Saturday, March 30, 2013

Three Beautiful Things

Life in the sandpit can get very it is important to look for the pretty.
  • "Do you recognise me? I'm Nasser's mum." A sweet conversation with a parent of a boy I taught 7 years ago.  He is now at university. She shows me photos on her phone and we swap numbers. I walk away feeling proud...and slightly old!
  • Muffins dropped off  by one friend and soup from another. Living in in staff accommodation has its benefits!
  • Hearing from my friend in Cape Town.He successfully completed the Two Oceans ultra marathon. He has kept the fact that he was running it quiet; he has an injury and was unsure if he would manage the 56km. He completed the mountainous run in 5 hours and 12 minutes. I'm sure he will write about his experience on his blog soon. 
I had to narrow them down today...that in itself is a very very happy thing!

I am teaching tomorrow, Easter I have to admit it is kind of bypassing me...but..Happy Easter! x

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do what you love and do it often

Beautiful and inspiring.

The Holstee Manifesto Lifecycle Video from Holstee on Vimeo.

Life is is easy to forget that one.

Thank you friend!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Living in 2D- the sandpit

I think about my life in Africa every day.

Until this afternoon, I had thought about whether I had overreacted last year. I was miserable at the 'w' place. I felt suffocated and alone, my Headmaster unable to support me and working with some awful people. In my eyes I was unappreciated and undervalued.

I say, until today I thought I had overreacted, because today I had a meeting with my Headteacher about a recent observation, my target setting and my ongoing professional development.

This year my Head recognised all my strengths and made me feel like a valued and experience member of staff. He encouraged me to make my own targets that I want to work towards.Doesn't sound anything amazing. That is what he should do as a leader. But last year I worked with crazy people. I still find it hard to believe some of the stuff that happened to be honest.

I really did have a very tough year professionally last year in Kenya. This year I have slept soundly ever. single. night. I work hard, but I leave it all behind me. It really was a horrid work experience last year but because I loved so much of my life in East Africa it made the decision to leave such a hard one.

Even though I made the right decision for me at that time, it doesn't mean I don't ache for some of my old life.

I miss Africa.

A general statement, but there is no other way to say it.

I think about the children in my 'the-most-amazing-class-that-I-have-ever-taught' and I still hear them laughing and chatting, putting the world to right. I see them racing out the door to swimming, coming back for their tennis racket , swapping it for a hockey stick for the next period,waving goodbye at the end of the day...

My whole being misses Africa, my ears, my eyes, my heart; life can be dull here in the sandpit.

I think about my drive to and from work. The best commute ever, through the valleys that used to grow coffee, but are now scattered with a few houses. Me, driving home in my Surf, with my music turned up loud, avoiding the men on their bicycles and dodging matatus.Stopping by for cheap-cheap flowers, just because.

I miss arriving home to Coco the dog and Sam (my eskari) opening the gate with big smiles and makes coming home to an apartment by yourself a very quiet experience.

I try not to think about it too much at night (or when I am drinking gin!). My memories are like wounds then. The blood will come as tears if they are picked at. I've left. I shouldn't go back, not there anyway, should I? I've gone back before, I'm doing it now. It is not any easier than starting again in lots of ways. I should try somewhere else. Best to share memories with friends in the sunshine.

I miss my yoga buddies, my runs in the forest, drinks in the sunshine, hair full of dust and high-altitude-bronzed skin (or'll never know!), pretty much everything.

This sounds like I am very blue and melancholic. I'm not. The opportunities that I have for holidays and adventures are more for living in Kuwait. I have achieved more in my running since I have been in Kuwait and I am grateful for having buddies here that got me through my 2 marathons and 1 half marathon since January 25th. Life is good. But there is no forgetting that I live in a sandpit. It is 2D. can be pretty boring when there is always power and water...and we are hardly going to run out of fuel..! We want for nothing here. You may have to pay extra for it (yes- that hybrid bike is really £200 more here than in the UK) but if you want it, you can have it. Droughts haven't effected the butter stock in the supermarket, seasons don't effect the availability of imported blueberries, my tomatoes are always round and you are NEVER far from a Starbucks. It is not really 'living' is it?

I even find it hard to write about life in Kuwait. What should I write about? Did you hear of the news of a Kuwaiti Tweeter was jailed recently for insulting the Amir, he recieved a 5 year sentence. Big brother is out here.

I was going to write about my 10km race in Bahrain, which I did hungover, slightly drunk  from the hair that followed and a little wobbly after dancing on tables the night before...I got 1 hour dead. I was just pleased for starting and then I managed to get a PB.  I did it because I had amazing friends waiting for me at the finish. Friends that said, 'We are leaving after an hour, so if you don't run fast you have to find your own way home!' Love them!
One of my friends actually said, 'That is not Robyn, she is running too fast!" Haaaaa.

