Thursday, 23 June 2016

Feeling Homesick

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

When have you felt most homesick?

I remember being a new graduate, living (stubbornly) in my uni town, working three jobs to pay for a shite bedsit and wondering what the hell I was doing. I felt really alone and super stressed and all I wanted to do is go back to my mum's house.

When I first went to Australia in 2014 I remember sitting in the office with hideous jet lag and regretting my decision to work abroad when all I really wanted to do was sleep. I missed London and my cosy flat with AJ and my bustling, fun lifestyle.

More recently, I've experienced a homesickness of such severity that it consumed every thought I had for a solid five days and a little beyond. I was in Auckland. I'd left behind the familiarity of a close friend in Sydney and was staying with a friend's parents who I'd never met (but were absolutely wonderful and made me feel completely at home). I'd been feeling apprehensive about heading to New Zealand alone anyway, but the culmination of a horribly upsetting phone call from the UK, panic of setting off on a three week bus trip with strangers ALONE, and knowing I was missing out on all manner of social events back in London set off the most horrific case of homesickness. I didn't just miss one place, I missed a country. I missed my life.

I had an intense aching for familiarity; I just wanted to use a plug socket without an adapter or look in my purse and recognise the coins in it. Everything seemed complicated. I couldn't make a phone call without scheduling it and by the time I looked at my phone when I woke up in the morning, 18 conversation topics had come and passed in the Whatsapp groups I'm part of.

That went a long way to helping me convince myself that everyone had forgotten about me. Of course life goes on, but I became jealous that it had, despite the fact that I was in god damn New Zealand about to embark (unbeknownst to me) on the best part of my entire trip. The FOMO was real. I just had this weird feeling that something wasn't quite right and I felt so guilty that I wasn't wanting to be where I was. I mean, I'd quit my job! I'd thrown caution to the wind! I'd spent my life savings! I'd......made a massive mistake?!

And then it all changed. I knew I was homesick but suddenly I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot all about it, and in a complete U-turn, became nervous about going home. What if I'd built it up to be something it wasn't? What if I got home and nothing was what I remembered? I still wanted to go back to the UK but I weirdly didn't want that time to come around either. How can you miss something so much and also dread it at the same time?!

I guess I crave home when I'm unsure and unhappy. Security and familiarity make dealing with difficult situations so much easier because home is really just another word for 'safe'. We take it for granted and forget that we miss it when everything is peachy, but sometimes a good dose of homesickness can help us remember and value what we love the most. And I'm glad I'm home. For now...

(Edit: This was posted the day before the EU referendum. As a proud Remain voter, I now have a whole different case of homesickness; one where I'm terrified of looking back on this time and missing what my home country truly is.)
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Added Extras #30

UK Lifestyle Blog

It's been a bit of an odd week. At the very beginning I was arriving home from three months away and at the very end, starting a completely new chapter of my life. 2016 is really turning out to be a year of enormous change for me, and hopefully it's all for the best. The rest of this week, though? Not that much to be honest. Trying to get back to normality, catching up with people I've missed, and just getting a bit organised. It's nice to be home, but it's going to take some getting used to! Here's this week's Added Extras:

1) I landed back in the UK on Tuesday and although I struggled to stay up past 8pm for the first few days, by Saturday I felt pretty recovered from my jet lag. I'm definitely still tired, but I'm not waking up at 2am and unable to get back to sleep, thank goodness!

2) I've started notching up reunions with the Bangarang girls, starting with lovely Claire. We went and had my favourite hot chocolate from Said in Soho and put the world to rights.

Hot chocolate from Said, Soho

3) Claire and I met up with Milly to check out Boohoo's newest festival pieces. I need this shiny mac of dreams. Anyone feeling generous?

Iridescent rain mac from Boohoo.com

4) I was so excited to head to my friend's baby shower on Thursday. She's three weeks away from popping and she looks bloody fabulous. I can't wait to meet her little one!

5) Carrying on the theme of catching up, my mum and I drove down to Oxfordshire to have lunch with my grandparents. We went to The Bear in Wantage and I demolished a pulled pork burger and then an enormous Eton Mess. I actually needed a food induced nap when I got home.

Eton Mess

6) I started a new job! I somehow managed to apply, interview and create a presentation for a job whilst travelling around New Zealand and miraculously was offered the role. After the horror show of my last job, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this new challenge.

7) I introduced two of my friends to Snapchat via obligatory face swap photos and screaming hilarity ensued. Our fellow beer garden peeps pretty much hated us.

Snapchat face swap

8) I got James Blake tickets for November! I'm SO excited. After missing him tour and then perform at Field Day whilst I was away, I was bloody determined to get to his next London show and I ammmmmmmmm!!!

9) I started scratching off countries on my Scratch Off Map. I'm going to get it put in a frame but it's highlighted that there's a lot left to explore!

Scratch off travel map

10) I've been eating porridge with stewed rhubarb and cinnamon sugar bananas most mornings since I've been back and it's flipping delicious. It's so nice to not be eating white toast every morning like I was in New Zealand.

Porridge with rhubarb and banana and a cup of tea

I hope you've all had a good week! Thanks for all of your comments and tweets on my recent post about positivity and change. It means so much to me to have support from a little digital family <3

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Monday, 20 June 2016

The Beautiful Colours of Little India, Singapore

Colourful houses in Little India, Singapore

One of the things that made me fall in love with Singapore was its diversity. The population is a melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and religions, with certain areas embracing very distinctive roots and giving the feel of being in another country entirely.

I am desperate to visit India, but a day in Singapore's Little India felt like a good start. I fuelled up on incredible, fluffy murtabak from the Tekka Centre market (my full review of which is here), and headed to Buffalo Road - the centre of the area. Wherever you are in Little India you are surrounded by vivid colours. The area is filled with fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables - all for sale, all creating a mesmerising rainbow to walk through.

Flowers in Little India, Singapore

A shrine in Little India, Singapore

Fresh vegetables for sale in Little India, Singapore

This isn't for tourists; Little India is a living and breathing neighbourhood with shops catering for locals and building containing homes, not just hotels. Street after street revealed azure blues, baby pinks and canary yellows painted on every wall. Even the Masjid Abdul Gaffoor mosque welcomed visitors with emerald green accents all over, being totally at one with the neighbourhood in which it sits.

Bright colours in Little India, Singapore

Bright colours in Little India, Singapore

Masjid Abdul Gaffoor mosque in Little India, Singapore

Bright colours in Little India, Singapore

It is the insane House of Tan Teng Niah that is the crown jewel of Little India's vibrant appearance though. It could easily have come straight out of Oz; a kid's colour-by-numbers that's used up all the pens in the box. Every alcove, windowsill and door frame had clashing blocks of colour that shone so bright in the Singapore sunshine.

Colourful houses in Little India, Singapore

Colourful houses in Little India, Singapore

Colourful houses in Little India, Singapore

I think it might be time to start planning a trip to India...
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