Monday, 13 May 2013

#SpecialK30 How I've Changed in 30 years

As part of the #SpecialK30 with BritMums we were asked to think back 30 years ago, back when the Special K cereal was released. What were we like in 1983 and what are we like today. What has changed and what has stayed the same?

For me 1983 was a very big year and it involved a massive change in my life!

I was 6 years old and living in Burnley in Lancashire with my mum, dad and older brother. We lived in a bungalow with a large front and back garden, I went to a nearby school and I had a best friend who lived nearby. She lived so close that our gardens practically backed on to each other which made for a fantastic short-cut to her house. I'm also pleased to say that we have recently reconnected via Facebook after 30 years.

I was a happy child who enjoyed school. My grandparents lived nearby and I remember that every Saturday was spent the same. Mum and I would travel into town by bus and meet my Nana. After we had finished shopping I would go back to my Nana's house for lunch before arriving home in time to see the horse coming along our road pulling a grocery cart and mum would always let me buy an extra apple to feed to the horse. Life was idyllic and I had no idea of the big changes that was just around the corner!!! 

That year my dad received some bad news. He was being made redundant from the factory he was working at and my parents had to make some serious decisions about the future. I was 6 and my brother was 10. My brother was also suffering at school and no one would tell my parents what was wrong with him. There was even talk about putting in a home, talk that my mum and dad strongly disagreed with as they didn't think there was anything seriously wrong with him, he just needed some extra help in school but the authority and the school seemed unwilling to give him the extra help. 

My dad just had one requirement. If they moved he wanted to move somewhere we he could keep his yacht. The yacht he had built himself (and almost caused them to divorce several times!). He had begun building it the year I was born and finished it 4 years later, yet they only got to use it a few times a year on Lake Windermere in the Lake District.

Being only 6 at the time, I didn't really have much of a say about what was going on, all I knew was that we were moving away and in June 1983 we did. I remember tearfully saying goodbye to all my friends, especially my best friend, sad but a little excited about the future. All I really knew is that we were moving to the beach!

I'd just broken up from school for the summer in Lancashire as we moved 137 miles south to North Wales.

In the backyard of my new house in Wales

Moving to Wales was very strange. For one thing their school hadn't broken up for summer yet, so for many years I actually believed I had missed my summer holidays that year! The biggest challenge was learning a new language! The primary school in Wales is taught through the medium of Welsh and I was told on my very first day at school that I couldn't go to the bathroom unless I asked in Welsh. Which was very hard when it was only my 2nd day in Wales and no one had told me how to say it. I also had the problem that I spoke like an extra on Coronation Street with my very strong Lancashire accent. 

I found it hard to settle into my new school and make new friends. I was missing my old friends and struggling to learn a new language, not to mention I suddenly became shy and hated speaking in case someone made fun of my accent. My brother found it even harder than I was, he had already been struggling at school and now he had a different language thrown at him! The only good news was that my mum had finally been given a diagnosis for his problems at school, in fact the woman who told her said that she could only tell her because we were moving. So what was this problem that had had them wanting to put my brother in a special home??? He was dyslexic! That was all, he just struggled to read because he saw things the wrong way round, something that thousands of children are diagnosed with each year and yet go on to have fulfilling lives and jobs, there's even quite a lot of famous actors and actresses who suffer from dyslexia yet manage, with help, to learn all their lines!

Slowly we both grew and adapted and made new friends. Although my brother never mastered the Welsh language I quickly picked it up and when I left primary school 5 years later I was as fluent as someone who had been speaking it all their life (although sadly as my secondary school wasn't as Welsh I lost most of my Welsh and I now struggle to have a simple conversation and help my children with their homework) of course my Lancashire accent I got rid of as soon as I can, but I fought against getting a Welsh one for many years. 

At a recent meal out for my friends birthday

Now 30 years later I look back on how I've changed! Well for one, I'm 30 years older, my boobs have gotten bigger, I've gotten a bit fatter and I feel like I have more grey hairs than brown! I'm also married and a mum of 4, soon to be 5, wonderful children. I've grown to love and accept the town I moved to and now consider it my hometown and I love how close we are as a community! No way could I move back to Burnley, something I spent many unhappy years wishing. I am a lot happier here than I ever could be there, and I also know that my children will have a safer and healthier upbringing here with all the fresh air! 

The only things that hasn't changed, is that I still have long hair, I'm still painfully shy (which sadly I seem to have passed on to my daughters) and I live in the same property, the same flat, that we moved to 30 years ago. The only difference is I'm raising my own family now in the flat whilst my brother lives in Norfolk with his family and my parents live in another bungalow 5 miles away!

*** This post is my entry into the BritMums/Special K "How I've changed" linky challenge celebrating the release of the new Special K cereal which now contains three grains (previously there was only two) of rice, wheat and barley. It is also made with wholegrain for a source of fibre as well as 8 vitamins and minerals. it gives health-concious and weight-watching women a tastier healthier breakfast. I tried the new cereal and found it a lot more tastier than the original, in fact I have to fight my daughter for the box at breakfast time as they enjoy it as well! ***

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