Archive for April, 2008

Kuala Lumpur

18 April, 2008

‘What i leave behind may never be replaced’, it is always a privilege to travel away from a place, any place, because the act of leaving brings out an unusual depth of honesty from all who know you are leaving. It is however always sad because changes then take place beyond your ken.

Guernsey has been good to me, good for me. I leave there a stronger, prouder, more stable man, Insha Allah. There eight months of gardening corrected my metabolism, the good company rejuvenated my mind, the solid beauty of my other island home reinforced my tired spirit.

Travel brings opportunities. Now i am faced with having to choose a third home in order to keep my dream of a career, in engineering, alive. Malaysia may be the place but it will take time to find out. Time here is as different to time in Australia as it is between Europe and Argentina. The pace is so much more relaxed that engineers trained in Europe find it frustrating. It will not be a problem for me.

For now my agenda is far more simple. I wish to use this blog to revise the sequence of events since my departure from Adelaide, January before last.

When i left the Adelaide Hills they had been my home for almost nine years, which was six years longer than anywhere before that. I stayed so long because i craved stability, continuity, community. What i learaned was that the unstable element in my life was in fact myself and i had better learn to live with it.

As i set off my heart was torn, broken even. When i arrived in Malaysia, January 2007, i was in desperate need of help of some kind. Since then i have found it, during eight months of work, five months of reading cosmology and a month of traveling i have been blessed with excellent company and good conversation. The people who helped and advised me did so willingly gladly and for free. Blessed i am.

After a few days in Malaysia I moved on to London, always a thrill after a long absence. I spent a few of my early years in London and though i lack the skills to survive there, the atmosphere is a invigorating.

Ten days later i took the short haul to Guernsey where i started work the next day. Working with hearty men and with my feet in the good rich soil of Guern gardens. Getting paid a decent wage for the first time in ten years was good too. Guernsey is tiny, intensely independent and embarrassingly wealthy. When the doctors insisted on my resting at the States expense for five months i gladly took the opportunity to read through the local libraries astronomy section. I joined the local astronomy club and began on their library as well, though i have only just begun there.

Amongst the old friends and new who took good care of me there, two stand out. Priscilla, my land lady and neighbour who was a fabulous inspiration. In her eighties and almost completely blind she remains the lynch pin of her family and a source of encouragement and advice to anyone who comes into contact with her. Soon she will give up her family home of twenty eight years and move to England to be near one of her sons. Power to her elbow.

The second is Sweetness, a woman of guts and character. A person who walks her talk and expects nothing less of others. Her friendship is now one of my most valued possessions, her time has been a priceless gift. If i can live up to even a few of her expectations i will be most proud of myself. Compassion is her core value, something that most of us could do with a little more of. Power to her elbow too, power to the batteries of her little friend Megy too.

Then it was on to Argentina, the crumbling glory of Buenos Aires and the faces of an extended family i have never met before. Two weeks in such a place is simply not enough but i must confess my courage failed me. The pangs of heartache that i left Adelaide with, followed me even to Argentina. It took half a regiment of Israeli soldiers and the redoubtable Mary H. to put me straight but put me straight they did. The spiritual bruising of confrontation with South American poverty finished the job For some reason the world make a whole lot more sense now.

I have always known myself to be a lucky man, it says so on the back of my blue shirt, but now i know it for an undeniable fact. On my way home to the land of my birth i wish to stop for a moment and thank not just the people who have saved me from my own grumpy side, but to thank the world for being abidingly beautiful. Bless you all, i love all your asses, big and small.


On Being Used

3 April, 2008

It may seem strange to my regular readers that i have had so little to say to this blog at such a full time in my life. The truth is i do not get paid to do this and for a hundred pounds a week you would get a thousand words a day. In the meantime it has come time to stop allowing abuse. Allowed, it will continue.

Cristina Kirchner, new president of Argentina, has come to the same conclusion. Why should the poor go without the nutrition that is exported from the country in such large quantities. Well, a stand has been made and power to her arm. My personal struggles are less noble, Sweetness is to marry another and who is to blame… Roger of course.

But a very fine weekend was spent in Brighton, one of my new favourite places, and now i am back in Guernsey for a few weeks of cheer before moving on again to KL. The vida loca has its claws firmly in my back but i do feel better for it. A month of farming in the rainforest should sort that out!