I’ve been sat at my computer and all of a sudden I’ve registered that I am cold. It has slowly crept into my fingers and toes but will take a lot of movement, counter action, to reverse. The quickest way at this point, I decide, is a hot steamy shower. As I relax under the liquid warmth that’s oozing into my bloodstream I remember that here in England I can put on the heating to avoid such discomfort! I feel stupid.
I have been back over two months and as summer fades into autumn I realise how much has changed. Not changed really because things are the same back in South Africa and they are the same here (more or less) as when I left. I’ve changed. I’ve forgotten things. Keeping cool has been a bigger priority, over the last two years, than donning socks and slippers and shawls around the house. Ok, I know it is not that cold yet but I am prepping myself so I won’t be taken by surprise and have to feel so stupid for having forgotten how to do life here.
Here windows are closed more than open, water comes nice and hot from the tap, I can apply for almost anything online and get it through my door in 2-3 working days. I must remember to speak in hushed tones and limit the scope of topics in conversions with strangers to public transport and weather. My hair needs to remember how to manage moisture and my feet need to get used to being enclosed after being free for almost 9 months straight a year!
I am once again enjoying the quick witty humor and the quality television programmes. Proper English spelling (which I have to admit I have to check every now and then – especially as most spell checking on computers and internet is American! Argh!). Its great to be able to reach out and put my arm around my mom. To be able to hug and hold my sisters and not just pull funny faces on Skype.
These are just a few of the daily adjustments I’m making. The more I see and experience I realise that “having it all” does not mean “having everything all at once”. That’s not possible. And no matter what we like to tell ourselves, if we did have it all – all at once, we wouldn’t like it very much.