Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Launching into Something Great?

The last few months have been tough.  I've kept my head down and plodded on, all the while, keeping my sights set on my holiday in America.  I told myself if I could just get to February, this journey and adventure will surely answer so many of the questions that have been buzzing about my mind for the past 6 months.  Like 'what do I want to do with my life?' 'where do I want to live?' 'what really matters to me now?'  

As the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve, and I started another year without P, I felt like I was at a turning point.  I actually found myself making so many New Years resolutions, and I vowed this would be the year I got back to London, and back to my life.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was buying a very expensive new boiler for the flat, fixing my car, paying countless bills, and realising that moving on from this home and this place won't be as easy as I expected.

I had secured a solicitor to transfer the property into my name; however, he did not inform me of the difficulties I would face with the mortgage provider.  I walked into the branch one day, simply assuming I needed to fill out some paperwork.  I had been told by the bank manager that all that needed to be done was a name change; that I wouldn't need to file for a mortgage myself.  A year later and I was practically laughed out the door, and bluntly told, my only options were to keep paying the mortgage into P's estate, or to sell.

I'm ready to move.  I'm ready to leave.  But to relinquish P's home to highest bidder?  Well that's a step too far.

Then I learned my lodger is moving out.  While I'm away.  Causing further financial distress.

I thought to myself 'Really life?  Really?!  Can ya stop kicking me while I'm down please?!  I'm trying to grieve! I don't have time for these practical, frustrating setbacks!'

But then I woke up today.  I'm alive.  I still have money in the bank and a roof over my head.  Food in my belly and friends who give good hugs.  Life never plays out the way you think it will.  Sometimes it's devastating, hard, and seemingly unbearable.  But it can always change.  Just as the tragedies of life are completely unpredictable, so too can the simply wonderful moments catch you totally off guard.
A smile from a stranger.  A kind word.  A nice night out (or in) with friends.  A great film.  Love.  A career opportunity.  A beautiful sunset.

Anything can happen.  And hopefully, after nearly 16 months of being 'dragged back by life', I'm about to be 'launched towards greatness' sometime soon.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Photos Worth 1000 Words

Photos worth a thousand words
Captured moments of intangible vivacity
Bring the dead to life
Confusing the living
For if we could only
dive into the photo
Reach out and touch the faces
emblazoned on the page
Live still in that one moment
of pure bliss
Then everything might feel right again
Photos worth a thousand thoughts
If those faces could pop out
like a child's 3D book
Just long enough to quickly stroke
the cheek of the face beneath the image
That might just be....enough
But to look at these photos
still as they are
Breaks the heart
For if time travel was real
possible, conceivable
I'd journey back to the moment
in the photo
In a land far away
Just you and I
Laughing together
as we discovered the world
side by side

As I prepare for my seven week journey across the USA, I have been going through things, trying to de-clutter the flat and downsize my belongings.  In doing so, I have come across P's camera.  I decided to use his on my travels because on our last holiday together, my camera had started to emit a puff of smoke like an old fashioned one every time I used the flash.  Somehow...that doesn't seem right to me....So of course, I needed to back up the photos and clear the memory to make room for a record of my next adventure.  But how could I not browse through the photos as they uploaded?  

I had seen them anyways as I had uploaded our Cambodia photos upon our return nearly 2 years ago but somehow it struck me again......I would do anything to travel back in time to that holiday with P.  

I can't say that every moment was bliss.  But it was just him and I.  In a foreign land, as a team.  And I had never been anywhere like it before.  It's a beautiful country and P and I fell in love with it.  The food, the people, the sights, the weather, the cheap alcohol!  It was fantastic.  Of course, we both tired of the begging, the  obvious socio-economic inequality, the loud croaks of the lizards late at night, the bugs, and the prostitutes.  However,  on the whole, it was a complete adventure, from start to finish, our kind of holiday.  

I find myself yearning to go back there, but struggling with the concept that P would not be by my side.  And yet, I can not stop thinking about their strength and resolve.  The Cambodian people are survivors.  True, STRONG survivors.  Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge destroyed their country not that long ago.  In Siem Reap, the city nearest the famous Angkor Wat temples, the first bar was built in 2001.  Ten years later and they had erected a whole strip of bars and restaurants, catering to tourists of all ages.  Cambodia is steadily working towards becoming a popular tourist destination, much like Thailand.  I find it hard to put into words the admiration I felt towards its people.  What I can say, though, is that I find it laughable when people tell me I am 'a strong woman'.  No.  I am a woman who has been faced with a difficult loss, who is simply trying to pick up the pieces and carry on as best I can.  But I have heat, hot water, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my stomach, friends and family.  I have one big obstacle to overcome.  The women of Cambodia?  They have too many obstacles to count.  I will go back one day.  I have a lot to learn from them.