Until recently, I’d always lived near the sea. I hadn’t really realised that that was the case until I became landlocked in Alberta, Canada. Even whilst at the University of Warwick, whose surf club claims to be the most active-landlocked sports society in the UK, it was still only 3 hours either way from the sea.
In my hometown in Essex, England, it was a 40 minute drive to the seaside where we often played on amusements, ate salty fish and chips and watched the seagulls terrorise the crowds. It wasn’t as beautiful as a lot of the coast in the UK but it was still our Victorian throwback. Kitsch and ours.
In Japan, I was a 40 minute train ride from one of many beaches. My boyfriend and I used to head there after school finished with a picnic blanket, snacks and some beers. We normally had the whole place to ourselves. Those are some of my happiest memories – we’d only just started dating so it seemed very romantic to watch the sunset together. On the train back, we’d try and slither down our seats and avoid the gazes of the students we’d sometimes run into, lest we wanted to hear ‘Evie-Sensei boyfriend??’/ ‘Joshu-sensei, girlfriend??’ the next day. It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Monday after school.
One of my bestfriends, Brooke, used to pick me up from school occasionally. Neither of us saved time from our normal train journey but it was much nicer to make the commute back together. We both worked out in rural towns, some of the furthest away from the city out of our fellow teachers. As soon as Spring rolled around however, we had the last laugh. We’d pop to the Konbini, grab some ice cream and pop, and head to the beach to dip our toes in and play in the sand.
Finally, I could write a whole post about the English seaside (and I probably will). I’ve got many happy memories there. Holidays with my family, staying in caravans. Trips with my university friends to the mini theme parks. My best-friend Catherine, asking me to be her maid of honour over a shared cone of cockles and chips at Leigh-On-Sea.
Ironically, I hate sand. I hate how it feels in my toes and how it doesn’t go away until I find a shower. Despite this, I do feel like there is something magical about the sea and the beach. It can be hauntingly beautiful and I had no idea I missed it until now.