There was an unusual melancholy hanging over Lou Messugo a couple of weeks ago upon our return from Iceland. Whether it was owing to exceptional circumstances in the gîte – guests and their personal dramas that we became involved with – or the displaced feeling of returning home after a house swap and finding little things different, or just regular post holiday blues, I know I came home to a rude bump. I felt I didn’t get time to absorb, assimilate and indulge in my holiday memories. I felt short-changed.
Iceland touched me profoundly. I found myself missing the long white nights and feeling desperately, unreasonably jealous of Icelandic friends posting pictures on social media of sunny weather when we had almost none and I know I have to go back. It’s not just about the weather – we never expected it to be good for the whole two weeks, nobody goes to Iceland for the weather – but somehow this just added to my longing to be back in this raw and vibrant land.
I lived in Reykjavik between 1983-1986 and this was the first time I’d been back. I’d stayed in touch with three friends from those days, two of whom had visited me in France since. This was my first trip back, long, long over due and surprisingly emotional. It wasn’t the first time I’d been back to a childhood home having returned to India on my honeymoon and visited Prague after the fall of the Iron Curtain (both places I lived in as a kid) but it was the first time I’ve taken my own children back to my past. Perhaps this had something to do with my heightened emotions and how nostalgia emphasises the passing of time. Perhaps it was just because Iceland is such a damn fine place to visit! Who knows…the only thing I know is that I’m not leaving it another 28 years to return.
And then the melancholy lifted with the arrival of my brother and sister and their families, staying together with us for the first time. We were 13 in the house, with 8 children from 19 months to 14 years, and there wasn’t time to feel low. It was fun and loud and chaotic and busy and boozy and hectic and noisy (did I say that already?) and happy. Within this crazy time we also dealt with one car breaking down as well as a flat tire and losing the internet for 5 of the 7 days due to a particularly sudden and violent summer storm. Challenges we could have done without! I wanted to share memories and photos of Iceland with my siblings but funnily enough there never seemed to be time. They’ve all gone now and the house seems amazingly quiet (and spacious!) As is usual in our expat lives I don’t know when I’ll see them again. That’s just how it is and has been since 1986 when I left to travel on the other side of the world from them and never really came back – it’s my kind of normal.
Within this normalcy I now have to refind my blogging voice. It’s been somewhat mislaid in the holiday fever. I have no more excuses: technology has been restored and calm has descended on Lou Messugo. All I can hear right now as I type are cicadas, one of my favourite sounds. I have the ideas, there’s so much I want to say about Iceland, and plenty of posts lined up in my head about the Côte d’Azur as usual, I just need the discipline to do it. Putting all this down on paper (so to speak) has been cathartic, a gentle ease back into writing, let’s just hope it’s unblocked the creative juices.
Do you get post holiday blues? Do you get nostalgic? How are your summer holidays going (northern hemisphere readers)?