My Fantastic Catalan Sausages

I suddenly had the urge to write here.

It has been too long but I was wondering whether to continue or just stop.

I do still have quite a lot to say about life post Catalunya and of course there is the interesting sensation of being in my home country while my Catalan man is learning the ropes. I may be physically in Cornwall but a part of me is still in Catalunya, keeping that connection alive. I was planning to keep writing but when someone commented that maybe I now need to change the blog title, something in me sort of withered, as if perhaps I am no longer entitled to write under this name.

Do you know what I mean?  Have you done that?  Allowed outside opinion to deflate you?

Then I found this comment in my spam folder and it made me laugh. I want to share it here just before I delete it for ever.

Count me among the distraught souls who miss your fantastic Catalan sausages. The fennel flavour and the half salami’ taste made them truly exceptional. I am now condemned to wander the earth in torment. Having tasted Heaven once and now lost it, life seems no longer worth living . Please, please bring them back. I crave redemption!

So, just in case there are some of you wandering the earth in torment because you have heard nothing from the Catalan Way for months, here is my new post.

Reverse Culture Shock

I have only recently discovered this is ‘A Thing’

When you have lived abroad and then you come back home to a place that you have missed and kept alive in your heart, sometimes it isn’t quite how you imagined it would be.  All around you is the familiar landscape, the people and the shops, the language that you can speak effortlessly. But something has changed. Partly you, and partly them.

People have been living quite happily without you and especially if they felt a bit miffed when you left, they are apt to let you know that you are not indispensible. I have a friend who regularly ‘forgets’ to tell me about events and when I asked her why she replied “Oh we got used to you not being here”

Changes within you mean that you respond to life in a slightly different way. This can give a feeling of awkwardness as you fail to slot back into your old familiar routines.

It can be hard to talk about your past experiences lest it sounds like bragging. “When I was in Catalunya blah blah blah..”  So you learn to keep quiet and then feel that a large chunk of your life has mysteriously slipped down the plug hole.

It is so comfortable to be back in a well-loved and familiar place. You can settle down to watch the BBC news, eat in restaurants that serve vegetarian food as if it is normal, meet up with friends and how amazing – you understand everything that is said.

But, there is always something slightly askew.  And you have a horrible feeling that it is You!  It is subtle but disturbing. Like looking through a lense that is almost but not quite right. You feel like an outsider. You question yourself about how to behave and how to fit back in. Things have changed and because you weren’t here to change with them, you feel you are always caught on the wrong foot.

I found this list of things that people have described feeling when they return home after a time away

  • Boredom
  • No one wants to listen
  • You can’t explain
  • Reverse homesickness
  • Relationships have changed
  • People see ‘wrong’ changes
  • People misunderstand you
  • Feelings of alienation
  • Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
  • Loss/compartmentalisation of experience

Yes. I know those feelings.

On top of which people often ask you how it feels to be back.  I have to decide what sort of answer they are looking for. Do they want me to say it is 100% wonderful and I will never stray away again?  Do they really want to know?

And now there are a whole new set of people in a foreign land who have been left and who I want to keep in touch with but who I know are also getting on with their lives, perfectly happily, without me.

It is a weird floaty feeling.

Perhaps I just need to enjoy it. Rootless and more alone than before. At least I am free.

As for the sausages….I have now swopped them for a Cornish toasted teacake in the company of our lovely dog Zero. Cornish tea

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14 thoughts on “My Fantastic Catalan Sausages

  1. Well said, Kate and good timing. I read your piece to Jo. Very interesting, as jo and I are preparing for the big move to Cornwall. Jo has her Twininess’ to navigate too. As for me, my instincts say it’s a good move as America is in such steep decline. Instincts speak deeper than intellect. Mindfulness helps in realizing yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that”s why we call it the present. Enjoy the ride.

    1. Dear Rich thanks for writing. Yes, I will be very interested to hear how it feels for you both when you return here. People ask me how it is being back in Cornwall and it is quite hard finding the words to describe the dual experience of being very glad to be back ‘home’ and the missing of the places and people I left in Spain. There is a complexity to this experience that takes time to digest. Kx

  2. Hi Kate, nice piece. Much of what you say rings true for me, and it’s a long time since I returned after a longish spell abroad. If only it were possible to keep what you truly love about both different places, or split yourself and be in both of them at once, with all the people you love. The sense that you have to keep quiet about that place/time away with the people in your new/old place is something I recognise too. Come round here any time and drink tea and talk about Catalunya to your heart’s content…

    1. Thanks Gilla it is good to know that others have felt similar things. If I want to write about all of this more then I need to tune in to what about my experience could connect with others – because they had similar moments or because they might in the future. It seems to me that if I stayed in one place then I would have always wondered about the ‘what might have been’ and by jumping out into the unknown, of course I gained and lost many unexpected things. At least I know it is possible. Before travelling I was always wanting to try it but was too scared. Now I know I could go away again and it would be fine.What I want to understand is how I got myself from Place A – scared to Place B – doing it. A visit with tea would be lovely.

  3. Although I have never lived abroad, I do long to make the kind(s) of changes you have with your life. I long to move somewhere where I can feel anonymous for a while, just commune with myself and spirit (and hopefully a dog companion). It is likely because I feel betrayed and let down by so many in my current entourage that I am wanting to chuck it all and start anew. Maybe it’s just a mid-life crisis! As for the name of your blog, well it is your blog so you can do what you want with it!!!

    1. This is very encouraging – perhaps there are many others who could be inspired to launch themselves into a new life. If ever there was someone who had a tendency to hesitate and doubt herself – it was me. But something helped me make the leap. I do understand that longing to find a place where you can just be with yourself (and a doggy companion) for a while. The feeling of wanting to chuck it all in is a good indication that change is coming! love and hugs

    1. Thank you! I could write so much more and one day I will. For now the booklet on balnearis is progressing.

  4. I just discovered your blog today and am glad you are continuing it. I am always saddened to see good blogs either get abandoned or disappear. Your header is beautiful. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. 🙂

    1. Dear Linda

      Thanks so much for writing and for sending me encouragement. I intend to go on writing here and it does help when I know there are people actually reading it. I wonder if you added your email so that you can receive posts when I write them? There won’t be too many as you can see from my recent output 🙂 All the best Kate

  5. Hello Kate! It’s been so long. We used to read eachother’s blogs when we both still lived in Spain (me = New life in Spain blog). When I moved back to Norway, I slowly stepped out of the blog world. It was only today that I logged in to Bloglovin and found your blog again, and this post was so interesting to read. I think I can say that I have felt the same on every point you mention, when I moved back to Norway. I have been back for a long while now, and settled in more or less, but I still don’t know if I will ever again feel 100% Norwegian. It’s strange. Hope you will have a lovely day in England! All the best, Kristy

    1. Hello Kristy
      How wonderful to hear from you and to know that my post touched something for you. It has been strange since moving back to the UK – so strange that even though I want to write more posts I seem to be frozen in a middle world. Not in one or the other! But your message inspires me to think that it is worth writing more as what I really love is to know that experiences are shared with others. I still feel I am writing the blog but at the moment I am more often just living it – but the words will come.
      So glad that you feel settled again now. Best best wishes Kate X

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