It seems I have returned to Scotland in Autumn...after bad storms the leaves are already off the trees.. but no matter how much it rains on the West coast of Scotland (which, since I have been home, is A LOT!), the long evenings and nights are always beautiful.
I'm having a wee holiday from my blog, so my posts might be a bit infrequent.Time to celebrate marriages with friends, time to relax at home in bonnie Scotland and time to catch-up with family and friends. Happy days!
Thank you Uganda for being a wonderful introduction to life in Africa.
Adventures have been had along the dusty red roads with views of rolling hills and tea plantations and open spaces and savannas. Smells,along with dirt, have been etched and I know, even after time, I will be here again, brought back to my running routes or safaris in my memories.
My little home is now just a shelter and a place to sleep- my belongings no longer surround me, they have left, I too am now ready to do the same.
I am going home, to Scotland, before moving to Nairobi. I'm pleased I have this time in between leaving one life and starting a new. Time to close the window (well, keeping it a-jar) on one adventure before opening the door. Time to sleep and recover from the end of a school year before being positive about starting another!
Saying goodbye is always hard. Thankful that you made those great friends that are your family abroad; that help you sort out your car, listen to you over wine, get you out of bed in the mornings to go on runs and help you pack your belongings into boxes. But I'm not sad anymore about leaving, not really. I am excited about seeing my friends soon, somewhere, and sharing and catching-up on all our stories and adventures and having some new ones too. I joke that I feel like Arni in the Terminator, quoting "I'll be back!" to everyone that I say fond farewells to.
We had farewell drinks for a friend of mine a few nights ago. It was a lovely night...a perfect farewell. But yet, nobody said farewell...we all put it off. We then still had time to sit down and chat or have coffee or say goodbye.
Instead of saying goodbye, my friend and I sat and shared like we do. A friend that I wish I could have spent more time with before we both disappeared to new lands. A friend that led a similar life, but in different countries; being brought up an expat and finding her identity and placing her roots in a land she now calls home in a country that was not in her blood. The life of an expat, happy to set up house in any country, but desperately wanting to set-up home. We talked, as we often do, of blogging, of stories, adventures and experiences. It's hard to say it to this one, but at least she'll take me with her on her journey to Bahrain and beyond.
I have been putting off the goodbyes...possibly...or avoiding it...maybe...or not wanting a fuss and hoping to sneak out the back door (so unlike me...) knowing I'll be back soon....likely.
There are just so many to say that are too hard; it is easier to check things off the list; try to find house boy a new job, sell car, take back empty beer crates (...this was actually three jobs in one!) etc. Much easier to do this than say the farewells to friends.
But, now my boxes have gone and my suitcase is ready for packing, it is that time.
The flight home - not a fan of waiting in airports, but flights I love - movies, food and drink. What's not to like!
Quality time with friends and family
Lucerne and my bedroom
Running in the Scottish countryside
Taking lots of photographs
A cup of tea (they taste better at home!)
Sitting with my book on the patio in the sunshine (it will happen at least once!)
Reading my book on the sofa when it's raining in between naps
Being woken by the sunshine and the lawnmower
The peace and quiet of the village- no church sermons or late night parties around!
Driving a manual car on quiet, pot-hole free roads
Crying at weddings -it's a given!
Going to the supermarket!!!Marks and Spencers food!Yeeeaaahhh...choices, choices,choices!
Having clean feet-no more 'jinja' (red) feet for a while
Watching a bit of the BBC
Baking at home
Doing some tourist things in Glasgow
The Edinburgh Fringe
Eating mussels from a pot
The weekend papers
Drinks around the bar in the back room at home (the 'freezer'!)
One of my dad's famous BBQs
Free range, organic, boiled eggs for breakfast
I am counting the days until I am holiday (this is made harder, due to the fact that I have not got a flight as yet!), but this also means I am counting the days until I leave Uganda and my wee world here. Sad, happy, happy, sad.
Ok-this year Juneathon hasn't worked out for me. I had my last long run with my buddy on the weekend but apart from that the only exercise I have been doing was packing boxes and lifting plant pots. I'm going to try again for Janathon!
