28 March 2011

March, Interrupted

First stop in Philly...
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
It's been a month today since I headed east to North Carolina for Sandy Paws and a short visit with my friends and family. In the four weeks that followed that day, I ate at Chick Fil A (admittedly the thing I miss most about living in the US not including people) about twenty seven times. I traveled from Greensboro, NC to Jekyll Island, GA, to Jacksonville, FL to Greensboro again to Athens, GA to Cleveland, GA and finally to Atlanta, GA. I saw my parents for two and a half days. I saw my sister and the most perfect niece on the planet for two and a half hours.

I flew back to the UK and threw myself back into work at the Bookshop as well as into looking online for work in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Western North Carolina. I stayed up to watch Comic Relief on Red Nose Day. I ate at Nando's (the thing I will miss most about living in the UK other than home delivery of groceries and people). I started the countdown for the next in J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. I started a new blog to showcase the photos I've been taking in various and sundry retail establishments around the UK since I've been here.

And I'm looking forward to April...to hopefully finding a job in the US, to hopefully selling our house here so we can move as soon as Simon gets his visa sorted, and to starting Script Frenzy, the screenplay version of NaNoWriMo from last November.

Fingers are crossed and big things are coming. I just need some patience...and a Chik Fil A sandwich wouldn't hurt.

21 March 2011

Time Flies...am I having fun?

Lighthouse Ladies
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Two weeks ago today I was right there in that photo. I was visiting the St. Augustine Lighthouse with my best friend, Leah (in the pink) and our Canadian "sistahs," Janet (next to me) and Vicky. I had sore ribs from laughing until I cried repeatedly. I had wobbly knees because Janet and I walked to the tippy top of the lighthouse (200+ steps!) on a quest to see a ghost. I was happy and relaxed.

Now? Not so much. Happy to be back with Simon, definitely. Happy to have my OWN greyhound to cuddle rather than borrowing one of the ones in the picture, absolutely. Happy to have my Little Man Mills burrowing in my hair and purring like a freight train, well, yeah, mostly. But happy to be back here in the UK? Notsomuch. Happy to be back in limbo, with no job prospects, no house-sale prospects, and a job that I'm definitely not suited for at all? Nope.

Funny how things can change SO much in the course of two short weeks. Funny how I can go from being so sure of what I'm doing and when to being completely on my ear with one mention of an unrelentingly tight state government budget. Funny how I am back to not knowing where I really belong, as well as not knowing where I really WANT to belong. Parts of the UK look really good when the job I'd counted on in the US fizzles. Parts of the US look really good when I have to pretend that I'm good at retail sales. It's a mess, really.

To my Sistahs, love you to bits. Wish we were still there. I could do with a good FB LAN party and some bad sangria...because that's how you treat a princess. For now, though, back to house tidy avoidance...before even more time has flown.

06 March 2011

First Week Done and Dusted

So I'm sitting in a hotel room in Jacksonville, Florida, and I don't know if I've ever been this tired. Sandy Paws 2011 is over, and we have moved on to the Follow That Hound After Party portion of the holiday. Tomorrow morning some of our folks are headed to the track to tour the kennel, and I will be here, playing dog-nanny to six greyhounds.

Six greyhounds that aren't my own, mind you. Six greyhounds that aren't my Daisy, more importantly. I think if we were to end up in the UK for another year, I would skip this annual event because it's just too hard to be here without her.

Anyway, moving on...Leah and I were discussing Sandy Paws 2011, and I think that part of why I'm so tired is that every year Sandy Paws barrels along at a frantic pace for me. It's the same basic formula as other greyhound events, really. You have a schedule of seminars and other activities focused on living with retired racing/AKC greyhounds. You have social events. You have vendors. You have auctions and raffles. But somehow, Sandy Paws always seems to zip past with me hanging on for dear life. When you've come 4,000 miles for an event, zipping is not a good thing.

The photo above is pretty representative of my vacation so far. There's a wind whipping all around me in that picture, and I feel like there's a metaphorical wind whipping up as well. People are tired. Tempers are short. I love seeing my friends and getting to spend a week with my best friend is just awesome. But the stress? The drama? Yeah, y'all can just keep that part.

02 March 2011

American Vacation, Part One

Exit sign, KWVR Station
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
So here I am in what Liz refers to as The Homeland. I don't really know for sure how long I've been here or what day it is. What I do know, and this may also be the jet lag talking, is that I'm not sure how much I belong here any more.

Please don't read that as "I miss my life in the UK." Nothing could be further from the truth. It also shouldn't be mistaken for "I am nothing when I am without Simon, and since he is in the UK I am therefore nothing." That certainly isn't it either.

The real "it" is that I don't know where I belong. I don't want to be in the UK or the US. I don't want to be anywhere, not in an I Want To Off Myself sort of way but in an I Don't Feel At Ease Anywhere Anymore way.

The first time we came back for a visit, it was marvelous. I was back in my comfort zone. I didn't want to leave and go back to the scary and lonesome UK. The second time it was a little weird. I was starting to look for English food in the American grocery store and was frustrated at things that were "just so flipping different." Yet still, it was then and is now where I want to be...the problem, if you will, is the where within the where.

My old job most likely will not be waiting for me when I return. We may not be able to afford our perfect house b/c I have to freelance and pay for my own insurance (as well as coverage for Simon). It won't be easy, but I never thought I would look at it and think, "Do I really want to do this?"

Well, yes, of course I do. I'm just feeling a bit out of place this trip. Out of step with everyone else. Hours are flying past and my vacation will soon be over and I'm not sure that I will even know that it had started. I'll be staring down that departure gate at Hartsfield again with tears in my eyes. But do I want to stay here? I don't know, to be honest. I just don't know.

For now, though, I'm helping out for a friend of mine that became unexpectedly ill right before I got here. I'm navigating the mine field of friendly surprises and unexpected challenges. And I'm missing Simon and Daisy and Mills.

Is this really a holiday? More on that later, when I've slept a bit.

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