Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earplugs for the Soul

This week was one of the first in a long time where I had one of those cold-sweat early hours awakenings, the kind where a nameless dread has you all aquiver before you even know why. Then your sleepy brain-fug clears and the things you'd worried about a little during the day rush back into your field of vision, only in the wee hours they loom large, much bigger than they did during the day. Why IS that?

A few nights later, our young and carefree (read: twattish) Spanish upstairs neighbours held a gathering on the roof terrace, which now that the nights are warmer means that with the benefit of a coating of alcohol one could conceivably spend most of the small hours outside. The party started around 4am - pretty standard as far as Spanish yoots are concerned - and I was awoken from a deep slumber by some rhythmic bleeping. Because it was two floors up, on the roof, and not in their flat directly above us, I was able to put aside my marginal hatred for their uncluttered brains and weed-infused revelry, fumble around in the dark for some earplugs and return to fitful, dark and detailed dreams.

It's the first time in 9 months that I've started to feel the expat blues; not for a longing for ye olde Englandshire or anything like that, god no, but more from a sense of responsibility being dodged somehow, as there's suddenly lots of crapula going on back in the UK that we're not able to be there for as quickly as we would like. Namely, family illness. More than ever we're feeling the ageing of our parents - something I'm sure has brought many back to Blighty prematurely. It's a timely and devastating reminder that we're not as young and carefree as we thought we were a year ago. Perhaps that serves to feed my dislike of the neighbours, living out a very present existence with not a thought for anything or anyone around them. But then I suppose that's the privilege of youth. Who gives a flying fuck at that age?

There's also been a drive here to broaden our income streams, not relying solely on the B&B but also on using the skills we had before, and there's always a creeping worry that my brain will go soft, or that I'll be left behind within my sector, which has this week seen me throw my hat into the ring for a job in New York. (I know, pretty wacky, hey? Not any closer to family, but perhaps with a sufficiently large enough paycheque that trips back to the UK could be more regular, or I could contribute more to the family purse in times of difficulty). Our life abroad has just begun, but the first relatively carefree 9 months have morphed into something different. Something to test individual mettle. "What is it you really want?" the universe seems to ask. "Because if it's selfish responsibility-abandonment and sunshine, you've had enough now."

Back to facing the music. I don't know how long I can keep the earplugs in for.