Today, the 29th of April 2011, the day of William and Kate's Royal Wedding, I find myself with a bit of spare time and an Internet connection, and so able to write a few words to bring this blog to a close.
It is three weeks, almost to the hour, that I landed back in the UK. I have stayed eight days with my sister and her family in Guildford, twelve days with my parents in Farnham, and now I'm here, renting a small room in a house near Oxford. I have spent some time with my family (fantastic) and have met with one or two friends (great), but I have to say that I really, really miss the people, the life, the climate and the beauty of Sri Lanka. But mostly it's the people.
There are two or three more articles I want to write about my time in Sri Lanka just to wrap things up a bit but I haven't felt in the mood to write them. I can use the excuse that I was busy at my sister's or that my parents don't have Internet but that's only part of the story: I could have had access if I'd really tried. You see I'm struggling hard to readjust to coming home. In Sri Lanka I had made a real connection with good, honest people who needed my help and were truly grateful for the time I spent with them. To have men weep at your leaving party, well, I don't see that happening here, do you? Not that I wanted them to weep - I'm just trying to illustrate the emotional connections I made. When I feel able to I will write those articles and retrospectively date them to precede this one so that they don't seem out of sequence.
Anyway. The most pressing matter is that I need to get a paid job. In case you don't know, even though I've been teaching abroad I'm not actually a qualified teacher, I'm an electronics engineer, so I'm looking for work in engineering for now. I have sounded-out my old place of work - JET at Culham - and there are a couple of possibilities. One is web work. The other, somewhat less certain one, is electronic system enhancement and maintenance. Each will be around two days a week which will give me one spare day to work on educational matters. This is great news and I'm extremely grateful to the managers there who have gone out of their ways to try to make this happen for me. But... this is my old life! This is not me now! It doesn't thrill or excite me like my work in India and Sri Lanka did. I don't feel passionate about it. It's not working with people. It doesn't have the immediately obvious impact on lives that teaching has. But I have to be a realist - it's what I've got to do, at least for now. It is a beneficial field to work in and in this economic climate, and at my age, I am actually extremely lucky to get good employment. So, the hope is to work in the UK for at least a couple of years and then to go volunteering abroad again in the future.
I plan to cold-call on local schools and put out feelers to explore the possibilities of improving my teaching skills. That's a story for another day and another blog. Farewell for now! Thank You to everyone who has followed me or has read my postings. I hope you enjoyed this part of the journey - I know I have!