Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bella has friends! Cambodia to Kington part two... can hardly believe how different our lives have become

This is what I think about five times a day here. E.g. When I walk out the door to teach yoga with two jumpers on and my white yoga trousers -white enhances your aura - tucked in to wellies to avoid the mud and drive through the cold foggy night to the village hall early to heat it up before my students arrive, (instead of jumping on a tuk-tuk vest top worrying about how dirty my flip flopped feet are). Or when I cover each student up in their blankets for relaxation (rather than watching hot sweaty students collapse down hoping to finally cool off). Or when Bella falls asleep and I leave her with James while I walk up the hill with the dog and look around me at the 360 degrees stunning views of hills and farm land (instead of hiding in the lovely Comme a la Maison for a mosquito accompanied coffee & croissant under a fan pretending to study). Or when Jemima reports that today, grandparents day, only two in her class of 24 pupils did not have a grandparent come in for the celebrations (ah, she did so miss our family in Phnom Penh). Or when I realise that only three people have responded to posters about yoga in at least a month (how many requests did we get to teach a class every day in PP, Mindy? Oh for a local version of the Cambodia Parents Network!) Oh, one more... but I won't even go there... it relates to washing up, cleaning the bathroom, hanging out the washing, hoovering the stairs, shampooing the dog after he has rolled in dead rabbit(???) etc etc etc..

There are days when I can't believe how lucky I am to be living in such a beautiful friendly peaceful place and there are days when I ask myself what on earth am I doing here in the middle of nowhere where the sun sometimes forgets to say hello all day and you have to actively seek people out. We have yet to share Kington playground with another child! I guess once Spring begins that will change. Anyway, here we are, boxes finally collected from the ship (quite literally - they gave us a crow bar and left us to hack our way into huge wooden crates holding 30 boxes, reminding us to take the wood away with us when we left! 12 hours later that same day we unloaded the 30 boxes from our hire van into the house at 2:30am, under a star-lit freezing sky. This is the cheap way of moving country to country, when the resettlement package is non-existent. I don't recommend it even if it did give us an excuse for a whole day without the girls.)

So nice to open our boxes though and settle in and... creme de la creme.. Bella finally has some friends! (Jemima made about ten in the first two days of being here) We have found the most wonderful childminders, Kate and Sam, a gorgeous young couple who live in the hills and are green and peace-loving and totally child centred and, basically Bella's new favourite people! They drive their own kids to school (Jemima's school) every day and pick up Bella and her friends from in their child-seat equipped van and drive them back to their children's paradise for a few hours of heaven, feeding guinea pigs, scrambling around in their garden, trampolining, baking and lots lots more. Bella has only been twice but talks about them as if she has known them all her life. She comes home snotty and painty and floury and muddy and utterly joyful. And she is actually walking instead of asking to be carried all day (tuk tuks = door to door delivery service = very lazy toddler). She told me today that she walked because "that's why she has feet". Thank you Sam! She is still breastfeeding and pretends to be a baby for about 99.9% of her day but is far too irresistible for me to want to do anything to change that. Long may it last. Actually, these days she is mostly a cat, one which Jemima pulls along on a lead with great glee.

Jemima's school continues to be totally cool and the head teacher is so open and brings so much into the school. We are excited about me teaching yoga there as part of their Enrichment afternoons and I am really looking forward to working more closely with the lovely staff there. Yey!

I know there was something else I wanted to blog about but it has escaped me and it is late so I shall sign off for now and will will will put some photos up soon I hope! Send me all your news lovely friends, near and far xxxxx

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Friday, February 5, 2010

My walk in the hills

Today was one of those bleak, misty, wet British days, the sort that threatened to lower my spirits to the very pit of my stomach. I could quite easily have stayed indoors all day wondering why we had sacrificed the constant sunshine and bustle of Cambodia for the cold, grey rain that falls all too often in the lonely Herefordshire countryside. Thank goodness for our new dog Brecon.

If it were not for Brecon I would have curled up with Bella and shared her midday nap, and felt even worse on awakening to find the day already darkening. Or I would have cleaned the house and done the laundry and worked at my computer, all the time wishing for some sun to dry the clothes and warm the house. Instead Brecon and I went for a walk. How differently I saw the day.

We walked up the old lane behind our house, a lane that has not changed in the thirty-six years that I have known it. It beckoned us up the hill and into the wood, where Brecon sniffed for rabbits and I wondered how it is possible that in all those years I have never met a single soul on this lane. As we emerged from the wood into my favourite valley, I might have walked into one of Constable’s paintings. Had he come across this sacred place I’m sure he would have found it just as it is now.

One side of the valley is edged by the wood, until it rises up to Offa’s Dyke, the original border, where rabbits act out Watership Down and I used to stand, legs stretched out, calling: “one foot in Wales and one in England!” On the other side, across the lake from where I stood, at the top of hill, the leafless branches of the oak, beech and ash appeared tangled and blackened against the white sky, shrouded in a gloomy, hanging fog that filled the air between the trees and me with tiny drops of soft floating rain. I stopped and stood in this valley, where I have come hundreds of times before.

I stood as still as the murky blue green water of the recently thawed lake, for there was hardly a breath of wind in the air.

I stood and listened to the silence that surrounded me, disturbed only by the sound of sheep bleating on the hill and bird song from the woods. It feels as though no human hand has ever touched this place.

I stood and breathed and felt the cool damp air on my face and in my hair.

I could have stayed home and moped today. Instead I walked and felt inspired to write as I learned that no amount of cold, grey mist can dampen my spirits, when in a place of such natural, earthly, English and Welsh beauty. I braved the day and I remembered why I had longed to come home to live. I remembered how I had answered my friends’ well-meaning question: “But won’t you get sick of the rain?”

“No, not there. It is too beautiful, whatever the weather”. I was right.

Last night I heard a woman on the radio say: “When you spend long enough in a place it becomes a part of your spirit, a part of who you are”. She spoke from my heart. I am blessed.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

HEALING SPIRITS! (and where are all the childwen Mummy?)

Hooray I am happy to announce that my new yoga website is finally arrived live. Check out www.healingspirits.co.uk and forward to anyone who lives near Herefordshire who may be interested! All is going very well here and I shall write very soon about our new and very lovely dog Brecon, rescued from the hills in Brecon, and the mysterious lack of pre-school aged children in Kington or Presteigne between school drop off and home time. Bella and I have looked and looked, in the playgrounds, in the swimming pool, on the high streets, but as she says, it does seem that "All the children are in Cambodia aren't they Mummy?" Ah, it breaks my heart. I am determined to solve the mystery soon. I cannot endure being woken up with the words "Where are my little friends Mummy? I don't got any do I?" each morning, any longer. Parent and toddler groups watch out, here we come. Or I shall set one up myself.

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