It has certainly been a challenging and interesting two years but now it is time to go. It seems like yesterday… Packing, saying goodbye, getting on a plane to go somewhere new. Arriving in this strange place where things did not make sense (and a lot of the time still do not!) and everything was so alien. Time is an amazing thing. Suddenly, we are comfortable, familiar, have friends, know our way around; it feels more like home. And now it is time to go, to start all over again, somewhere else. I am excited, sad and a little scared to face the world outside Tanzania. This has been a place of simplicity, of no frills, no extras, only the essentials are present, everything is practical, nothing is superfluous. Flying into the so called developed world seems rather shallow in many ways but also feels exciting to be able to have choice and efficiency once again.
Being here, among people whose poverty dictates their way of life in many ways makes you humble. It makes you question your existence back home and the way we live our lives. Strange thing is, once we return it is easy to fall back into it and it soon becomes “normal” once again. All these thoughts are going through my mind and I am not sure what to expect or how I will feel but I know that it will be ok!
So, our last few weeks here have been busy and very reflective. Are we happy to go? Would we like to stay? Will Thailand be good? Where else can we go? Life is too short and there is too much we want to do still. In the meantime, we have enjoyed friends company and appreciated nature around us. Leaving makes you realise how beautiful things are and what you will miss, I guess that what I like about travelling and moving around. There is a constant appreciation and little is taken for granted. It makes you feel more alive.
Today, we are off to Maramboi for the last time. One of our favourite places where we can enjoy Lake Manyara and the animals that roam freely around the lake. I hope to see some elephants with whom I have fallen in love with. I truly hope humans do not kill them all! Maramboi is one of those special places where you go once in a lifetime, I have been lucky enough to go 5 times and to see this fabulous scenery at various times of the year. This final time, we went with good friends, had a laugh, enjoyed being together and listening to the lions roaring at night.
So, I went rather wistful on the flora this time! There are so many beautiful plants and flowers here as well as hundreds of small butterflies of all shapes and colours. Instead of looking for the large things, I went looking for the ones we often do not notice.
After Maramboi, it was our last week in Tanzania. Packing, saying goodbye and more packing. It feels odd to go, exciting but sad. Also a little scary to go somewhere new and to leave a place that has become familiar and has begun to bear fruit in terms of friendships. So no more blogs about the wilderness or big beasts! Thailand is next so expect temples and culture from now. In the meantime, we spent a day in Istanbul which is one of my favourite destinations, walking and being amazed at being in a city after two years in Tanzania. Istanbul is truly beautiful and walking around is a pleasure to the senses. The food was also good and the sweet shops were very visually stimulating. First stop, Turkish ice cream followed by pastries, Turkish delight and chocolates.
I wondered how I would feel being in a city again with all mod cons. I was a little worried that I might be too overwhelmed and want to hide in my room. This did not happen! Being in a city was wonderful. Lots of variety, food, beautiful buildings, electricity, water pressure for the shower…. It made me realise how much I had missed being in a city with so much to look at. So now I am torn between variety and stimulation versus wilderness and space. Is there a way to have both?!
Off to Portugal we go, more culture, family and lots of delicious food!