This weekend, it will be two years since I left the UK so you find me in reflective (read: navel-gazing) mood. I’m sitting alone in the courtyard at Civitas waiting for my chips-salad and fish brochette to arrive whilst knocking back a Primus and smoking a Dunhill Light. I’ve only just placed my order so I have plenty of time to indulge in my favourite subject; me.
Around about now I should have been finishing my contract in Bahrain and heading back to the UK, having earned enough to free myself up to do something less-boring-instead. But it didn’t work out that way (I shall spare you the details) and I’m sitting here in Rwanda as a VSO volunteer by way of a six month stint of working in Switzerland. I have eight months left here and then who knows?
There have been so many endings and beginnings and difficult choices along the way and I wonder what will come next. During my time in exile everyone has been getting married or pregnant or ill or leaving or dealing with grief and all those other big life issues that you wish you weren’t so far away from. Happily, I was there to see Nicky and Kit get married but I have missed and will continue to miss so many other events. I find this difficult to deal with although the visits of friends seriously takes the load off. We all know how I need to be brought into line from time to time…
I’m not sorry that I no longer have the work life I had before (see ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics) and I am hopeful that this period in my (mid) life will lead to more fulfilling times.
We shall see (and for those observant blog followers, one point is awarded if you remembered that this is the purpose of the blog and two points are awarded for linking this to the ‘Gin & Tonic Enigma’).
What have I learned so far? Not much, but this much I do know:
- You can never have too many adaptors.
- The BBC is a mouse-like government machine. How did I ever think it was anything different? That said, last night a (BBC) iplayer saved my life.
- Plastic bags are incredibly useful things.
- Having a UK passport means you’re free. I visited home last year and joined some friends on a demo that thronged through the streets. It was exhilarating. Marching for what you believe in without consequences (usually) is a right to be cherished and fought for.
- I crave solitude more and more and find this surprising.
- The soothing qualities of good linen are not to be underestimated
- I will NEVER get used to cockroaches.
- Cute vintage dresses in Brighton metamorphose into miserable Mormon dresses as soon as you arrive. Anywhere.
- I never want to ‘Work in Development’ and talk about going to the ‘Field’. Pah. The New Colonialism is a sick pup in need of urgent attention.
- Not all birds sing the same song but there is a dawn chorus wherever you go.
- I miss my dog.