Inevitably as I prepare to leave Athens I find not only the best yoghurt in the world but I also find myself surrounded by new best friends who are all going to miss me greatly. There seems to be something about leaving that gives a permission to people to open up to you. The day before I left Switzerland Frau Stüder invited me into her house for coffee to tell me what a fabulous neighbour I’d been. Herr S in the ground floor apartment invited Mr T to go on ‘Du’ terms with him and he and his wife said we must call in any time we just happen to be passing. Sometimes I think it would be worth the cost of the flight just to pop up on their doorstep and scare them silly. ‘Hi, it’s us, let’s have fun!’
My new best friends are being very gloomy about my return to the UK and telling me that I’m never going to fit in there. I’ve been told this so often in my life, starting at primary school, that it is starting to wash over me slightly (so that only took fifty years) but I do worry slightly. I know that there’s going to be that mad honeymoon phase where I’ll go to Waitrose five times a day and not have to check a dictionary for whatever unusual thing I want to buy. All I need to do is remember not to shove too many people out of my way in the process. I also need to learn not to shout. But then after all that am I going to miss that feeling of living somewhere else? Am I going to miss being the person who flies in and everyone fits around me because I’m so
self centred special.
When I first moved to Greece it wasn’t the UK I was homesick for but Germany. I remember standing in the supermarket feeling lost and then I heard someone speak German and I understood them and I missed understanding what was going on around me. At least I won’t have the language barrier when I return to England. Innit. But will I be homesick? And what will I miss?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that because I’ve got older in a different place I haven’t got used to being middle-aged in the place I shall end up living. Now I’m coping with the different mannerisms and behaviours and how you’re treated as a middle-aged woman in the UK (a whole other blog post). Not only do I have a lot more sympathy for my mother I actually recognise the moment I turned into her. Fortunately Mr T has turned into his father so we’re still bumping along nicely.