I had some serious reservations about spending a week in London. I had signed up for this Art History course ages ago so I had to go. And obviously I wanted to see all my friends. But on my first day there I was miserable. I sat in a park and cried because I was overwhelmed and haunted by memories of difficult times. I also felt strange being a tourist in a city I used to live in.
By the end of my week, something strange had happened. The Art History course was amazing and I was buzzing with excitement about the new knowledge I had gained. I spent time with good friends, eating, drinking, laughing. I talked to strangers in the street and in pubs and it was so nice to interact with people without the elephant of inequality that’s always present in Malawi. As I was walking around the city, I realised too that I was no longer afraid of bumping into ghosts from my past; I had forgiven them, or forgotten about them, or they were no longer living in London.
On my last night, I stood at London Bridge station listening to a busking band playing Chili Peppers covers and I realised I felt so happy. I was sad to leave. I felt like London had given me a big bear hug and suddenly everything was OK again. I guess sometimes we need to step back from things and look at them from the outside. That’s certainly true with creative work, but I had no idea that the r ule applied to life itself.