Thursday, 31 May 2012

Broken down

Recently I broke down. Not in my car, but emotionally. It totally caught me off guard. As a saw a photo from Ecuador I became overwhelmed with several different emotions. One of these emotions was a sadness to not be in Ecuador anymore. I miss it. I loved my work and the people I worked with. I miss the family I lived with. However, I know it is so right to be here in England for the next little while. I have loved catching up with friends and I feel safe here. I did not always feel safe in Ecuador which meant I was not so independent. Here, I can walk everywhere I want to; day or night. I love it.

That day my mind just felt so full…full of so many choices to make about what to do next.

I guess I needed time to think and reflect on my time in Ecuador and then, to close that time. Not to forget about it, but to realise that I no long live in Ecuador. I needed time to think about all that I have learnt from it and begin to apply those things to my life in England. It is not easy to finish a chapter, especially if that chapter was really good! I now can start looking ahead to the next stage.

I read something that was really helpful, describing a baton relay race. The relay race I guess resembled the work people do, in this instance particularly overseas work. It talked about everyone having their part to play. I had ran my “leg” (my year in Ecuador) and now I had to pass that baton on to someone else. I am now free to move into the next stage; a very different stage but hopefully equally, if not even more exciting and challenging!


I hate being bored. It happens so rarely. I love to potter and always have little jobs to do. But today I had a gap in my day and felt bored. I didn’t want to do any of my little jobs. I wanted to do something but knew that doing something would no doubt cost money and I have a real responsibility to use my money carefully at the moment.

It made me think about my time at home. I’m visiting lots of people at the moment which is great, but amidst all of that; during the conversations, the coffees, the walks, the travelling, I think about Ecuador. I think about my friends and how different my life was there. I seem to see things here with different eyes. I can’t help but be amazed by how much “stuff” there is everywhere. We live in a society that has so much and at times, seem to be quite wasteful too. I do find myself getting really cross and frustrated at this.

But, I was reminded of a verse in the bible;

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4v 11-12.

I guess I just need to get on with it and be content with what I have!


Today I got really cross. Today I wasted £36 on going to the dentist when I didn’t need to go. I was told my teeth were fine, good even and I wondered why I even bothered to go. I came back cross and annoyed at that wasted money. Prior to that I had a disheartening morning seeing lots of interesting jobs advertised, but then realised they were all based near to central London. I definitely did not want to travel to them. Job hunting is so time consuming and can be discouraging as you wonder if there is actually a job out there for you. One job particularly made me laugh as it was looking for someone with unflappable demeanour! What a funny characteristic to look for!

It hasn’t been a completely bad day… lots of chats and cups of coffee with friends and the sun has been shining and I know I am in a very beautiful place with the sea so close.


I loved my time in London. It was great to have a relaxed day with my mum, to celebrate her birthday. We visited lots of places that she has never been to visit. We took the train and could relax from start to finish. It was a sunny day and we took our time wandering around free museums, Parks and soaking up the “jubilee” vibes. Places were getting ready for the celebrations at the weekend. I loved seeing foreign tourists finding their way around with a slight expression of confusion on their faces. I could empathise with them. There were loads of French and German tourists and a few Spanish. I loved hearing them talk and being able to understand. It made me miss speaking Spanish.

It was great to see the Olympic medal exhibition in the British museum. I am so excited for the Olympics to come to England.
I felt very proud to be British; to walk around my Capital City, to see people getting ready to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and to know I was back in my Country.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A few reminders

There is so much I have re-learnt as I take time to ponder, reflect and think about my experiences in Ecuador. The past 18 months have been an amazing time in my life. There is so much I have learnt. A few things that spring to mind:

I am never alone. Even when I was in Ecuador and at times, alone, not knowing anyone or feeling like i had no-one to meet up with as my Spanish was no very good, I never felt alone. It sounds strange but I really felt God, through his Holy Spirit, close to me. I never felt lonely

God provides. So often it is hard to see this in our Western culture but God does provide. I know people in Ecuador who have had to pray for food as they have not had anything in the cupboards nor money to buy anything. They have said God has always provided for them. God has provided for me; financially, in words of encouragements or letters when I was away. Now, in the uncertainty of where I will live and where I will work, I am not fearful, worried or anxious. I am certain God will provide.
I have so much. God has blessed me with so much. A great, supportive, strong family. Friends who love me, help me and bless me. A beautiful, safe country to love in. Constant water, good housing and money. Being born into this country I realise I automatically have so much. I have a UK passport which is powerful. I have freedom to go where I want. I have had a good, free education, after school clubs and classes which have provided so many opportunities. So much I take for granted.

Creation is amazing. The beauty of the world is stunning. England is beautiful

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Houses, water and heating.

Big houses,  continuous water and central heating. Just 3 things that have caught my attention recently.

Today I walked around several housing estates and along quiet roads in Buckinghamshire. Every house that I saw was big and beautiful. Well made houses. Houses that I know for a fact would not leak rain water in through the roof. Houses that I knew would have continuous water being sent through the pipes, warmth in the radiators and houses without bars on the windows. There was a low risk they would be robbed in this nice area. The large sizes of the houses made me feel really sad. I wondered if there would be enough people in each houses to fill the number of beds that each house owned. How many people own a 3 bedroom house with only 2 people living in them? How many people have a “spare room” for their guests, who hardly visit.

