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Nothing stays the same and nothing changes… (part 1)

Tuesday morning

I just woke up. Where am I? I’ve been having dreams about a friend, the same friend for two or three nights and they never end well, I can’t understand why… what is my brain trying to tell me? I wake up confused.

Two days ago I was on our amazing One Sound show, singing with my colleagues in front of 700 people and the next day knackered having a Sunday coffee with a friend and then watching Beast at Harbour Lights, a film I’m still thinking about.

But now I’m in the summer PJs my mum got me (pink floral Good Vibes written on the top, very fitting), it feels warm, no it feels hot, I must have sweat a lot last night. I remember. I remember my long day of taxi, train, flight. I remember the airport guard looking for a specific guy on my flight but he never showed up, I remember watching Schindler’s List on the plane (why I thought it’d be a good time to do that I don’t know,de-press-ing), my sisters and my mum at the airport…

I’m at home… my other home, my first home…

It always feels weird the first day or two I’m back. No matter how often I may visit, I always get this ‘out of place’ feeling every time. As if I travelled for days and I’m  now on another planet, an utterly and completely different life that’s somehow very familiar.

I guess it is. I’m a different person here, but also the same. Does that make sense? I’m not sure it does but I have a feeling that expats will get it.

Every time I come home I remember the person I used to be before I left, how I changed over the years, how I grew up, how living in the UK has changed me, but somehow deep down I’m still the same little girl. Am I a different person here or just a different version of myself?

I guess I subconsciously adapt to the environment, different people, different culture, different weather. Different but familiar… A familiar environment, everything is familiar but not as familiar as it used to be. People here are more open, more affectionate. I forget how they stare, how they start a conversation with a stranger with such ease. And after a day or two I’m more open and ‘more’ of everything myself. The wonders of human nature. How easily we learn and adapt to a different way of living… especially when we lived it before in ‘another life’.

Why am I thinking all of this now? Maybe it’s because I didn’t have any time to think for the last week or two, maybe a walk at the beach and a coffee by the sea with friends will help…

I keep mumbling Bastille’s Pompeii… But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?

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Wednesday morning

Marios, the hairdresser remembers me and my friends in primary school. He remembers me playing my guitar… How? Why can’t I remember him? I wonder what my childhood friends are now doing… I later in the week discover that one of them is now a well known chef in Cyprus, Charalambos! I recognised him as soon as I saw him on TV. Last I remember of him was 10 year old us playing outside my grandma’s house. I have a picture of us on the school nativity play, he was Joseph and I was Holy Mary…

 

Later in the day…

I just got a message and a rainy snap from a friend back home. I sent him a snap of me in my summer attire. I finally escaped the longest winter, my longest winter in the UK. I smile… I’ve been chatting to two of my friends back… home all week. I don’t mind, I actually prefer it. I somehow don’t want to forget my ‘other’ life. It’s part of me.

I meet my little sister’s friends, her co-stars in the musical they’ve been working hard on for the last six months. I’ve heard so much about them and I can now put together faces and names. Although we just met they welcome me with such love and affection I find it moving and can’t stop smiling. They’ve heard a lot about me from my little sis and couldn’t wait for me to visit, and I’ve heard a lot about them, it feels as if we’ve already known each other for while. One of them wants to speak in English, he likes my ‘British’ accent. I giggle to myself. As much as I can try, I can never completely escape my ‘British’ self.

Later in the same day…

The three of us, again, like back in the day, in our uni years, having a drink and a cigarette, chatting, serious, deep conversations and bursting into hysterical laughs every now and then. No one would have ever guessed the turns, the ups and downs, the crazy, surreal almost things, people, events life threw at us. How we changed but we are somehow still the same.

Thursday morning

I can’t get out of bed. I’m exhausted. Ran out of energy. Completely. But I know today will be a long day. It’s the day of the show. That’s why I came home now and not summertime. I need to focus on that.

And stop thinking about what I’ll do when I’m back, decisions I need to make, what to focus on, what I can do to help the family here in case they need to move out in the near future. The condition of the flat is getting worse… the government is doing nothing. Maybe I can move in with a flatmate again so I can save and help my parents if needed? Although I hate it. Although I will worry whether they paid the bills, although I love and miss living on my own so much it hurts.

‘Do what is best for you. You are in your thirties, you work hard, you deserve to enjoy life, have your own place again. I’m sure everything will work out fine for us’ my mum said. I was about to cry but I didn’t. I knew that will set them off. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing pair for parents. They always put our happiness first. No matter what.

I feel guilt. I feel torn. What should I do? How do you make a decision like this? How do you make any important decision?

One of the reasons I need to go home every now and then (other than the sunshine) is to remember who I am, how much I’m loved, escape my troubles back home in the UK, reset and go back with a fresh mindset. But this time I find myself thinking of all the things I need to sort out most of the time. I can’t let it consume me…

A lyric from Vincent keeps playing in my mind…

Now I understand what you tried to say to me… how you suffered for your sanity…

Get ready, quickly, you only have an hour… Focus on the musical, focus on today, focus on the now. Please…

Eleni

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