The native tourist returns to London

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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.

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2 comments

  1. Tis true! And who knows, I might end up living there agin, but for now, I need to see more of Africa! Thinking about a road trip to Tanzania or Mozambique in the near future. How are the roads in Mozam? Are they paved and passable without a 4×4 in the rainy season? We’re thinking of driving down to Maputo if time / money allows.


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