I have taken off to the coffee shop so I can sit in some kind of peace not afforded to me at home in an effort to write, write, write. I have been sitting here for the best part of the last twenty minutes and I have written approximately, well, nothing. It’s not because of writer’s block. It’s not for a want of things to write about. I just don’t know where to begin.
I mean, July has been an incredible month where I did some incredible things. It’s been so amazing, so wonderful and brought such experiences that I guess I am still processing them all.
This time last month, Cait and I were still in Uganda with Compassion UK, meeting the most inspiring people living in the harshest of conditions but still finding joy and extending hospitality and warmth to us – the strangers that had visited. I don’t know where to even begin to fill you in on the rest of our stories. Who should I tell you about first? Do I tell you about Doreen, our sponsored child who we finally met after sponsoring her for almost a decade who expressed such sincere love and gratitude to us because, as she told us, ‘You have given me a bright, bright future’?
Do I tell you about her formidable grandmother and how she would do anything for what is left of her family?
Or about Maria, the mother-of-13 whose house was filled with so much love and laughter, and whose family have left such an impression on me?
Or about Lillian, the member of the Compassion Uganda staff who made us laugh, looked after us and shared her own story as a Compassion sponsored child?
Or what about Patience, the ex-Compassion child who is now fighting against the corruption in her country?
Or how, after more than 25 years, I picked up a pair of drumsticks again and absolutely rocked. Sort of.
Well, it wasn’t that great, admittedly, but hey, I still got cheers after 25 years!
Five days after returning from Uganda it was time for me to set off again, this time alone. This time on an unexpected trip. It was something I had never anticipated happening in my lifetime. It was as a result of my half-brother in Turkey finally tracking me down only six weeks before. Mid-July 2017 saw me fly to Istanbul alone to finally meet family I never thought I would know, including my half-brother and half-sister, for the very first time.
I know, right?!
Emotional? Just a bit.
(I’m not sure whether they’ll want a photo of themselves here so here’s a pic of Ataturk Bridge in Istanbul, taken during one of our lovely evenings together).
Then I returned, happy to have gone, sad to have left, and got on with fulfilling some more adventures in memory of my brother Jimmy, beginning three days later with my very windy abseil down the Spinnaker Tower.
Followed by an attempted at the Yorkshire Three Peaks which gave me the realisation that mountains and me are not such great friends.
July has been a fabulous month, one where I can say I’ve really packed living into life. But writing about it? Where do I begin?