Tuesday, 30 May 2017

All change

It's now been a few weeks since I moved back to the UK so I will be posting my final few blog posts that I have written about my experiences. This one shares how I was feeling about leaving Zambia before I moved back…

Saying farewell at Kaniki

I'm not sure if it makes me a bit strange but I quite like change. Not horrendous life-altering difficulties of course, but I believe that lots of changes can be positive and bring about new opportunities.

Moving back to the UK will definitely be a big change for me. Although I’ve been back to visit, it was two and a half years ago since I was settled there and in the few years before that my life had changed a lot as a result of going through a divorce. When people ask how I’m feeling about the move back home, it’s tricky to answer.

Overall I am feeling positive and expecting the transition to be good. I’m also excited about it in fact. I am really looking forward to spending time with lots of friends and family who I have not been able to see much over the last couple of years. I’m looking forward to being part of family celebrations and friends' birthdays and all kinds of other events that I’ve missed. I am also looking forward to living on the same continent as my boyfriend.

Catching up with friends in the UK

I recently watched a movie which was set in London and it reminded me lots of things that I love about British culture and the UK. I’m looking forward to eating good cake and puddings, enjoying light summer evenings and barbecues, sitting in front of a cosy fire when it’s cold, going for walks in the countryside and even having decent WiFi. I am glad there will be less bugs, snakes and power cuts at home. I look forward to the convenience of being able to walk to places or drive on smooth roads, and being able to pop to the shop or order pretty much anything online.

Welcome home cake - my friends know me well!

However, there are numerous things that I will miss about Zambia. Most importantly I will miss the people who have become my friends and I will be particularly sad to leave the wonderful children from Kapumpe and Arise. They are such fun to be around and never fail to bring a smile to my face. I will also hugely miss the constant sunshine, beautiful sunsets, swimming in the outdoor pool, a more relaxed attitude to life, and the friendliness of people who take time to greet you whether they know you or not. I will also miss my little dog who I adopted in Zambia and will have to go to a new owner here when I move home.

With colleagues and friends 

Archie waving goodbye 

I imagine it will feel quite strange not having petrol attendants at petrol stations waiting to fill up the tank for me, or people ready to pack my shopping for me in the supermarket like there are in Zambia. I know I will find it hard to say goodbye to the amazing children and staff I've worked with here, and living so far away whilst knowing some of the challenges they are facing will be hard. But just because something is hard doesn't mean it's not what you should do. Living in Zambia has had many challenges. Life is not as straightforward here, but the initial adventure that has become my normal life has been a wonderful, life-changing experience. 

Some of the lovely children at Kapumpe 

Having thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of working for a charity in Zambia, I’m now looking for a job in the 'third sector' (charity). I’m motivated to try something new, find something I’m passionate about and hopefully use what I’ve learned, to make a difference in a different setting.

When I get home, will things continue as they were? I don’t think so. Hopefully I will follow a different career and I’ll live in a different house, possibly even a different city. But not only that. A friend told me to remember that everyone else’s lives will have moved on as well as mine. Because of this and because my experiences have changed me, things will be different. But change can be good! I have been hugely challenged about my attitude to the poor, to be generous with the resources I have, to consider ethical issues more and about the importance of empowering others. These things will definitely be on my conscience as I settle into another ‘new normal’ life. 

At Ndola airport 

I hope this blog post gives you a flavour of my mixed emotions. Yet I know in it all that God has a purpose for the things he leads us to do. When we look back we often see opportunities that 
particular situations brought about. And just to add word of warning…for those I see when I have moved back home, I may talk a lot as I process my amazing experiences. I hope you will be gracious and allow me to reminisce about Zambia!

As one chapter closes, a new chapter opens. And with every ending there is a new beginning.

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