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Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Happy Birthday Dan!

Baby husband

It's my husband's birthday today, so I thought I'd write a quick note to him on here, in public... It seems like a good idea right now, but we'll see how I feel about this in the morning!

Happy birthday beautiful Dan. I probably don't say this enough, but I love and appreciate you so much. From the very beginning of our relationship when you were barely 20, you've looked after me, supported me, and entertained me. We can talk and talk together for days, even if we do sometimes tell each other the same story more than once, or vehemently agree with one another... both arguing on the same side of the debate. You're a kind and generous human being; you are overflowing with boundless affection and tenderness for everyone you meet (except for people who stop walking very suddenly in front of you on a busy street... and wasps). I am very grateful to have met you and to be able to say with certainty, that we will always comfort one another when we're sad, and rejoice together when we're happy.

We've got a lot of stress coming up, what with this house-move falling at every hurdle, but I know that we will be okay because you're pragmatic and hilarious - a winning combo in a crisis.

Also, a big shout out to Dan's sister Bex. (Somehow, they both ended up with the same birthday, five years apart. That's Bex and Dan in the photo above) Bex, you're a schnügly tinosphere and I love you lots. In the words of Kierkegaard, "You don't know you're beautiful - that's what makes you beautiful."

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My long distance relationship... with my family!

coping with relatives overseas

Like pretty much every other young adult on the planet, I have a complex relationship with ‘home’. Increasing numbers of children are growing up in composite families, and I’ve always been able to joke about being ‘the child of a broken home’. Even my friends whose parents are still together find themselves in a strange between-space as they leave their families and find their way in the world. ‘Home’ doesn’t necessarily feel like ‘home anymore’… But that’s another post for another day. Today I’m going to talk about my long distance relationship with my family.

90s family photo
riverside nostalgia

My mum is Australian, so I’ve always been stretched across the hemispheres of the planet. One of my earliest memories is wishing that there was such a thing as a video phone so that I could see all of these strange family members who wanted to speak to me down the phone once a week. (Obviously this was pre-skype, pre-facetime, and pre-internet in homes!) We went to visit them when I was three – god knows how my mum managed to keep three-year-old Candy occupied on a 24 hour flight… And I was bombarded with affection and love by this army of fast-talking, loud-laughing Australians. I’ve been back to visit them five times since, sometimes for months at a time, and every time I leave, it hurts more.

family reunion sydney
tiny fashionista coffeeshop
port douglas grandparents

When my parents split up, I split my time more-or-less evenly between the two of them. I lived out of my school rucksack from the age of ten, and soon became accustomed to the feeling of always missing someone. When I was at my Dad’s house, I missed my mum and my silly Stepdad, I missed the big sofa, and I missed the endless snacks available for my delectation. When I was at my mum’s house, I missed my Dad’s music, I missed my baby brother and sister, and I missed having someone to chat to, the moment I got back from school. I was always at home, but I was also never at home.

My long distance family story doesn’t stop there. When I was eighteen, my Dad moved to France with my stepmum and my little brother and sister. I had just finished my A-Levels, and I was tentatively preparing to move to Cambridge in the Autumn. Around that time, my Mum decided to spend some time with her family in Australia, and suddenly a natural ‘baby-bird-flies-the-nest’ scenario was out of the question. It was more of a ‘shit-the-nest-blew-away-in-a-storm’ kinda deal. I was essentially an international student, in terms of my living scenario, but I didn’t have any of the special storage allowances afforded to students from overseas. I remember getting a couple of comments in my first term at university about why I had SO MUCH STUFF in my room – in truth, I had ALL my stuff in my room…

These days, my Dad is still in France, and my baby brother and sister are old enough to chat using Skype and FaceTime. My mum lives back in Australia, and battles with the same ‘where is home?’ struggle that I do. My story is far from unique. One of my friends’ parents recently moved back to China after raising her in the UK. Many other friends moved to the UK to go to university, leaving their families behind in Poland, Italy, Spain and all sorts of other places. And whilst Skype and FaceTime make keeping in touch easier than when I was a child, they don’t take away that feeling of displacement that you get from being part of a long-distance family. And don’t get me wrong, when I say family, I don’t just mean those who are related to you by blood. Half of my family isn’t. Blood has nothing to do with the hollow feeling of missing someone you love.

I’m a firm believer in re-imagining the idea of home and making it resonate with you personally. We’re fed this idea of home being a physical space, occupied by blood relatives and where hearty, nostalgic food is readily available. Home is advertised to us as a place that we can always snap back to like an elastic band, even if we stray far away…

Balls to that. What about all of us whose family homes now house other families? What about those whose childhood houses have been bulldozed or redeveloped?

Home doesn’t need to be a physical space at all, and even if we have to keep re-teaching that to ourselves for the rest of our lives, I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.

very young siblings

The photos above are a selection of old photos and newer photos of my family. I don't have photos of everyone, as a lot of my photos are packed away, but I love them all so, so much (in case you didn't notice), and I miss every single one of them more than I could hope to express in words.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Another Long Blog.

Every now and again, I get an urge to write in this blog. Some might say more often than is really socially acceptable, but then nobody reads this blog anyway. Once I realise that, I usually lose my impetus. But never mind.

