As people, we are both used to distance. Han has moved away from her Irish home and I left Kent many years ago (only moving back to complete my PGCE). We’ve spent the last few years hopping about the South of the UK a little, living apart and together, nipping over the Irish Sea to make weekend visits and generally just dealing with the fact that now we’re getting older our lives and those of our friends and families mean we are all dotted about quite a lot. It’s always a bit reassuring though to know that you can take a car (ideally a 1.6l Skoda Octavia with ample boot space) and go see them. As a teacher, the holidays are fixed and weekends usually involve work so that was nothing new to us; if an event was in term time and a bit of a distance, chances are I/we could not make it.
But this home of ours? This is something else. Last month our very good friends Simon and Sian gave birth to their first child, recently several good friends have gotten married and next year my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. That doesn’t even include the innumerable babies that Han’s cousins keep producing. All of these are events that we would, of course, love to be present at. The reality is that we have chosen life here (at least for two years) and have a fixed time at which we simply won’t be able to see these people and join in these key events in their lives. This, of course, doesn’t even include the day-to-day absence from our significantly large families.
It isn’t simply the time it takes (though an 18 hour RAF flight is no simple hop), it is also the relative infrequency of the flights (2 a week, if the weather holds/the wind isn’t Northerly and the military aren’t moving people – we’ve heard the ones for the August holidays are already full so even if we wanted to, we couldn’t) and the cost all present difficulties in making a trip home a reality. We are also on the doorstep of South America and are keen to see it (though those flights are by no means easy to acquire or pay for) so there is an element of choice about this distance too.
Nevertheless, the thought that we won’t meet little baby Thomas until he’s walking/talking, or be present at friends’ weddings when we’d expect them to be at ours is not a comforting one and events like that bring home the reality that we are this distant and we can only hope that this time away will be worth the difficulties that it sometimes presents. Reading back is a good reminder of what we’re doing here and how lucky we are to experience these Islands, so I guess I have another reason to keep updating.
We plan on going teaberry picking soon (for all manner of recipes, some of them liquid) so we’ll keep you posted on what we get up to soon. Don’t forget, if you have anything you’re wondering about in terms of life down here then do let us know.