I’ve just finished reading Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years.  It is a comical novel in parts and has many bittersweet moments.  It had the power to depress me and cheer me up in my twisted, tortured philosopher kind of way.   What I love about it is Townsend’s ability to capture the essence of being a Brit in our era, or rather, being a 20th-21st century Briton outside of London: a provincial Brit who doesn’t live life the London-way.  Not that I live in Mangold Parva in Leicestershire or anywhere like that, but I can relate to the importance given to little things and the pain of things not working out the way they should.  Townsend always manages to capture the “zeitgeist” in all her books which is a comfort to an ex-pat feeling homesick.  So now, I don’t know what to do with myself while I pine for the idiocyncaries of the country I’ve realised I love and call home.

As I explained to my American colleague while we were comparing notes about our respective homes, I miss living near a big city.  Nipping out for coffee in a big city feels different to nipping out for coffee here in Cadiz.  The busy atmosphere of a “working” city (although not so given recent government cuts causing mass unemployment in my home region) as you’re sipping a vanilla latte and staring out the window, is to me, the stuff of great artistic inspiration.  Walking to the waterfront, glancing the wears in an animated shop window and breathing in the air of a real city is what I call home.  I miss popping to Liverpool on a Saturday afternoon.  I could potentially do it if I lived near to a bigger airport than Jerez.  Imagine popping home for a weekend?  As it is, I’m forcing myself to stay here until my contract ends in June, as I have to get used to being away from England.  It’s a form of abstinence.  The hardest part is that my dad turns fifty in April and I won’t be able to celebrate it with him.

So in the meantime, I have to endeavour to experience life here in a way I can’t at home.  that means enjoying lying in the morning (because nowhere else will I get to lie in and have a full-time job at the same time) and start reading my books on the beach.  Who cares about sand in the spine.  And I will try surfing at least once.  And I might even try running.


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