One of the items on my ‘Things to do When I’m Home’ list, along with ‘cut hair’ and ‘find job’ was ‘get teeth out’. A few days before I left back in 2010, my dentist told me I needed to get one of my wisdom teeth out because it was growing sideways and was going to ’cause problems’. This wasn’t an ideal conversation to have three days before departure, and there was nothing to do except pack my x-ray so that when it all went to shit somewhere in Europe, I could show a dentist the x-ray and say, ‘get it out.’ It didn’t all go to shit too much, the monster-tooth just kept growing silently, menacingly, pushing my teeth over so it could fit in. Now the monster has come out, along with two other, less monstrous but still inconvenient comrades, and I am convalescing in bed with blackcurrant jelly. I am using this time wisely. I have Homeland, Dexter, Revenge and The Only Way is Essex to catch up on.

There were always going to be practical components, as well as the emotional, to this trip back home and I am just ticking them off, one by one. As much as I came back to clarify, to recharge, there were things to do, to get done, in order to ready myself for the next German chapter. A qualification to get, work, doctors to see about this little incident, teeth to pull. And when I get back over there, there will be the practical and the emotional again. A visa to get, integration courses to take. It’s a balance, like every other life, just in two countries and two languages.

So while I eat soft foods (the freezer is crammed with Cadbury ice cream) watch excellent TV and tick another thing off the practical list, you can look at these roses, cut fresh from the garden. Better than my swollen face.