Today I have just passed my midway point in Sri Lanka. I arrived on 26 January 2008 to stay for 90 days. Today is day 46 and I am on the home strait now. I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad about that. For the last few weeks I've been wishing I could stay for longer. My boss has asked me to stay for six months but there are things I think I probably need to go home for. When I'm loving living here and wishing I could stay on, I wonder how much of that is to do with the fact that I KNOW it's only for a fixed period. Would I feel the same if I were staying for longer. And how much of my desire to stay is due to some natural (I hope) trepidation about what I have to go back to?
The days when I am happy I'll be going home soon (well, in 6.5 weeks) sometimes just creep up on me from out of nowhere and for no particular reason other than I love Scotland, my friends and family and my life there. Other days, there are very particular reasons and the last few days has been fairly testing. Not testing in a terrible way, I'm managing to stay positive but it's taking some effort I can tell you.
I wasn't sure whether to post about this or not but this blog is about my (not too) personal journey and I think it's important to talk about this and compare to the last similar incident. I say similar (I am referring to the cockroach) but I guess I should be glad of what happened on Sunday night as I realise cockroaches are trivial in comparison to certain other things ....
.... like what I found when I opened the kitchen drawer.
Yes, as UB40 used to sing so well: "there's a rat in me kitchen, what am I gonna do?"!!!
Right there in the kitchen drawer. "What did you do?" asked one of my sisters. "I shut the drawer, what do you think I did?"! Like I'm going to make it some dinner!
I sat in a very high up place and watched my impossible-to-scare housemate Julia sterilise all the cutlery (which we now keep on the worktop). Last night I directed from a distance as action woman Donna tried to hunt it down! Whatever it is that's wrong with these two, I hope they're never cured of it.
I didn't cry - please be impressed by this. I may have leapt up in the air high enough to represent Scotland at the High Jump at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but I remained calm. And I stayed in the house. Three people have now expressed their astonishment that I who, as the same sister said, go into a cold sweat if I see an earwig, reacted so rationally. In fact they all said they'd have expected me to have moved myself into the Ladyhill Hotel within half an hour.
I still don't feel happy about it, still feel sick at the thought but when you compare this to a month ago when I moved out of the guest house because there was a cockroach, I think I'm possibly toughening up. I say "possibly" as I'll reserve judgement in case of delayed shock!
As one of my friends said earlier, it's been a bit of a week - lightning, rats and today, some security issues that have unsettled us all but probably better not to talk about on the blog.
This morning I got a call from Donna to tell me she'd had a weird wiry looking black spider land on her leg while she was in a tuk tuk. She flicked it off and it landed on the driver who immediately stopped and got rid of it. He told her it was highly poisonous and had it bitten her he'd have had to take her to hospital immediately. Thankfully it hadn't.
So it's been a bit of a hair raising few days. My housemates are amused by the irony that it was me who found the rat. My friends back home will just think "of COURSE it was Anne"!
As I said these are the days when I would like to be home. Still, "would like to be" is an improvement. Six weeks ago I was desperate to go home, even four weeks ago I wished I could go home. Today, I would just like to be at home for a day and then come back. I said at the start this would be one of the most significant experiences of my life. I don't know if I realised quite how significant, quite how amazing, quite how tough but I'm beginning to now. And even on days like today, I'm very grateful for all of it.
Well, maybe not the rat but even that has a potentially positive aspect because again according to that sister, this is the Chinese Year of the Rat - although quite how that means finding one in your cutlery drawer is a good thing is beyond me!