Intermission

Everyone seems to be getting ready to leave the island. Some schools are already out. I can’t keep up with the daily diary of dates of departures, re-entries, patchwork trips across Europe, America, Australia, mental maps of who goes where and when. By the time we leave in two weeks the bulk of my friends will already be gone. By the time we get back at the start of August, those who left early will already be back here in Sing and the children reinstalled in their schools, and all the Brits who break up later like me but didn’t leave as soon as us, but a little bit later, will be left behind in Blighty just starting their UK sojourn. Exhausting. It’s travel maths, that’s what it is, and I can’t compute.

Now I think of it, when we landed last August things were eerily quiet. It was like Hampstead in summertime but on a huge, huge scale – a mass exodus and the locals all breathing tetchy sighs of relief and enjoying the empty pavements and roads. I am already looking beyond the trip to the flight back here and for the most part I think I’ll be OK about coming back again, if only to sit down after a busy four weeks of catching up. I do wonder if I’ll go through that g-force re-entry all over again, with the same sensations I had last time: homesickness, culture shock, loneliness and that claustrophobic far-away feeling of being stuck way down at the bottom of a long sock like a forgotten Christmas tangerine. I guess we’ll soon see.

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