Sunday, 22 February 2009

The end of Chapter 1

We left Britain exactly a month ago. I’d like to take this auspicious moment to share with you some of my great discoveries of the first month, in order of how much they astonish me. (By the end they aren’t at all astonishing, but still, Lipton’s, pull your socks up!)

1. I can still rough it. I knew B could but I wasn’t sure about my own stamina!

2. I am a talkative introvert and B is a laconic extrovert. This makes us socially rather bewildering.

3. Everyone who grew up with mangoes not only has their own way of peeling and eating them, but also rubbishes everyone else’s way.

4. Most religious people are much more tolerant of other religions than they are of different branches of their own. (This might be the same point as the one about mangoes- I’m not sure)

5. Home is in limbo- when I say ‘home’, Mirfield doesn’t present itself any more, but there is no new picture in its place.

6. I CAN get up at 6a.m. every day.

7. Familiarity breeds contempt with handwashing.

8. It is almost impossible for me to imagine respecting myself without DOING anything. I suspect one of the hardest things about the months ahead will be comprehending that my value does not lie in what I do.

9. Poverty combined with hope breeds solidarity. (Poverty without hope breeds crime I think)

10. Tetley’s tea is two whole leagues ahead of Lipton’s, which tastes of air freshener.

A month of living in separate rooms in a Jesuit presbytery has been of course highly instructive! We have been allowed to make ourselves completely at home, which I think is pretty handsome of them. And it’s always interesting to deduce what we’re getting accustomed to (as they always used to ask in China, “Are you a-customer-ed to the life here?”) from what ISN’T on the list.

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