Sail away with me…

I love the sea. Pure and simple. I am always so much happier when I am near it. I financially crippled myself for years to be able to afford to live near it. I nearly died once when I was in it. (Nitrogen bubble in my spinal cord). And the first thing I said when I was properly conscious again, was to ask when I would be allowed to dive in it again. It’s part of me. As much as the blood in my veins. I believe in reincarnation and in truth, I believe a fair bit in magic too.

Perhaps I was a mermaid in another life.

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When I lived in Uganda, it was bitter-sweet for me most days. As I could see the Lake Victoria from the rooftop, where I would spend time practicing yoga, making skype calls, or simply drinking my coffee and watching the birds fly overhead. But that lake is filled to the brim with Bilharzia and so it was; I could see the water, but I would never be in the water.

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It’s all in the way that you feel.

“I live here, I may as well like it”, I retorted as I discussed the chaos that can be life in Lagos, to my newly-found friend who was visiting me from my beloved Uganda. And herein opened the can of worms that my mind and body has been keeping a rather large lid on.

I haven’t actually been liking it at all. Not inside. Not in my heart. Not in my inspiration.

Was it the fault of Lagos? Was it the fault of the artificiality  I feel from ex-pat lifestyle? Was it the fault of my continued chronic pain? Or was it just not “there”, wherever that happens to be?

Perhaps in fact, it was the fault of the intensive physio program I was ensuring I followed, due to my determination to be fully fit, flexible and mobile, so that I could get my life back…

Continue reading “It’s all in the way that you feel.”

Lying low in Lagos

Quite some time has passed since my last entry and in many ways life has transformed in such a way, that it was a stranger who was last here as the author. In the time-lapse, I have been back to England to undergo a full knee reconstruction, which turned out to be of a much greater extent than anticipated once I was under the knife. Quite frankly, the interior of my knee was a shambles, and it needed a huge tidy up and rebuild.

I was heavily reliant on support and thanks be to the Gods, (or the higher powers that be), for the fact that I am deeply blessed to have angels in my life that stepped right up to this, aiding me in more ways than I had possibly imagined ever needing. Not least of all with mobility, but also with feeding me when I was unable to stand for long, supporting me to wash and also to help me stave off the demons that the pain kept drawing in.

My return to Lagos was a bumpy one in numerous ways and it was a challenge for me to still be so reliant on others, whilst I know the people here so little. That said, I needn’t have worried. My driver, Ojo, almost burst into tears when he met me at the airport; shocked as he was, at the sight of me coming out of the gates in a wheelchair, and in a full leg brace. He has been a real crutch (haha, fun with a pun) since then and it has been nice to have this caring aspect in my daily life. Likewise, the expats I share a building with, have been so hugely open-hearted towards me, providing me with many meals, keeping an eye on me and offering help with food shopping and general pick-me-ups.

I have now been back for just less than two months, with the roller-coaster of recovery being ongoing and transformative. It is quite something not to be able to just get up and walk around, whether it be to make a quick drink of water, to pop out for some fresh  air, (hmm, I use that phrase loosely given the awful quality here) , or to move from one side of the room to other when I am teaching. The longer I am stationary, the higher the pain level, and with the Lagos traffic as it is, this is one of my current life challenges.
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TIA (This is Africa) and It’s Alright…

Each day that passes brings new experience, as is the way of life. But with this also comes the creepings in of adjustment and a deepening of a place called home. I am utterly blessed to feel deep in my core that I have two very strongholds of home right now, though neither of them are where I am currently situated. That said, it also feels like my normality is growing rapidly and I see myself at ease with the development of new languages and my enjoyment of playfulness is returning with this creativity also.

There are times when I notice my breath is out of sync with purpose, that I feel a stranger here amongst the people, not yet fully knowing who my kindred souls are. It has been fascinating however to observe this, as I opted into the state of being T-total for now. This has been with loving kindness to my healing body as it continues to manage the pains and ruptures within my leg, and for preparation of improved health before my pending surgery. Yet with this sobriety comes an adjustment to socializing where the energy can quickly change through alcohol consumption. Thus, whilst I have been once more familiar to this sensation, I have gradually returned to my yoga practice as best I can. (It has been a long journey between the breakages last October and I have greatly felt the loss of this; my body is taut and I have such limited flexion, as my muscles work throughout the hours to keep my leg moving in the ways that I need. Often my back goes into spasm after I have done my physio and it can be a real catch 22 to weigh up the balance). I have sorely missed movement in my life and I have felt very stagnant at times and not as creative as I enjoy to be.

Continue reading “TIA (This is Africa) and It’s Alright…”

What the mind does not want, the eye will never see.

There I was, looking back in the mirror at a reflection I barely recognised. Not through significant outward appearance, but through lack of time spent looking in: through a rapid pace of life rushing past me, rapid adaptations being required, and many commitments to meet. Moving to my new country, aligning myself with my new job, meeting new colleagues and familiars, greeting my mother to my beloved Africa, adapting to my new physio regime, tasting new spices and foods, and so on. It was all happening at a rate of knots so fast that I felt like I was barely remembering to sleep let alone meditate, sit in stillness, reflect, appreciate, calm, ease, or most of all, breathe.

