"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."
This weekend I had the opportunity to vault that fence and immerse myself in a big, vibrant, energetic city.
And I have to admit, that I found it quite a culture shock.
I lived in London for a short a while after university. That chapter in my life wasn't terribly pleasant, and whilst the fault for that is in no way London's, being back in this city, driving past familiar streets, seeing buildings I would regularly walk by, inevitably brought back some difficult memories.
Yet it was strangely paradoxical; on the one hand long-buried memories awakening, whilst on the other hand, it all seeming so terrifyingly, wonderfully, new and exciting - after all I'm so different to who I was back then.
Where I live now, is in a small town, nestled at the foot of a ridge of beautiful green rolling hills. Our tiny corner of this place is so quiet, on the edge of the common, where the only noise at night is that of the owls and foxes, and during the day, the intermittent hourly quiet rumble of trains going by.
There have been times when I have missed the culture of city-living; a desire to have art galleries, museums, big bookshops on my doorstep. Times when that grass seemed so much greener.
Having lived here for ten years, and then suddenly being back in London I felt like a small child; I stood, open-mouthed, as I took in the height of the buildings around me. Sky scrapers stretching into the clouds.
Buildings towering over trees...trees! Where I live nature dwarfs all that surrounds us; trees dominate the buildings leaning over them, protecting them, we live in the shadow of the hills and three or four storeys is considered a great climb.
So many treasures lie hidden around corners, peeping out at you when you least expect it.
And the architecture will literally take your breath away.
And whilst being awe, and appreciating the scenery, the energy, the anonymity, I must admit to also feeling overwhelmed a few times.
How I had a few brief moments of sudden, heart-wrenching longing for my quiet spot in the world, where I can retreat and be quiet. Of seeing a skyline punctuated by treetops, and hills.
But being in London gave me so much, and for that I'm so very grateful.
It challenged me to meet some of those long-buried memories and start to file them away again, in the right place this time.
It showed me how much I have changed, and how far I have come.
It allowed me to experience a very different beauty and energy than that which I am used to.
It helped me see that I'm where I ought to be.
It made me appreciate my side of the fence.
It's true: The grass isn't greener. It's just different.