Whether you move across the country, or across the world, some of those transition emotions feel the same. You are mourning your old life. That sounds like I am being an overly dramatic "Debbie Downer," but I don't know quite else how to describe it. You miss some of those little insignificant things, like the hum of your car when you go to start it, or the smell of your laundry room on Sundays. And then you miss those BIG significant things, like walking over to your neighbors in your pajamas to ask for creamer, or biking down to the harbor to meet a dear friend for lunch on a whim. All of your connections, and the things that give you comfort and stability are in your rearview mirror. It's all a past. It's all behind you. If you don't focus on the joy of the new journey, it can catch your breath when you least expect it.
I was not expecting it when I came out of the grocery store a few days ago... Our market is next door to a little cafe, and as my feet hit the pavement my attention was caught by the thundering chatter of a table of women. Talking over one another, and laughing hysterically the ladies squeals filled the street. Perched like pigeons around a table much too small for their group size, they were all clamoring to tell a funny story in its entirety. Two were keeled over laughing, while cautiously balancing what looked like mimosas. While the others were holding each other's hands over the table to try and physically grab the spotlight and tell just "what had really happened." Instantly, you could tell this was a tribe. At first I was caught off guard by the noise. Then I felt that sudden tiny pinch in the back of my throat, and that deep click in my insides that said, "Baileigh, you don't have a tribe anymore." I did what any good, southern girl does. I pulled down my black shades and vowed to "never let them see me cry." So as I walked home with two bags full of groceries, hot rivers of tears spilled beyond the sides of my black sun shades. I was a woman in mourning.
I don't write this for sympathy, I write this because we have all been there. We have all been the new kid at some point. It can really suck at first, but you get it together eventually. Zac tells me that I always do this in a move to a new place. I get sad, I miss my friends and then after meeting a few people I start to get my momentum back. Social interaction wears Zac out, I on the opposite hand, am completely energized by the thrill of new people. I need people and connection like I need air. I have the hardest time, especially during this pandemic, keeping my distance from others. If I see a cute baby, I want to coo. If I see a unique dog, I want to ask what it is. If I see someone trying to buy something I know is a let-down, I want to steer them away. (Girl, I tried that drink, it was terrible. I am an expert, try this instead. On me.) You could say, I find people fascinating, they always surprise me.
Meeting people in London has turned what usually surprises me about people, on its head. People here are SO different. We travel to the park about everyday because we have to take Nola out. We walk, throw the frisbee, play on the playground or sit and read out on a blanket. People at Paddington Park, now expect us. We are that weird American family with Nola the malti-poo. Thats right folks, Nola, of all things, has been our ticket to adult conversation here. People LOVE dogs at Paddington Park. There is this unwritten doggy co op where everyone knows everyone's dog, and all their quirks. A dog walks by and everyone yells, "Allo" to the dog! It's wild and endearing all at the same time. (Please note: They could care less about our kids, though I will deny that fact if they read this.) But, they think Nola is better than sliced bread. Since arrival, we have been stopped an exorbitant amount of times asking "what is her breed," or "how old is she." Then came the big one. After meeting a handsome Lhasa Apso, named Toby, we got our reception into "Paddington Park Society." Nola has been formally invited to Toby's birthday party, at the theatre, as soon as Covid restriction is lifted. Toby invites 60 of his closest comrades to the theatre every year for his birthday, which includes, a hearty breakfast as well as treats to be eaten during the movie. Last year they saw "CATS." Im going to give you a minute to collect yourself because that one is awesome. I asked Toby's owner, Henry, "how do they know how to watch a movie?" He assured me they take their cues from Toby who is a total British gentleman. Both Toby and Henry are FASCINATING. Sure as shit, I am going to this birthday party! I am going to keep stalking Toby's instagram until paper invitations go out.
If that was not a kick in the pants, yesterday, Nola caught the attention of another park goer who has invited us to his house warming party on Sunday. There will be BBQ, drinks and our furry friends will get the chance to mix and mingle. Things are really looking up for Nola. I told Zac I almost feel like we are "pimping out our pooch" to meet people. He thinks that for as much as it cost to ship her here, the least she can do is keep is in good social standing. Now I face other challenges. I don't know whether I should get my kids dressed up for Sunday or schedule Nola a grooming appointment? I am just a dog hair off from this whole Toddlers and Tiaras mother bit. I don't know the doggy social rules!
So, wish us luck. It is looking like a weekend of cocktails and cocker spaniels.
To my friends back home, drink one for me, I miss you.
Nola. Our ticket to High Society