A series of personal essays reflecting on moving to the other side of the world. There are no conclusions. Sorry. I’m working on it.
One of the things you notice when you move across the world is distance. The physical distance, the time it will take me to get home in an emergency, the minimum length of a trip to justify the travel, but also the communication difference.
The distance of energy levels when I ring home at my 5pm (10pm for my parents). I’m just finished work, they’re going to bed. The distance in responses, instant messaging isn’t instant. The distance I feel to everyday life in the UK.
When I wake up at 6am (11am UK) the main political story for the day has already broken. When I check my emails at lunch (5pm), people are wrapping up for the day. There will be no more news until tomorrow.
A question I had about a memory we shared goes unanswered until the moment has passed. Sometimes, I duck out mid morning to ‘call the UK’, conscious of catching my bank or my doctor before they shut.
A recurring dream I have is about getting a hug from a specific friend. This will have to wait until August to become a reality. A long wait.
But the distance isn’t all bad. The distance is helping me cope with Brexit, with politics, with the hopelessness of trying to change a system from the inside. I don’t feel injustices on a daily basis anymore, so it’s easier to remain hopeful about our ability to change them. The relentlessness of living amongst late capitalism in a racist, classist, sexist, homophobic country run by millionaires is less devastating, now that my daily reality is different.
The distance has created a new space in my head that I can use for writing and thinking and learning — one that probably always existed but I felt guilty taking advantage of (I should use this time to call my family, I should use this time to see my friends, I should use this time to go on a date).
Distance inspires a confidence that can be hard to recreate. Living here, alone, I have to work things out. I don’t have a fall back. The confidence comes when your only option is to succeed.
The distance, for the moment, is bearable but hard.