After what has been the quickest term ever it now seems the clock is determined to right itself in this the last week as the clock ticks slowly towards the end of term and a well earned break.
The events of last year have taken their toll with the period from February to August consumed by sorting, clearing, dumping and packing as we left our old house. The period from August to now being consumed by moving and settling in to our new house our new roles and our new country. There have been a couple of hiatuses during our weeks away in Newquay/Cheddar and Serengeti respectively and the various bank holidays at home and abroad, but otherwise it’s been full on and much as I have enjoyed the term thus far and various activities such as the camping weekend,and the Wag Hill weekend and getting to know new colleagues/friends I am sorely in need of a break. For those ex-colleagues in the UK who have an extra week more of teaching I am not gloating when I proclaim that we break up on Friday. I need it, we need it and it can’t come soon enough. As for now the next 1.5 days seem an age away and I am longing for 2:15pm on Friday afternoon, and the subsequent three weeks off, not forgetting our Zanzibar trip!
Just hoping the clock ticks slowly in the three weeks ahead as much as this week and not like the clock has ticked for the rest of the year.
Some people have wondered whether we will come back? Some people have questioned whether we will be able to? Some have said that coming back will be harder than leaving.
Have we burnt our bridges?
Are we embarking on a one way trip?
One Way Trip
In response to the last question first – it is not a one way trip in that there are flights at the end of contract. Whether that is two years (the term of the initial contract) or more (should we extend) is to be determined but we will return at some point to visit if nothing else.
Will we return for visits in between?
This is a little uncertain in the first two years; as much as due to the fact that we want to explore our new home a little (see East Africa Bucket List), also because we want to make a go of this venture. There are tentative plans for my mum to come out in and around my 50th in Jan 2016. However, we probably won’t come back before Summer 2016.
Beyond that we would hope to return periodically, should we stay on longer. My new colleagues seem to be able to do so every one to two years so it seems feasible. Although to begin with we will be 4 then 3 , so cost will be steeper, it will be possible to save, as our outgoings will be relatively low.
Of course all these thoughts lie in the future. We will know more when we are out there.
In an ideal world and with agreement we would want to be out at least 5 years to allow my youngest to complete her education. Beyond that, who knows? In a sense the “world will be our oyster” and other International Schools might be an option, or staying put in Mwanza or returning to the UK.
Returning to the UK
We have sold, and consequently exited the housing market, as such we are burning bridges. However, if I returned to the UK, it would be with a job, I am certain. We are not afraid of renting in the first instance and we would be looking to downsize. Again this is all for the future.
Plans and Purposes
As Christians we believe God is in this. We believe that He has opened doors, smoothed paths and solved the seemingly impossible. So in this vein we also believe that the future will work out in the right way. A year ago I was wandering around Phnom Penh in the rain. I could never have imagined the year that would lie ahead. We are taking this first step in faith – who knows where it will lead?
I have keys to the car, keys to our house and my office keys. As a Head of Faculty I possess keys to every computer room, my office and numerous cupboards. At home we have front door, back door, shed, garage and gate. Each are so very important and to lose them would be a disaster.
Yet, it seems strange to think that soon these pieces of carved metal will no longer be in our possession.
These keys open many different doors and yet a much bigger door is opening before us which will make each of these obsolete as we hand them over one by one.
I am not the most patient of people. The one big hurdle to overcome before moving abroad is selling up!
We are assured this will happen by the Estate Agents and the property market is in our favour. We have had 15 viewings. We have had a near offer (they haven’t sold themselves and a freaked out by the Solar Panels on the roof? – go figure!). However, this countdown reminds me of the approaching deadline (125 days until we fly). Of course we only need one person to buy. 🙂 As Christians we believe that God is in this and that there is a right person at the right time, but I’m not good at waiting. Yet that is what we must do. I am told that patience is something you need a lot of in Africa – so it’s all part of the learning curve I am sure.
Very soon in our garden the Ceonothus (Californian Lilac) will bloom as will our Wisteria. For now we must wait for this too. Isolated buds have opened….
…but the bush remains drab from a distance. As does the Wisteria adjacent to it. However, when it comes in to full flower it will be spectacular as it was last year. Sometimes we just have to be patient.
Today is the Wedding Day of Anita’s cousin, Owen, who is marrying Victoria at noon. Photo courtesy of Julian Sayer (taken from Facebook).
This provides an excellent opportunity to meet up with family. The first since we announced our intentions to move to Tanzania. Possibly the last meeting before we go.
We are of an age where most of our generation are married now and more often than not in recent years we have met up at Funerals rather than Weddings – so it will be nice to celebrate without sadness!
Family gatherings provide an opportunity to touch base and have a good natter – even in this era of Facebook and Status Updates – where I already know the location and activities of both groom and best man it is still important to touch base and I reckon that will be the hardest part of leaving the UK.
It would be great to know how other travellers feel
Everything in place for tomorrow’s Open House Sale. Just tidying through. Elephant (what’s left of it) is in the garage. A busy day of tidying by Anita, Heather and Geoff and a final push from us all and we have a house which can be seen 🙂
Moving house can be stressful at any time. When that house is as yet unknown and over 4000 miles away in a different and developing country. When your probably going to take at most no more that 2-3 large cases each plus whatever you decide to ship. When you need to clear as much of existing possessions as you can before sale the stresses multiply.
The day by day routine of clearing and sorting is getting a bit onerous now and we are feeling the strain. It is the busiest time of year for work for me in the run up to the exams – so extra stresses and strains there. So Anita has done much more than I and her parents have been extremely helpful thus far.
We will eventually get through this and the act of clearing will be beneficial (we were great hoarders) but not yet.
The weekend sees an open house / sale for local friends and family on Saturday and a Car Boot Sale on Sunday. Hopefully this will make big inroads into our mountain of goods. As Anita recounted in an earlier blog “How do you eat an Elephant? – A bit at a time”. It just seems the elephant is more like a blue whale!!
When Graham and I moved into our house, I said at the end of a very exhausting day that “I would never do this again!!” Now more than 16 years later we are repeating the process. You may have seen the photos in earlier blogs of the clearing of the garage, shed and loft not to mention the other rooms in the house. Although Graham has made numerous trips to the dump and our refuse collectors are probably surprised at the considerable increase in pink recycling & rubbish bags laid out ready for them to collect, I must admit that I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed with the enormity of the task in front of me to get my house in a suitable state to put on the market. I’ve taken a fortnight off work, to give me the actual time to work on the house. My parents are also coming over each day this week to help me – as well as being a huge help, I’m really enjoying having the time with them, knowing that in a few months we will have left the UK and it’ll be sometime before we meet again.
Dad has put up a new door frame round Bekah’s door, which will look like it’s always been there once it has been painted (tomorrow’s job) and fixed the banister at the top of the stairs. Mum has done a great job on laying a new lino floor in the bathroom & downstairs loo – I just need to paint the skirting and walls now to finish it off. Once these have been done, I’ll take some photos, so watch this space…. Meanwhile, I’ve continued with what I started yesterday and the day before…. sorting out of cupboards, with a break this afternoon when I did the really exciting task of cleaning the oven!!
Now 2 days in to my leave from work, I’m not feeling quite so overwhelmed
– So the answer to the question“How do you eat an elephant? is:….one bite at a time!!” Not that I’d want to eat one of these magnificent mammals of course, but I find the metaphor helpful 🙂
The week has gone by so quickly again. It’s Friday already and we’re two weeks into term. It feels like time is rushing by and Mwanza draws ever closer. Meanwhile in MK there are mountains to move! Continue reading →
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