Today has been Christmas. Even though technically it is Boxing Day as I write this, it has been Christmas today, as far as I am concerned. This Christmas has been a sparse and frugal one. We couldn't afford a tree, or presents, so we had a table cloth with a tree on it, which we hung from one of our bookshelves, and all of our presents were either home made, or from charity shops. Mum made me two pairs of pyjama bottoms, a hot water bottle and cover, and a dressing gown. Andrew got me a book about religion from a charity shop.
I did get a hard drive though, which is REALLLLLY USEFUL! I have a really old computer so, it has absolutely no memory, and I listen to quite a bit of music, which means I need memory space.









Dan got me a couple of books. One by Neil Gaiman, which I have already finished! And also the Alchemist, which is really lovely. Eleanor got me the DVD of a film that I really like called Eagle Vs Shark. It is a film from New Zealand, and it has the guy from Flight of the Conchords in it. (Another comedy which I adore)
That's the cover of the DVD/Poster for the film. I do love it. :) Andrew made me the DVDs of both series of Twin Peaks to take back to Cambridge when I go up.

So, now onto the rest of my holiday... I went to Dan's, and stayed with him and his family. Then Dan and I went to Venice. It was amazing. He took loads of photos. I took some too, but his are better, because he has an amazing camera which lets him take lots of high quality photos. Also, he has a lovely computer and software which allows him to edit them and make them lovely. I am more than a little jealous! :P

We spent hours and hours wandering the little lanes, passages, and bridges of Venice. We drank coffee in numerous little bars, and we did the usual touristy things, like going to St Mark's Basilica, and the Accademia. The hotel was nice, and we had some lovely food of course. I was expecting Dan to be able
to speak some Italian, being half Italian himself... but alas, he was somewhat linguistically challenged. Plus I kept speaking french, which was a bit of a problem.

Then when we returned from lovely Venice, it was my birthday! I am now 19. Crazy... I don't FEEL nineteen, but apparently I was born over nineteen years ago now. So yeah. Weird. I spent my birthday at Dan's, and we made an amazing brownie. The recipe is as follows:

  1. Look in cupboard and find a brick of year-old muscavado sugar, which miraculously weighs exactly 200g.
  2. Add this to 200g of melted butter, and stir a lot. A LOT.
  3. Add the remnants (about half) of a tin
    of golden syrup. You know you have some in your cupboard. Everyone does. Keep stirring.
  4. Melt an entire massive slab of Dairy Milk chocolate in the microwave, or in a bowl on top of hot water. Pour this into the mix. You should now have a bowl of brown, sticky gloop.
  5. Pour 200g of plain flour into the concoction. Do this bit by bit, to avoid having to deal with a massive flour explosion and a really dry bowl of gloopy flour.
  6. Break a couple of eggs in, and keep mixing.
  7. Pour messily into a brownie tin, and bake until you are bored.
  8. Take out the brownie and enjoy its unhealthy wonderment.
So, Dan got me some scarves, a ridiculously cute teddy bear, and a bracelet. And he took me out to eat at a Japanese restaurant in Cambridge. I will talk more about Japanese stuff in a minute. This appears to be turning into rather a mammoth blog.

The day after my birthday (The 22nd of December), Dan and I drove back to Brighton for my birthday meal with all of my Brighton friends. It was really good to see people again. Dan seemed to get on with everyone really well, a
nd Kim said that Dan and I were really cute together. Kat said that we were "unbelievably cute" too actually. I got some really thoughtful and nice presents from my friends, which made me very happy indeed. After the meal, Dan, Patrick, Tilly and I went to the pub for cider.

The week before we went to Venice, Dan and James came to Brighton and visited. That was so much fun! We went to the pier, and we went to the pub for lunch. Then we had a race back to Cambridge in their cars. They made me feel much better because that morning I had received the news that my cat had died. :(

On the 27th of December, I am off up to Dan's again, and he is giving me a lift to Stanstead airport the next day, (The 28th) so that I can g
o to visit my Dad, in France. I am going to miss Dan so much. But on the 27th, I am meeting his grandparents and his cousins and his aunt. I am nervous of the cousins most of all, because they are the same age as me, and I am scared of being judged!

On the 3rd of January, I am going to visit Laura in Luxembourg, and then on the 5th, we are going to Paris with the T.O.D.S plus a couple of others. This means ten days without Dan. The thought seems unbearable. I am tr
ying not to dwell on it.

Here instead is a picture of me and Emma, from the Winter Ball in Cambridge:

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Cambridge!

Well, here I am in Cambridge...

I have been here for a week, and a bit. So much has already happened. It is actually ridiculous! I have eaten my weight in cheese toasties. Toasties seem to be the "in" thing here. That, or I am just unaccustomed to the mysterious nuances of student life.

Tonight I am going to something called a 'College Family Superhall' which is indeed as weird and confusing as it sounds. It is basically a fancy dress dinner. I have also joined a society which simply calls itself the 'Sheila and Her Dog Society'. I must say, the people are the strangest and cutest people I have ever met in my life. They sit around in their dressing gowns, playing Charades, and eating lumps of cheese. It is all rather quaint, but yet so lively! I have also auditioned and been accepted by the College Chapel Choir, which aside from the God stuff (which I will be getting enough of during my Theology course for the next three years), should be really good fun! And it means free food on Sundays!

I am still considering whether or not to get into rowing... Do I really want to be a boatie? Do I need that in my life? I am not sure... But it is something so inherently 'Cambridge', you know?

Have made some lovely friends here too, which I am very happy about.

Sorry this is such a quick post. Here is a picture of some of us on Matriculation day. (Laura, Emma, and Me)