The shrinking of the keys

The last two weeks have been frenetically busy for me in Edinburgh, and despite my good intentions to continue with this blog, it was not to be. (I did write a wee bit about Malawi itself, which will follow this post.) My bunch of keys, usually dangling from my USB-drive keyring, has slowly shrunk as I left work for the last time, sold my car, got rid of my bike, and finally left the flat. I’m left with only a naked and somewhat surprised USB drive.

Now however I write this sitting on the train down to London, the lovely coastline north of Newcastle whizzing by in the sun (yes, sun!). The First Class tickets were only £8 more than Standard, so I indulged in one. Smartly dressed people come round and offer me free coffee and biscuits – as it should be. I can relax at last.

Planning logistics, packing boxes, saying goodbye, redistributing my stuff to friends, repacking, selling equipment, and generally getting stressed has coloured my general excitement with overtones of exhaustion and frustration. However, most practical preparations are now done. Thirteen boxes were picked up yesterday for hauling back to Cape Town, my car was sold (at the very last minute), ebay items were posted off, and finally my bags were packed by 1am this morning!! Not bad (for me) considering I’m going for six months, and this morning was the earliest I’ve got to bed for a long time! I’m a tad worried that I’ve not taken any psychiatry or medical books with me, which adds to a feeling of general unpreparedness. More on that later.

Saying goodbye to friends is not only sad, but also draining. Edinburgh has been a lively sociable place for me for five years, and a recent weekend with visiting friends was a reminder of how wonderful it can be. I console myself that I will be seeing most of them again in a few months when I return for a visit. Leaving all this behind and jumping into the unknown, even with the help of an organisation like VSO, is quite scary at times, especially as I’ll likely be moving straight on to work in Cape Town afterwards. Most of my South African friends who have been overseas will understand the ambivalence involved in this decision. But that is also something for another time.

I must say a big thank-you to my friend Lorna who’s flat I’ve invaded over the past two months, and who has put up tirelessly with the mess of half-packed boxes and random stuff strewn over her living room floor and corridor.

Off to France now (after a night in London with old friends) until flying to Malawi on the 6th September, if all goes according to plan.



  1. Lorna said

    If by ‘got rid of your bike’ you mean you locked it to a lamp-post then forgot it and left the country without successfully leaving a key, then yes, you did indeed get rid of it;) It has now been restored to my stairwell though, and will be sold soon. Hopefully.

  2. Nicus said

    Ek het gewonder waar al jou besittings vergader sou word? Dit het nie geklink of Sandra daarvan het nie. Hoe gaan dit met die pasiente en sielkundiges? Ek kan nie glo dat jy in ‘n psigiatrie hospitaal in Malawi werk nie, klink wonderlik!! Ek wil nog by ons deanery hoor hoe ek dit kan doen.

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