It’s been a fortnight since we returned from the UK to the US. We are heading back to New Zealand to live at the beginning of October, but for now we’re in limbo; between the two places we love.
I haven’t felt like writing anything much, but have tried to fit in a little reminiscing about our trip. It’s bittersweet to write about the times we shared with our wonderful family and friends whilst in the UK: On the one hand, the photos and memories make the trip linger on and make everyone we love there feel closer; On the other hand, I’m thrown against the wall of reality – that we shan’t see them for a year or so, at the least, and we are about to move even further away again – back to New Zealand.
On every trip back there are always so many people we don’t manage to meet up with; as well as all the wonderful reunions I write about. I haven’t seen many cousins, aunts and uncles in well over a decade. The UK is my home of birth, but not my children’s home. They were born in New Zealand and, as much as they’ve enjoyed this time living in the US, are looking forward to getting back there.
I am forever torn in two – trying to be positive for my children and their future (for sure they have an amazing life in New Zealand and a wonderful future with so much freedom of choice and opportunities), whilst feeling guilty at not being there for my folks. I feel driven to write down all the events, both big and small, that make up the passages of time; clinging on to them to protect them from fading. However faded those memories become they will live on in photographs and the love that we shall always feel in our hearts.
So, this is what it is; a place where I can write about the times we have shared and safeguard them in some small way.
Our last week in Europe was spent with my Mum and Dad in their Hampshire home.
It’s where they have lived for thirty-five years and where I grew up. My best-friend, from when I was 11, still lives a few houses away and many of my other school friends have stayed and are seeing their own children pass through the schools we went to. The week was one of spending time with people that have touched my life throughout the years and still mean so much to me. I caught up with friends over coffee, at local pubs, even at a new trampoline centre (anything to keep the children happy!).
My best friend and Miss 8
My best friend and I
Having a blast and a bounce
Miss 8 goes for a run on my old ‘turf’
Playing outside my best friend’s house
Youngest, Miss 4, having a blast at my friend’s house
My folks garden
Beautiful English country garden
Old University friends of both my husband and I (yes, we met way back then… at Southampton University) came together. We shared memories, talked of our different life journeys – the happy and sad parts that combine to make life’s rich tapestry – and looked forward through our children’s eyes at what is yet to be.
Me holding a University friend’s 4 week old baby
University friends and some offspring!
Our Miss 8 holding 4 week old baby
Our Miss 4 with friend’s 4 year old, each holding a 4 week old baby – twins! Boy and girl.
Our eldest daughter, aged 11, holding our friend’s 4 week old baby.
We took a day trip into London with my folks and our children, walking through the parks and admiring the sights steeped in history. Hubby took our older two children to the theatre to see ‘Phantom of the Opera’, whilst I spent a lovely afternoon boating along the river Thames with our youngest daughter and my folks.
Charlotte & Sophie exploring
Grandma & Granddad boating along the River Thames with Alice
The Shard, London
The Tower of London
Waiting for Phantom of the Opera to start
Sophie standing guard
Changing of the guard
Sophie & Alice meet a friendly squirrel
Creeping up on a squirrel
Granddad with his granddaughters, ‘taming’ a squirrel
Houses of Parliament
Charlotte & Big Ben
Alice & Grandma
The week came to a close on a Friday. Our flight scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon. The last day was spent sharing my best friend’s celebration of her youngest son turning ten. She kindly invited us to share the ‘football party’. It was lovely to see her sons and my daughters getting on so easily.
In the afternoon one of our nephew’s, Michael, came down from his University digs, along with his lovely girlfriend, to spend the evening with hubby and I. One of the binding memories of our visit to the UK this time round was how our daughters enjoyed the company of their older cousins – they were reunited with all but one of their six cousins. All their cousins are boys, and most are a fair bit older, but the bond of family made their union easy.
Likewise, the bond between Aunts and Uncles and the girls, their nieces, was lovely to see.
Seeing my sister and having the chance to head out for a run with her was a special highlight for me (yes, I’m still running – before wine… have to earn it now I’m forty!).
The memories will live on in our hearts forever xxx
Linking up with ‘The Photo Gallery’ at Sticky Fingers