Monday, June 29, 2015

Living away - Pros and Cons

So another week has passed and I have done little to no baking. It's just been a crazy busy couple of weeks and there is a lot of 'healthy eating' buzz around me right now, which means that people don't want piles of cookies or cakes to tempt them over to the dark side. So lets do a little life update instead -

You may remember that I moved to the UK a while ago and since then a lot has changed. Around here in particular, I've had a few posts featured in Food Gawker and Tastespotting as well as in a few other wonderful people who have seen the baking and chosen to feature it on their websites; something for which I am always grateful for - isn't the internet community a lovely group!! You may have noticed that I am making a concerted effort to upload more regularly and despite a few slip ups every now and then have been keeping to a once a week schedule. TVandCookies got a twitter, although I don't update that half enough (bear with me working on it), and a Pinterest where you can pin some of the pictures. I have changed the layout of the website slightly in order to show you some of the older posts that might be interesting. I realize that all of this is basic blogging stuff but apparently I learn very slowly :- / ; )

So personally I have been working on a doctorate and getting to know England and it's wonderful eccentricities. For example I have no been here for the Queen's two previous birthdays and I find the celebrations absolutely bizarre and amazing. The march of the army and the effort and precision that goes into said march, it is amazing, beautiful and truly deeply bizarre to someone from a country without a monarchy. The traditions and the grandeur of things is amazing like the beautiful parliament buildings that look like a castle.

I have been having a wonderful time here, going to markets and interesting little shops and restaurants. Moreover I have been meeting wonderful people, some of whom I would hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life. There is such a wonderful mix of people here. People from all over the world who come together and bring different cultures and traditions. Within this country that has such a focus on traditions (the queen's b-day par example) it seems that there is an interesting space to cultivate traditions and micro-cultures within the large diverse capital. There are issues, of course, including backlash against immigrants and a movement towards UK independance from the EU. However these are issues for another post, or moreover another blog. My experience is of diversity and inclusion, of restaurants and shops from all parts of the world and friends from other countries who have had such interestingly different and sometimes strangely similar upbringings to my own.

Yet there are difficulties about living away from home. A lot has been happening in Ireland and there have been a number of important changes; positive (legalizing gay marriage) and negative (results of economic difficulties) that make it feel as though I am very far from home. Living away from your home town is strange. There are many positives; there is so much to see, England is very similar to Ireland but I always find myself getting surprised by differences that I didn't expect. There are experiences and opportunities that would never be available in one's hometown, well not in mine anyway. Since living here I have been to theme parks, stately houses, to a ski center that is like a football pitch sized freezer and full of real snow -

Yes this is the Smiler, where that awful accident occurred

 However there are genuinely difficult parts; even in England, which is at most a 90 minute flight from Dublin, the distance can feel huge at important times at home. I have lived in the states twice and know the experience of even greater distance. I cannot begin to understand the feeling of being a day's journey away (like living in Australia, like so many young Irish people). There are places that you miss. For me those places are almost always outdoor places; mountains where I walk with my friends; parks that I have been to with my partner with markets and cafes; bays and beaches. This weekend past I have been back to the powerscourt waterfall a beautiful waterfall within a lovely park and near an amazing stately house in Wicklow.

Standing there, staring at the waterfall, I was struck by the significance of the moment. I have been to this waterfall countless times before but in essence I had never actually seen this waterfall before. The water is constantly moving, different each time you see it, changing the rocks and the pools beneath. This is a place that I have thought about and longed to see again, missed if you will. Missed, in the same way that I often miss places from home. Sam Phillips has a song called Taking pictures that has the line 'The places I go are never there.' It says a lot to me about how I remember the places I love and the nature of memories. So without getting too too philosophical - it's something to think about! Anyway that's it for this week. Net week I will be back with an eciting project. Until then =)

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