A short post this week. I do have some lined up about our experiences since returning to the UK but not today. Later.
Today I’m ‘sort of’ celebrating finally having internet to the house so I can get on with a mass of writing. However, it seems that unlimited internet is not an option any of the internet companies can offer to our particular area and, so far at least, it looks like the internet will be continuously on and off (in the time it took to write this post it fluttered back and forth dozens of times). A bit like Bangladesh really.
Not like Bangladesh, however, is the expense of things. January has utterly crucified us financially. Food, clothes, school uniforms and kit (you don’t want to know how much but I will tell you the total came to four figures and that was just one of each thing that was on the essential list). Then we discovered that the charity which will continue to pay us for a couple of months more didn’t tell us that the ‘wages’ we were expecting would have National Insurance contributions docked from it and from the travel expenses we claimed back having already paid out for them. The result is we’ve lost out about 200+ quid. There’s been various other problems too, meaning other large expenses and the end result is we begin February with pennies in the bank account and that’s all. If I had a body that was worth it, I’d probably sell myself for either sex or organs right now. Alas, I think it has passed its sell-by date for both of those options.
The weather is a little more complex when comparing to Bangladesh. It’s cold, yes, but so is Bangladesh currently. But our house – with nice central heating – is warmer than we would have over there. But then our winter is barely getting going. It hinted at snow yesterday but didn’t come. It will. Bangladesh’s winter is almost over and would need a global catastrophe to ever see snow! But the wind and the rain here is just utterly, utterly horrid. It has no redeeming features at all. The rain in Bangladesh is always refreshing and warm – as long as your home isn’t being washed away in it of course; but then that’s something the British can sympathise with a little as our homes get flooded regularly these days.
When I look back over our photos each month from Bangladesh it amazes me how much we packed in to each set of 30-odd days. Time goes so slowly there that you can experience so much. Whereas January has flown through in the UK. Despite trying to work for the last two weeks, I’ve achieved very little: a handful of chapters to a book and a few articles and short stories to editors. Not a fraction of what I needed to do here.
And all this leaves me wondering: Why?
Why come back here? Why uproot our kids from their home? Why sit with them for hours at a time holding them as they sob when you just want to sob too? Why try to exist in a country that doesn’t seem to want you and, at times, even seems to resent your existence as even the companies you deal with to give you heating or provide your mobile services seem to think you owe them a really big favour for being allowed to use them? Why come back to a country where society seems determined to live according to ‘what’s in it for us?’
I’m being harsh, I know. I’m being unfair – perhaps. I’m not seeing all the good points, I know that too and know that I will, given time.
That’s the hard part and seems consistently to be the only advice anyone can give me. “Give it time, Ken,” they tell me, “you’ll soon settle in”. But what if I don’t want to settle in? What if I’m biding my time until I can go back and pick up that part of my heart I forgot to pack in the cases? I would love people here to give me some other advice too than just ‘time heals’ and other platitudes, only I can’t possibly think what that advice might be. In fact, when my son, Thing II, was deeply distressed recently over something that happened that upset us all, there was little comfort I could offer other than the same advice which fills me with horror to think of: give it time.
Well time sucks. It really does.