I wake up thinking of England. Of my family and friends. Sometimes I feel so far away and get caught up in thoughts of what we've gained - and lost - by spending a few years of our lives here. Getting out (if I can, if it's early enough and Alex is here) helps. A lot. So I head out for a run on the boardwalk.
I don't run far today because the sea, undulating, turquoise, lapping against the rocks as I pad along, is too inviting.
There is a stretch of white sand edged with rocks that's the closest beach to our house. And I've never been on it. Never stood facing the water and looked out at the horizon. I see this patch of sea every day when I leave the house. It's a few seconds from our front foor. But I always walk past it. There are other, very beautiful, and more accessible beaches at either end of the boardwalk. So we usually go swimming there. But today, I scramble down from the boardwalk, pull off my trainers and paddle in the water there.
It's January - I have to remind myself that it's not summer. I'm still prone to season confusion. The sea foam swells over my toes and pulls back to leave a lattice of diamond shapes on the sand. Pale nubs of coral are washed up, then swept away. The sea scent is soft, almost fragrant, not the pungent salty-sea-dog-tang of the English Channel.
Then I notice a rock, barnacled, fringed with sea moss, wedged deep in the sand. Not moving. Not swayed by the constant movement of the waves. And I realise it's time to walk, barefoot, home. I need to make breakfast for the kids. I need to start the day.