when you finally find the place you belong, do you sing with joy? Scream in terror? Or weep with bitter longing? All three, my friend. All three and sometimes all at the very same time. And yes, you look pretty crazy singing, screaming, and weeping all at once. People think you’re nuts and guess what? They’re right!  But cut yourself some slack, you’ve discovered a piece of the puzzle of your life. Isn’t that something worthy enough to send you a bit over the edge? For a teensy while? Absodamnlutely.

9/11/11

Disturbing Thought of the Day

You know you're in trouble when you feel yourself competing with your imaginary friend. And when jealousy starts to bloom, watch out.