Another two weeks have passed since I wrote a weekly update. It’s been a combination of busy work (finally!), waiting to get some photos uploaded, and then a down period in the middle of last week which means that the post I wanted to write would have been more down than it deserved to be. We’ve all had enough of down posts recently. At least I have. I’m starting to worry that you’re all going to think I’m a big puddle of sadness and depression and homesick, when there are moments of fun and happiness and comfort. So, on with the last two weeks:
Funghi on log in Banstead woods. Autumn = leaves and mushrooms!
Firstly, I have continued to be homesick. Although I prefer the Thai word – kitteung (thinking of), it’s more indicative of what it is. I’ve been missing particular spots, sounds, light qualities, instances, people and the familiarity and comfort of ‘home’. I suspect it’s a direct reaction to knowing we’re going to be in Sydney in March, a bit of a reprieve. On Sunday I mentioned that I missed King St, and Jed asked me if I’d actually looked for something to replace it while I’d been here. This wasn’t quite the right way of looking at it.
Residents of Newtown are quite blessed. In one area there is social space, recreation, food, shops, street music, diverse and accepting community life, green spaces, and perhaps the thing I miss most, the chance to bump into an assortment of people that you know and have a quick chat. No wonder most of us find it very difficult to leave. It took 10 years for me to get to the point where it felt like home, that’s not going to happen in 7 months here, and I doubt it will ever be replicated in its totality. However, I have been considering the specifics of the area that made me feel so at home and working out which I can replicate over here.
Conversely, I am also feeling more settled. Something about autumn is settling for me. Could be the leaf litter. The bare earth of winter and spring is a bit stark, reminding Australian bush-familiar me of fires and dead earth, leaf litter reassures me of growing things, and protected soil that can contain life. Also, I am realising that I will be fine in the cold. Years of camping at Festival has made me immune to temporary cold feet, and last year’s very cold house in Camperdown (it was badly insulted, I suspect it was 7degrees C inside most of July) has prepared me for here. I’m not so scared of the cold.
Work has also settled down, I’m not quite so lost and frustrated, and have taken charge of a couple of projects. I’ve also been having lunch with colleagues, and making stress-reducing jokes with another. A relief from the silence of my team.
We’re moving, which is making a huge difference psychologically. I noticed it the other night when we were in the supermarket. I was looking at ingredients again, thinking: “I could make greek lamb! or lemon tart! Or…!” Rather than nipping through to get whatever was easiest, which has been the pattern over the last couple of months. Can’t wait to have my kitchen, with my plates and cutlery, and not feel guilty when the washing up is not done every night, or there’s dust in the bathroom, or any of a myriad things that I feel guilty about on a daily basis at the moment.
There’s been two instances in the past two weeks that confirmed that much of the stress of the past few months is related to an underlying personality clash. I could feel my mood switch between settled and happy to nervous and anxious during two interactions with my flatmate. I’m so thankful I worked that out, and didn’t continue believing it was something to do with Jed and me.
About ¾ of the house is packed, and it’s going to be the easiest move I’ve ever done. Mostly because most of my stuff is no longer my stuff, it was sold or donated back in Australia, and I didn’t unpack all of my boxes when I moved here, knowing we were moving again.
We’ve weathered a couple of emotional storms in the past few weeks. One of which, to be honest, made me seriously contemplate giving up on the whole thing, questioning whether I could continue to live this way. But, we’re both getting better at stepping back from the emo, working out when we are heading into an emotional spiral and not taking it personally. I’m getting better at working out what is “my stuff” and what is not, and not getting attached to anything which isn’t. A really, really valuable life lesson that I needed to learn.
Jed’s teetotal decision has been very good at untangling those emotional dips as well. He’s a lot happier and lighter and more playful overall. We just had an absolutely wonderful weekend with L, full of giggles and play and getting things done, and space and understanding. Jed dealt really well with two hungry, indecisive, energetically shut-down females on Sunday morning, which I suspect he would not have done on previous weeks. You don’t realise how much someone’s depressed mood is constantly affecting you and everything around you until it changes and it all gets easier again.
This is not to say it’s been completely plain sailing. I know he’s struggled at times to be with himself without relying on substances. Breaking a habit, especially an unconscious, escapist one is not easy. He had a planned social evening with his old flatmate last Sunday. It was an interesting experience, as he came home the fuzzy, unconnected person that he’s been, which in turn made me retreat emotionally again. It doesn’t help that one of the men that I was emotionally abused and manipulated by in my early twenties (and the only one that came close to outright physical abuse) was alcoholic, and I think it’s the first time I’d mentioned that to him. We talked about it, which helped both of us understand what had been happening for the past few months.
I’m still really proud of him for doing this and extremely thankful that it’s something he’s doing for himself, breaking the patterns from a previous horrible situation to allow him to be the wonderful happy person he can be.
Social Life. I don’t have one, and it’s a bit sad. Although, given everything else that’s been going on its understandable. Simply dealing with home and work and a new culture/society/system was stressful and tiring enough. I’ve not had the energy to reach out to existing friends, and new ones. I’m now feeling like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this whole thing and that in a couple of weeks I’ll be ready to start reaching out. Initiate Operation: Karinne needs a UK social life. After Operation: move into housey-house.