7 months and 1 day ago I flew home from South Africa and moved back in with my folks for an intentionally short while.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. I’ve massively appreciated being able to stay with the ‘rents, and seeing more of my lovely sisters, and the nieces and nephew, and just generally take a bit of time to… breathe… after Jo’burg-life.
But, Carlisle, where the fam’ happens to live is also one of my least favourite places in the world.
Which is kind of a shame, because it’s probably, actually quite nice. It’s in a great part of the country: north (most importantly), with cool, interesting history, Scotland on the border, and some really stunning surroundings (Lake District to the south, Pennines to the east, Moffat Hills to the north), and the town itself is really, rather pretty.
But I just can’t like it.
Partly because it reminds me of being a teenager (which I really do not want to be reminded of) and partly because it thinks it’s a big city, when it’s really just a glorified market town, and I don’t love that in-between nature. I like big cities. I like wide open spaces. But I’m not crazy about the stuff in the middle.
Good news then is that I’ve only got a month left, before I move to my new home in the very proper city of Newcastle (pop. 800,000 [versus Carlisle’s 103,700]).
The other good news actually is that I did find something to make the last 7 months rather a lot more fun than expected, specifically, and surprisingly, church.
St Michael’s is the church that I’ve been an, on and off, member of for the last 19 years. I’ve grown up there and seen the place in good times and not so good times, but once I moved away for the first time, at 18, I’ve not really been there for much longer than odd weeks over summer holidays or at Christmas, so being able to be there and involved for 7 whole months has been really great.
I’ve been in a home-group, I’ve helped with Youth Alpha, and most randomly, have been helping out at a weekly mother and toddler group. This last one has been really fun and given me a great chance to make friends with a group of ladies who are very lovely (and who haven’t known me since I was seven – joy!).
They’re all a wee bit older than I am, and they all lead quite different lives (specifically due to the fact that they’re all married and mothers-of-many-small-children and I am… not) but they’re also very wonderful and will be on my list of reasons I’m sad to leave Carlisle.
Tomorrow is the last mother and toddler meeting of the term (sob) and last night I went out with some of the lovely ladies for pizza and general hilarity.
In summary: getting ready to miss some folk.