Sunday, April 8, 2012

Remember me?

As I re-establish the rhythms of my former life - albeit in a slighly new shape - I have some relationships to rebuild. Thanks to the wonders of email, skype, facebook and cheap flights, hanging out with my old friends is just as it ever was. Only now we can skip the obligatory 'so, what's new?' warm-up chat and go straight into 'did you see Gypsy Wedding last night?'.
The Sunday walk with chitchat. Blessedly unchanged.
The locals who made up the fabric of my NW5 life, however, have been harder to reconnect with. I don't recognise any of the bar staff at my old locals. The chaps who run Twin Peaks, my old corner shop (so-called after the twins who run it, or the hills of Hampstead and Highgate, depending on who you believe), didn't seem to recognise me at all. This saddened me since I was in there at least once a day for 7 years. Perhaps they didn't want to gush, and embarrass me.

I was cheered when the staff in Tips & Toes remembered me, and asked me how their pedicure compared with the American standard I had become used to. I lied and said theirs was better, even though it takes twice as long and costs 50% more. I just want to be back in their 'locals' gang again, that's all.

More important, of course, are my relationships with my lovely nieces, nephews, and goddaughters. Our recent trip to La Clusaz was shared with my younger sister and her family, so that was a good start. Her 16 month old twins need to know that their Aunt does not just exist on Skype. After a few days I think they came to know me as more than just 'that lady in the computer'.

A trip to my older sister in Cambridge last week, and Easter weekend weekend with my oldest sister and her 2 kids, means that all my nieces now know - or have been reminded - that there is a real person behind the 'I heart NY ' t-shirts, and American candy that arrive periodically in the post. They might be a bit disappinted when they realise that this is the tradeoff: in-person bedtime stories means no more marshmallows and toys in the post.

Let them do what they like on your iPad and the children will let you back in their life
My goddaughters took a little warming up. But once I let them put their sticky fingers all over my ipad, or jump on my bed with their muddy shoes on, they were won over. Children are so simple. Let them do what they want, and they will love you for it. Ah, the luxury of godparenting.

Unfortunately I can't indulge my cat in the same way. He will need to be disciplined and restrained to protect our nice new sofa. I'm hoping Jack is as easily bribed - with food - as he used to be.

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