Home sweet home.
Some of you will know that I found this time abroad more difficult than any before. Being away at Christmas was the toughest time for me. Overall, transport and climate were probably the main issues.
I am not stupid; I was well aware what the weather would be like in Reunion before I went. It was all part of the challenge, the intrigue, the adventure. But once those elements had worn off, I just found the heat frustrating, annoying, exasperating.
It may sound completely ridiculous, but I had the impression that my body simply could not cope with the climate in Reunion – the constant sun and the humidity. I never really got used to it. When I think back, I felt physically and mentally drained a lot of the time, a fatigue that soon lifted once I found myself back in the cool of England.
I had also read plenty of information, before leaving for Reunion, about the poor public transport on the island – so my difficulties in this regard were also highly predictable.
Now that it’s over, I don’t want to moan too much about all the problems. I managed to live with the heat and the public transport. And the problems don’t really matter anymore. What does matter is the incredible experience that I had of living on this beautiful little island in the Indian Ocean, so far away from everything I know, and the things that I did there, and the things that I saw there…
Walking out of the airport in St Denis for the first time, with big green peaks rising ahead and the hot sun burning in the bright blue sky above.
My first walk in the cirque de Mafate.
Swimming in the Indian Ocean.
The piles of litchis being sold on the roadside during the Christmas holidays.
Eating shark stew on Christmas Eve and fireworks everywhere at midnight.
Eating dhal puri at the market in Mauritius.
Surviving a cyclone and eating incredible food at the end of the world in Rodrigues.
Running in the hills above where I lived.
Teaching English to children in a remote mountain village.
Stumbling across beautiful turquoise chameleons just sitting in the middle of a path.
The beautiful sunsets over the ocean.
You get the idea.
Coming back to England, I find myself with a renewed appreciation, a new found love even, for the English countryside, the smell of flowers, the big rapeseed fields, the white clouds in the sky, the fresh breeze. It’s even been sunny lately… but not too hot.
So after 8 months away, it was a big homecoming – not just “a sort of homecoming”, but a true homecoming. There is an explanation for this understatement; those who are eagle-eyed may already be aware that, since leaving for Reunion, all of my blog posts have taken the title of a U2 song or album. This may explain why some of my posts have had slightly strange titles.
“Don’t believe me? Just watch!”
This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now (Songs of Innocence, 2014)
The First Time (Zooropa, 1993)
All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
Original Of The Species (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, 2004)
Silver And Gold (Rattle And Hum, 1988)
Elvis Presley And America (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (1987)
Volcano (Songs of Innocence, 2014)
Summer Rain (Beautiful Day single, 2000)
No Line On The Horizon (No Line On The Horizon, 2009)
Freedom For My People (Rattle And Hum, 1988)
Into The Heart (Boy, 1980)
Some Days Are Better Than Others (Zooropa, 1993)
Electrical Storm (Electrical Storm EP, 2002)
Is That All? (October, 1981)
Fast Cars (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, 2004)
A Sort Of Homecoming (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984)
What do you think? Sad eh?
Anyway, that’s it for La Réunion. But the blog goes on, as it always does. Where shall we go next?