Our eight-week get-away is drawing to a close. Apart from astonishment at just how quickly the time has gone – where? how? – I find self musing on the following:
We’ve all changed. (Physically, only – we’re still, largely, the same snarling (children), cantankerous (parents), semi-exhausted (parents), hyper-active (guess) people we were 8 weeks ago.) The children however arrived with darkish hair and fair skin. They leave with darkish skin and fair hair. The Girl in particular is almost unrecognisable. Like her momma, she just needs to be aware that there is sunshine in the general vicinity and she starts turning brown. (Alas now her momma’s turning brown is restricted to facial patches – how am I going to get away with wearing large sunglasses and a floppy hat in wintery London?). The Boy’s hair has turned white, and his skin is what you might – wankishly - call cappuccino (to the Girl’s mocha. And my splatter.) The Man, a handsome beast at the best of times, was previously Northern European handsome; now he’s Mr Hollywood – all white teeth, dark skin and really quite ridiculously fit.
I, on the other hand, arrived here almost lithe in comparison to the creature who is heading home. I’d forgotten how enormous the difference is between being 24 weeks’ pregnant, and almost 33 (AAAAAAAAARGH). When I got here I could carelessly drop things on the floor (note to my mother-in-law: NOT THAT I DID) and whimsically pick them up; now I watch things fall and wonder (a) how long can I live with them in their new position and (b) where are my little brown helpers? Back then I would sit with my knees more or less together; now I’m like Jimmy Five Bellies: legs akimbo, gut hanging out, wheezing and groaning and sitting down with a pained expression and a grunting wallop, a caricature of a heavily-pregnant lady.
I also have less teeth than I did 8 weeks ago.
This is what we have spent our money on since we got here (in order of magnitude):
- Blood Bottom
- The Great Car-Meets-Animal Incident
- Old Lady Teeth
- De-sewaging the house
- Pregnant Lady Cough
- Sun Screen
What I’ll miss about America:
- Everything is easy (except if you’re poor, or anything less than comfortable. Then I’d imagine life is nigh impossible)
- Blue skies
- Empty roads
- Happy people with shiny teeth (we’ve had a sheltered visit)
- Unquestioning patriotism
- The NY Times on Sunday
And what I won’t:
- The NY Times on Sunday costing $6.50.
- Being greeted by ALL shop assistants like a long-lost friend. FUCKOFFFUCKOFFFUCKOFF, I want to roar, Tourettes-like.
- Being asked by all cafe workers if I’d like “a cookie with that”. FUCKOFFFUCKOFF... (On one memorable occasion, the man in the newspaper shop asked me if I wanted “some gum with that [paper]”. He looked confused when I started to laugh)
- Unquestioning patriotism
- Mad mad Republicans spouting SHITE
What I’m looking forward to getting home to:
- A nice cup o’ tea (God, I’m such a granny)
- Non-online English papers
- Radio 4
- Going out with the Man, and no kids, more than three times in 8 weeks (unbelievable)
- Real bread
- Real butter
- Real cheese
- All three of the above at once
- Cooking soupy things
And what I’m not:
- The shit English weather, which necessitates the cooking of soupy things
- We go from the airport straight to a new house. A new house neither of us has actually seen, other than online. Which is – should be, please God let it be - filled with all our crap, in about 642 boxes. With two jet-lagged, cranky children.
- Getting the kids out of the house by 8.20am
- Getting up by 8.20am
- Wearing clothes again
- And shoes
- Having a baby in SIX WEEKS...
Luckily, I have the horror of an overnight flight tomorrow to take my mind off things. (Surely, however, it won’t be as bad as it was the last time I did it?)