Monday Morning Musing #51 – our first year

A quick local lunch in Penang with Terry Anne

I can hardly believe it but a year has gone by since our first Monday Morning Musing. Okay, so we missed one or two along the way, but as this is our 51st blog I’m going to celebrate reaching the Year One mark.

So, how far have we come and what’s really been going on since we began?

For a start, Terry Anne has moved from being my nextdoor neighbour in The Hague to Dreamcatcher, her wooden family mountain home in Alberta, Canada. As I write this she is in mid-air flying from her impromptu writing sojourn in Penang, Malaysia and by the time you read this she will be back in the Netherlands. Come Monday evening and she and Bruce will be our houseguests for a short while. Full circle.

As for me, despite our best efforts to buy a property in my gorgeous hometown of Stamford, England, we have failed in two attempts to buy a forever home and so you find us, amazingly for an expat, exactly where we started a year ago. Same house, same street, same town. And yet, I too have been round the world in the interim having run two life story writing weeks at The Watermill in Posara, Tuscany and three Writing Me-Treats, two in Stamford and one deep in the jungle at Tiger Rock, on Pangkor Island a short distance from Penang. This time next week I’ll be back in Posara, again with a full class. We’ve holidayed in Spain twice, France, Croatia, Portugal, Morocco, Malaysia and Hungary during this time as well. And let’s not forget that I have job and have helped ten people with their book-writing projects alone during this time. I’ve run workshops, led a monthly writer’s circle and spoken at a conference in Thailand. I’ve even been to the cinema most weeks and tried to do some walking, yoga and pilates.

No one can deny that this is a rich life, a varied life, a rewarding life, a busy life and that is just how I like it. After three decades of moving from posting to posting moving has become our normal. In the last year barely three weeks have gone by without the need for me to visit the Departure Lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and each time I walk the few hundred yards to the nearest tram, ride four stops to the central station and grab the Intercity to Schiphol I count my lucky stars that it takes under an hour door-to-door. The world is at once so large and yet so small, so navigable. As I look back on this past year I am grateful for the opportunities that this life on the move has brought my way. I get to see friends from other countries so often that it is easy to take it for granted.

And yet all this constant busyness means that my cupboards are in desperate need of sorting out, the ironing pile reaches the ceiling, our Marie Kondo book lies untouched, my suitcase lives permanently on the bedroom floor. I admit I’m not the tidiest of people but it is hard to find the time to take stock, decompress and process all these experiences, let alone get the house in order and my accounts up to date. I look at the calendar and realise Ian and I have just one weekend together at home, just us, in the next six weeks.

It’s a rich life, a varied life and I would not change it for the world, but looking back at what I have just written I am exhausted.

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