On July 5, 2013, we returned to the charming seaside town that had been our home for the 2011-2012 academic year. It had been 14 months since we had been back, and it felt as if no time had passed.
We said fond farewells to our Norwegian friends in Dungeness and walked to the bus stop in Lydd-on-Sea, in front of the Pilot Inn. Our friends were on bicycle and making their way to Brighton to continue their holiday. We’ll see them again soon, I’m sure.
From Lydd-on-Sea, we rode the bus into Folkstone, where we changed busses to Canterbury, and then boarded a very familiar bus from Canterbury to Whitstable. The whole journey took a bit under 3 hours.
It was quite a thrill to be on familiar territory. It was fun to stop briefly in Canterbury and remind ourselves how wonderful that town is, and how well we came to know it. But even more exciting was the ride down the hill into Whitstable, on a beautiful, sunny day. It truly felt like coming home.
When we arrived in Whitstable, we immediately made our way to the house we were letting, and then ventured out to walk through our old neighborhood. (Actually, that should probably be neighboUrhood…)
Windy Corner Stores, the cafe just down the road from our old house, had been refurbished, but was as cheerful and welcoming as ever.
Our old house is still there, let out to some other family…
And the beach was glorious.
And the Old Neptune is still keeping watch.
The seafront cottages, as lovely as ever.
The playground at Cornwallis Circle was busy, and the kids were so happy to see it!
We did not expect to feel so easy and so at-home immediately upon returning to Whitstable. We discussed it with each other, and we all felt the same. It was truly as if no time had passed, and things were just as they had always been. Friends came to call on us the day we arrived, and welcomed us with home-baked sweets, fresh groceries, and lovely drinks. The women at Windy Corner Stores remembered us and asked how we’d been. I ran into my old hair dresser and she remembered me, and offered to give me a haircut in her house later in the day (which she did!). And some of our stress from moving and selling our house melted away for a bit. We felt at home.
It made us think hard about how we might find a way to be here more of the time, or at least more often in future. It’s lovely to have a home away from home.