There is a world of contrast finding yourself one night on a paradise island, the next night a grubby port town listening to live music, one night in the jungle with the sounds of frogs and birds to the international hub of KL airport sharing dinner with a man from Liberia. The termultuous mix of emotions about coming home after 947 days, reuniting with family and friends but also being shot back into a new chapter made for a flurry of nerves and excitement.
After 12 hours on a plane, I landed at Heathrow. 5:25am but feeling like it was midday. Reuniting with mum was almost mute and emotional, both having felt like she had shared a lot of the journey with me, but also strange to not see her buffering through a dodgy internet connection.
We joined the motorway for Bristol, Bex’s new home. Probably the biggest marker of time passed is my baby sister having a flat, car, job and making me breakfast. The air was frosty, the trees bare, fog making the drive mysterious and wintery.
It was a jolt of the unfamiliar in ways I hadn’t anticipated, the deciduous trees, the abundance of bricks in the houses and walls, but apart from that, it took a matter of minutes over breakfast for the years to melt away and the mocking sarcasm to set in once more.
It was lovely to be ‘home’ whilst still being in an altogether unfamiliar place, so after souvenir swapping and a load of washing I’ll outlay our Bristol break:
10am: Raid Bex’s wardrobe, apply lipstick, unashamedly hammer out the selfies
2pm: successful new dress for one of us confirmed by the enthusiasm of the changing room staff and bored husbands of other shoppers
3pm: jet lag crash in the shoe department whilst mum and Bex battle on
4pm: Back to Bex’s for Netflix under the duvet
7pm: Dinner, Prosecco, more selfies
9pm: more fits of giggles before falling into bed
Day 2 home
5:30am: wide awake, starving and raiding the fridge
7:30am: normal people breakfast time
10am: bridesmaids workout whilst the bride gets an hours peace for some work
11am: more lipstick, selfies and the realisation that if we all lived together we would be late for everything
3pm: a stroll through town and along the waterfront. Drinks with a view, me grumpy as it feels like bedtime.
Did you for example know why the town hall has two unicorns on the roof, no? You haven’t heard the story of Mayor Joust who got his mayorship by winning over the people of Bristol by making his white and black horses fight to the death? All facts to be taken with a truck load of salt!
7:00pm: Dinner in the city. Cocktails and all.
Day 3 home
8am: back on a normal person schedule. Waffles and coffee for breakfast
10am: heading to the M shed museum to brush up on our knowledge of Bristols places, Roman roots and slave trading past
Next up in the reunion series, London!