Moments.

There are moments in my life that I will always remember.

My brothers and I playing in the park as children.

Walking to school with my mum, holding her hand, chatting and singing.

The day I first saw Ed.

The day I got married.

When my daughter was first passed to me wearing a hat.

and that moment, when I came home, blissfully happy after being at a friends house all day, 7 months pregnant, huge, happy and in need of sleep. That moment, alone when I saw the email, when I opened it…

and saw; visa rejected.

The strength left my body, I fell to my knees and moaned a guttural cry, the heartbreaking pain seared through me. I held my stomach, my baby and the prospect of bringing her into this world alone. That moment crippled me.

I sobbed.

My husband rushed home, picked me up off the floor and looked so incredibly sad.

Yet we were the lucky ones, we had time to reapply to the home office, even though it meant I had to wobble over the Thai/Cambodian border to extend my visa for the extra 2 weeks in Bangkok.

It resulted in costs of over £1,000 and all for a 6 month tourist visa to the UK, so my husband could be there to hold my hand and see the birth of our daughter.

Here I am exactly 2 years later, alone. Experiencing more moments.

Like the moment I found out mum has breast cancer.

The moment we decided I should move back to England, with my daughter, to be with mum and without my husband.

A moment I never expected. A decision I should not have to make, between my precious mum and my dear husband. More on that here

I am sorry darling daughter that you now see Papa on the phone, I miss him, I miss our little family together, I miss seeing you play with papa and going on adventures to chat up the neighborhood. I am trying so damn hard baby girl and using every, single ounce of my strength to hold onto love, faith, hope and a future with us all together defying the odds.

I just hope it will be ok and although I have no idea of the next moment when we will see daddy.

That moment will come.

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Pure Love

 

 

 

Longing for some drizzle

I feel the most homesick in the aisles of the supermarket. I have no idea why, it creeps up on me. Yesterday it was because I couldn’t find stock to make gravy, other trips to the Tesco (yes there is Tesco here and weirdly Boots) it’s the packaging that has set me off, a Tesco packet, not kidding, makes me long for home.

We walk around our neighbourhood at dusk as it’s the only time of day that the sun doesn’t feel like it’s burning holes in your eyes. It’s a circular route, we chat to the neighbours and they play peekaboo with little one, we say hi to the chickens and fighting cockerels, hi to the local kids and birds in cages. I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’ the crazy ferang mum and my husband points to every bush and tree, telling me “you can eat that, you can eat that” apparently our neighbourhood is basically a big salad!

I love it, truly, I have never in my life growing up in London experienced such friendly neighbours. Since we’ve lived here we have received a tonne of papaya, fresh fish and baby food already cooked mushed and frozen!! Everyone knows my daughter’s name and she babbles and smiles at every opportunity.

I get smiled at on my cycle to work by total strangers, my herding job is much more enjoyable now I’ve found ways to get quiet – Wheels on the Bus works wonders – I love the sounds at night here, although as I type I can hear strange sounds from our laundry basket and I wonder what creature we’ve brought upstairs. I love the pouring, heaven has opened rain you get here, so loud against the tin car roof. The food is incredible,  full on southern style spicy and so damn cheap, we get a whole, deliciously cooked and huge fish for £3. Most of all and what has been the biggest influence in my life and influential choice to be here is the sabai sabai* mentality that you love/hate depending on the situation, yeah I can chill when the bus is an hour late but no I can’t chill when it finally arrives and I have to sit in the middle between two seats on a plank of wood (true story)

But, even in my silly joy living here and the fact that I got a foot massage today for £4 and a haircut for 2. I yearn for England. I yearn for cups of tea after a walk around Holland park and a playground that doesn’t look like the playground at the end of the world in Terminator 2! I long for chilly days wearing leggings, boots and a jacket while walking in the grey London drizzle. I would love to be able to wash the dishes without sweating and stand in my kitchen without being swarmed by mosquitoes. Weekends feel much harder when all I want is to wonder down Portobello road, visit my fav cafe and second hand shops with my best mate and baby of course. I miss my mum too, she’s a firecracker and a good friend. But what I don’t miss is Woolwich town centre or moody people on the tube, everyone being so guarded and paranoid, being rushed at supermarket checkout which making me freak out and drop stuff, the grey, expensive food and crap Thai curries.

To many, this post will seem ungrateful for the beautiful life I have here of my choosing but if you’ve lived abroad you know, yes it’s sunny here but I’m not sitting by the pool drinking a pina coladas, I’m running around after 3 years olds with sweat running down my back, until today I had no idea how long my hair is as I NEVER have it out and two words; boob sweat.

It’s a catch 22 situation

catch-22
noun
 
  1. a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

 

My reality is I will never feel truly at home now, not in the UK or Thailand. My heart exists in both of these places and while I keep finding £1 coins in the bottom of my bag I’ll continue missing the UK, until I’m there then I’ll miss proper papaya salads and home here.

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Holland park

 

 

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*sabai means easy and if you reading this Adrian, you are more than welcome to put $5 in my account as you said you would, right?!

The loneliness of Motherhood

On my cycle tonight, I started thinking about a feeling that has been present since the birth of my little girl, something that was never spoken about.

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My favourite pregnancy picture after picking blackberries on Woolwich common, on my due date (she was 5 days late) At this point I knew nothing!

People warn you of the sleepless nights, they tell you time goes so fast, they try to fit into words the unending love you will suddenly feel although it’s impossible to articulate, but what is never mentioned  is the sheer isolation and loneliness that comes with being a mum.

Today I thought could it be that the hours in the days feel lengthier as you are awake more when previously you would have been sleeping?

Is it that you suddenly know the feeling of 4am, not the ‘staggering home from a night out’ feeling but being woken again and again to an unsettled baby? In these early hours you get to know the silence and the sound of everyone else sleeping. You see the light of the day unfold and know that you have at most 2 hours sleep left and then the daily tasks start again.

Maybe because you are predominantly communicating with a tiny human who is incapable of answering back and if they do in cries most of the time you haven’t got a clue why.

Could be that as a mum you are home more during the day, alone but with your babe or you’re out walking alone. If meeting friends you have the other mums who are empathetic but you start conversations that are never finished because feeding or nappy changes get in the way. Or there are the childless friends who you still adore listening to telling stories of days/nights out but you feel so exhausted right down to your bones you find it hard to focus on them, never mind that you have a fidgety midget to contend with.

If you’re not at home and are a working mum, there’s the vacuum of worry about your little one’s safety, happiness, stimulation and the guilt, the constant mummy guilt, in a workplace where you should be thrilled to be, that can feel so isolating.

Does it feel this way as ‘it’ falls in your lap? It being EVERYTHING, the mum is the beacon of most households and she’s the one who cuddles, nurses, feeds and knows when their getting too big for their baby grows.

Perhaps because the last time you remember having good, interrupted quality time with your partner was when you conceived (slight exaggeration here but you get the gist)

All of these paint a bleak picture and yet are very much the reality of becoming a new mum. I recently added in a language barrier to the challenge so even if I want to talk to the woman 3 doors down about her newborn babe I’m unable and I miss my mum friends in the UK.

This is the secret code of mothers, they will moan amongst themselves but at the same time be acutely aware that some women are unable to have a baby to complain about and I think…

that’s it.

That’s the real reason why no one tells you it’ll be lonely, because as mums we get up and get on and know daily, hourly and by the second just how lucky we are.

 
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