I had a few ideas for leaving blog posts. In one I was going to list everything I would miss. But in this stage of leaving nostalgia, it would have been absolutely everything. In another idea, I was going to write down the emotions I was feeling at leaving. But that would have been me naming pretty much every emotion I know the name of. Not such great blog posts….
A more productive idea, I hope, is this one. This is a list of things that I’ve learned, experienced and appreciated a lot while being here, and I hope to continue these in my current and future life. By writing this down, maybe that’ll spur me into action! I realise some might be culturally relevant, (i.e. speaking to strangers on the tube might get me locked up….) but we’ll see how it goes!
Helping each other out – the amount of times people have completely gone out of their way to help me is ridiculous. In many cases it was a complete burden on them, but I have no idea what I would have done otherwise. Being all independent and self-sufficient is fine and all, but sometimes people need help!
Sharing – The people here are so generous, with their time as well as their possessions, no matter how limited they are. Sharing really is caring. At first I felt guilty at receiving things I’d never asked for, but one sure-fire way of dispelling that guilt was by reciprocating. It’s a great way of showing people you care for them. As well as often making things much more enjoyable and fun!
Greeting and smiling at strangers – strangers are still people! Perhaps they want to chat, perhaps not. Perhaps they desperately need help, and need to find someone to ask. People noticing my confused/helpless/upset expression and looking out for me has helped me in many a case, or at least cheered me up or given me confidence. A smile and a hello really do go a long way.
Listening to people’s stories – People are so interesting. And people showing an interest in me and my life is really something. I think everyone has got something to say if asked and given the time, and there are many hidden stories and battles out there. I’ve learned so much about people and life just by listening. I hope to learn and listen some more J
Noticing things – I’ve constantly had my eyes and ears open while being here, and while travelling around. I’ve found a whole range of things fascinating, and there’s always something new to notice. Why don’t I do this wandering around my home town?! I’m sure there’s lots I haven’t noticed yet!
Doing nothing – haha, perhaps not one for my CV. But actually, I’ve learned quite well, and now very much enjoy, just sitting, looking, watching and thinking about life, perhaps on my own, perhaps in people’s company. It’s wonderful!
Being happy – Perhaps easier said than done, but I’ve at least come to realise that there is no correlation really between what you have, and how happy you can be. I’ve been amazed by the happiness and contentment people can have when from our UK point of view they have very little. I want to focus less on stuff and things, and more on smiles and laughter.
The belief it’ll all be ok – Ethiopia has this magic power of situations that look impossible, somehow working themselves out right at the last minute. I’m hoping this magic exists elsewhere in the world too, I’m sure it does. Just be patient, and don’t despair!