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The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

I Feel at Home…

London is full of freaks, so I feel at home here…

This statement comes from my former employer. It was, in fact, so epic, that I decided there and then that one day, when I write a book about my life, I will use it as the opening statement. Alas, I don’t think I want to write a book anymore but it would be a shame to lose this gem of a sentence. So, RGD, thanks. Nine years on and I still remember it as if it was uttered yesterday.

I was going to write a book about how my life has panned out over the years, and about the weird and wonderful people I met along the way. But would anyone want to read it? Would it be good enough to justify the death of a tree in order to print it?

Would anyone care enough to buy a book that deals with such mundane topics as boyfriends, jobs, family, weight gain/loss, my life in a nutshell? To me, it is the most interesting topic but how does it compare in the grand scheme of things?

If I shell out some hard-earned cash for a book, I want to be able to read it cover-to-cover and walk away a richer person. Would I be able to provide this to any potential readers? I decided I don’t care if anyone wants to read my stuff but I do care about people wasting their money, only to find they cannot be bothered to finish reading the book.

This is where blogging is the obvious answer. You like what you’re reading, you can bookmark my page. You don’t, you just move on. No trees died in the process. No money wasted. Only a tiny bit of time elapsed which can be considered collateral damage.

I grew up with the innate knowledge that I am different. not just different from you, but DIFFERENT. Born to older parents, I often came up with words that my teachers weren’t familiar with. When I arrived at school, I knew how to read and write. I wasn’t coping very well when being told to do things the traditional way. On my first day at school, we were all asked to draw a picture of the sun, following precise instructions from my Year 1 teacher. Needless to say, I failed miserably because I did it my way. I was told off. I remember telling Mum that I didn’t like school much because they tell you how to do things. Poor Mum, I wonder whether she knew what was coming her way then.

I had a lot of friends then and was quite popular thanks to being a ‘people-person’ from a very young age. But I was mainly popular with boys who used to stand there open-mouthed when I discussed the fact that despite his size, a Diplodocus was a firm vegetarian, before grinning madly and declaring me ‘quite alright’. While other girls were dressing up their Barbies, I was spending my time crawling on the floor with my (male) friends, re-enacting pre-historic dinosaur wars. When my female classmates played happy families, so did I. Just that my ‘family members’ were all male, and we were bears (Ursus Arctos). My Mum found out early enough that any attempt at sending me to school wearing a new pair of tights would be pointless as I would come home in holey, dirty tights that were fit for the bin only. Oh, and with the explanation of ‘We were crawling through bushes under the bridge, of course — it’s where Bears live!’ when asked how is it possible that yet another pair of tights bites the dust.

So Mum switched to jeans — innumerable pairs, actually, due to the everyday grass stains on my knees, and me and my friends moved on to rocks. Geology captured our interest for about half a year. The hobby was hard to uphold because the early morning cleaners would throw away all our precious bits of random gravel that we spent hours collecting. Very disheartening but we all managed to get over it thanks to a new interest that arrived in Year 3 — foreign languages. My bedside table was getting rather crowded by then — with my walkman, my glasses, my Stegosaurus plastic toy, whatever ‘fun’ book I was reading at the time and now my German and English books. In Year 6, my friends and I were finally bumped up to the ‘self-study’ group in our English lessons (that was quite possibly the most brilliant decision my English teacher made, and one that shaped my love of anything linguistic… and boys, too). There were 5-6 of us, with me being the only female. It was only a matter of time now that I would end up doing something different with my life.

As a teenager, I used to work 7 out of the 8 weeks we had off school in the summer. I worked hard, from early morning (getting up at 4am by choice) till late afternoon (getting home around 6-7pm), six days every week, without pay. It was fun, it kept me out of trouble, it gave me ways to express myself creatively, and it was helping others. I think I got some money for it once but I wasn’t doing it for that. Money, to this day, is not high on my list of values (although it becomes more important by default, when there isn’t enough of it, but that’s a different story, for a different day).

I miss those times. They were the best years of my life. Not least because I made some of the most amazing friends in the world. I am not really in touch with most of them anymore, but if you guys are reading this, I love you. I always have and I always will. You would be surprised at how often you are in my thoughts… and it is only my own insecurities that are keeping me from contacting you again. I don’t think it would be the same, we have all moved on… but I still love you all and want to thank you for the good times we had. You made my life a happy place and I wish you all the best.

I moved away from home at 19, left everyone behind. My family, my friends, my church, my dog. I didn’t know it then but I lost a big part of myself. I am still trying to find it now. Hindsight is a great thing.

I created my life anew in an unfamiliar place, made new friends, I now feel at home here (moreso than when visiting my hometown), but a part of me wishes I could have it all. I wish I could go back ‘home’ and not feel like a stranger there. I wish I didn’t have to ask Mum ‘and where do you keep plates/glasses/sugar/shampoo these days?’; I wish I could go see RB and just sit down and be myself and let him play his guitar and sing along without stress or fear of being judged. Alas, I cannot do that because he is now ‘in a band’ and I would feel like a wally. Also, he has a girlfriend and I would hate to cause any friction. She wasn’t part of our circle back then so I only know her very superficially… I don’t know how she would react if I asked to spend time with her partner.

I would love to see my friend PV and sit down with a cuppa and enjoy each other’s company, discuss men, and God, and life. Of course I cannot because she is now a married Mrs and has a baby boy. I doubt I would figure very high on her list of priorities. She probably has a million and one things to do every day.

My best mate MB is living with her partner of 11 years and they have a little girl. They moved away from my hometown a while back, and even though I make a point of seeing her every time I go back, it is not really the same and we are kidding ourselves thinking we are still best friends.

My other best mate, JJ, hasn’t lived with her parents for years. She has a new exciting life somewhere else, with a respectable job and new friends. She came to see me last year. We spent a week together — longer than we have ever spent together in one go. When I asked her if she considered me to be her best friend, she couldn’t answer. I guess this is the price you pay for following your dream.

But I guess things have a way of working out. You move on, make new friends. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But you cannot give up because what will you be left with afterwards? Quitting is not an option. A person without friends is a sad one, a shadow of who they could be, a weak representation of their life’s potential.

Same with relationships. Boy meets girl, the usual story… You invest all your energy into this relationship, hoping it is The One. What nobody tells you is that after a certain amount of time has elapsed, relationships don’t maintain themselves on their own. Nobody tells you it is bloody hard work to just make things work. You invest time and effort in it, use your energy, your money, open your heart to the person… only to find out that, more often than not, things don’t work out and you end up going your separate ways. But quitting is not an option, so you pull yourself up and in time, find someone else who looks like he may be worth your time.

I have often wondered what the point of this exercise is. I had always naively thought that the goal of a relationship is to find the one person you want to spend all your life with and then get married. I have now come to the conclusion that the point of relationships is to learn and to grow as a person. And if you have the amazing fortune of finding your soulmate along the way, someone who is willing to work for the relationship and fight for your heart, then good on you.

Despite everything that I find annoying or unnecessary in my life, I would not swap it with anyone else’s, for no money or fame. This is who I am, I feel at home here. Yes, there are things I would like to be different — and I am slowly changing them. Conscious change is a slow process. I am hoping to learn a thing or two along the way.

Watch this space.