‘Due South, that’s the way I’m going,
My guilty pleasure. My husband indulges me this tune on our VW camper van drive back to Valencia, the place we now think of as home. I LOVE this song with an irrational passion. My sister and I used to watch the show every Tuesday evening as kids, on BBC2, and sing the song as the credits rolled over snowy Canada. Despite my love for this theme tune, I don’t listen to it very often because I simultaneously want to laugh and cry when I hear it. I laugh, because of my excitement for this ridiculously cheesy song. I sometimes get a little teary-eyed (no, not for the afore-mentioned reason) but because the lyrics ring true with me, especially when we first left to move to Valencia.
It’s that feeling, which becomes more of a wrench after every trip home (where is home?) The feeling of being torn between the home where those I love dearest live, and the home where the sun shines every day; where I feel happy and healthy. After several weeks in England, the desire to stay there, so I can see my family without using my passport, is tempting. This feeling battles with the knowledge of why I left in the first place. Having moved back and forth between mainland Europe and England several times, I believe that you cannot go back; you can never really go back. Not because things change, but because you change. After living a different life abroad, you go home and feel a little bit foreign in your own country. The novelty soon wears off and your feet itch once again.
I’ve written before on the bittersweetness of being an expat/immigrant/traveller, call it what you will. We are fortunate enough to have a good group of friends here in VLC: some Spanish, some from little old England and a few from further afield. There’s a camaraderie that comes from us all knowing the highs and lows of this lifestyle. And one of the lows is summed up perfectly in that cheesy, Canadian theme tune from an early 90s TV show:
‘You know that you must leave here,
but you wish that you could stay.’
Due South strikes a chord in me. I know the feeling that Jay Semko sings of and that is why I love listening to it, every now and again. I mean, I REALLY LOVE listening to it.
Sorry. Not sorry.
So, we have passed six months in Valencia. Sunny, hot, beautiful Valencia. Next week, however, we are leaving for a month in England. Everyone says that the heat in Valencia is unbearable in August, and I expect that everyone is right. So we will pack up our beloved Victor Hugo (our VW Camper van) and head North for the summer. This is the first time that I have left Spain in the height of summer, knowing that I will be returning to the same place in September. This is a huge relief, as I do not have to contend with the prospect of Winter in England, phew.
If you have read any of my other posts, you will know how alive I feel in a Mediterranean climate; how relieved I feel to see the sun every day and how good this makes life in general feel. So you may be surprised to read that I am actually looking forward to several things about a month in the North of England. Here we go…
- Spending time with family and old friends; obviously.
- The beach in the photo above. It certainly isn’t a beach of golden sand and clear waters, but I grew up by this beach. I have seen the Irish Sea breach the sea walls; close the promenade in Winter and wash up thousands of starfish in summer. This beach and sea have an energy that courses through my veins. The sunsets are spectacular; unrivalled by any others I have seen. A walk on this beach is refreshing and energising. The same cannot be said of the golden sands of Valencia’s beach, which I also love, in a different way.
- More variety in the supermarkets! Terrible though the reputation of English food is, our traditional, bland cuisine has paved the way for creativity in the kitchen. In countries like Spain, France and Italy, which all have their own culinary traditions, there isn’t the same need for the variety and fusion that we have in the UK. However, in Spain, this means that the supermarkets all sell the same ingredients, which can be quite boring if you want to cook something a little more exotic than paella.
- Connected to the point above: all the food we eat at home, and out, in England which is unavailable here! Sandwiches, scones, Victoria sponge, tea, quiche, pies, English ham, Quorn, pub food…Ah, bring it on!
- A population which is generally spacially aware. I am looking forward to people who look where they are going; who aren’t practically in my back pocket when I am queueing at the supermarket; who don’t stop in the shop doorway/at the top of the escalator/in the middle of the road to have a chat. This irks me no end so I’ll stop now.
- Changing skies and weather. After almost six months of blue skies, sunshine and increasingly hot temperatures, I will appreciate some cooler weather and variety; just for a month though! I am also a little apprehensive about what will feel like a huge drop in temperature for us. It has currently been around 32C on average. Back home it’s around 18C, at the height of summer. I really feel the cold, even in summer, so I’ll be packing jeans and jumpers for our ‘summer’ back home!
So, we’re leaving our current home to go back home for a month. When you are a traveller, anywhere you make connections feels like home. Still, wherever you call home, there will always be something, and someone you miss.