Tag Archives: change

Hello Bahrain

I am in Bahrain, land of turquoise seas, long smooth highways, giant posters of the King,, men in white dresses, women black as crows, shiny shops, large malls, soft beaches, high glitz, desert sands and fast cars. I am constantly amazed by my surreal life; I visit here for 10 days, a place that could not be more opposite than Kampala and then I must return to my former life for 55 days. I am here to chose a house, a school, to look, see and learn and yet I must still go back to the pot holed roads of Kampala and the African skies before I can really call Bahrain home. So I am living an in between existence this week and it feels most odd.

I wonder how I will feel when Africa is no longer mine, and I see no green nor hear no birds. Will I settle in quickly to this island that feels both modern and ancient all at once? I look out of the window as we speed along highways and bridges and imagine how it will be see wealth rather than poverty as my daily view.

Yesterday we went to a large shiny mall. It was the ultimate Great Shiny West experience and standing before 35 choices of red lipstick I froze. This was too much choice. I didn’t know what to do. The palace of cold marble, glossy metal and smooth escalators was overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong; I will be happy to live mere minutes from anything I could possibly need; it will just take some getting used to. I am sure one frustration will be passed onto another.

Everybody smiles and says they love living here. Men drink coffee or juice alone, women glide in their back robes with inches of sparkle peeping out, the make up is thick, the girth is often wide, the children splash and laugh and shout, the life of the carefree.

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Filed under Great Big Shiny West

Give you my sweet soul dreams

 

There is some music that follows you through different chapters. Or some music that when you hear it is sharply poignant of a particular time.

Recently I have been listening to one of my favorite all time albums, Goodbye Jumbo by World Party. It takes me back to a time, to a place soft with the taste of regret wrapped in hope and now it is following me again, like a warm hand keeping me safe.

 

I have had a strange time of it lately, too strange to wrap words around and yet too strange to write about anything else. There are times in life when everything changes, or tilts, and life and the way you see things is never the same again. The older you get, the more moments like this you have and yet they are so very few. Giving birth, losing a parent, having an accident, these are events that somehow shift you internally and leave things unbalanced for a time, as if the pinball machine has tilted and is not yet right.  And I wonder as I walk the aisles of the grocery store, how many other people who appear normal on the outside have tiny fissures cracking on the inside. But through it all comes a taste of change, of the chrysalis unravelling and something new being born.

 

And so my sweet soul dreams follow me in the car, tipping over sloping hills, catching the golden light as it bounces on the lush green. Kampala is sexy green at the moment, fertile and fecund land, mulched earth and dripping wet gigantic leaves. Everything is sprouting, growing and changing.

 

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Filed under Being brave

The Times They Are A Changin’

The whole house is silent save the persistent bird who sounds rather cross outside my window. Handsome Husband, recovering from one of those weeks where the fight between Ugandan bureaucracy and sanity was bloody and valiant, still sleeps, Princess lies upon her bed as if a fallen angel from Mars, dreams of her own funky world, Trooper is away at yet another sleep over where she can enjoy the company of other teens, those strange creatures.

And I cannot sleep because my mind is a buzz with change, more change, the fear and excitement of it all. How can any family endure such frequent change and still stay normal? What is normal? We are living in the eye of the storm, the centre of a a whirling tidal wave and this time it is going to up chuck us onto an island.

Bahrain.

Say it again. The long ahhh, the soft, caress of the H and the promise of sweetness in the rain.

A tiny blip of an island sandwiched between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a place no one had really registered until it was plastered on the front pages less than a week after we had agreed to go. What timing.

I thought we would be in Uganda for longer, at least one more year and then, the plan was: we would see. But now the plan has been tossed, like a pancake right back into the fire.

There was a time I feared being trapped here. What if we never left? What if we became one of those who stayed in Africa forever, until the red soil crept under my nails, my skin and never left? I worried I would grow strange here. People who never leave sometimes do. I worried it was not my place, I never felt comfortable here, not truly. I didn’t like wearing the scratchy coat of the perpetual Other.

I should have trusted my gypsy soul. How could we not move? Isn’t there some giant conveyor belt beneath my world, pulling, tugging, propelling me to pack, say good bye, leave, un pack, say hello, begin again?

Handsome leaves in one week. He is the one who is pulling up the anchor, taking us away, to a better job, a more exciting opportunity for him. I am fiercely proud. And we must sit and work and wait for three more months, live here but have my heart over there, pulled by invisible marionette strings between Uganda and a tiny dot in the Gulf.

Bahrain.

Never would I have guessed.

So good readers, those of you who followed me from Trinidad to Uganda, will you follow again?

“Come with me on a journey across the sea.”

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Filed under Being brave, Family Stuff

Goodbye ’09

I find myself planning my life even while I am living it. You see my life resembles the window of one of those fashionable and international shop windows, although Winnipeg proves to be a bit of a blip on the scene.

Trendy Shop Window

Johannesburg  London  Hong Kong  Tokyo NewYork Strasbourg  Montreal  Winnipeg  Port of Spain Kampala

So what is next? And why I am plagued by this interminable inner moving mechanism that ticks and tocks and winds itself around the nerve endings of my brain even when I am perfectly installed and still?  The plan is to stay here for 4 years, to move out of our little box house, eventually, and move into a home with a garden and a gate that opens onto a street where it is permitted and possible to go for a stroll. In this shiny future there is also a car that works, and all my worldly belongings, that will have travelled from the distant shores of a storage facility in Montreal, will be safely installed. I am not one for sitting calmly and waiting, rather I am plagued with a disease called impatience and it is a nightmare for those who live with me. Perhaps this ants in the pants syndrome has arisen as a consequence of all my moves. In any case, change can’t come fast enough for me. I want it all, and I want it now.

The whole world seems to be reflecting on the past decade, it seems we have a habit of looking back when we reach some milestone, or just a year with a zero at the end. I find it all quite nostalgic and since I am connected through my beloved Pomme ( yes, I name inanimate objects) to the Big Shiny West I have been reading all sorts of reminiscing and prophetizing about the cusp of this new decade. (I have also been reading about all sorts of trends, movies and recipes that make me hungry for shops, cinemas and restaurants, but that is another story.) If I look back to the year 2000 I am immediately transported back to a time when I held a crying baby adorable Princess in my arms. The past ten years have seen me embrace two careers, a photographer and then a teacher, and seen my little girls grow into little women. I have lived in three countries and made extraordinary friendships, travelled through the Caribbean, the States and discovered Africa. I cannot fathom for one moment what the next decade holds, but I am convinced that there will be adventure, discovery and a great deal of movement.

So as this year and decade draws to a close I wish for Peace, both outside in the world and inside myself. I wish to spend more time with people I love, visiting those that are so far away it seems impossible. The most shocking thing is that within the next 10 years both Princess and Trooper will leave home, but that is a thought that I will push to the nether regions of my mind.

While you pause for thought and perhaps look back on the decade that was, have a laugh and look at how these people do it.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful and peaceful 2010. Fill it with discovery and purpose.

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