09 August 2014

Bear Crawl

Botanical Gardens
The Pihlaja family, in an effort to help the kids stay active and healthy, have become members of the Harborne Health and Fitness Club, which we joined for £20.12, and will pay £58 in direct debit payments in September and October. This membership gives us access to everything in the gym, importantly the pool, but I chose the £58 option over the £40 option, as it would give us access to the weights and the chance to again recover my body after the last 18 months of stuffing myself with nasi goreng and then, more recently, yo-yoing 4 or 5 kgs back and forth, depending on how manic I feel, and whether my mania is driving exercise or eating.

This time last year, sitting in the heat of the Taman Sri Minang, my trip to Europe done for the summer, I had resolved to be back in England, come hell or high water. I made the first payments for Naomi's private school, and made my first series of applications for jobs back here, back in England. At the time, I didn't think it would be possible, that it was impossible to somehow right the ship after we had gone back to Asia. It was over: in three years I would be back in Japan, teaching English like I always expected I would end up.

Put in that perspective, sitting in Harborne, the windows open with the cool autumn air just touching everything, is a kind of dream come true. The sky is blue and the girls are playing downstairs, waiting for lunch.

In Malaysia, there was always an event to crystallise how I felt at any moment. I fell in a hole on the way to the bird park. There. That's all you need to know. Here, in Harborne, there is no experience like that. The benefits letter sitting on the kitchen counter for days, perhaps? No, there's nothing.