It brought me close to tears as I walked past such wealth and people didn’t even realise their wealth.

I have been visiting friends and in all the houses in have stayed in or places I have visited, we have never run out of water. I have not had to be careful because of the shortage of water. Technically England is in a state of drought, but we still have water in the taps. There is still clean drinking water being sent into the pipes into each house.

England has had some terrible weather. It has been cold, damp and rainy. Many people still have central heating on in their houses. It seems so weird to heat a house, when the buildings I have spent time in during the past year, I have been seeking coolness from the heat and sun.  

So many adjustments and it’s really tiring. Everything seems so familiar; ways of living, the culture, places, houses, sights and smells and at the same time, it’s like experiencing it again, anew.

Monday, 7 May 2012


I'm at a cross-roads. I have loads of things I want to do in my life, now that I am back in the UK; Loads of stuff I am passionate about... I'm just not sure which path to take. I read a blog entry today and it encourged me to do something that I love, even if it is something that is different to what other people are doing.

"You know that fear you feel when you’re about to do something great? That never goes away. Turns out, the truly courageous ones just learn to name that feeling and move anyway.
When I stepped into my passion, I was afraid, but I decided to do something despite how I felt. And it made all the difference. I realized:
  • Real failure isn’t as bad as we imagine.
  • When you pursue your passion, the universe makes room for your dream.
  • People love following courage."

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Back in England

Well I am now back in England. After a long journey home; being delayed at every possible point in the journey, I made it back to my home at 2am. I encountered many interesting people on my journey;

-      In the airport, 2 travellers who had travelled around the World and finished their journey in Ecuador, so we could travel back to the UK together.

-      On the plane I sat next to a Spaniard who worked internationally mending machines who could only say “broken” and where he was from in English! I enjoyed speaking Spanish on my journey home

-      A small group of 18 year old girls who had been let loose in Ecuador for 3 months (with Daddy’s credit card) who were devastated that we missed our connecting flight

-      A business man flying back to England, home from a days meeting in Madrid, who was Not happy we were delayed leaving Madird. I think his words were “I just can’t wait to get home. It’s been such a long day.” I had to bite my tongue from saying “YOU can’t wait to get home!!? I think I have been travelling to 36 hours!” I smiled sweetly with an empathetic smile

-      Whilst queueing through the long immigration queues at London Heathrow, one man in particular was very keen to get home, asserting his rights saying “you mean to say you won’t even let me into my own Country!?” (well, yes they will let you in, you just need to queue up like the rest of us)

-      The Japanese men who were also waiting with me for an hour and a half for our bags to arrive. They were so impatient, they even stuck their heads through the curtain/small hatch way where the bags come through, just to see what was going on!

I love people watching at airports and it was a very interesting journey. My mind was so full of what I had just left in Ecuador and could not quite anticipate what it would find upon arrival in England.

So much has changed and yet at the same time, it all looks and feel the same. Foods which I have not eaten for so long are like I am eating them again for the first time. There are different smells, sights, children who have grown up, technology that has moved on even in just one short year. Here are a few initial things that seem weird about England after being away!

-      8:45 pm in Madrid and still light! I had got used to it getting dark at 6:30pm everyday

-      Expensive prices!

-      Toilet paper down the toilet

-      European fashion

-      Queuing (not a random free for all)

-      Being cold and damp

-      Sitting far apart from each other/lack of kissing everyone you greet!

-      Funny hand driers in the public loos

-      Toilet paper in the cubicals

-      Talking about people in English and forgetting that people can understand me

-      Not knowing what language to speak

-      Confusion about what side of the road to drive on/sitting on the wrong side of the car

-      Wearing seatbelt

-      Smoothness of the roads

-      People driving slowly/not assertive

-      Cleans smells of my clothes, new carpets, sea, fresh air

-      Carpets everywhere

-      Lots of lights on

-      Electric kettle which boils so fast

-      Lots of things/ornaments in houses

-      Milk bottles not bags. Decent milk

-      Lots of water in the taps/pressure is high in shower

-      Hot shower

-      Light evenings

-      Quietness in church

-      Services in church starting on time

-      Clear microphones in church

-      Lots of older people walking around in town

-      Less crowds

-      People shopping for nothing

-      Very comfortable living life

-      Passive driving

-      A certain generation of people with too much money!

-      Old brick buildings

-      Post boxes

-      Pushchairs and dog walkers

-      Cars that aren’t falling apart

-      Not many buses (if there are, they are full of old people)

-      No taxis

-      Kids being picked up from schoo

It is nice to see friends and family again. l do not know what I am doing next. Watch this space...


What is Poverty?
I recently spoke with a lady from England who said “we (my friends and I) are all poor… I have actually just bought a new car” (“and you have just booked a cruise”, said another friend).
What is it to be poor?
Is being poor the feeling you have when you have bought a new car, re-done the kitchen, built an extension and at the end of the month, you haven’t got much money left?
Or to be poor; to live in poverty, is to wonder if you actually will have enough money to put food on the table at the next meal.
Is living in poverty being sent out to prostitute yourself several days after having a baby?
Why are some people born into poverty? Why are some born into such a “rich”, affluent family/country/town; full of opportunities, free education etc, with cupboards full of food and a leak free roof over their head.
Doesn’t really seem very fair?