There have been several moments when Nick and I look at each other (often over the heads of our exuberant and joyful boys) and we’re both thinking ‘wow’. We can’t quite believe that we are living here and this is our life.
To be honest, a couple of these moments have been when we’ve discovered an amazing bar or restaurant – or in fact the hotel where I’ve joined the gym. We can’t quite get our head around that we can visit these places regularly and they can be part of our normal life and not just for a week on a holiday.
Our most recent ‘wow moment’ was a few nights ago and was altogether different. We live in a Muslim neighbourhood and I often feel awkward when I walk to the shops – I clearly stick out like a sore thumb (despite being brown, everyone knows I’m a foreigner). I’m also less covered up than the local women here (who mostly wear veils and completely cover their arms and legs).
On this night though, we walked along a small laneway behind our house and found a different world – narrow quiet streets with hardly a tuk tuk or scooter on them, kids out in the streets playing, lots of friendly ‘hellos’ and shy waving. It was lovely. It was also wonderful because it was such a contrast to our usual walks here which are such a trial – as you might have seen, with Nick’s ride to work, the traffic is awful – and no footpaths. Julian claims he was hit by a motorcycle on one of our first walks!
This walk was a delight. Nick met a colleague of his, who helped him chat to a local welder to commission a bespoke surfboard rack for Nick’s bike and then we met his lovely family (and left with a jar of homemade chutney). We kept strolling with more ‘hellos’ (and quite a few ‘hello doctors’ too – we are becoming well known!).
The finishing touch on our evening though was finding ‘Indian Hut’ – our new local for dinner – that we can walk to without endangering our lives! The waiter was delightful, the food great (and good value) and they even had a playground. Yay.