On a weekend visit to Bahrain recently, I was thinking of the people that I choose to surround myself with.  Most are adventurous and athletic, fun and generous (and obviously very supportive!). There words inspire me and want me to be my best. And most of them have memories of happy times in Africa. There was a moment where the group bantered in Swahili with the waiter, making his eyes light up and our spirits soar.We swap stories over coffee, or pizza, beer and one to many margaritas, time and time again. Just because, as one friend said to me, 'I know'.
We know.

We don't get bored of talking about that time we got three punctures on the way to Ishasha, or sigh hearing about when your Landy pulled out a safari truck from the mud.

 My friends and I share memories like water to a thirsty traveller. The listeners lap up every word, savouring them so the moments last longer and then we are all transported back to our Africa. That is what you call a low-cost airline.

Word is out about a new school opening up in Fort Portal, Uganda. (I am booking my place for the future!) If you know (first hand) of a wonderful school in Africa (preferably in East Africa...but I am open to options), can you email me or leave me a comment. Thank you!!

(P.S. I started to write this post a few months has taken me a while to find the words and load the pictures! I now have wireless internet, making my 2D life a bit more colourful and stimulating!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Currently watching-  Homeland. Well that is not quite true, as I have just finished the first series this evening and I don't have the next one...will hunt around. I enjoyed it. I didn't think it was AMAAAZZING, as I think my expectations were too high but it really was very good. I watched more films on my flight to and from Seville than I have watched all year. If you have not yet seen The Impossible do it this weekend! THAT is amazing!
Currently reading- The Worst Date Ever by Jane Bussmann. I had seen this book in the bookshops in Uganda and was always tempted, this copy was passed on to me from a friend. It is perfect for me at the moment. Totally light hearted and easy to read...and still keeping to my ongoing Africa theme!

Currently listening to- I do like a little bit of Ellie Goulding to bop around to in my flat...I'm loving this slower paced one too.

Currently training for- NOTHING...that is the problem. I have signed up for a half marathon in August and I am looking to do my next marathon in October…but I need something else to work towards. At the moment I am motivated to lose a bit of weight as I am trying to get faster; so shorter runs and some intervals. Ali at Running with Spatulas is hosting a virtual 30km race (as well as a 10km and a 5km)- I am going to sign up for that to keep me going! Why don't you?
Currently excited about- Adventurous-not-reckless weekends away before the summer. A couple in the pipeline and lots of ideas flowing around.

Currently thinking about- buying a bike. My running buddy Kirsten and I have been thinking about cycling to school for some time. I am not a cyclist at all and keep giving myself away by saying 'biker' to my Ironman friend..! The last time I cycled was on a tour of vineyards in Tuscany with TT, (soooooo not as romantic as it sounds....) where I spent a LOT of time falling off bikes...even before I had a sniff of the wine.  Anyhow, I am totally excited about giving it a go and working towards a triathlon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I arrived back late last night after a bit of a high energy weekend (I'll tell you more about that after I have recovered!). This morning I thought it would all be about getting through the school day, but actually, it turned in to a pretty sweet Sunday.

Today's 3 Beautiful Things
  • Looking back at some photos of sundowners from last night in Bahrain. Big smiles, beautiful people, great memories. I feel very blessed.
  • My lovely friend and neighbour, Kirsten, greets me with gifts; two containers of home made soup, quinoa casserole and home made blueberry muffins. She knew after my weekend away my cupboards would be bare. How amazing is she!? My heart is full.
  • Turning reckless ideas into adventurous plans. xxx

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snapshots from Seville








I loved Seville.
I did everything that I wanted to do; ate churros, watched (and was completely floored by) flemenco pura, wandered in and out of one-off shops, stopped for beer o'clock, stopped for wine o'clock, did some touristy things, drank cava, had tapas with the locals and completed the marathon.
Kirsten and I did lots of wondering around in the old cobbled streets in the neighbourhood of the apartment we rented...(sometimes we actually knew where we were!) but lots of sitting too. My weary, marathon tired knees, could not quite manage taking me up the La Giralda...this just gives me a reason to go back.
Being in Seville (like some other European cities) makes you want to make-out like a teenager on the streets. It is where life is embraced and moments are lived. Life seems so much more than working for that dinar (or that dollar).
I was tempted to jack in my job and stay a while longer...I got on that plane though...
I'm still tempted...
Anyhow...this weekend I am off to the airport again and heading to Bahrain. A 10km race is the excuse, but the real reason is to celebrate my friend Sven's birthday with margaritas and Mexican food.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's Over.

I'm back in the sandpit. My weekend was spent going in and out of sleep after a bit of an epic journey.

My body is all confused about why I am not eating gambas pil pil and drinking rioja right at this very second...and why I can hear dustbin men outside and not church bells! On the upside, my body has defrosted and it is even time to turn on the A/C.

And to make matters worse...we are back at work today. The holidays are over!