Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back in Blighty

"You must be mad!”. This is how friends and family  greeted my decision to return to England after leaving it some years ago. Four cities and three countries later, I find myself in the town that I used to love so very much, but which I had to leave for greener pastures.
I do question my sanity when I look out of the window and cannot tell whether it is morning or afternoon because of the constant dark aura that wraps this country in the autumn months, or when I look at the sky and the dreary greyness is all I can see. I sometimes wonder if it was the right decision when I think of all the taxes we pay and how childcare fees make you think that you get punished for having children in this country.
I left England because I was lonely, I wanted to be close to family. London was great, it offered me everything I dreamed of as a youngster, yet hitting the age of 30 and having no kids and no family around me made me unhappy.  I convinced my husband that brining up kids in a good area of London without having a million pounds stashed away was going to be impossible. I could not see myself continuing to take the tube or public transport beyond the age of 30 or as a pregnant lady, inhaling all the horrible black dust on the underground…  Aside from the vibrant atmosphere of the city and the illusion that you are somewhat important just because you happen to wear a suit and take a boat to a business meeting, there was nothing to keep us in London, so move away we did.
When I left, I wanted to be somewhere that offered me everything; the family, the children, the sun, and the money. Above all, I wanted a new beginning. Fast forward a few years, my decision, which was great for my social life did not seem to do much for my career. My freelance business never really took off and I had enough of sponging off my husband. So after a few years of dwindling income, I decided it was time to head back to England  to spend more years working in a box, looking at a box and dealing with people who cannot think outside the box, aka the corporate world. Now that I am back, I sit in front of a box all day making sure I clock up enough years, serving my corporate sentence so that I can be free again. For a rebel like me, every day is an agony mostly because of the red tape that exists everywhere. People follow procedures blindly and seem to leave their common sense and brain at home before heading for work. What the business world calls streamlining, I label dumbing down and automating tasks so that work becomes merely a robotic repetitive mechanism. Sitting at your desk wishing your life away until the weekend is what I do. But the weekend is not a time for fun anymore.
We left as 2 and now we are 4. Life with young children is very different; nothing prepares you for it. What seemed like a given before is now a luxury-at least in this country. Life for middle class families here is hard. Finding Alibaba’s treasure cave is easier than finding decent childcare. Nurseries are run by half-wits who cannot even spell and who hate looking after children;  but they ask for astronomical amounts of money.
As parents, we run from school to nursery (which are never near each other) to after school activities to nowhere. The weekends are spent trying to entertain the kids or get ready for a new school week. Nannies and babysitters are so fussy that you think they are doing it for free. As a result, your social life as an adult away from the kids becomes non-existent
In all this chaos, you find pleasure in knowing that your kid attends an outstanding school and seeing them thrive there makes all the agony worthwhile. The school becomes your life again as a parent, and your kid performing a song or a play during a school assembly warms your heart.

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