It was one of those trips that your heart, mind and body needed; one of those trips where nothing crazy happens, instead you just sit back and appreciate the simpler things in life.
I went without John so that I had time to myself, time to reflect on this past year, our relationship, our future and most of all I had all of my time to dedicate to my loved ones back in the UK.
Its funny, when you live somewhere and you’re fully immersed in the craziness of everyday life you take the things around you for granted. When I lived at home, I never really appreciated the beauty that surrounded me, and it wasn’t until I left that I realized how beautiful and magical the village where my parents live is. A friend said to me that my pictures reminded her of the movie ‘The Holiday’, and she’s right, its idyllic and serene.
Living abroad means that I often get people telling me about their amazing time in London, don’t get me wrong i’m excited for them and their memories, but I cant help but feel disappointed for them because there is SO much more to the UK than London, the red buses, the lack Taxi’s and Big Ben. I’ve been lucky to live in what I believe two of the nicest places in the UK, Wales and Hampshire.
So here’s a little insight to what the UK holds beyond the Capital City.
The first thing I do whenever I get home is run straight upstairs to my parents bedroom, go out on their balcony that over looks the beautiful Test Valley. I stand there for a few moments and take the views, then close my eyes and breathe in the crisp clean countryside air, its magical (unless there is a pungent smell of cow shit); then I take a picture.
Pretty much my entire time spent in Hampshire this time round consisted of walking, running and eating scones.
I used the week when I was at home as an active recovery week, meaning light runs, walks and body weight strength training using what ever I could find; my running program had ended but it wasn’t time to start my next training program so it was the perfect opportunity to run intuitively. Rather than watching the pace and the mileage, I just ran and took in the scenery, stopping to look at wildlife, generally have the best time ever. Running in the freezing cold, iced over roads and the general terrain of the countryside is a different type of challenge from hot and humid Orlando.
Christmas is my favorite time of year in the UK, the streets are lined with fairy lights, its cold, the Christmas markets are full of locally made gifts, and the smell of mulled wine is inviting. Bundling up in an absurd amount of clothes and sipping on mulled whilst watching people fall over on the ice rink is up there as one of my favorite holiday activities……….. the more mulled wine, the funner it gets.
Look at the puppy!
Towards the tail end of my trip I headed back to my homeland, Wales, to see the rest of my Family and Friends. Like I said at the beginning I wanted to do as little traveling as possible, but I also wanted to see people. So my wonderful Grandparents had an open house on the Saturday for a few hours for the Family and my Friends to drop by; it was the perfect day.
My Grandparents had some of their old home videos transferred from tape to DVD, so we sat and watched their trip to Florida during the 10th Anniversary of Disney World; it was grainy, but magical. It made me feel less guilty living so far away because they have already been there so they have an idea of where I am, its a connection we will always have. Fun Fact, the video didn’t have any sound so watching my family laughing, running, jumping and cheering but with no sound was HILARIOUS.
Please let me look this good and happy in my late 70’S early 80’s.
We drove home the next day with the biggest smiles and fullest hearts.
The final Sunday home was weird, we were excited to put up the Christmas decorations (much to my step-dad’s dismay, because according to him its too soon), yet we were a tad somber because it meant that tomorrow I was leaving. By 10am my mum was already crying, so we had to crack out the ‘cruel to be kin’d comments and a bottle of fizz – look it was 5’oclock somewhere, okay.
That wraps up my short but sweet trip home, and a small insight to the beauty of the Hampshire Countryside.
As much as I love the UK and the people and memories it holds, I was ready to return back to my other home in the USA. The night before I leave is always and always will be bittersweet. I love my home and my Friends over in the USA, but the amount I miss my Family and Friends back in the UK is really painful sometimes; if only I was a 3 hour plane ride away.
I will always be so grateful to have have two places I can call home, to have those people that are so close to my heart that make leaving so much harder; so to everyone that I saw and spoke to the other week, thank you for being you and i’m sorry for being so far away.