Sunday, 8 April 2012
I was completely unprepared for how Heathrow Airport would affect me. Last time I was here I was catching a flight back home in 1988, after living with my family in London for a year. I was sixteen .. went to school here, and made a lot of friends. My stepfather died a month after we got back to Australia, by his own hand. Our furniture arrived much later, I remember it all sitting on the front lawn, for mum to decide what to do with it all. Because it sure as hell was not going to fit in the pokey rental we were living in.
I haven't been back to the UK since, so maybe hearing the accents again, or just all those memories ... has made me weepy. Just sad, for what happened to my family. It tore a big hole, in all of us. My mum, sisters and brother ... are all tough mofos. Each time here I get a grip, and then a really polite British person will say something to me and I start up crying again. RIDIC.
I left Africa at midnight, scurrying through the hotel panicking and petrified I had left something behind. I will be returning home with many more questions regarding Africa and aid than when I arrived there. There's so much to it all, the longer I stayed I was having realisations in increments. The political unrest in Mali, refugees spilling over the border, traditional methods vs better methods, proper diagnosis and distribution of aid in the appropriate places ... it's a huge, huge thing. I just thought giving = good and that's it. The thing I love about World Vision is their transparency, so if anybody has a question regarding how and why they do certain things, they can get answers. There's been some comments here questioning and dissecting things I've been writing about the past week .. which is pretty cool. I don't know all the answers and never pretended to ... I've been completely blown away by people's genuine concern and support, and also intelligence.
This trip home is like an endurance test. It's kind of bullshit ... and interesting how quickly I dive back into my western ways at all the airports. Ever notice how sometimes you don't even know what you want but you just want to get something? Shops! Buy! Consume!
People could not irritate me more. As soon as the seat belts light goes off, the whole plane turns into a pack of twelve year olds who just heard the lunch bell at school. Rushing and elbowing to get off the goddamn plane like it's a race. If one, ONE more person jostles into me I will stab. We all meet up again at the baggage claim anyway. It's taking me two days to get home - the patience and care I have had all week is now gone. I have my sunglasses and cowboy boots on, with nary a smile for the world. Many travellers are not as aware as I think they should be and I just find it offensive.
The sights I have seen and things I've felt this week will stay with me for a very long time. There's so much more that happened. Most will probably spill out in a lot of blog posts to come. I can't quite process it all yet. A few weeks back, when Richenda from World Vision first put this trip to me, I lit a candle in my kitchen at home and thought really hard about what it would mean. I felt my heart being searched by unseen forces. To see if I was up for the task. Weird, huh? I live a very Spiritual life you know. I only *masquerade* as a tough-talking arsehole. (Or vice-versa ... always get confused.)
I'm glad I went, for so many reasons. In a few weeks time I have been blogging for five years. A lot happened. It appears I've written a whole heap of stuff and got a bunch of people reading ... and this week, we all focussed on something really quite big. That? Makes all the embarrassment about being a blogger worth it. Huge. I'm so grateful for the opportunity, also exhausted. The closer I get to home, the more I think about my boys. It feels like I've been away for a month .. I can't imagine being home. The day after I get back, my husband is leaving for a holiday in Mexico. I'll just hang with my boys. I bought them matching machetes from Africa as presents. SO COOL .. with turquoise and leather covers. They can have them when they're eighteen. I want my boys to be Truth-searching warriors. With manners. I want so very much for them; it's hard to realise that one day they will be gone, doing things themselves.
So. I'm off to catch a plane from London to Kuala Lumpur, five hour stopover, then my last flight to Sydney. To my white homies.
See you on re-entry, Computer. YOU have done good. Me and my new friend ... we salute you.
PS I will always believe that Giving = Good. Always. Sometimes, things just ARE that simplistic.
PPS If I get another armrest hog on this flight, you'll see me on the nightly news.
PPPS I'm in LONDON??!
PPPPS I went to AFRICA??!
PPPPPS My saluting friend was very, very cavalier with his gun. So. Awesome.
World Vision don't look at that last photo, kthks.
I just read over this post and I don't like it but it's too late to write another one. What's a blog for?