Missing

I’ve been in the US for two months: comfortably the longest I’ve been away from the UK, Europe, my family and friends.  I try to avoid thinking about what I miss about home and everything associated with it – homesickness here is something which can be rife amongst the kids, and that staff clearly try to hide their own symptoms of – as I want to enjoy everything I have here and now.  That said, it’s sometimes hard to avoid things which other people bring up, which has of course got me thinking…

Things I miss about the UK:

  1. Friends and family – feels like a bit of a given, but definitely number one!  I feel very behind on news, gossip and general social situations.  The world, it seems, goes on without me (what a shock!)
  2. Tea – I was kindly sent some teabags early on (thanks, Mum) but for some reason, it just tastes wrong.  It might be the milk here, it could be the fact that I’m not drinking it from my usual mug (bucket) whilst surrounded by my own home but… something just isn’t right
  3. My bed – see below.  Sometimes, the floor even looks more appealing than what I sleep on.  Or one of the stalls at the barn.  Or… almost anything
  4. My sense of humour being understood – most people just don’t get it here.  I had to give a definition for “numpty” recently.  Happily, the recipient laughed and now has a new word in their vocabulary.  So it’s not all bad
  5. The weather – it’s mostly been humid (even when it rained solidly for three weeks at the start of camp) and the past two weeks in particular have been unbearably hot.  I’m aware there has been a “heatwave” at home.  I miss being able to combat that by standing in the freezer aisle of the supermarket (however, not having to carry an umbrella and two additional layers of clothing around at all times is a bonus)

Things which the camp experience lacks:

  1. Freedom – I’m lucky in that I’m not on duty overnight, as I live with other staff.  And not to sound greedy, as it’s already a supposed-luxury, but that also means I have a lot of time on my hands but not a lot to do with it, as I’m bound to camp by my lack of car
  2. Luxury – feeding on point one, comes point two.  I knew the accommodation wouldn’t be amazing, but sometimes it feels worse than basic.  As each day passes, I become increasingly desperate for a night in a room which has good temperature-control and a comfortable bed
  3. Autonomy – many conversations revolve around food.  We all miss certain things.  As an event manager, I can fully appreciate the restrictions with which the kitchen must be working when catering for over a thousand people per day (just consider the allergies, intolerances, personal preferences, religious implications and other foibles within your own family… and compound it), and I’m surprised by the variety which is available within the dining hall.  But there are a lot of things I miss (Seafood!  Nuts!  Ice cream!  Metal cutlery!  The list goes on…)

Positives to camp:

  1. Working outside – persistent sweating/suncream application aside, working outdoors constantly is a joy.  I see animals running around (although, offices can feel like that too).  I don’t breathe artificial air and am in natural light all day.  Even when it’s raining, I feel lucky that my office these days does not involve a desk
  2. Meeting new people – some are from nearby (one goes to my own local pub, another is from the same county, a brother and sister I work with are from the same town as some of my family), others are from far away (outer corners of Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia), plus a few from closer to home (Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and this weird place called Scotland).  Some will stay in touch, others won’t.  But all are interesting and friendly
  3. My hobby is my job – this worried a few people (myself included), and although there are of course frustrating elements (students who don’t want to learn; horses who don’t want to work; the way in which I have to handle certain things), it’s worth it for the times when it works.  Wherever I teach will be imperfect, a 100% success rate seems unrealistic.  But the moments when it all comes together make it worthwhile
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