Friday, 9 July 2010

A taste of home

It hasn't even been two months, but already I find myself missing that all-important sense of belonging, of being tethered to something tangible.

It's a weird, discombobulated feeling being a stranger in a strange land and, over the last few weeks, I've found myself aching for the familiar.

Which is probably why I almost kissed the Kiwi couple and their student son who fetched up behind me in the queue at Sainsburys yesterday. A day spent clenching my jaw was made even worse by half of Bristol attempting to do their shopping at the same time. And just to ensure my crap well didn't run dry, when I asked a staff member where the tahini was, he looked at me as though I was special needs (despite describing and spelling the word. Very slowly. Several times). And then he led me on a marathon around the bleeding store to find it.

By this time, petulant six-year-old Shazzy showed signs of bursting, alien-like, from my body. But then I heard that familiar vowel-stretching accent and, before long, the Kiwi couple (who were in town for their son's graduation from Bristol Uni) and I were chatting like old mates. There was a reassuring resonance, a clicking into place, a sharing of the familiar in an alien, anonymous city.

They probably don't realise it, but that couple's small gesture of kindness, their gift of conversation, helped me reconnect to a life I'm only now beginning to realise was more special than I ever appreciated.

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