I seriously cannot remember moving from Kuwait to Uganda being as stressful as this move seems to be. Maybe I am less ready for it? Maybe I put off starting the moving process for too long?
I now just lie in bed making lists, turning the light off, then turning it back on again to make another list.
I have about every hour of the day mapped out for the next 9 days before I leave and there is still just not enough time.
I was just asked by the 'w' place as there has been a mix up with my flight booking (deep breathes), if I would now be ready to leave on Sunday, as in, leave the country in 5 days time...my heart nearly stopped. Mmm...no. I still have to have my last book club and cook club sessions, fix a car, sell a car, finish the 'w' thing and all that entails, throw out, pack, have some Frisbee fun, play in the boda tournament, go to the hash, get to my last yoga session and say my fond farewells. No. Give me more time please...
Juneathon Day 14
From pure nervous energy, I figure I have done the same as a 3km run!!??
Yesterday saw boda-polo practice, hail and storms washing out 'Fun Day' at the 'w' place and farewell sundowners (for this lovely lady ) at the American Vice-Ambassador's (I think the American term in a DCM) beautiful home. Just another day in Kampala.
So, boda-polo. Polo on a boda-boda (a wee motorbike). A tournament is being held next week so a few friends and I signed-up for this (I can't remember agreeing, as I had obviously had too much to drink!) and decided we needed to get a practice in before the competition and meet the organiser.
We also had to get boda-bodas and drivers! We have as drivers- Helmet Hassan, Hat Hassan, Robert and as Alex had a puncture we took a random driver...can't remember his name. At the 'stage' (the boda-boda stand) we went through the important things- like learning our lefts and rights. Then we were good to go!
The game in action
Sorry about the photo quality...I was supposed to be playing..!
We then worked out a few rules; no stopping and no kicking the banana fibre ball with our feet. Ones like; 'only use the mallet with the right hand' and 'no driving over the ball' (!) were too hard to follow so quickly abandoned.
Most of the locals that became our spectators for a short time, seemed to enjoy the game (as did our boda drivers) and cheered when a goal was scored, however the football team that were also playing on the field at the same time were not so happy. We were reminded by them that boda-polo " is not even a real sport". We tried to stay to our side of the field after that!
All in all a good practice though. I learnt some new polo vocabulary, like 'chukka'. Plus, my American friend, Sib, never shouted out 'Marco' (polo) once!!
Our all-girl team is being followed by a photographer and we are being dressed for the tournament. We have reminded everyone that we are doing this for FUN and have no clue, but that did not deter the hype. (There are no photos of me at the practice, but I wish I had one, as I really didn't know what to wear to practice, I ended up looking like I was going to play golf on a horse...so getting 'dressed' for it is probably a good thing!!) We now need to think of an inappropriate name and a theme song!!??Ideas??
We all felt better after meeting the organiser and having a wee practice and hearing there would be an ambulance on site for the tournament!! (Ehhhh..no...not making us feel better!)
Oh, the things we do! I'll let you know how the tournament goes next weekend!
Juneathon Day 12
My buddy Tim is ill, so taking some down-time to get back on form. So I downloaded some new tunes for my longer run this morning. I ran from home in Bukoto, up the f'ing killer hill at Aga Khan again, around Kololo and down to Javas. I promised myself The Telegraph Expat and a coffee at the end of it, if I did over 10km.
Distance: 11.8 km Time: 1 hour 22 minutes Max Elevation 4 196ft Elevation gain: 970ft (that must be that killer hill...but seriously feels like more!)
Drinks at Javas: 4 (!)
Flies in drinks at Javas: 1
Photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in newspaper: 1
After rich food, wine and dancing outside last night to cover versions of Freshly Ground, I really did not feel like facing a run this morning. So I went back to bed with a cup of tea. Half an hour later, it looked quite overcast outside and still cool enough to run. I gave myself a wee kick up the bum and talking to, "It's Juneathon!" etc and I put on my running gear.
