The hill, the tree and the way back.

After that night out with the costumed folk in Sheffield, I’m surprised to say I wasn’t hung over the next morning. Good thing too, considering I had to get up early to go for a massive walk with Sky.

She told me what tram stop I was supposed to get off from to meet her. Heck, the day before we had taken that tram and got off at that stop together. Yet for some reason that morning I ended up getting out of the tram one stop too early and waited there. Yeah, I’ll admit, that was really stupid of me. My brain doesn’t like to be switched on before 2pm, so I take no blame for my stupidity around 9 in the morning. Still, it’s mainly caused by the name of the stop. The next stop had the same name, minus the “forest”. Taking Sky’s advice that there’d be no “forest” in the wrong way, I made my stupid mistake. By the time I finally realized I was at the wrong stop and walked over to the next one, I met up with Sky, who surprisingly enough wasn’t annoyed at my stupidity. We went on to her place to pick up her bag and a map, and then went on our way to find the elusive tree.

Now try to place yourself in me for a second. Someone who hasn’t seen hills that often and was still amazed at seeing them in the distance. The sight of them being dizzying, as if your mind is telling you that you shouldn’t be able to see this far into the distance. Yet there you are, looking that far into it. Seeing stuff further away than you usually see. Not only that, there’s some proper nature involved in there as well. Not like the parks you’ve seen your entire life and counted as proper nature. The buildings and roads and fences all have this picturesque value to them, as if they’ve actually had some proper thought put into their placement. Unlike the buildings you keep seeing in the city that involved a foreign architect that can’t get work elsewhere and hastily designed something without seeing where it would be put. Imagine seeing cows, sheep, chickens and horses running around there when you’re only used to seeing apathetic cows that look at you as you’re sitting in a train watching foggy and flat grasslands speed by you as you either sit in a train or car.

Try to imagine all these things while being told that you’re going to walk to the other side of that far-off hill just to see what’s on the other side of the horizon:

That walk was amazing. I’m sure it ended up meaning a lot more to me than it did to Sky, but I’m glad to have experienced it and I’m happy she took me along for the ride. She had made attempts to get there a few times before, but never did get to the other side. Then again, she’s apparently still not used to walk uphill all that much. Personally, I loved walking uphill. Downhill not so much. I’m not sure why but I never found the right way to place my feet while going downhill. Uphill seemed much easier to me. Although admittedly, quite early into the walk I was starting to feel tired and out of breath already. I think it had to do with me not being used to walking up and down hills. The air felt a lot different from what I’m used to up there as well. It might be the lack of pollution.

We did reach the other side of the hill. This is what we found:

A mohawk of trees.

We wanted to get closer to it, and it seemed okay because of a sign saying it was a public road. A bit further in we discovered another sign that seemed to have been hid away saying we were entering private property. It seemed like a better idea to head back, so we did just that.

There was a small ice cream shop that we walked past the first time that we decided to make quick stop at on the way back. It might just be because of the long walk in the sun, but ice cream never tasted so good before. A rooster decided to make sure we knew he was there by being overly loud the entire time we sat there eating. By the time we finished he was so quiet me and Sky exchanged a worried glance. I still wish I had taken a picture of that dairy pirate we saw. I’m still shocked I hadn’t thought of saying “You fight like a dairy farmer”.

When we got back to Sky’s place, Bobby immediately jumped me again. I still miss that dog. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking turns in L4D with a few Escapists online. I checked my e-mail. The e-ticket for my plane ride back had arrived. I didn’t really like seeing it, it meant the end of the good times was near. I’d be on my way back the next day.

A few hours of L4D later it was time for me to head back to the hotel room. Sky accompanied me on the way back. It was raining and she was kind enough to lend me an umbrella for the entire way back. I’m quite surprised she didn’t fall asleep on the tram. She seemed distracted and ready to nod off at the same time. We didn’t talk much on the way back.

