The blog has been on vacation – and you probably haven’t noticed because the Earth keeps turning on its axis and it’s getting distinctly chilly in London. Autumnal. There was one day of raging-hot temperatures – a show of last-summer bravado – but I fear it might be truly OVER.
With that in mind, I’ll recap on summer’s last few weeks before it becomes nothing but a dusty memory in my brain:
- We all got lice. I had one of those moments as a parent, an epiphany you might say. I discovered that parenthood will continue to surprise you, no matter how long you’ve been at it. I also learned that lice are incredibly tenacious and remarkably evolved to survive. Damn them. So I thought I had zapped them a few weeks ago, only to discover that they came back with a vengeance and attacked me. There is something distinctly surreal about having your nearly 70-year-old mother combing through your hair looking for the parasites and remarking, ‘You do have a lot of grey hair.’ Thanks, Mom.
- I went to Sea World in San Diego. Americans just know how to do theme parks. Thanks to the sponsorship of Anheuser-Busch, I also got to enjoy a refreshing Bud Light lime. The only downside of the day, really, was the Shamu show. I couldn’t help but notice that the mammals hardly seemed happy, with their dorsal fins flopping about and a lack of space. And I also noticed that the trainers no longer get in the water with the orcas. I guess it’s just one accident or death too many. So there is no more diving off Shamu’s nose. In fact, all the orcas do nowadays is splash water at people, which seems a tad undignified if you ask me.
- I went to the San Diego Zoo. Can’t recommend it highly enough. If you suffer a pang of guilt at the thought of sea otters and walruses performing tricks at Sea World, the SD Zoo is a reminder that not all cages are either visible or entirely bad.
- I got behind the wheel of a car for the first time in over a year and learned that I hate driving just about as much as I remembered I did. If I move back to southern California, I really do have to get over this perpetual feeling that I will end up in a car crash.
- I discovered that the top posting on my blog is none other than the one about my verruca (plantar’s wart) disappearing after 13 long, painful years. I don’t know why this has captured everyone’s imagination, but I suspect there are quite a few people with warts out there.
- I now officially have two children in school. I’ve gone from pushing them around in a stroller to holding their hands as they cross the street to ‘Big School’. I didn’t cry, but I’m rather astounded the baby phase is over. At the time, however, it felt like it might go on forever, particularly when I was awake with a crying infant at 3am. Now I sneak into the kids’ room when they are fast asleep and look for the babies they once were in their sleeping faces.
- I turned 40. That’s right, I’m middle aged. I now fully understand why it’s middle age, because precisely half the population appears to be younger than me. In my head I never look much older than 30, so I am always surprised when I meet someone and think how terribly old they look, only to discover that they are actually younger than me! So then I have to ask myself, do I look that old? I don’t truly know, but I have started spending almost as much time plucking grey hairs as I do on makeup. That must tell you something.
- A friend in San Diego gave me a letter from my past. It was dated January 1997 and mentioned my arrival in London all those years ago. In the digital age we have forgotten the permanence and power of letters. Here it was, my thoughts on the city that has become my home, written on three densely packed pages. I wasn’t very impressed, but I explained how this experience in a foreign country was bound to make me a better person and how travelling opened my eyes to another world. The English Husband got mentioned as ‘one of the most decent people I have ever met’ but sadly with Girlfriend. I want to write to the previous me and tell her, you will never believe your future.
- I saw my family for nearly six weeks and discovered that the true downside of travel is that you always have to say goodbye, whether to your vacation, your days of freedom, the people you love or your experiences. Goodbye is the hardest word.
That is the summer in a nutshell. The light is changing here in London. The harsh summer glare has been replaced with something softer and gentler. It went, as always, too fast.