And I'm so glad I did, I had such a good run. I got lost in my thoughts and made lists in my head.
I like lists. I make them all the time: my packing to-do list, a bucket list, a list of books I want to read next year. A list of films I want to watch and a list of my favourite food for my last Kampala cook-club.
So in my head on my run, I made a list of countries I have visited. I want the amount visited always to be equal to (or more) than my age. (You can't just can't an airport and you have to have been in the country for more than 24 hours-so Vatican City doesn't count- for the country to quality!)
At the moment I have 32 on my list ( I think? Malta might be on that list-but I can't remember it-so that surely doesn't count...) four more than my age. A good thing really, as I am planning on staying around in Kenya for my next few holidays!
Countries I have visited
UK (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
I then made a list of where I want to visit in the next few years. The list isn't as long...because really, I will happily travel anywhere, anytime!
Countries I want to visit
Zimbabwe (next on my list...Charlotte!!??)
Which countries are on your list?
Then I came back and got an unknown call, I answered it all sweaty and tired and I was rude to this stranger before I figured out that he wanted to buy my Prado. I was even ruder when he offered me 6 million shillings for it!!!Baaaaah!
Juneathon Day 11
Distance:7.8km Time:53 minutes
Number of children following me shouting 'mzungu, mzungu' (really wasn't in the mood for children today)-3
Other runners I saw this morning in Bukoto/Nguru area: 1
Lists made in head: 3 - including today's to-do list.
No power, again. TIA. But I've already had my hot shower this morning and boiled water for my tea as I was up at 5.45 am to do some core exercises...there was power then. A bit of a lame Juneathon perhaps, but I couldn't face getting up any earlier.
I'm not sick, but yesterday wore me out. I did make time to stop and smell the babies though, as we welcomed Tim and Jula to the world.
I couldn't sleep last night, I knew what today would bring and the emotions that would be woken. I ran this morning, in the sunshine with my buddy Tim, we kept each other company, lost in our own thoughts for some time. Then I went home to make up boxes; to start the packing. I cried with my house boy as we taped the boxes; I'm packing up to soon. Being positive about the move is exhausting me.
I needed a wee break before I get back to my sorting; I have not made a dent in 4 and a half hours is seems.
I would rather be at the cook-off that is happening at the country club, but I shall pack, so that I can enjoy my evening welcoming two babies into the world and shower them with love and cuddles.
And soon I will be saying goodbye, but not yet...
There are so many phrases that you pick-up living here and forget that outside Uganda they actually have no meaning. I must remember that when I step off the plane in Glasgow in two weeks time.
Some are quite straight forward-some make you laugh out loud - for full affect do all in a sing-song droll.
Howareyou? Iamfine -Hello (no response is actually expected)
Thisa' (one/way) -this (one/way)
Thata' (one/way) -that one/way
Slope down -go down the hill Well done - 'good job/keep it up'- i.e. you pass a runner in Kololo; "well done" Sorry- oh (said to cover anything in any situation-someone falls over, 'oh, sorry', someone is sick 'sorry' etc.
cock-that could be the well known 'coke',as in; "Can I have a cold, full fat 'cock' please?"
ju-es - fresh juice-opposed to 'splash' (from a carton)
susu - a wee (child speak)
short call- a wee
notwithstanding (as in-'do not go outside, the weather is notwithstanding')-the rains are coming
pen-i-pal - pen pal
clothe-es - clothes
special hire - taxi
airtime - credit (actually -I can't remember if we use airtime or credit in the UK?)
flash me - give me a missed call
balance - change (if you're paying for something)
There are lots more, but I can't think of any right now. Can you?
Juneathon Day 9
A 50 minute run with my buddy, (God I'll miss you so much Timmy!) with two tough hills - 7km (ish). I haven't had time to plug in my Garmin to check all the data. I have to think hard about tomorrow- Frisbee or a hair appointment (hair appointments are like gold dust here!)...hmmm.
