Coming home is always a mixed bag.
The novelty of british food and accents soon wear off. Although the Geordie accent is always heart warming to hear.
I had joined the local gym to keep me busy in-between shifts at work and University assignments. The gym Newcastle East, is always an experience once you’ve had David Lloyds, oh how I miss you.
I came home, delighted to see every single family member and beloved school friends. I was of course most excited to see my Sorelina, who is in the process of preparing for her final A Level Exams. EEEEkkk… I do not envy her.
The first things on my list to do were of course food related.
I desperately needed a scone, as weird as that sounds, I had been craving scones for weeks, that and bubble baths. There’s something to be said for the practicality of a shower I must admit. But for how laid back and slow paced life can be in Italy, I’m surprised the novelty of a long soak in a tub isn’t more incorporated into daily life. I guess the summer heat probably has some role in that, but In winter it would be divine, Italian sunset and a buble bath.
I had also been massively craving a Zapatistas, this I had been banging on about for weeks to my two flat mates, who at first didn’t question my cravings, but later I discovered they don’t have Zapatistas down south. What a joke! I had to explain the concept of the mexican bar for Burritos and all things mexican.
And they say the North is uncivilised?!
Although I had been craving a range of foods, such as Fish and Chips, Dominoes, Chinese take away and Starbucks, when it actually came down to it I didn’t purchase one of these meals.
(Im aware craving a Starbucks is painfully white girl of me, but its the novelty of a take out cup I needed)
It occurred to me once I was home, just how unhealthy these food options were but how frequent they would be incorporated into my weekly or monthly diet before I left for Italy.
Heres the secret; before christmas (not during christmas as my Grandma’s homemade lasagna is on offer on christmas day) and after christmas whilst I have been in italy, by no conscious effort I had been vegan, and eventually found myself on a Plant based diet.
(Sounds boring, and supper healthy, I KNOW, and no I never posted any meals on social media) but you know what, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
The energy I have now is two fold to what I used to have when I was eating junk food, or other processed foods, Ive lost weight and my skin hardly ever gets spots. I used to also be a victim of the ‘T-Zone’ as a skin type. This is no longer the case.
I must admit I have days where I fall of the wagon due to cravings. Usually the night before a deadline I’ll give in to the temptation of some typical Italian food and some Ice cream.
This year really has changed my whole perception of food, and as the years gone on I have really been conscious of what I was putting in my body. Being a vegan might not be for everyone, and I would never force someone to do the same. In fact very few people out here know I’m vegan at all.
There is something about sunnier days, outdoor living and an appreciation for life the Italians embody, that makes you far more conscious. Far more conscious than I ever was in my student bubble back in Leicester.
Apart from my noticeable change in diet, home also provided me with the usual old faces of people I hardly ever see these days, but used to see all the time. When I say home, Im not referring to the house I live in, but the city. One face in particular always crops up, through my own fault or no fault of my own at all.
In these meetings I search a familiar but estranged face for some feeling, or flicker of emotion, anything that feels familiar. But I feel nothing at all, and If I am honest, it fills me with sadness for a past and a person I lost.
Sweet 16, when my world was small and simple, oh If I could return, sometimes on a bad day I would, but these thoughts only last seconds, and I allow them the grace of my time, almost out of respect.
Paying homage to the happy memories just to make sure they are still there. Sometimes It doesn’t even feel like those days ever happened – surreal. I spent so long feeling empty once they had ended, a whirl wind of feelings suddenly cut short left me numb for about a year. But now, I rarely think of these memories, at least not on purpose, and when I do the rose tinted glow is fading, as they align with the same feeling as most other memories.
I digress, although these meetings usually leave me feeling rundown the next day, It really has kept reminding me just how far I have come in the last few years.
I might not be quite there yet, but I will be soon, and I hope one day, the little door I keep open will one day shut. Not with a slam or a bang, but simply creep that one inch closer and be enough to leave that chapter behind for good.
Home, I’m not sure is ‘where the heart is’ although it used to be. Home is a reminder, and a motivator to keep going, a reality check I need to pick myself up and I think ‘I know I can achieve better than this for myself’ and allow myself to begin another chapter time and time again.
Sadly, with every visit back to little Newcastle I feel more and more disconnected. It doesn’t feel like where I belong at all, although not much has changed. I feel out of place and estranged, this isn’t anyones fault, Its just how it is.
I’m very aware I am not the person I was when I left in 2014, in more good ways than bad.
‘Nostalgia’ might as well be my middle name, be it by nature or by passion, but never will I allow myself to be back where I was. I need not insert any quotes about looking behind, we know them all too well. Sadly no longing for people or reminicing will bring them back, most of what we used to know doesn’t exist anymore.
I think I always used to return thinking everyone else would be the same, or that I would be, and that was never the case.
This took me a long time to figure out. Maybe longer than most, and although one of my favourite authors wrote the most beautiful line about the past, and how we are tied too it, I can’t accept it.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – The Great Gatsby.
Your past is your past, and whatever pain you felt, you must make a positive part of you, something you can learn from, and something that makes you a better human being. Kindness always.
After all, I am sure, you only live once.
So thank you home, for reminding me, that life is short, and love is never easy, but a love that is true will never fall short of what I so passionately have to give in return.