I was born in Leeds, in 1978 and moved to Norwich in 1980. In 1997, I moved to Nottingham to go to University. In 2000, I moved to Olney, Buckinghamshire. In 2005, I moved north of the county, where I am now settled. I knew I wanted to be settled, I don’t like moving about. I want to encounter the same old journeys every day. I want to drive, run, cycle and walk down the twisty, turny, crumbly back roads home, providing me with a secure sense of belonging – “I know these old roads like the back of my hand”.
When you grow up in one place, you naturally take it for granted. You know you’re going to be bumping into the same people when you go out. You know what time all the buses run by the end of the street, even if you don’t take the bus. In the same way that you know the local shop keeper. That all changes when you move, and in many ways, it’s never the same again. For me, its something I think about frequently, but don’t really talk about. I don’t talk about it with my husband, because it would mean nothing to him, since he didn’t grow up in the same place I did. Almost in the same way it means nothing to friends when you drive them to tears talking about your recent holiday, or showing your holiday snaps. If you weren’t there, its neither here nor there. I mean, you can try, but its never the same. I don’t keep in touch with many people from school, so I don’t naturally talk about it that way. I don’t talk about it a lot with my mum, dad or sister, because I never have the time with two young children ever present.
I used to walk to middle school, listening to my beaten up, red Sony walkman, complete with black foam ear phones. I would listen to rock’n’roll rhythms…”I’ve. Found. My. Freee-dom……..duh, duh, duh, duh, d-d-duh, duh….ooooon Blueberry Hiiiiill”. The smell of the towering hedge of conifers I walked beside was so fragrant. And when I reached the creamy vanilla-coloured house on the corner, the one with the Scottie dog, that scent changed to a drifting photocopy-smell of a tiny, white, blossom creeping up the stippled render. Time to cross the road. Time to methodically negotiate my feet over the crawling roots of the imposing Oak and Horse Chestnut trees, circulating the entrance of the schools, almost like they were keeping watch over the approaching youngsters. And then school. Now there’s a story for another day.
When I was a baby, my mum noticed a small area of bluishness on my upper thigh. Immediately concerned I had been bruised, she took me to the doctors, to be told that I displayed signs of Mongolian Blue Spot, something prevalent amongst East Asian, Native American, Polynesian, Micronesian and Hispanic children or of that descent. Kind of exciting and exotic to find out when you’re younger. Especially when, like myself, I am more than interested in Brazilian and American/Native American cultures. I’m not only interested because I had Mongolian Blue Spot and therefore I feel I should have an interest, I have always had a deep-rooted interest in both American and Latin cultures, almost to a point where, at certain moments I would actually feel part of them. Crazy, I know. And I almost feel childish and moronic revealing this about myself. When I hear the Berimbau, when I taste any kind of South American food, when I gaze spellbound at brightly painted street art, when I am drawn to handcrafted twinkling, silver and turquoise jewels, when I hear the flamboyant chatter of a native Carioca……anything, it would seem, which appeals to the left side of my brain. Recently, I have given this affinity a lot of thought. Why do I feel so connected to these things? Why do these emotive occasions make me feel like I almost belong to them? Are we more connected to these things than we will ever know? In my own private way, I like to think so. Its almost like a secret I only share with myself. The moment I share with anyone else, will be the moment I wish I hadn’t, for fear of feeling the blood rush to my cheeks in a moment of juvenile foolishness. And I realise thats exactly what I’m doing now, but somehow its different, because I’m not telling someone, I’m hiding behind my writing. But actually, you know what? I love this about myself, and it’s quite rare that I would say that about myself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to be ostentatious or gloating. This ‘secret’ I share only with myself (and now, my blog readers) is precious to me, its something I have spent alot of time mulling over. And now I share it with you.
And, as if by magic, I hear a lady nearby pick up the phone. She dials a number. There’s a pause whilst she waits tentatively for the other person to pick up, and the beginning of a long, excited babble begins…..”Olá! Como você está? Sim. Eu não sou realmente ruim. Você tem um bom fim de semana?…..”