End of August, beginning of September 2016 I spent two weeks with my bittersweet lover, England.
I was welcomed by my dear friend Cristina and her beautiful family in their home, originally a registrar office, which is now renovated into a very unique nest. It was wonderful to see her settling into motherhood with such natural aplomb with her little one who is one of the happiest baby girls I have met. Cristina is one of my friends who has been a great inspiration, a woman whose work etiquette is second to none.
Another September, another beautiful wedding to attend, the celebration of Paul & Jenna, in an absolute picturesque location in Bashall Barn, Bashall Town, Clitheroe. You would not believe the number of photos I took of two gorgeous goats playing around putting on a show just in front of the venue. It was magnificent. A beautiful occasion, culminating with an ice-cream bar and a fun car ride back with one of the funniest girls, my sweet Sofia.
Meeting and spending time with people dear to me, was one of the quickest ways to feel back at home. Especially after a dinner at Home Sweet Home with another successful and happy ray of sunshine, Marisa.
I walked around Northern Quarter and I felt something similar to my returns back home in Romania, a lighter version of that but still familiar. A feeling of a place which is so important in my life but somehow now is part of my history rather than my present. Our building complex seems to attract additional new construction around it as well as the removal of some the old buildings. Old deserted red brick small warehouses and factories are being sold around, and best case scenario is that they will be flat conversions. It makes sense for progress to push things further, however it still feels bittersweet. With that being said the Northern Quarter had the same vibe with most of our sweet spots there, including a masterful street art celebrating David Bowie reigning supreme. The same street dancer was in Piccadilly Gardens, an antique bookshop was gone. As expected after a three year break, a mix of old and new. I wanted to go to the Manchester Art Gallery and finally see some of Lowry’s works but sadly I did not make it this time around.
The Manchester Craft and Design Center still has a few favorite shops. I spoiled myself with a necklace from the jeweler who made our wedding bands, Eve Redmond. Five years later our simple bands still make me happy. Also left with some beautiful tiles, adorned with birds form Lee Page Ceramics and some record for Husband’s increasing collection from Vinyl Exchange.
While working in Manchester, there were periods of time when I would make a weekly day trip to Sheffield. I made this trip now and the train ride through Peak District is one of the things I miss the most.
I am happy to have spent more than a day in Sheffield, making for a fun week with fun people and chasing up elephants. They were hosting a charity project where different schools create designs that are then printed sculptures of a selected animal. A few years ago when we were in Liverpool with my dad it was penguins, this time here it was elephants. They were displayed all across the city and people chase them a bit like a scavenger hunt, a vote takes place for the best designs and it all ends with them being auctioned off for charity. This is my result:
I had a quick dinner at Pizza Express, as Husband and I used to do on quick Friday dinners and enjoyed an excellent play at the Crucible Theatre.
I could not visit UK without seeing my global family, a core group of friends who have been mentioned multiple times on this blog. We spent a classic fun weekend walking around, enjoying food and going to the theatre. I was spoiled yet again with tickets for my birthday to a play in an intimate setup in Soho with a dinner at Princi. Added to that, a quick catchup with my sweet Laura and her new boyfriend. A young architect, smart and sweet who before 30 has conquered the world and back.
My reunion with England was bittersweet as it does feel like a bit of me is both loved and unwanted there. I felt at home living in Manchester for four years, and many things brought me joy during this time. As a young adult I was shaped by globalization and enjoyed the benefits and freedoms of such a world to the fullest. The experience did not come without pulls and pushes on myself. I had to work on many levels to understand myself as part of such a world. With that sort of journey comes an acceptance of continuous learning and longing. Once it becomes part of you it is like any other drug, I cannot see my life without it. It has been four years in Canada now and while life is settled, a part of me also sees itself being somewhere else.
A lot of people from my generation, and younger, experience the same thing and navigating a world where globalization is now vilified it’s scary. I felt confused during this time in UK. When we left we thought we would always leave the door open to return. I guess you never know.