Moving home | Changing place and focus

Stellaria media - ChickweedSo, as of this weekend, I have officially moved home. It’s been a process that has gradually been happening for a few days now. Last week I came home for 5 days, then went back to Lincoln for the weekend to start wrapping up my life as a student there. Of course, I’m not going to be fully wrapping up my life there, because I’ve put down quite a lot of roots that I don’t want to dig up… but this marks a change on focus for me. I can no longer say that I have a base of my own in Lincoln, or that my life is in Lincoln – even though for the last three years I have also spent much time in Wales.

While I have been careful not to lose the mometum I had from my final exams and so on, and don’t intend to lose it over the summer, the change in focus is noticable. For the past 5 years, when people have asked, I have been able to say ‘I’m a Herbal Medicine student…’ – which inevitably leads to a lengthy conversation when they reply by saying ‘you’re a *what* student???’. Now that time is past. With it comes a sort of loss of identity – so what _am_ I then? I can’t really say that I am a newly qualified herbalist yet, as I haven’t found out what my results are, though I have absolutely no doubt that I’ll have passed the couse. So I’m kind of in limbo. I’ll take this time as a way of regrouping my self and refactoring my attention towards buying clinic equipment/stock and preparing my dispensary room, etc.

However, knowing what you are going to do and feeling fully engaged with it are two different things. I’ve been planning what I want to do after university since before I even started – that was the whole reason d’etre of me going in the first place: I didn’t go because I wanted a degree, I went because I wanted the professional qualification that goes with the degree so I could practice. And now that my focus has shifted back home, there is, if not a whirlwind, then emotional turbulence in my mind.

Walking around my house, the city of Lincoln, and all the places that I have been and loved over the past three years has been strange. Part of my mind is screaming ‘I don’t want this to end yet …’ and part of me is looking forward towards the future. Although the places stay the same, a lot of the people that have made this three years special to me have moved away or are no longer in my life. Effectively, I’m not missing a place, I’m missing a time – 2011 to 2014: My student years in Lincoln. Getting on a motorbike and riding 200 miles home is easy. Realising as you’re doing it that your life has changed quite radically is huge. I suppose now the old school tie syndrome kicks in: I will forever by part of the University of Lincoln Herbal Medicine 2014 cohort. And that is an identity in itself. But a different one than the one I had as a current part of that cohort. So even though I’ve moved back to a nice house, a very loving family, and all my long term attachments, I feel like I’ve lost something.

So what happens after you get in and have the usual hugs and catch up conversations with that family? Well, the future dawns. It doesn’t look like that… It looks like having dogs jump all over you. Seeing a mountain of post and having to deal with it. Like long checklists of things to do and planning going to pick my stuff up. It is the idea of meeting old friends again… being in my garden and in other places that I dearly love. The background that makes me who I am as an individual. Even my language – Mae Iaith hen yn dod ‘nol i fi – so many things are sliding back into place.

It’s like being in something of a dream. Like looking through thick plate glass at a slightly blurred world. And thinking about the mountain of memories that go with me. Times and places, people and events that have all left their mark on my soul. Lovely memories of a challenging but important three years. I’ll miss you all; you people and places that I have known and loved.

So for today, I sit. And think. About my past years, my future, my plans, my choices, my strengths, weaknesses, hopes, fears and dreams. I sit in my herb garden that I have missed so much, listening to the sound of birds and the wind in the trees; the language of my ancestors wafting up from the other gardens down the road. And know that I am home.


Time to plant the seeds that have arrived while I was gone, and look at the nicer things that I have ordered – books on herbal medicine, and a real treasure: a CD of royalty free illustrations from Gerard’s herbal. Hence me choosing ‘Ali’s Revenge’ as a photo for this post!!!

Categories: The Journey

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