Friday, 9 August 2013

Returning to Malawi, and the questions it brings.

From my last post, most of you will see that I was very conflicted with my time at home. Unfortunately that feeling did not disappear when I returned to Malawi. I think this comes from moving constantly, never being in the same place for more that a year and constantly feeling "unsettled". For the past 3 years, I have spent 7 months in Ireland, one year in Australia, one year in Malawi, 3 months in South America and 1 month in Malaysia and Singapore, and so the question begins, "Where do I belong?"

I arrived back in Mzuzu and felt really out of sorts. I felt like I had missed out on lots of fun and now was on the periphery of the group (totally in my head). It got me to thinking about belonging somewhere, feeling like you have somewhere, somewhere surrounded by friends, where you can call someone and just randomly meet, somewhere where you can have a life. To me that place, for the longest of time, was Dublin. It's where most of my friends live, somewhere I can catch up with someone over a quiet drink on a Tuesday night, or go out for dinner with a group of girls for a mid week early bird special that involves wine and way too much chatting. But, after leaving Dublin 3 years ago, where is that place for me now?

Home in Galway has not been that place for a long time. I go there to visit family, and as I stated in my previous post, get bored very easily. I no longer have good friends there, I feel like I don't belong in the community, heck people don't even know I exist. The amount of times over the 4 weeks I was home that I heard "I didn't know you had an older child" was beyond belief. While this place, and more especially the village of "Happy Valley", will always be home, it is not somewhere I feel comfortable, somewhere I feel like I can spend a few weeks without being bored and wanting to get away, not somewhere I want to spend my younger years. (Sorry Mam).

And then I come back to Malawi and the problem intensifies. Here I have good friends, a decent social life and people who mean a lot to me here but cannot see myself here long term. I don't know whether it's the job I'm in, the fact that my tolerance (or more specifically intolerance) for laziness causes my blood pressure to sky rocket or the fact that it is so far from my friends in Ireland who know me. Luckily, in my evening of doubt, my evening of me lying in bed wondering what on earth I am doing with my life, I got a lovely text from the amazing Alice telling me how glad she was I was back and giving me a little pep talk via our free text messages.

Right now, I feel settled back in Malawi. I've eaten at A1 numerous times and had Jay (the owner) hug me and say "Welcome back", I've been to Nkhata Bay and had a cold green on Chikale beach and some Gold Label with Alice, I've cooked chilli for 13 friends and chicken pot pie for 5, I'm planning to visit Vwaza Marsh National Park soon and I have a smile on my face again. Who knows where my life will take me, or even, where I want to go next but, for now, Malawi is where I am and I'm happy to be here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy you are finding some contentment in your day to day. I had a similar thrill this past spring hosting 19(!) people in my little apartment for Easter. I have never properly "fit in" anywhere or "belonged"... not ever. Not even at home in Canada where I want to be ultimately. Belonging somewhere is not a feeling I've ever known. I have felt the closest to fitting in when I'm somewhere where no one fits in (i.e. on the road, with a bunch of travellers from all over the world)... have you found this too? I think there is something to embrace about not fitting in. HUGS! xo