I don’t think I can remember a busier December. There were of course the Decembers when I was thirteen or fourteen and was dancing in the Nutcracker. It seemed like endless afternoons and evenings of rehearsals and weekends full of performances all balanced with school. Then there were the Decembers when I was a full-time music teacher. Preparing the children for their holiday concerts were always stressful. It seemed that I spent every waking moment thinking about the music, rehearsing with the students, designing programmes, and planning the logistics. When I went back to being a full-time student, suddenly, my Decembers – while busy – were just a bit more leisurely. Sure I had deadlines but there wasn’t that stress of everything riding on my shoulders. This December though has been another thing entirely.
Today is my thirty-fourth birthday – the fourth birthday I have spent in the UK. I sometimes think back to my thirtieth birthday. I spent it thousands of miles away from home surrounded by people I had only known for a month. It's funny because one of those people was Jeremy and that occasion was probably the first time we ever actually spoke more than a few words to one another.
Sometimes you can't tell how hard you've been going at life until you're forced to stop and live in the moment. Those of you who follow my podcast, You Say Toma(h)to may have listened to the most recent episode detailing my recent holiday in Dubrovnik with Jeremy and two of our friends. When we got back, it became very clear that the way I was living just wasn't working for me. Oddly enough Jeremy was having similar feelings. Almost as soon as we got back from one of the best holidays we've had, we were stressed and very unhappy. How do you go about trying to capture and maintain those feelings of well-being that often arise from travelling?
The past two months have been busy. People tend to say that quite often. It's a great sort-of apology when you've been neglecting aspects of your life. "Oh, I'm sorry I haven't answered that email you sent me three months ago. It's been so busy." But in all honesty, I feel like I've not even had a chance to enjoy the few short holidays I've had recently, because I was either working during them or as soon as I came back I hit the ground running.
I can't believe how behind I am with this podcast episode recap! It has been nearly four weeks since our eighth episode went out and in that time I don't think I've had a spare moment to really reflect on our August podcast. Luckily, I managed to find some spare moments today to put into writing some things that have come to mind.
Cambridge is a cycling town. During the morning rush hour you're just as likely to see herds of cyclists barreling down the roads and paths of the city as you are cars. It's one of the things I really enjoy about living here. There's even a bicycle highway of sorts here. The guided busway links Cambridge and St. Ives, a town about 16 miles to the northwest. I've written before about a brief ride Jeremy and I took down the busway but a few weekends ago, we finally had the chance to do the whole thing. We took a day and cycled to St. Ives and back along a beautiful stretch of the English countryside.
Those of you who have been following my Instagram for the past several months know that I have been training for the British 10K. Three times a week, I would lace up my trainers and pound the pavements around Cambridge. There have been ups and downs, runs where I felt amazing and runs where I questioned my sanity at taking on this challenge. This past weekend though, the training came to an end and it was time to put myself to the test.
It has been eight days since I released the seventh episode of You Say Toma(h)to but it feels like it has been months. July has been very busy here in Cambridge. We've moved house, I ran the British 10K, and . . . well that's about it so far, but still that's quite a lot. I'm hoping to write a few posts about all the goings on here in the next couple of weeks. But that's not why you're here reading this. You're here because you want the inside scoop on our seventh episode. Well, here it is.
My fledgling National Trust membership has been getting quite a bit of exercise over the past couple months. Between trips to Anglesey Abbey and Wicken Fen, I've had more than my fair share of tea and scones. Last weekend, I had the chance to add yet another property to my list, Wimpole Estate in Royston. A short fifteen minute drive from Cambridge takes you to some gorgeous countryside, formal gardens, and the obligatory country house.
With temperatures across Britain set to break record highs, Jeremy and I decided to try to survive the heat by renting a car and driving to the seaside town of Hunstanton on the Norfolk Coast. I can't claim responsibility for this brilliant idea. Jeremy came home from a long day at work last week and made the suggestion that we treat ourselves to a day at the beach. I couldn't agree fast enough.