Current excitement – 1. Frisbee after school (now twice a week-yipee!) 2. getting on that plane home for the summer 3. summer weddings! 4. Starting work at, what I think seems to be, the BEST prep school in Nairobi!!
Current bane of my existence - my Prado. I can’t even think about it anymore-it is still in the garage and I am moving in two weeks.
Current wish list – 1. A new camera 2. An amazing dress for my borther’s wedding –I think this Orla Kiely (in red..no blue..no red...no blue...) is amazing and droll over it online daily! 3. Running gear, running gear and running gear.
Currently delaying –making up my boxes, packing and saying goodbye to Uganda
Currently wearing - now, my dressing gown.
Current Mood – am here, there and everywhere at the moment- but right now I am tired, calm and content.
Juneathon Day 8
Juneathon nearly got the better of me today! I was so close to not doing anything, but I went and swam lengths at Kabira. I lost count, but I say I did 20 fast lengths and no chatting by the ledge as I was on my tod. I felt I swam a good half hour, then I got out the pool and looked at my watch. 20 minutes...and I am being generous! Anyhow- day 8...done!
It is that time of year again; reports, assessments and procrastination.
So, taking a break from reports, I thought I would take the Vanity Fair interactive questionnaire. But there are twenty questions...I don't have that much time to waste, so I picked a few:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Laughter, surrounded by ones you love and ones that love you. Surely in the sunshine.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Obsessiveness -I can often dwell, over think and obsess about negative things. I am a true Scorpio (although I hate the fact that we are perfectly suited to being on our own.)
What is your greatest extravagance?
Staying in lodges on safari. I really should be camping! That, and art work.
On what occasion do you lie?
Very rarely, mostly only to myself. As in, that 10km was more like 12km because of the heat.... etc!
What is your motto?
Know your own strength.(I also repeat the mantra- 'think of the mile you're in'-for life as well as running-appreciate the here and now).
Juneathon Day 6
I swam laps with my friend today after the 'w' thing. Not sure how long for-but we did about 26 lengths.
I was going to write something other than Juneathon today- but I have to share my Garmin news. I got my Forerunner 110 at Christmas; it has been great-I just press one button and it measures my pace, my distance, my laps, my time, plus it looks really cool-it's pink and grey and tells everyone, " I am a serious runner!!".
It has been great, but I knew it could do a lot more. I have looked in the box a hundred times for the USB plug, so I could connect it to the computer, with no luck. No matter, I thought, I will get one when I go back to the UK in the summer. But today I figured out the USB is in the charging plug..! (An IKEA style manual with pictures would have been helpful!) So now my runs and mapped, the elevation chart and all my timings are saved. It is sooooo cool.
So this morning, even after 4 more vodka and cokes than planned last night at a Braii , I ran a slow but hilly 11km in 1 hour 16min. My max elevation was 4 192 ft and the max gain was 484 ft (that is that big f'off Aga Khan hill (isn't the Garmin AMAZING!!!).A solo run, no running buddy, Tim is not back yet, but I still went to Javas after my run for a fresh juice and coffee (that thought got me through the run!).
I have then spent 20 minutes seeing if I could get this info on the runningfree site for Juneathon-but I have failed to do that..today...another day perhaps. Does anyone know how?
When I started my blog, it was just for friends and family -I was inspired by my friend's (Mike and Erin) cool photo/travel blog. Then I opened it up and allowed it to be found on search engines.
Traffic is still mostly made-up of friends and family, although it is usually people I have never met (other bloggers) that comment on my posts.
Recently these funny things have been typed into a search engine and people have stumbled upon my blog...maybe they left disappointed...some may have come back.
"I hate Uganda" movie -I am sure this person didn't find what they were looking for on my blog.
Africa school days photos -I rarely mention the 'w' place- but there were photos of my friends and I painting the mural of Ntinda School for the Deaf and of our visit to Acholi Quarters and of course Valley View (on this page).
Beautiful things in Uganda - I haven't written my 3BT for a while, but I did for a while and there are LOTS of beautiful things in Uganda.
