February 28, 2011

Setting up a new life

Well, maybe not a new life. The same life in a new location perhaps? Whatever it is, there is a lot involved and not something to be undertaken lightly. However, once you find your "village" it doesn't matter if you are in a city of a 100,000 or 7 million or 2 million. You still need somewhere to put your head down at night, a hairdresser, a supermarket, and a job. I suppose many people would prioritise the job before all of the other things, and perhaps source said job before relocating in the first place.
So we left London at the end of September last year and travelled for a few months, seeing the banks of the Nile from a felucca (before the political unrest) and taking a hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia at dawn. I kept a journal of sorts; certainly it needs some stylistic sprucing, which I may just manage to do given the current surplus of time I have in my pockets.
I like it here. I don't like how the 30 plus degree heat and 80 plus percent humidity leaves an oily slick in my T zone but I love how you walk outside at nine o'clock at night without any layers on and the air wraps around your bare skin and seeps in, relaxing you the way a warm bath does. And I like the curious bush turkeys and brightly coloured butterflies and lightning fast geckos that call to each other with noises like the clicking of an electrical wire. I am getting used to complete strangers striking up conversations about anything and everything - even on public transport. And they don't appear to be mentally unhinged! The other day a road-worker came up to me as I waited to look at a flat and asked if I needed water because I looked like I was struggling from the heat.
Of course, there was the flood, a biblical deluge for days and days and finally a slow, sinister rise in the nearby river-banks and storm water systems that might have crept through our front door if it had kept raining. As devastating as this was for many local homes and businesses, it didn't compare to the shock and scale of the earthquake in Christchurch last Tuesday at 12.47pm. My family are all well north, and noone we know has been hurt. But I couldn't leave the news coverage that was almost constant for the first couple of days. At first I had this sense of disbelief that it could happen to kiwis, in our own backyard and then I guess I recognised the arrogance in this and it was replaced with heartache, when you saw the families standing around the crumbled remains of multi-storeyed buildings, their loved ones entombed in the wreckage.
I am inspired by (and a little ashamed) how some of those people can talk openly about their loss, and remain composed and upright and determined to get through, one day at a time. As perverse as it can feel, for those that survived, life will go on.


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