Happy 2018! How has the start of your year been? If you’re a regular reader of this blog or my lovefromri Instagram page, you might have some idea that it’s not been the smoothest beginning to the year for me. So, here’s what happened – in all its water-logged glory.
There we were – Greg, the kids and I – back in the Motherland (England) for the entire festive season. And one which already wasn’t pre-ordained to be the most relaxing experience. It was amazing, of course, to see my nearest and dearest – in particular, my mum. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, my mother is terminally ill. She is now using a wheelchair and watching her struggle to carry out some everyday tasks has been truly heart-breaking. But, she is one tough lady. And while life is always going to be harder when a loved one is seriously ill, the way my mother has remained upbeat when her world has become so much smaller is exemplary. This is a lady who has travelled Africa, India, Asia, the States and Europe, so to have one’s travelling options (even on a day-to-day basis) severely reduced is life-altering. But this is one aspect of her illness, I have never heard her complain about,
Anyway, I digress. So, there we were enjoying, for the most part, those Christmas and New Year festivities when we received the call. You know, one of THOSE calls. The ‘your house is flooded’ kind of call. (Actually, I hope for your sake that you haven’t ever received one of these calls). It was nighttime in the UK. And as we’d spent most of the afternoon enjoying an, ahem, rather boozy family lunch out (mum included), my first reaction was, ‘this has got to be a hoax. Except it wasn’t.
We were so far away and felt helpless. A water pipe had burst, as temperatures plummeted to historical depths in New England, flooding our kitchen and entire basement. We were utterly dependent on the various voices on the other end of the phone. Both the fire department and Water Damage teams responded to the emergency and got rid of the newly acquired basement swimming pool (much, I imagine, to the children’s disappointment).
Somehow, we remained calm (on the outside!), made all the necessary calls and pursued our insurance company. And, just a few days later, we flew back home (well not home home obvs) to the US. Let’s put it like this; we weren’t going to be unpacking our suitcases anytime soon.
I’m hoping by the time summer comes around, a new kitchen will have been worth the upheaval and initial stress. I’m looking on the bright side. Of course, I would much rather be in my own home with my own possessions. We miss our stuff! But what can we do? We’re staying in a small (small by East Greenwich standards. By London standards, it’s a mansion!) but lovely apartment near to town. When Greg and I went travelling, in our late-twenties, we moved around Australia and Asia – sometimes staying two/three months in a place, sometimes a night. We managed to live out of our backpacks for a year, sometimes not knowing where we were going to sleep as we headed towards another new and exciting destination, so we can definitely handle what life has thrown at us now.
It’s often said that you find your true friends in times of adversity; and all I know is I got super lucky with my friends here in EG. They have shown Greg, Fletcher, Sadie and I such love, generosity and kindness with vouchers that have been used for meals on Main Street, kids’ snow trousers lent/given because I don’t know where their other ones have been stored, wine (that most necessary of de-stressors) and invites for meals. Thank you, lovely people of EG. Thank you. It means so much. When life is grey, those rays of sun shine brighter than ever.
And when I miss my home? Well, we didn’t move 3,200 miles for the easy life, did we?