Wednesday, 28 October 2009

I'm off!

Well, I am off tomorrow morning, but I probably won't get another chance to email my blog before I go.

Leaving has not come sooner than expected because I was originally planning to leave several months ago. At that time I was hoping to visit a friend in Malaysia to help study ants in the rain forest up 50 m trees. The opportunity passed as I awaited my thesis corrections to be checked. I am still waiting and I am still waiting to hear that my examination report for my viva in April has been submitted.

It wasn't all waiting. I had various jobs to do at my parents before I left. These included repairing a summer house in the garden that was beginning to leak and rot and putting insulation in the roof. I found a great deal for the loft insulation on ebay and including the cost of hiring a van for a day was able to insulate above three rooms for £150. Particularly in the kitchen, which previously had no insulation, a 30 cm deep blanket of glass wool made from recycled bottles seems to have made a noticeable difference. Then there were other small jobs too. But these jobs were not the only things keeping me from feeling ready to leave.

Tomorrow I'll be leaving behind my first long time girl friend, Kaily, drawn above. We met through a Spanish friend, Elena, who came to visit the UK and stayed with Kaily in London. I travelled from Brighton to go clubbing with them in London for a night. Having chatted with her on Don't Stay In after would we have barely failed to see each other every weekend since for the last three and a bit years. Was it the sweaty photo that did it or the florescent ginger beard? What ever it was, I am very glad to have met her and shall be very sad to leave her. For leaving her I am. We decided months ago that we wouldn't attempt a long distance relationship. I don't know when I shall be returning, but when I do come back, either we are still suitable for each other or we are not. Of course it is not without risk to hurt feelings: maybe one of us will find someone else and the other not. But I guess that is all part of life.

Anyway, it will be with mixed feelings that I go away. On one side is the excitement of being free, single and entering a new life, and on the other is regret at leaving the life I already have and the parts of it I love. On past experience of travelling alone, emotions tend to swing about, depending mostly on whom I meet. Will the butterflies in my stomach turn to lead? I expect at some point they will, but I hope at the end the journey will all be worth it. Anyone who is lucky enough also know Kaily please look after her when I have gone. The picture of Kaily above I drew as a leaving present and is a copy of a photo that I have had on my phone's backdrop for the last year.

Looking ahead now. I don't have a clear idea yet what I shall be doing when I arrive in Mumbai. My first place of call will be NARI (Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute) where I am keen to make myself useful and hopefully pick up some engineering experience at the same time. I won't bother explaining more about the place yet, as before I visit I won't have a much better idea of the place than you will get if you visit the website. I would have liked to have bought a motorbike when I arrived in Mumbai, as the mountain roads in between Mumbai and NARI look absolutely beatiful on google maps. Now I'm beginning to wonder if I won't be too much waiting around for the right bike and insurance forms, considering I won't need a motorbike at Phaltan, where NARI is based. I don't know if and for how long I will be staying there yet, but if I end up staying in Phaltan some time it will be easier to sort out a bike there.

So good bye everyone, and welcome to an onslaught of diary style blog posts. If you are reading this on facebook you can catch up at any time on posts you may have missed at, or if you want to make sure you don't miss a post you can request to be added to my email list. I expect to have two email lists like the last time I went to India: one for wordy messages with photos that will be also be sent to my blog and another one that will be used to let family know I am still alive.

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