Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Then and Now

I’m living a kind of quiet life right now – busy with writing and now that Gamer son is here also helping with his school work. As he is doing distance education so that he can continue with the Queensland curriculum, I am the home tutor. All his course work can be sent through email which is a relief since the postage system here is rather unreliable. He has email contact with all of his teachers too, so there is plenty of help and support. So a big part of our day is school work.
I’ve been a bit slack with writing since he came. Getting a new routine established and focused on getting him settled in to the life here and his school work is disrupting the routine I had. That’s one reason why there’s been a gap in blogs, the other is the writing which even when I’m not physically sitting at the keyboard tends to make me withdraw into myself.
However this is all digression. It has occurred to me that I have not actually told you about what it’s like living here, so in today’s blog I’m going to describe how I live now in comparison to how I lived a few months ago. So a few months ago I lived in Mackay in north Queensland, Australia. I lived in a small three bedroom cottage with a good sized front garden and a large back garden. I had roses and gerberas, hibiscus and a geisha girl shrub, and lots of grass that was the bane of my life – well the grass wasn’t so much as the mower that always refused to start for me. I lived close to an area called The Gooseponds, a long and narrow body of water and surrounding parkland. A footpath runs right around and I used to walk the dog there regularly and feed the ducks and geese. There are many beaches in that part of the world, and I often took the dog to a dog friendly beach. Australia is a sparsely populated country and Mackay is a smaller town, with a population of about 119 000, but the population is spread out and not crowded. The Gooseponds and the beach I usually walked on were very quiet with few other people there.
I worked part time, and was always able to take Gamer son to school but he walked home. I would get home from work after 6pm, sometimes later and by then he would have had afternoon tea, done his homework and fed the animals (hopefully). I had parental guilt about not being there in the afternoon after school, as I was able to be there for his siblings. However it was not a bad life, we were rather poor but managed mostly. But I didn’t get much writing done and often felt trapped in that life, like I didn’t really belong there. Then of course a series of events meant that I no longer had a home so whether I would have chosen the safety of that life over the risk of this one is a moot point. The universe was determined to push me into this life.
In this life, I live in a two bedroom apartment in Hurghada, Egypt. The apartment block is surrounded by others, but does have a great view of the Red Sea, and is next to a laundry and a corner store. My apartment has two balconies, but as it is on the fifth floor has no access to a garden, and there is no grass. This is the desert, there is not much in the way of greenery, there are no parks, no lakes or any place like that. My apartment building is very close to Sheraton Street which is the main shopping street in Hurghada and is a very busy street. I don’t drive anywhere, I use the always readily available taxis or walk. Hurghada is primarily a tourist town, with a population of about 261 000. The population is crammed into a narrow linear pattern along the coast line. The Red Sea is very beautiful and there are trips out on a glass bottomed boat and day trips to a nearby island available to book at any time. This area is a popular diving destination, however I don’t dive. Hurghada is a mix of dirt streets lined with rubbish, the multiple tourism shops on Sheraton Street, the more expensive residential areas and the very attractive marina. Dominating everything is the ever present desert and the dust.
My life here is both freer and more constrained. I can’t just go outside, there is only the street outside and lots of dirt J I am not controlled by school hours or work requirements, but I have to be self-disciplined and make sure Gamer son is also. I can’t just hop in my car and go for a drive, but I can easily get a taxi and they are very cheap. The cost of living is very low here, so my dollar goes further, but I still have to be very careful until I finish these books. There is no grass to mow or garden to weed – but there is no grass or garden! I often eat out as it is very cheap, and have good food delivered at a staggeringly cheap amount. I buy vegetables from a market, and the rest of my food from a chain called Metro. I don’t have a washing machine in the apartment but the laundry does my washing and ironing for (again) a staggeringly cheap amount.
So how is it working out for me? Well at first I felt very claustrophobic without a garden – far more than I realised I would be and I miss grass and flowers. But I can look off the balcony from here as I write and see the ever changing colours of the Red Sea. I can sit on the bedroom balcony in the early morning and watch the sun rise over the sea. I can go onto the roof and watch the sun set over the desert. I am experiencing different foods, exploring the different shops – I just adore the little embroidered wooden stools, the leather ottomans, the hand carved brass ornaments and the gorgeous occasional tables even though I know they are mostly for the tourists – and generally finding my way around. I’m adjusting and adapting, and I know it will be easier as I go.
Most importantly, I am here to write and write I can and I do. I feel like I am doing what I am meant to do when I write, like I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. I feel that with both the books, the Werewolf and the Bluemoon Shelter book (no problem coming up with a name for that one, and I already know the cover I want for it too) and that’s why I’m writing them both concurrently. They are both important to me for different reasons. The Werewolf book is important because I feel excited to write it and to learn more about this world that exists only in my head. The Bluemoon Shelter book because I feel strongly in the shelter and I want to be able to bring both Monique and her shelter to the world. Sometimes I forget where I am; when you live in a place, no matter where in the world it is, everything about it becomes commonplace and you stop noticing even big landmarks. So sometimes I go through a whole day and don’t even think about the fact that I am in Egypt.

All in all, it’s a big adventure, it’s a big risk and it’s an uncertain future. But I’m doing it, I’m giving it a go and no matter what happens I can say I took the road less travelled and had a go at realising my dreams J
So there are quite a few photos today, some from new life and some from old life 

Old life:

New life:

No comments:

Post a Comment