On being back ‘home’

Well, I have managed to be pretty much the only person to make it out of Heathrow just about when I expected to do so, and even the jetlag is mostly gone after a day or two.  Philly’s all right; I think I’ll be happier when I get out of the house a bit tonight to have dinner with friends.  Mostly, though, I’m overwhelmed by how much I…frankly kinda don’t want to be here, and don’t particularly feel at home.

One of the first, if not the first word I learned in Welsh was hiraeth, which doesn’t have a good English translation.  The guy who taught it to me admitted that it might come close to homesickness or the feeling you get when you listen to really good blues, but that doesn’t cover it.  It’s just a feeling of being wrong, subtle but there, as soon as I cross the Severn bridge.  It’s inexplicable, and not necessarily painful (maybe because I know I’m going back?), but its’ so very much, powerfully, there.  I wasn’t expecting that, although I keep meeting people who tell me that I’ll feel hiraeth now, essentially, forever.  Wales gets under your skin.

(So does the terrible, terrible history of the country my mother lent me to read, but that’s a post for another time.  For now, let’s just say that it’s pretty rare that I’ve ever wanted to actually shoot a book.)

Aaaanyway, this all has a slightly funny (I hope) and inappropriate ending, because I was whinging to the patient Charlie Cochrane about all of this, stating that I wanted a mince pie, a sheep, and Alun-Wyn [Jones, of course!], and she pointed out that that scanned perfectly into Bread of Heaven.  So, with abject apologies to everyone, especially the sheep:

[annotations below]

The coach did cross the Severn Bridge
And it was not much fun.[1]
I did not want to go to Heathrow,
And I don’t want to be here.

I miss Welsh things;
I miss Welsh things!
Mince pie, a sheep[2], and Alun Wyn[3]!
Mince pie, a sheep, and Alun Wyn!

Don’t forget the
smell of Metros[4]
and the violent footy fans!
And the rugby our boys lose.[5]

[1] This could be because it took two hours to drive from Cardiff to Newport.  No, I don’t want to talk about it.
[2] Mind out of the gutter, please.
[3] Alun-Wyn Jones, the very lovely forward lock who needs to shave that wombat off of his face.
[4] Metros is this awesome club that’s basically located in a basement, and is pretty much the only place on earth that got worse after the smoking ban.  See, because it’s underground, the smell of human fug doesn’t ever dissipate.  And when it’s really full, moisture gathers on the walls and ceilings and drips down on you!  The reek is infamous and no matter how drunk you are, it’s like getting slapped as soon as you walk in.  It’s my favorite club.
[5] SOB

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