It came as somewhat of a surprise to find myself therefore, looking back at this forgotten woman in the mirror, as she showed a startled look to her face. My mother had just landed back in the UK and had sent a cautionary message.  She advised that I check my Nigerian Visa requirements, in order to be sure that I could travel to my other beloved homelands the following week, as per original plan. The ‘she’ in this, being I, lost all colour to her face.

There I had been, feeling quite calm about my mum’s departure, due to an assertion that I would be seeing others that I loved within the week.Admitedly finances have not been flowing easily but where there is a will there is always a way and I knew that I would arrive to exactly where I needed to be the following week regardless. Therefore I did not think much of the message at all. A whisper in the back of my mind popped up however… so a day or two later I did hunt out my passport, just to double check, before I devised some way of securing an airline ticket.

Lo and behold she was right.

Through having a short-term work permit rather than my permanent one (another story to be told another time undoubtedly), I discovered I am here on a single entry only. Thus, whilst my ex-pat colleagues all around me were telling tales of their travels to come, I found myself there, ashen-faced, looking back at a bewildered face, feeling like the walls had begun to rapidly cave in on me.

Continue reading “What the mind does not want, the eye will never see.”

Returning to the roots of those who have walked here before us

With an increasing frequency of more universal messages arriving to my ears, I feel a oneness and inherent belief that despite the whiteness of my skin, my source is here within the lands of Africa. In fact, colleagues of mine this past week even said as such; “are you sure you aren’t really African Miss?

From this, it makes complete and natural sense that my mother should have made the difficult (yet well-worth it) efforts to meet hectic visa requirements and end up here in Africa beside me, albeit for only 10 days (due to her busy schedule and multitude of commitments). In the 1940s my grandfather was here in Nigeria, and some 70 years later, so now has been his daughter, beside her daughter in fact. She brought with her letters of people who loved my grandfather for his kindness, and she was able to see firsthand, what the difference is like for life here in comparison to wherever “there” may be.

In some ways, it was such a rushed time having her here, having only landed here myself some two weeks prior. Of course, the initial intention had been that she would have been beside me sharing my affair with Uganda. But come she did, regardless of where the “here” now was. Thankfully, due to my adaptations to African ways of living from my Ugandan time, I was able to adjust relatively quickly and speedily to my new surroundings, such that by the time she arrived, it was smooth enough for her and I had many things in place. I have not yet really traversed the lands, but I rapidly began to suss out the ways of them and be able to support my mum with the intense adjustments she had to make from being in the UK to being here in Nigeria.

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Now. New in Nigeria.

Life twists and turns in so many ways, and almost a year ago to the day, I interviewed for, and made the final decision of, a move to Uganda, East Africa. Now, in 2017, I move forwards to another moment in time and find myself landing upon a new lily-pad – this time by the name of Lagos, Nigeria. This was a highly unexpected and unforeseen move, for various reasons, yet here I found myself, treading the waters of footsteps that have gone before me …. even those of my late grandfather, who worked in this country (though further along the coast) as an engineer over 60 years ago. In this change of an un-designated and thus un-mapped story of my wanderings, I walked forwards towards a new wabi-sabi; discovery of beauty in imperfection; the acceptance of the cycle of light and death.

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The time thief. By what can it be measured?

Just less than six months ago, I sat, bewildered and uncertain, as I boarded a plane from London Heathrow to Entebbe, Uganda. My heart ached in ways that I hadn’t felt for eons of time and my inner excitement was stirring yet confused. And I found myself stepping onto the East African soil for the first time. I watched as a silent observer to my self, how I responded to all that was occuring and I reflected on the passing of time, wondering what on earth this concept really means to us all, when it can vanish in instants whilst it can also expand out into unknown and at times, inconceivable lengths. Continue reading “The time thief. By what can it be measured?”

Relishing the source of friendship, mother earth, and opportunity

Repeatedly during my time here in Uganda I have pondered upon time, as a transient and inconsistent concept that spans out across moments like lifetimes, and makes others fly past so fast that I have to pinch myself to know whether or not it was real or imagined. With my recent injury and some other hecticness of life and its practicalities, time and I have been embroiled in deep conversation once more.It became clear that I needed to play with it somewhat, in order to celebrate the arrival of christmas in one of the ways I had been wanting; to be with some of my beautiful new (yet old – our souls have known each other for eons) friends, I had to recalibrate the calendar and bring yueltide forwards. Change was yet again on the horizon, as has become the most constant of happenings in my living breath and I was no longer set to be returning to Uganda after December. My heart was aching, yet it was not the time for sadness. Continue reading “Relishing the source of friendship, mother earth, and opportunity”

Spirit of like-minds, beauty and mischief

Many of my weekends in Uganda have been spent on the road; travelling around to seek new sights, meet new people, learn new stories. It is not a bad thing when I also spend time in Kampala however, as I have many friends here and there is much fun to be had.

I have been slowed down, a little against my will, but I have used this as another form of opportunity; I have explored the city in new ways, through friends and mischievious play, and I have also uncovered some hidden gems that many are unaware of.

After the enjoyment of Milege, I found myself with a phone full to the brim of new friends and offers of meeting up to share company, food and time together. Continue reading “Spirit of like-minds, beauty and mischief”