No Marriage For You!

Equal rights for everybody?
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Views from the Couch

I know that when two people fall in love, it is so easy to get caught up and carried away. When you feel that connection, that love and that intimate bond that you’ve never felt before with any other person, you just know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’ve found the one. You get engaged and, sure, your family and friends are all really happy and you’re looking forward to committing your lives to one another in front of all of them and blah, blah, blah, but none of that can compare to how it feels to break the exciting news of your nuptials to the government!  When I reflect on my marriage and what it means to me, it’s the tax benefits and inheritance rights that make me feel nostalgic and gushy. I’m just a hopeless romantic, I guess. I really value the sanctity of marriage and…

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Home sweet home?

“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position … blah blah … seat belt … blah blah … turn the damn ipads off! …  Thank you.” … or something like that, meant the captain on my flight back to London.

I am on my way back home … home?.

I have spent part of the holidays at my parents’ home, the house where I grew up. I like my old room, with my creaky old bed, that belonged to my mum during her teenage years. I like the greenness that pours in through the windows, and I love the warmth that I feel anywhere in that house.

Outside that house though, things feel foreign every time I go back.

I moved abroad many years ago, and selfishly, the whole country decided to move on and continue with life … They did not care about my little need of keeping some things the same. New restaurants replaced my old “burger joints”, new developments popped up out of nowhere, people dress different and have worries and concerns different to what I remembered.

How could they do this to me?

Looking through the windows I can see a clear, bright, beautiful day, glowing on what looks like a thick blanket of cotton wool. 10 minutes before landing, the plane goes through that blanket, revealing a dark grey, very damp landscape.

I love the dark green fields surrounding London, the soil is so wet it looks black, you can almost feel the smell of clear rain. It is going to be cold, windy and grim; part of my body cringes … and the other part relaxes and feels at home.

Where is home? where is MY home?

I know the whole “home is where your heart is” concept … but I am wondering about it in a more mundane way.

Where will I grow old? well, older?, Is this it, am I going to be a London pensioner? Is this the land where I will be laid to rest?

The thought causes a bit of anxiety.

I came to London to study and give myself a chance of trusting my heart. Because of work, I got used to moving places quite often, for years I moved towns, and countries, with little trouble. My study coursework would last 2 yrs, so I guessed that was my time frame before being ready to jump to a new adventure.

To, once again, confirm that planning too ahead is futile in my case, I stayed and planted my roots here.

One of hubby’s friend, also an expat, is having problems with his little son at school. They have been very keen on keeping him on an all-Russian environment at home, so he does not lose his heritage. But the little boy has not been able to connect with the rest of the class, his teacher defined it as “a total lack of awareness on all things British”.

I guess it is a trial and error thing, trying to raise children as part of the community while keeping foreign heritage present.  I am raising a little Londoner, and I am committed to make him feel the British citizen he is without losing some of my traditions. I’ll learn to make sausage and mash and to deal with rhubarb, although I must say I already make a killer shepherd’s pie.

I think for now, I have those bases covered. But what about me? Is it here where I’ll stay to miss him when he decides to move abroad to chase his dreams?

My old country is not there anymore; London feels temporary, but I have been here for ages, so how really temporary is it? All of my friends are expats, in fact I am surrounded by expats: co-workers, neighbors, they are everywhere.

When I take Llollo to the common to play, I see how almost every family is bilingual, the least you hear from parents and children is English. French, Spanish, Italian and the odd Japanese, every time we go. Where are all the British families?

I have tried to join the community and become more involved with British people without success. I am likable really, very funny, but maybe I have been trying too hard.

I have no plan of action, I am feeling without roots and don’t know what to do about it.

Maybe I am going through an early mid-life crisis … should I get a Porsche? a motorcycle? a new haircut?

from a dark place

I am in a dark place.

I finished the book I was reading over the weekend and I have been bitter and sad ever since.

When I got it, I thought it was going to be some sort of mystery/thriller type of book; I just wanted a silly book to read on my journey to /from work.

The story was unimpressive, not particularly well written. In it, the author was trying to bring awareness on the struggles and dangers children and teenagers, from a variety of social backgrounds, face and how society deals with it, by shocking.

Somewhere after 2/3rds of the dull story, something happened and it felt like a blow to the stomach. I meant to just read a chapter before going to bed and ended up going to the living room to finish it. I couldn’t read whole paragraphs, I did not want to read the details of what she was describing. I skimmed through the pages, trying to retain the plot without going into the details; I found myself desperately looking for a glimpse of hope or resolution, a happy ending that never came.

Why did I continue reading? Because I needed her to save those children. I did not want to have that image that shocked me, lingering in my head. I wanted her to make it better.

I know that terrible things happen to children every day, and the thought of it causes a vertigo feeling and this feeling has multiplied since I have a child of my own.

Now,  every child real or invented, in a movie, in a story, in the news feels like my own child. My heart aches, I literally feel a pang of pain, when I hear or read anything that relates to mistreatment or abandonment of a child.

When I was in college I tried to do something about this feeling. I volunteered in a safe house for children, who were victim of mistreatment and/or were waiting for their parents to come out of jail. I was young and didn’t know what to do, all I could do for them was give attention and care.

I am a “hugger”, I have always been, it makes me feel safe and protected, it makes me feel loved. I spent most of my time back then hugging and caring for infants, with a huge knot in my throat. Knowing that I was not doing anything to help, that what i was giving was only temporary, was extremely painful. I spent all of that period submerged in guilt and sadness.

I couldn’t find a way to overcome this and cowardly I stopped going.

The book, stirred all that was buried inside me.  I still don’t know what to do.

I have spent this weekend’s nights crying and the days weepy, how can I explain it? It doesn’t make much sense. But I am hurting.

What can I do? I don’t seem to find an answer.

How can I help? how can i make a difference? I want to but I don’t know how. And the inability to find a way is burning.

I am not hurting for the characters of a book that don’t exist, I am hurting for all those children I can not protect.

Where to start?

Let me start in the middle, and through the days go back to the beginning.
My name is Trish, and over a year ago we were blessed with our baby boy Llollo. Llollo is 15 months old now, with all the energy and stubbornness of a beautiful and healthy toddler . To make things interesting  we have been talking about having another baby and I am actively looking to have a career change while working full time in sun-challenged London.
So there you go, in a nutshell that is in general terms where I am starting my blog.I know this will be a bumpy but happy ride.