Missing Out

3 May

It started with the Olympics. There was a flurry of messages on Twitter from friends saying they had just submitted their application for tickets. Then there were the once-in-a-lifetime, two consecutive four-day bank holidays weekends where, thanks to some cunning Annual Leave Maths, people taking only 3 days’ leave, would gain 11 days’ holiday! Finally there was the Royal Wedding, which, whether you are a fan of the monarchy or not, was a momentous occasion for the UK. People were waving their flags, celebrating the nuptials at street parties and, even more unusually, feeling proud to be British – and showing it.

On the day of The Wedding, I set my alarm for 6.50am and crept into the living room to tune into BBC America. At first it was very exciting – not just for the beautiful ceremony, but for the scenery too – there’s Westminster! Oh and look the River Thames! And wait a minute, are they the dulcet tones of Huw Edwards commentating? Huw, how I have missed you reading the evening news!

Then the excitement subsided a little and pangs for home popped up in its place. I used to work near Westminster. I used to love looking across the Thames at dusk as I headed into Covent Garden to meet friends. And how I miss news that isn’t read as if every sentence finishes with an exclamation mark!

As the Wedding commentary was brought to a close, I thought about what people back home would be doing next – perhaps eating sandwiches and scones at a table decorated with Union Jacks; drinking a glass of bubbly and toasting our future King; talking about “Will and Kate” like they were well acquainted with them both. In contrast, my day was just like any other – there were no celebrations here, no bunting, no street parties, and no day off work, despite Bermuda being a British Overseas Territory.

I felt like I was missing out.

One of the tricky things about being an expat is accepting that the world continues while you are gone! It’s much like when you revisit your old university and find your favourite pub from your student days is now a fish and chip shop, and there’s a new lecture theatre on what is now known as the “old” football pitch. Although we know these changes are inevitable, often a part of us feels a bit betrayed that things haven’t stayed exactly as they were when we left. Because that way we can just slot right back into place again when we return.

We may not be home to see London transformed for the Olympics, but we can watch it on TV. And, whilst I was really disappointed not to have experienced a street party – it certainly would have been the first one in my lifetime – I’m hopeful that Britain will do it all over again for Harry’s nuptials, or the Coronation of a new King. And in the meantime, I’ll accept with a smile that you can’t always have your (Royal Wedding) cake and eat it!

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