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a letter home

July 13, 2011

photo by joe stewart

July 10, 2011

Dear friends and family,

Where do I begin? Where I am at the moment, I suppose.  On a train heading to Swindon to meet the British Boy for lunch. He lured me out of bed with three magic words: wild river swimming and the appeal was such that I found myself at Paddington Station at 8am on a Sunday morning. Presently, it is 9am and the girl beside me is eating french fries and a cheeseburger for breakfast. It wreaks of pickles. I reckon I’ll smell like a giant gherkin by the time I arrive in Swindon. Beirut is playing on my iPod and it’s the perfect music for this journey. Perhaps if I turn the sound up, I won’t smell the pickles anymore.

The landscape outside my window looks like this: green trees, grey skies, yellow fields.  The view inside the train looks like this: seats filled with bleach blonde teenagers reading tween magazines and talking about Twilight. I look like this: WTF? with a smile.

I can’t believe I’ve already been here for 3 weeks. So much has happened since I arrived and Montreal feels like another lifetime. I moved in with my dear friends Nic and Leonie last week (Joe and I decided long ago that it would be best if we didn’t move in together strait away). They’ve prepared a nice little room for me and it feels like a haven. I am in very good hands and so grateful for this home away from home. I live in Fulham, which is West of the city. Near their house is a path that runs along the Thames. You can take that path to Hammersmith bridge and beyond, cross over and walk down a wooded trail all the way back to Putney Bridge. There are swans in the river and parakeets in the trees (Yes. Parakeets. Green ones. Loads of them.) The path eventually forks off to a pub, because everyone knows that a pub stop is essential on any walk. I like it here. The path, not the pub. Ah heck! You got me. I loves the pubs too!

I’m slowly settling into my new life after what was initially a whirlwind of activity. I was beginning to feel like a diplomat’s wife, going from one event to another, shaking the hands of a thousand people I’ve never met but who all seem to know me. I think Joe and I have grown so used to being together for such a short amount of time that he keeps trying to pack everything into a very small window. We realized the other day that we have time. We. Have. Time. And it’s the most amazing feeling to sit back and do nothing and make plans for September. To simply go on a date on a Friday night or grab a cheeky pint at the pub on any given day. To wake up next to him. To drive down country roads with him. To be on a couch with his head on my lap and say “What would you like to do today?” To meet him at some random train station to go for a wild swim on a Sunday morning. I am so grateful for these moments.

Sometimes, I miss home. I think it’s natural when you’ve been uprooted to crave the soil you come from. I am a transplant and it takes time to set new roots. But yesterday, I spent the day walking around London alone with my camera and I had a moment when I thought… this is happiness. And in that moment, I knew that everything was going to be ok. And like every other time I’ve moved… this place will eventually feel like home too.

I hope everyone is well. I miss you all very much and love you dearly. I know I’ve been utter shit at keeping in touch and I hope to change that in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll forgive me for my absence.

Until we speak… portez-vous bien.


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    July 13, 2011 5:12 pm

    I miss knowing that you’re not just an hour’s drive away but at the same time you just don’t feel as far away as you once did even if you are on another continent this time. Your new life sounds thrilling. Say hi to Kate and William for me when you see them 🙂

  2. July 13, 2011 5:26 pm

    Glad you’re having such a good time! You’re in my old stomping grounds — I lived in Fulham, near the World’s End Pub.

    Next time you’re looking for a special place for dinner, be sure to visit La Famiglia (right there by World’s End). Best Italian food in the city, small and intimate, and dripping with character. It’s my favourite place in London, and was about 1 block from my house. 🙂

    When you go there, say hi to everyone for me. 🙂


  3. July 13, 2011 7:44 pm

    How can people not love you Jeanine…. IMPOSSIBLE with your smile and intoxicating laughter…. miss you xoxo

  4. July 13, 2011 10:03 pm

    I am so happy that you are happy. It shines through your words and your photos here. I think you are well on your way to feeling quite at home.

  5. Christina permalink
    July 14, 2011 6:04 am

    The place your friends have sounds wonderful. How far away from Joe’s place is it? Are you still freelancing for PWC? Sometimes I still feel like I can pick up the phone and say “hey, lets do something this weekend” and then I remember where you actually are…..but this post, this happiness you share, makes me smile. And once again Jeanine, I shall live vicariously through your posts. I love you big time Madonna. xoxoxo P.S. You’ll be happy to know I quit smoking for good.

  6. July 15, 2011 10:44 am

    ahhhhhhhhhh. thank you for this. the update was muchly needed.

    That first photo? That first photo? —-> exquisite.

    xoxoxo, E

  7. Heather permalink
    July 16, 2011 12:17 am

    greetings from wintery san francisco. thanks so very much for sharing your photos and adventures… i’m carried away. your move totally moves my heart, as i was that girl 25 years ago, with a one-way ticket to london where I knew not a soul, and where i happily landed a live-in job in a tiny pub in barnes and turned it into home. i remember those footpaths and bridges well. anyway, i wanted to thank you for your generosity and to wish you much luck and big fun in london and beyond. you are an AMAZING writer.

  8. July 18, 2011 10:39 pm

    Enjoy the exciting first months!

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