Returning home after any trip is strange, but having been away for over a year, it felt even stranger than normal. I was dropped off on the edge of town and walked into the centre, right past my old home. The weird feeling of familiarity hit me quickly as I wandered towards he bus centre, whilst the lack of virtually any obvious changes on my route made it feel like I had never left. The sun was out, and you could tell that it was summer by the sheer number of Swedes wearing shorts. Doesn't matter if it's hot or cold, in summer all Swedes will wear shorts as it is summer... The only obvious changes I encountered was that the ATM now also dispenses Euros as well as Krona (the later of which i had a desperate need to acquire), and that half of the bus station is closed for resurfacing, causing momentary confusion as to where the heck my bus left from. Stora Torg, which had been ravaged by a large fire shortly before I had left, I left for a later visit, whilst my old music bar, Banken (also destroyed by fire, shortly after i left - Kristianstad having been in the middle of a fairly long and sustained pyromaniac attack) looked the same as before.
I utterly confused everybody at work by just randomly appearing without any forewarning at all, with one or two going in to major shock at my appearance. I don't think anybody actually expected me to return at all, and even now, many still doubt it. Do I really give the impression that I want to leave that badly?? If it was strange to be back in Kristianstad, it was even stranger to be back in work. Not a huge amount had changed, although two of the old hands had left (one for 6months, the other permanently), Matthew had finally gained a clone and good old Marky Ryan, an old colleague from the Aylesbury days where we were spent more or less our entire time scheming as to how the heck we could leave the office of doom and get out from under the cosh of the evil boss man, and who I had first encountered at University, had recently joined and was now settling into life in Sweden. Useful to have around, as he is (a) a crusader for mac's as well - of course I was only ever going to Conn TK into hiring Mac people and (b) has enough quirks that my habitual wandering around the office in odd coloured socked feet with numerous assorted holes probably won't attract as much comment as previously...
And the electronic store around the corner had gained a portable Thai food wagon.
Excitement knows no bounds, doesn't it?
But no, don't be daft. Of course i wasn't back properly and almost having to do real work again. That's one I'm really trying to avoid. I farted around for a couple of days, catching up with everybody - work colleagues and other friends - crashing at 3 different peoples places, and trying to work out what the future held for me and at work. Made a few small plans, and after spending an evening in Banken watching the opening two games (Germans don't look bad, Poles look pathetic) and then a good triple bill of watching the English start in customary style (doing not allot whilst trying to defend a 1-0 lead against inferior opposition), the Swede's somehow managing to fail to realise that the ball needs to go into the net if they were to beat Trinidad and Tobago (and that would have been a great party to be at, following the result) and the Argentinian and Ivorian teams putting on a good display of technical and mostly attacking football in the group of death, it was time to head off.
As you may have realised, It's World Cup time. It's in Germany. And i'm not. Yet. This must be rectified. Time to get there as quickly as possible.
Without flying, of course...