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"What place lights you up?" Great question (in a list of other great questions)...and it must be the sea: It's the rolling spray blown free of the rising waves. It's the rip tide that races in reverse and tears upward like the pull tab of a mail envelope. It's the blinking shimmer of the sun on the surface like millions of diamonds. It's the slight lift of a sleek head from deep waters. A seal? A whale? A sea-lion? It's the bomber-like pelicans flying in formation with those impossibly strange beaks. It's the space, too. Space enough that thought flies away and doesn't come back for a long time. Yes, it's the sea that lights me.

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Thank you, Jane - you are a gift and your episode is spectacular. Thank you for sharing your story so candidly and beautifully (no surprise ;->) and trusting me with it. So blessed to know you and so very grateful for you. xo

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I'm very grateful for the family and friends that have supported me this year, and also the whole amazing Substack community. I've also stumbled upon the changing of the guard. As someone from England though, I must say not every inch is as beautiful as the Lakes! In my fiction writing I stumbled upon a PDF of some old archeological paper that brought alive the site I wrote about, all the little artefacts with amazing stories of their own. I also queried an agent for the first time in a while, hopefully that'll lead to good news! The little village in Kent where I went to primary school always seems to light me up whenever I revisit. And the Isles of Scilly, there's something there so freeing and tranquil about that island life. I think I've been there with my family at least seven times in my 21 years of life - I'd highly recommend visiting if you ever have the opportunity.

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What a lovely ode to England, to a place your cells call home. I, too, believe we all have a spot of earth (or two) that hums harmoniously with our blood. I’ve had a few, but one in particular that makes no genetic sense was China. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I smelled, heard, felt home.

Looking forward to hearing the podcast interview you mentioned. Just queued it up. As you already know, I’ve devoted the last 4 years to learning from and sharing patient stories of living with chronic illness. And when the “invisible” factor is part of their illness, almost everyone has gone through a period of deep isolation and frustration as the world says, “But you look fine.” I know it’s scary to share, so I applaud your courage. Your story will make one person or many feel less crazy and less alone.

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Nov 25, 2023·edited Nov 25, 2023Liked by Jane Ratcliffe

So much resonance here Jane. I've lived in New Zealand for 18 years, but England is my homeland. As much as I love the raw, unkempt wildness of NZ, there is a grounding and settling that happens in my nervous system whenever I set foot back in the UK. I feel like it's the connection to ancestry that anchors our roots deep into the earth. It's quite unmistakable and hard to replicate elsewhere. It always leaves me feeling slightly unmoored as an immigrant. I lived in Camden for several years in my early 20s when I first moved to London, initially down by the lock at the Chalk Farm end and later at Mornington Crescent, opposite the Camden Palace (as it was then) - some of the happiest memories of my 20s are in those streets. Thanks for sparking a little nostalgia trip with your writing 😊

I look forward to listening to the podcast too as chronic illness (auto-immune disease) has also been a part of my journey - I plan to write more about this too at some stage, but as you say, it takes some courage...

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You've given voice to something I feel about Greece, my parents' native country that they left when they were in their early thirties. I just recently wrote about exactly this, my feeling that--though I've never lived there more than for (very many) three-month summers--Greece is where I feel I am home. I've lived in England for a total of four years, too, and there's a way that England feels like my comfy place. I was there in quite formative years. But it's Greece that feels to me the way England feels to you. You don't need to describe it with tastes or scents. We got it. :-)

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1,237 cousins ? I need to learn to cook, decorate & get licensed to be a caterer. That " licensing " bit - I don't know if that applies to caterers. ONE REUNION OF YOUR FAMILY COULD MAKE ME SHAMELESSLY, DISGUSTINGLY RICH ! Enough to buy a vacation home in Trinidad & Tobago or Tahiti ( as visions of culinary adequacy dance through my cerebrum..... ) !

I have distant relatives from TN, USA probably to Mongolia, Brazil & all points between, so keeping track is a bit of a problem.

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