Finally I am here, in Cornwall, (read caught in a loop 1, to find out what brought me to England in the first place), longing for a more peaceful life in sink with myself, others and nature. That’s the plan. To be far away from the hustle and crazy business of a big city.
When I lie in bed in my beautiful, cozy little cottage, I can feel the surrounding quietness settling deep into my bones. In Hamburg you always could hear the workings of the harbour nearby. Here it feels as if the stars and the moon are smiling down at me with a soothing reassurance. The contrast between having lived for seven years in a two million city versus now being in the middle of nowhere in Cornwall couldn’t be bigger, nearly at the end of the Peninsula.
Some things need getting used to though. In the beginning it bothers me, that all coffee shops close at 17:00, no matter what. In Hamburg they’d be open throughout the night… And where do I find funky, unusual cloths?
Do I need to charter a helicopter back to…
At the same time I make new, likeminded friends. With Caro, an artist and my landlady, I create films like Cassandra and together with Rachel, a writer, including two other women, we develop and perform a four women show called ‘How desperate can it get’. It feels great and inspiring on so many levels.
Other then that I go for long walks on the most astounding beaches this Peninsula has to offer. Oh, how I love the Cornish nature, St. Michael’s Mount, everything.
Have I arrived? Yes, for now.
Many people, especially my friends and family from Germany keep on asking, whether I’m gonna stay for good. What an enormous question! They surely don’t expect me to answer this? How the f*** do I now? Can I foresee the future? Not that I know of!
Two years in, it becomes evident, that even the most beautiful places on earth come with their own challenges. Ho, ho, ho! Unlike the beloved Rosamunde Pilcher films (Germans love them) suggest, Cornwall doesn’t just come with indefinite romantic stories. It turns out, this place, like any other I guess, has a much darker side to offer, one which can shake you to the core.
Abandoned mines, telling tales of lives lost, poverty and hardship. Lonely people, living a life in isolation. In contrast to hoards of tourists invading the Peninsula each summer. In Penzance, there seem to be an accumulation of inhabitants with mental-health issues. Drug, as well as alcohol abuse are a problem.
As an explanation I often get to hear:
‘It’s the end of the line.’
Meaning it’s the last train stop and everybody has to get off here. There are so many lost people this far west, where there’s nowhere to go from anymore. Probably I am one of them and just don’t realise it…
I also often get to hear, that everything is magnified here; the good and the bad. Either you’re really high with all exceeding happiness or extremely depressed, feeling hopeless. Some people attribute this to the strong energies and Ley-lines running through the peninsula.
There could be some truth to this. I definitely experience both here in Cornwall. In the beginning the high with feeling so abundant in my creativity and a few years later the low with being faced with several challenges, taking place all at the same time.
First, my health deteriorates. There’s no way I can ignore my autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s anymore, since the symptoms are worsening. Long phases of sleeplessness, night-sweats (at the start), feeling anxious-hyper or down with no energy, to name just a few.
At the same time the bonnet of my Renault-Clio flies into my windscreen and as a result my aunt gifts me a new, used BMW, because she wants me to have a safer car… Great, right?
Unfortunately now the trouble really starts. I only own the car for three days, when I get stuck in France for three weeks, due to engine management failure 30 kms away from the ferry port Dunkerque.
The BMW, given as a present, turns out to be a traumatising trouble-maker. Spending more time in garages then on the road, costing me a lot of nerves including money until it finally, two years later, packs in completely. The engine fails.
Why didn’t I get rid of it earlier?
But how could I sell it, if it never was right in the first place?
No, I didn’t want to do that to another person.
Also my housing situation gets more unstable, when leaving Caro’s cottage. She wants to sell the farmhouse and needs the place to herself now. I am keen on sharing again, because I am not so great with living on my own in the long run.
In the end I find a great flat sharing with someone with whom I become very good friends. Two years later we get evicted, moving from one in between place to another. She has a break-down, drinking too much, just when finally everything is safe again. As a result our friendship goes down the drains. It’s a great loss for me.
I felt a real kinship to this beautiful, poetic and daring soul. For a long time she was my closest friend here in Cornwall. We braved many adventures together. We had each others backs!
At the same time, the unthinkable, Brexit happens!
Once more I feel caught in that loop, the one where I feel unsettled and lost. The one I told you about in the previous article. Yes, the rug is definitely pulled out from underneath my feet once more.
It’s like as if I turned into a red, woollen jumper, which by accident landed in the spin cycle of the washing machine.
What now? This is definitely not the peaceful life I had anticipated for myself in this beautiful spot of the world.
What was the idea again? Being in sink with myself, others and nature? Bullshit!
An overwhelming feeling of forlornness is taking over and once more I start to ask myself:
‘Is this still the right place for me? Is life working for me here?’
Well… I still have a big love for Cornwall and at the same time I feel predominantly lonely here. Most of my friends are in their sixties and seventies, due to the fact that a lot of retired people settle here. I am at a point, where I miss the inspiration a more lively place tends to bring.
Still, I can’t imagine to move back into a big city like Hamburg or London.
But can I continue like this? I am back in that stuck, frustrated place, which propelled me from Hamburg to Cornwall. Remember?
Let’s face it, life isn’t working for me here anymore. I need to make a change, once more start from scratch again. Maybe I am a nomad of some sort.
Why not hop over to the next island, Ireland? Make an old, long standing dream come true?
Doris my housemate has been going on about Ireland ever since she moved in with me in St. Ives.
How she’s gonna go back to her beloved Clifden, living in this wonderful country, Ireland, again. She manages to rekindle my love for this place, which I traveled countless times and where I have been staying for half a year at a time here and there.
So maybe it’s now or never? I decide to go to Galway, it’s not too big and it’s got a vibrant theatre scene, so it seems. There’s definitely more going on here with having an university as well.
Once again I pack my car, leaving a lot of stuff behind I gift to friends or offer to the charity shops. This time it’s my blue VW Golf, I bought in England which carries me to the new shores. First time I have a car with a colour I really like.
I stay with Eileen in her Airbnb for the first couple of months. We figured a special deal. In the beginning I miss Cornwall a lot and I am lost in all the newness. Finally, just before the high season hits, I move in with 3 male Indian students and one working Irish guy.
Sure, it’ll be great and the room has got a desk. Bingo! The first night, I lie in bed and I hear so many noises. Doors are banging, the bathroom ventilator is roaring, spices are grinded at 2:00 am and the washing machine starts to spin at 3:00 am. Cigarette smoke is creeping underneath my closed door. Deep in my heart I know I can’t stay here for long. The little while I am staying though, my sleep is non-existant. I am sleepless in Nr. 65.
When I get offered a place by someone I just met, which promises to be much more quiet, I say gratefully yes. I move in and I can call two small box rooms my own; one office, one bedroom. Perfect for me!
It’s quiet, it’s lovely. Until… until I notice that the main tenant, isn’t as friendly as he seemed at the beginning. But hey, ho I can live with it I think. Nonetheless, beginning of this year, I am given notice. He needs the rooms back for his daughter, who comes to visit him once a week. I’ve got two months. It’ll be my fourth move within a year here in Galway.
My loop is screaming loud and clear into my face. I am caught in a moving odyssey without the chance to settle. So it seems. I feel for the Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, wondering what else he can try to change his repetitive day.
Where’s the exit? Until I’ve found it, I raise my glass to Bill Murray for making me smile and for not giving up.
Surely, things can change, can’t they? It’s reasonable to say, if grumpy weatherman Phil Connors in Groundhog Day can do it, I can too and so can everyone else.