Mar. 28th, 2014

Five days.

Mar. 28th, 2014 04:06 pm
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Oh so many last times. Last pub quiz (yesterday night). Last errands run in Camden Town, last lunch at the market and last spicy mocha in My Village Cafe. Last Shabbat.

Going to My Village Cafe always makes me feel wistful. It goes back to summer 2009, which was, in many ways, the year Joe and I became proper grown-ups. In late June, we moved in together just the two of us for the first time (previously we'd been sharing with friends). In July we got married, and in early August, just after we got back from honeymoon, Joe started his accountancy traineeship. Later that month I was promoted, and was given my own sales territories for the first time instead of just assisting with other people's. We thought a lot that summer about how to be grown-ups and how to make a home together, and what kind of life we would lead now we had everything so spectacularly sorted out (lol).

One of the things I daydreamed about was having a local cafe - somewhere that served good food and interesting teas, where we'd go for Sunday brunches or while away long rainy afternoons, and the staff would recognise us and we'd feel like we belonged. The cities we'd been to in Canada seemed full of places like that, and we hoped we'd find one in our new London neighbourhood as well.

My Village Cafe in Camden was everything we'd been looking for. They served falafel wraps and great heaps of fresh salads, and they even had the same brand of tea as the cafe we'd loved in Quebec City. The furniture was mismatched, the staff were friendly, there was a giant picture of Syd Barrett on the wall behind the counter and a shelf of books and backgammon sets at the back of the shop. We wrote all our wedding thank-you notes there over a couple of Sunday afternoons, and we went there a couple of times afterwards, and then...we just stopped going. It turned out we weren't the kind of grown-ups who did lazy Sunday brunches or went to places regularly after all, even if they were really good places. We've been a few more times since then, usually because the market was too packed for us to want to grab lunch there, or because it was raining and we wanted to wait out the storm before walking home, but it's not the regular haunt I once thought it would be. But every time I go there I remember how I felt in 2009, with my new grown-up husband and my new grown-up life, and this great sense of potential - that here, in Camden, in our new flat just the two of us, I could become the kind of person I wanted to be.

This isn't to say that I'm disappointed, now. I'm really happy with the way my life has turned out - we're now living in a house we own, about 500m down the road from that first rented flat, and Camden's still our local area. We didn't turn out to be the kind of grown-ups who whiled away afternoons in favourite cafes with board games, but we did turn out to be the kind who made pancakes at the weekend and went on long walks through the city whenever the weather was good enough. We filled our shelves with books and our storecupboards with food, and we worked hard at our jobs and made new friends in London and we built up our life together, and when we needed a doorstop or a pair of kitchen scales we bought one like grown-ups, instead of making-do with a heavy object or some careful estimation with a measuring jug and a calculator, like students.

And now...we're packing it all up and putting it away, and this time next month we'll be starting out all over again, in a new city and a new country. I'm sad to leave the life we've made here, but there's something so exciting about getting a second chance, about recapturing that great sense of potential we had in summer 2009. I wonder who we'll be this time, what we'll do and how we'll live. I wonder what will be different, and what will be the same. I hope it will all turn out all right, over there. But even if it doesn't, I know it's worth a try.

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