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Published: August 27th 2014
Well, it would seem that I utterly failed on the blog my way around South America plan! Never mind. Life in Caracas all got a bit much and a bit mental over the last 6 months and writing about it like this didn't really occur to me...friends and family at home were freaking out enough as it is, I'd say. So, here I am, back in Blighty, about to start another new chapter. There's a song in Idina Menzel's new show (If/Then - saw it on Broadway - LOVED IT) called 'Always Starting Over'...fantastic lyrics. Heehee.
Anyway. The last 6-8 months have been 'big decision' making time. Started the year with a 'what am I doing with my life?' type of head space, which was fine. I decided that I was ready for the next stage in my life, whatever that was, and I thought that ready meant a more normal place where I'd settle down - so the USA plan was born. It's so funny how when you're young (yes, I am totally still young but you know what I mean), you have this 'by the time I'm X years old, I'll have...' etc, then you get to that age and you find yourself single, childless and living in Caracas. Life plans just don't have a place in this here life, I say! So...with all this deep thought, I decided I was leaving Caracas, moving to the UK for a year, applying to the States where I'd go and live happily ever after. Sorted. Then Laura and I went to Rio for Carnaval. (What happens in Rio stays in Rio - nuff said). Towards the end of the trip, I was sitting on the beach with a friend I'd worked in Caracas with a couple of years ago and her rather fabulous Serbian friend who had just jacked in her 'normal' and decided to travel indefinitely. I was musing over the fact that I thought I needed a more stable existence, something a bit less dangerous and on the edge and that I thought the States was it. She looked at me like I was stone mad and bluntly asked what the f*ck I would want that for when I have a lifestyle that would make almost anyone envious. No ties, no commitments, no boring 9-5 and taking off to whichever country I fancied in every single holiday I had. I couldn't answer. Literally lost for words, which, you know, doesn't happen often.
So then came a 'ARRRGGGGHHHHH - WHAT HAVE I DONE?' head space. I went back to Caracas freaking out that this was exactly the opposite of what I wanted, I needed to stay there and work there and keep travelling and not settle down and definitely continue to live in the madness and, and, and...WAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. This was totally to be expected. I'm not good at decisions when there are options. My first 'international job' - interview Tuesday, move to Sardinia Saturday - no thought or consideration whatsoever. No issues. Next job in Samui - off I went. Then Caracas. But, as I've discovered, Caracas is where I started feeling like this life was my normal. This is what I want to do and keep doing and so all the conflicting feelings of wanting to do what everyone my age is doing or has already done, coupled with wanting my crazy, fly by the seat of your pants lifestyle...well, it was all too much, wasn't it? Can't make big, life altering decisions by myself so on went the backwards and forwards arguments in my head about what was sensible, what I wanted and what I should do. None of those were the same option, by the way. My poor friends and family got an earful for several months. Thank you, lovely, supportive people. xxxx
The backdrop to all of these conflicting feelings was the sheer and utter hell that was kicking off in the country at the time. Protests, violence, deaths, watching our friends suffer with the reality that was swiftly becoming Venezuela. All of us expats have often said we'll look back on this and think what in the name of all that is holy were we doing living there?? But equally, what an interesting time to be in the country; living through the elections, the subsequent protests and everything that came with that. We can only hope that things improve. During all of this, personal things were kicking off as well and it was all a bit tumultuous. Not least that there were deaths in our school - I won't go into that but it was horrific and awfully hard to cope with. Thankfully, my wonderful friend was over visiting right at that time and kept me standing up and getting through it. And, because we are so fortunate to be able to, off we went to Curacao for a week long break in the sun. I literally got there, fell down and didn't really get back up the entire time. Superb. Then onto NYC to stay with a friend for a few days. That was unbelievably therapeutic but catapulted me back into the 'I want normal' frame of mind! Haha. I think that's enough of all of that. Needless to say, it was a bonkers nuts time with highly stressful moments and not a whole lot of clarity in my head.
In the end, my decision kind of got made for me. I applied for only 2 jobs this year and I got the second one (obviously that brought on a fresh wave of what ifs and what if nots and insane anxiety and ridiculousness). I took it. Then, circumstances at school in Caracas changed and that kind of made my decision for me too about coming to the UK for 6 months. So here I am. It's been an intensely emotional couple of months - I don't think I've cried this much since I was a teenager! Leaving Caracas was just so heartbreaking - I guess, bizarrely, given everything I've just written about but it really was. There are so many wonderful memories I'm taking away; lots of life lessons, experiences, some good, some bad, some downright ugly but most of all, incredible friends. I'm a big believer in regret the things you don't do, not the things you do and though it was hard at times, Caracas has taught me a huge amount about what I want from life and who I am. That's pretty awesome. Oof, this is turning into an Oprah episode or Jerry Springer's Final Thought! Haha. Anyway, I'm about to move to London, start a job in a little school in Clapham teaching Year 1 and I'm super excited and absolutely terrified about this. Next month I start my Masters in Special Educational Needs and then off to deepest, darkest Peru in February! (not really, I'm going to Lima) So lots of change and lots of new challenges and that, as Miss Mansi says, is ok. Watch this space, I guess...
Let's be having you, London Town.
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