Giberish - Yes- I did blog about how I when I was younger I spoke Giberish (as I lived in Gibraltar...) and have no Scottish accent, but an International one.
How Does African Mamas Give Birth - Well, I really don't think it is going to be any different from another Mama!!But I did write that my friend is now and African Mama.
Hairylemon/Tsetse fly - ah, maybe these people wanted to find out if the Tsetse fly really spoils the visit to the Hairy Lemon. Well- I wrote about my first fishing trip; I didn't come back with many bites, or the sleeping sickness, but my friends and I all got Bilharzia. TIA!(This is Africa!)
Oh-one more thing. I think (ready for a sweeping statement...) some visitors from the States may find me and think, "ah, white woman in Africa, a teacher...she must be on a Mission". As (no offence intended, it is just interesting), quite a few of my readers seem to have badges on their blogs like; "I follow Him" or " I am proud to be a Christian" etc. Anyhow- a missionary I am not, a get paid to teach...yep...paid for working in Africa.
Juneathon Day 4
A better run. An early start and the sun was shining. 57 min solo, slow and hilly jog, about 8km (that included me going into the shops and getting airtime and water).
I really want to go to the pool to swim laps, but have a few jobs to do in town. Maybe later.
After having recently made the first steps in my training for the NYC marathon...buying new gear. It is time for step two: plan out and make a colourful training schedule on the computer.Check!
Small steps, small steps.
Today was better than day 1. I ran to and from the gym, but due to the threat of rain ("the weather was not withstanding!") I decided to just go on the treadmill and then sit on the rower for a bit to watch a bit of the tennis (next time Andy!). As I was running home I was thinking how you always have to look where you are going on the dirt tracks (as they are full of potholes) just as I was thinking this, I went over on my ankle. The first thing I did...look behind me to see who saw me. Why do we do that?
Tomorrow I am going to attempt a long(ish) run, solo. My running buddy has temporarily taken up cycling!!!
Floor exercises and weights and sitting watching the tennis on the rowing machine- about 40mins.
For some strange reason, this song always pops into my head (that and the fitting, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair"!). Yes, I loved singing along to Rogers and Hammerstein when I was younger, who didn't! I remember when my family were driving down from Scotland to Spain for our summer when I was about 10. My brother and I got to check-out some tapes from the local library (yes, you can do that!) for the long journey. My brother had a single, Guns N' Roses, Knockin' On Heavens Door (a single...!!!) and I had two whole tapes: Kylie and The Sound of Music. Oh the joys of road trips!!
Anyhow- totally off track.
I was on a boda this afternoon, heading for my run (yes, running to my run would be too much hard work today!) and I saw an Asian-Ugandan come out of one of the local schools, this is not really the norm. So I was there, on my boda, as I then passed a camel in Bukoto (!) and was thinking of the Asian-Ugandans and the Ugandans living together. The song then popped into my head.
Amin threw out Asians (Indians) in 1972, after spreading Indophobia, to hand control of Uganda to Ugandans. The returned Asian-Ugandans (allowed to claim land/assets in 1990 after their expulsion) seem to have come back with (some) little money, but land and/or assets. They may not have been rich in the country they fled too but many now run thriving businesses here in Kampala; shops, banks, restaurants etc One well known Asian-Ugandan will proudly tell you he was a London taxi driver when his family fled Uganda and he now owns one third on Kampala (we all know who that is...). I was just thinking, though, about whether the Farmers and the Cowboys can really be friends?
Then I got off my boda, noticed my toe was nearly sticking out of my trainer and headed for the treadmill.
Juneathon Day 1
I have a really sore thigh today-I really think the pole dancing (!) on Saturday night is to blame! But since it is only Day 1 of Juneathon I was determined to do SOMETHING. So I ran (an embarrassing 3 km-I detest treadmills, sooo boring) and hung out in the gym doing sit-ups, arm thingys and texting people. I have now spent 15 minutes of my evening trying to see if I can get this info logged int my profile...an realised I should have worn my Garmin. Sometimes I hate technology! It is a start- hoping Day 2 will be better!