I’ve found living abroad means I can get a bit nostalgic about the UK and my life there. I’m guessing this is pretty normal for expats, but it can be really random. Both the nostalgia, and the random events that trigger it.
For example, this evening I was buttering a ciabatta roll for dinner and all of a sudden I was nostalgic for the Co-op on Bath Road. What the hell? Why? I honestly have no bloody idea. I’m pretty sure I never bought butter there, because it was Very Expensive (compared to Morrisons, compared to New Zealand it’s positively free).
So once I start thinking about the Co-op, before I know it my mind wanders (jumps around?) down memory lane.
This is the real life, internal thinkings of my brain on this nostalgia trip:
“Ooh the Co-op. Ahhh the Co-op. I went so many times. Mainly to buy wine, chocolate and milk. Ooh and sometimes that spicy baby beetroot. Man that was good beetroot. I’ve never seen beetroot like that here. Such a shame. Ha! I remember when I first moved to Chelts and I went into the Co-op on a Friday night and everyone seemed to be buying wine, probably for their Friday night dinners. Everyone was so posh.
Oh. The beer garden at the pub opposite. WHAT IS THE PUB CALLED? Shit. Why can’t I remember? <spend a few minutes to try to remember>. Get sad I can’t remember. One more go <scrunch up face in concentration>. Nope. Have to Google. THE EXMOUTH. Of course! Sigh. The Exmouth. Reminds me of James Clay. But I’m not sure me and James ever went. Hmm I wonder why it reminds me of JC.
I remember I went there with Rachel. Ohhh I loved Rachel’s house which was just off Bath Road. I wonder how long it was she lived there? I wonder how many times I went round for tea? She made me tea so many times. I probably didn’t buy wine from the Co op enough. I remember Rachel took me to The Retreat. Ha. I remember that time I took my bike into a packed Retreat on a Friday night. Or was it Saturday? That was a good night. James was there then. I had forgotten my wallet. Pretty sure I owe him and Ben a few pints.
Oh. What was the other pub called with the outside garden bit near Bath Road. The Jolly something or other. Jolly Brew! That’s it. They did the BEST Sunday baps. I think that’s where me and Adam went for a drink. It’s definitely where me and Chris from Number 3 went and got a bit tipsy. I think he thought I’d asked him on a date. I was just looking to make friends. Although I did end up fancying him. I went for a drink there with Amber, Stav and Niamh on the same day my Grandad died. I’d already found out and I remember being there when my Dad phoned to tell me. But I already knew. Then I went on a date with Steve. To Bar and Wok for dinner. Was it called Bar and Wok? <goes off to check>. Yes.
Bar and Wok reminds me of Bev. I think she said it was one of her favourite places to eat. They must do a good vegan option. We went there one time. What were we going to the cinema to watch? Something with a horror. IT maybe? Or did I see that here in NZ? On a date with the guy who forgot to tell me he was moving to Australia the next day. That was a horror film. Oh – no, that was Halloween. Last year.
I remember the Curious Caf. Best place for a hangover brekkie. Terrible service, good food. Next door to a sewing place. Not the same one as the one in the car park. That told me it would be impossible to get velcro stitched onto my trainers. Only I did. By Cobblers whatsit in town.”
In my mind, I am now walking through town, from the Bath Road car park, through The Suffolks, to Boots Corner. Lots more memories are popping up, some from Christmas time walking on the Promenade with all the shop fronts decorated, to brunch at Boston Tea Party where Inga told us she and Ben were having a baby.
And so my brain carries on, jumping from memory to memory making me smile.
Oh I miss Cheltenham. I really do. I miss the people. I miss the buildings. I miss it all.