It's been a while ...

So much is happening my world that I haven't been able to find the words to write of it all ...

Genova was the most incredible experience.  One that left me even more in love with that city and its people.  It also left me needing my own mortar and pestle because who wants to buy jars of pesto when you can make it yourself.  The trip left me exhausted, as I traveled most of the Friday and Sunday, with my feet only in Genova for 36 hours, perhaps.

My daughter and Miss 11 have moved to England and so I've been working with them on the move, and have Miss 11 here with me ... home-schooling and enjoying having her back in my life.  I had missed her so terribly much.

I'm enjoying my new life in Surrey.  Spring has arrived.  Today, as I write this, it's 23 celsius and we're like cats in a field of catnip, just rapt about the fact that winter is over.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a group of women who now make me feel welcome, who make me laugh too, every Wednesday evening. They're a wise, wonderful, wild group.  We drink wine and talk, and I feel so very fortunate to know them.

Cathy, hostess for those Wednesday evening gatherings,  loaned me a beautiful pair of Liz Claibourne black heels, to go with my first-ever little black dress when I was in Italy.  She was that fairy godmother who said, 'but you must go to the ball ... in heels!! 

Wednesday night she handed them back to me, saying she was stream-lining and no longer needed them. 

I suspect Cathy is like that. One of those beautiful souls with a huge heart.  I know others like her around the world, just a handful, and feel incredibly blessed to have met her here in this Surrey world.

I have two adorable small children in my everyday life too.  They make me smile, so often ... and the chocolate brown labrador.  He's still making me laugh with his lovable goofiness. 

Then there is Marcelle, owner of Merci Marcie, the cafe here in Oxshott.  Miss 11 and I enjoy calling in there to catch up with her news, enjoying the tea, coffee and cake.  Seeing Franca, the lovely Italian and Becky, another wonderful woman I'm getting to know.

I haven't found a pub yet.  In some ways, I'm quite isolated socially but summer is coming and that walk through the woods won't be so bad if the sun stays up longer.

London is becoming familiar ... kind of.  I keep staying in, or exploring, new places.  Last weekend was spent with Clare.  I spent a month living with her back in Istanbul, that Australian I still adore so many years later.  She has a second baby, just new, and it was so good to go catch up with her. 

And Miss 11 got to stay with her mum on the Saturday night, although the city trek was 'interesting'.  I had no clue about where I was, nor did I realise it would take an hour to bus to the meeting point, somewhere on the other side of London ... but central.  I hadn't researched it, as life had been mad-busy and so ... completely reliant on Clare's sms's, I crossed London, and returned, all the time feeling strangely disoriented, aware I knew nothing about where I was.

Feel the fear and do it anyway seems to be the thing these days.  From accepting an invitation to visit a womens business networking group, to crossing London via smsed instructions ... mmmhmmm, wings do grow once you step off the edge.

And the weight continues to drop.  I have lost 15kgs now (about 30 pounds I believe).  I'm the strongest I've been in years, and enjoy the fact that I can walk miles, carrying-much ... easily.

I am dressing better, as happens when you shop in secondhand shops, otherwise known as charity shops, here in Surrey.  I love that I can source exquisite secondhand clothes, especially as the world becomes aware of the human cost of cheap and new.  For the first time in many years, I have two dresses.  I've tried on others but I am quite particular.  And secondhand shopping is all about luck really, which makes it all the more fun.

The community Chatter Bus, and its drivers, continue to delight me.  The English are so kind.  I keep saying that but it's been true.  And I love that when I'm a little displaced in London's Underground, I can just ask, and some smiley helpful staff member will help. 

All said, if I'm honest, it's been up and down in this new world, and sometimes I wake at 5.30am, quite terrified about how to go forward however .... the feeling passes, and I go forward:-) 

More amusing, is the fact that 5.30am has somehow become my new wake up time.  The sun comes in through my window and voila, I'm awake.  I use that time to plot and plan and drink espresso.  I have a new favourite breakfast in this world.  2 espresso, 2 bagel thins, covered in butter and wild blueberry jam. 

Breakfast has always been my holy moment ... I was relieved to find I could recreate that holiness out here in this new world.

Photos and stories will follow.  I just wanted to stop and catch family and friends up on 'lately'.  I think this kind of does that.

London tomorrow ... meeting Jessie somewhere in the city.  But I'll map that out tonight.  There's something kind of lovely about being out here in the country, surrounded by wood but still just 35 minutes from London Waterloo.

Just so you know ... I'm doing okay.