It’s odd being back, in a lot of ways. In fact, I have hardly been back at all, and feel as if my life here is in flux just as much as when I was away. I arrived on Wednesday morning, spent a lot of time unpacking and shuffling money around from account to account to cover what I spent in Ethiopia, and set off on Thursday morning to see my grandma, having missed my grandad’s funeral last week. Contrasts keep hitting me: the fact of comfortable, fast public transport; the fact that I had to pay the equivalent of ten weeks of an Ethiopian teacher’s salary to travel to Somerset and back; the relative humdrumness of the Brendon Hills, which I love, compared to the majesty of Tigray; the relative ease of getting online. It was very calming to spend some time with my grandma and my uncle, doing a little light gardening, walking on North Hill, and letting Minehead’s air of nothing-happening wash over me. I always yawn and sleep a lot when I’m there. It’s nice.
It’s also strange being back in London. Since I last lived here my parents have turned my old bedroom into something more like a spare room. There is a large, new, and comfortable double bed, but the wardrobe has gone, and there are new bookcases holding half of my grandpa’s houseful of books. Even given the fact that I am living out of two backpacks, there is no flat space, no shelving, and nowhere to put my computer and other possessions. Everything is hanging on the floor at the moment, and it’s hard not to feel rootless and transitory.
The next week promises more of the relentless movement that my life has become. The cider festival at my friend’s farm is next weekend, with all the promise of friends and bonhomie that it brings. I also need to work on an interview task for the job in Brussels, which requires me to find an issue I think is worth campaigning on, and then explain: why I would campaign about it; why I would campaign about it at a European level; and how I would go about getting the million signatures required for a Citizen’s Initiative to the European Commission. I have been reading through the relevant sections of the Lisbon Treaty and the consultation documents describing the process, and thinking, “yikes, do I really want to let myself in for this?” I am thinking of heading off to Woodbrooke next week, partly because I don’t much feel like staying put and getting under my parents’ feet (they work a lot at home).