Actually, we never really did talk much during my entire stay. Sky isn’t really a talkative person. In the meantime, I usually need to something to build up from. Someone supplies me with something I can continue on, and I will do just that. If there’s no initial conversation, then I can’t build up either. In the case of my time in Sheffield with Sky, it wasn’t a bad thing. The silence was a welcome. It never felt like words had to be sought for in order to fill a void. There wasn’t a void at all. Besides, it’s much, much better than talking about absolutely nothing at all.

Usually when things to go quiet, or the conversations don’t interest me, I dive into my mind and escape from wherever I find myself. It wasn’t until I was on the train back that I realized I hadn’t done this during my stay there. I had actually enjoyed myself and liked where I was. Picture that, me actually content for once. It wasn’t just the time I spent with someone who I could actually identify and connect with somewhat, but the entire area in itself. I loved the time I spent exploring by myself, although that time was much shorter than I liked. And if there’s one place I’d like to return to if I ever go to England again, it’s there.

I’m aware that probably sounds as crazy talk. Everyone I talked to while there was asking why a foreigner would go to a place like Sheffield of all places on their holiday. The British folk on Twitter don’t seem to share my fascination with the place either. Maybe I’m just being the typical odd one again, like I always am. That doesn’t change what I stand by, though. I love that place.

Yes, I'm in love with this place.

So, me and Sky got out of the tram and headed to the hotel. We stood still at the entrance awkwardly for a while. I returned her umbrella. A hug was shared. The words “I’ll miss you” and “I’ll miss you too” were exchanged. I tried saying “If I’m ever in England again, I’m sure to come to Sheffield”, but the words came out in an order of their own choosing. I’m sure she got the order they were supposed to come in. I turned around and entered the hotel. I nearly tripped, but I don’t think she saw it. I later read on Twitter she tried opening the umbrella and hit herself, then later fell asleep in the tram and missed her stop. So I’m not the only one that made a fool out of myself that day.

After spending some time staring at nothing in the hotel room, I decided I needed food. I still hadn’t eaten anything that day. Ice cream doesn’t count. Being too tired to walk to far I went for the only place I knew was still open and in the area, McDonald’s. I ate it in my hotel room while taking a look at what’s on TV in England. An episode of Dr. Who was starting. If I’d say I liked the show or that I had any remote interest in it, I’d be lying. Another good lie would be saying I actually enjoyed watching the episode.

Dr. Who promised this young girl he’d be back in 5 minutes. Something went wrong with the Tardis and instead he arrived years later. He ended up being arrested by a female police officer who, surprise, turns out to be the girl he made that promise to. All her friends apparently know about him from a series of comics she made as a kid to deal with her abandonment issues. In the meantime some shape-shifting prisoner alien is being hunted by some other aliens and they’re going to blow up the entire planet in a few minutes if they can’t find him.

Halfway through the episode I started crying. It has nothing to do with how good the show is, and whether or not how bad it was is left up for debate. The idea that I won’t be in this amazing area or spend time with the kind of people I had recently met had just gone through my mind. It didn’t do nice things to me. When the episode of Dr. Who was done, I went to bed. It was really early, but I had a long day ahead of me.

The next day I learned that buying a train ticket on the spot is much more expensive than reserving a seat in advance. That Schiphol a is much nicer airport than Heathrow. That I really should read more Kurt Vonnegut, but never, ever be stupid enough to do it when you need to do things like getting on planes. And that yes, it is possible to feel homesick when you’re at home.

I’m still feeling it now, two weeks later, and I don’t think that feeling is going to fade anytime soon.

That about wraps up my posts on my time spent in England. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. During my time there I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d like. I didn’t really buy many touristy things either. Unless you count a hat, two shirts from The Big Lebowski, a game box from Hamleys, two books and a bunch of stand-up comedy DVDs as proper souvenirs. The DVDs, maybe. It’s all Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran, Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr and such. Always wanted to own stuff of theirs legally, and now I do. Instead I decided to write up a series of blog posts about the time spent there, so I’d still have something to remember it by.

We’ll return to our regular blog posts soon enough.

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One thought on “The hill, the tree and the way back.

  1. Pingback: Catching Up « Remy van Ruiten

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