Tuesday, 27 September 2011

homesick

I am lucky enough to have true, loyal friends, lovely (if ma fan) children, an awesome husband, a place to live in one of the world's greatest cities....doesn't sound enormously problematic does it? And yet...

I am still feeling rather empty. Maybe it's the Prozac, maybe it's the twin thing, maybe it's making such a momentous life change so far from home. Maybe it's the way that the concept of "home" has become a lot more relative than it used to be.

What do you say when people ask where you are from? When we arrived in Hong Kong, we used to tell people that we were from London, because that's what most people expect, and of course everyone knows London. Naturally about 50% of the people who asked us thought we were America, Australian or even German, but that's another story.

Now it's harder. Travelling in Asia from Hong Kong, saying "we're from Hong Kong" often prompts a double take - no one expects to hear that from a pair of peely wally gweilos. "London" is usually the easiest response, at least it's easier than "Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire, about 30 miles north east of London" which is where we last lived.

What does home mean? These days I often reply that I grew up in the South of England, I guess that's enough. What do people want to know when they ask where you're from? I suppose they want to find some common ground (most people here have a relative who has studied / is studying in London) or maybe they just want a point of reference to try and help them to pigeon hole you.  So perhaps I should just say I'm...hang on, English? British? from the UK? or even from UK, as Chinglish would have it? Then everyone would know that I like to eat crisps with my lunch, and say "lots" instead of "heaps" and have a tendency to drink too much gin occasionally.

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