I don’t think I like good byes. It’s not easy when it’s ‘good bye, see you next year, possibly, visa permitting.’

And not
‘Good bye, see you soon’ or ‘good bye, see you next week’ because you work together or they live in the same city or the same country.

Coming back to the UK full of good byes, often said too shortly said after saying hello again.

I feel an obligation to make the very most of it, whatever that means. To make it meaningful perhaps. To try and say all those things that I’ve been meaning to get off my chest. To say to someone I feel knows me better.

It’s never that way, of course.

Spending time with good friends isn’t like that. It’s filled with comfortable silence, jokes, memories, simply talking.

But I’ve realised, that that’s enough. It’s not that I need to get it all out, more I needed to find a place when I can instead cope with the things I’ve been thinking about.


Home is the place I go back to, the place I sleep and eat, where I spend most of my time, a place I feel comfortable, a place I feel I belong.

I think about it a lot, especially when I come back to the U.K..

When I think about why I’m coming back, what I’m going to do, where I’m going to stay, who I (need/want/am going) to see.

It complicates it in ways that still makes me feel the anxiety rising.

This time I came back because there were people and things I missed living abroad.

I suppose it is significant the people I have seen and those I didn’t get around to seeing.

The people who can make me feel like I’m home, the places I can say the same.


Jealousy is easy. You can be jealous of everyone!

Look at that person in a fancy car that you don’t really care about! It’s expensive! I bet it makes them so much happier then you are right now!

Look at that person in the shop buying stuff that you neither want, nor need! I bet it they feel a kind of pure joy that is unobtainable without spending money!

Look at that person in First Class! They will know happiness for the next 10 hours that you will never know, stuck back there in the economy seats as you head across the world on holiday.

Look at that couple! Don’t they look so happy. They are probably happy all the time. Don’t they look so perfect!

Look at that guy in that shop, working there would be simpler? Sure it might be a bit monotonous but you wouldn’t have half as much stress. Wouldn’t need to take work home either!

Look at them. They must earn less then you, they must be nice. Who needs stuff anyway? Clothes or fancy food, you don’t really. I think it must be great being them.


It was nice to see some of the things in that last post. It was nice I had a quiche this morning and that ordering my Starbucks was uneventful instead of the ‘should I try to speak Chinese or should I just say ‘grande latte’. That I could read everything I needed to do on labels or machines. That the lady in Starbucks said, ‘sorry darling’ with a Northern twang when she accidentally bumped into me.

But walking through the centre of Manchester yesterday lunch time, the overriding feeling was of being overwhelmed by it all. It was just a massive shock to the system. It’s not the number of people, China doesn’t lack for that at all. When I’m in China, I don’t have the anxiety I did yesterday. Whereas here, it’s definitely there. I don’t know why, I’m not so worried about bumping into someone in China or making eye contact. Here… It’s just more so, justified or not.

Day one

In no particularly order – understanding other people’s conversations around you, Kate, paying for a trolley at the airport, not having to fill in a landing card, £5:40 for parking, safer driving, Finn the dog, Finn the dog snoring, lasagne, squash, water from a tap, WESTERN SUPERMARKETS, pork pies, garlic bread, tea, jet lag, proper milk.

Bloc Party.

Have been posting to more and more. It’s more private then Facebook and other reasons but it’s there.

I was listening to Bloc Party recently and it took me back to a particular place in my life.

JH and I went to two different gigs in a really short space of time, I think. I remember buying one set of them over face value too, I think. I was doing my PGCE. So, it was… (approximate values)

3 teaching years in China.
3 teaching years in Manchester
1 teaching year in Gloucester

about 7 years ago.

And the second one was in Wolverhampton, Jenn drove and we went up with J and S. And it’s not that that I remember, it’s that it was then I decided to not do my third and final PGCE placement. It was one of those times when the right decision feels like the wrong one. I needed to do it and in hindsight I can see that with startling clarity but at the time it didn’t feel that way. I needed to take myself out of the situation. And I did, and for a time, it took a while to work things through. And I did work them through. And I moved on and up and out of Gloucester and then up and out of the country.

Life ebbs and flows, this much I know. But when times are bad, I already know that I’ve been here before and that it has turned around.


I tell my girls this every day whether is teaching them to ride their scooters, working on their swimming or simply coloring. Paralysis prevents most people from ever realizing their dreams. And I want to instill in my kids fear is something you face head on, you never turn your back on it. As Hunter S. Thompson said, “never turn your back on fear. It should be always be in front of you, like something that might need to be killed.”

It’s never just one thing is it?

Yes, that the thing at work is proving difficult but it’s not just that. It’s that you’re trying to eat right or get more exercise or to make sure you make the bed in the morning or to get at least 7 hours sleep or or or or… It’s putting everything together that is forever the problem.

Mine frequently revolves exercise. I will focus on it at the expense of everything else. Or at least I’ll try to because suddenly I don’t like the fact that I’m leaving home at 7:15 and not getting back 12 hours and then after a shower and eating the day is gone. I even thought I’d get some work done too!

The struggle is putting it together. To realise that exercise and food and spending time with L and other friends and Chinese lessons and are all part of that. As ever, a work in progress.