Although “home” for me is wherever Tech Guy and English Rose are, beyond that, I often picture myself straddling a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, one leg stretched towards the UK, the other in the direction of Canada.
I’m happily settled in a small town in Eastern Ontario, Canada (an area where my family roots extend to 1819), but by virtue of living in England for so many years and holding dual Canadian/British nationality, England will always be my “second home.”
I haven’t been back to the UK since 2016, but in a few days, I’ll kiss Tech Guy and English Rose goodbye to fly to Manchester to spend a week in the north of England to attend a writing conference and visit friends.
Although I love Canada, I love England too and for reasons that go beyond its built heritage and pretty countryside, literary sites, fabulous fashion and shoes!
As an introvert, I’m supremely comfortable in a country where chatting to strangers in public isn’t expected and indeed may (politely) be frowned upon.
And when chatting does take place, there’s something oddly reassuring about starting a conversation by talking about the weather.
Along with understatement, self-deprecating British humour is one of the things I miss most about my adopted country.
People in the UK have mastered the art of sarcasm and irony, and also find humour in the foibles of everyday life in ways I haven’t experienced elsewhere.
Along with packing my suitcase and pulling out my British passport (in its pretty pink holder, a present from an English friend), I’m also dusting off the British vocabulary I don’t use in Canada except with my immediate family.
From being “gobsmacked” (astonished) to having something go “pear-shaped” (go wrong), British English brims with words to delight a wordsmith like me.
During my travels, I plan to visit several “shops” (stores) to buy “bits and bobs” (odds and ends), including stocking up on some favourite “sweets” (candies).
If the current UK heatwave continues, I may even have an “ice lolly” (popsicle) or a “99 Flake” (a vanilla ice cream cone with a melt-in-the-mouth crumbly chocolate bar).
When I lived in England, I lived almost as far inland as it’s possible to be in an island nation.
Yet, when I’m in the UK, and no matter the time of year, a trip to the seaside is one of my favourite ways to spend a day. There’s something about walking on a pier with the gulls wheeling overhead, a book tucked into my bag, and the smell of fish and chips on the breeze, that nourishes my soul.