I am a big city girl – always have been, always will be I’m afraid. I’m not a fan of camping holidays (it’s been twenty years since I last slept in a tent) and I don’t jump for joy at the chance of attending an outdoor picnic in the park. I’d rather just sit at a table when I eat.
But I can’t stand the thought of spending the hot, humid, sometimes rainy, summer in the city. So as soon as my children finish school for the year, we swap London for a rural, rather insular, part of Sweden where my parents have a holiday house. I’ve come here every summer since I was little and I call this my spiritual home. Continue reading
Moving can be terribly stressful as I’ve recently experienced first hand.
For the past ten days my life has been all about unpacking and organising all the stuff I didn’t even realise we had; dealing with clueless customer services representatives at Virgin Media and Sky in an effort to sort out our phone and internet services; find a local GP that accepts new patients, and so on.
I’ve hardly paused to check in with myself. So, yesterday, when a technical fault on the District Line forced me to stay put, I finally had that opportunity.
That’s when I realised that amidst all the recent stress I’d become disconnected from myself, leaving me feeling drained, lost and empty inside.
Some people use meditation or prayer to re-establish their inner balance and connection; I read. Continue reading
It’s been a week since we moved into our new house and every day my husband scours our home – inside and outside – in search of any little snag and mishap that the builders need to fix.
Some things are major, such as the fact that the builders forgot (!) to install a radiator in the kitchen. Continue reading
After nine happy years here, we’ve finally outgrown our flat and have been immensely fortunate to buy a house.
I feel excited but also a little sad about our imminent move. My eight year old cries that she doesn’t want to move because she’s lived in our beautiful but cramped flat since she was in my tummy, as she puts it. Never mind that she’ll no longer have to share a room with her naughty little sister.
The five year old, in turn, loudly proclaims that the first thing she’ll do once we’re at the new house is post a sign on the door to her room, warning intruders (i.e. her sister and parents) not to enter without permission or face grave consequences.
My husband will have his own office and I get a room of my own too!
I have moved a lot in my adult life: first from Sweden to the American Midwest at the age of 19; then onwards to Washington DC and New York City and, sixteen years ago, I landed here in London.
Each time I moved somewhere new and unknown, a part of me saw it as a chance to start a new life of sorts, escaping my painful past and reinventing myself.
This time, however, it’s different. I am no longer trying to get away from myself. After forty odd years on this earth I am finally at home wherever I am, because I know I am whole.
I don’t search anymore for external connections to give myself a sense of belonging, for at last I’ve discovered that the connection I was looking for all those years, was always within myself.
Like so many other little girls, I dreamed of owning a Barbie doll – the ultimate beauty and fashion statement for young girls.
But it was the late 1970s, a time of women’s liberation in Sweden where I grew up and Barbie, my mother was convinced, was a bad, bad influence on a young girl.
You only had to look at Barbie’s impossibly long and skinny limbs, her tiny waist and absurdly disproportionate bust, not to mention her make-up heavy face, to understand my mother’s refusal to indulge my desire. Or so she believed.
I, on the other hand, couldn’t fathom why my mother was so vehemently against Barbie dolls. Everyone had them. Continue reading