“… a new fantastic point of view,” and what a view it is. It may not look it really, but the journey that has led me to this big big window on the left, in a smallish seaside town in England has not been without great difficulty, doubt and sacrifice – enough to make me grateful enough to have a multipurpose window which serves as my nifty side table and a perfect place to people-watch while seated in my not so comfy single bed.
Last year around this time, I was desperately unhappy and trying to leave my job as a reporter which was, for the most part, a great instigator of that unhappiness. I couldn’t see beyond the black fog that I had to fight my way through just to get to work and perform on any given day. At the same time, I had also just received my letter from Chevening, inviting me to attend an interview at the British Consulate General in Cape Town. I had applied for the scholarship four months prior and had already been accepted at two of the three universities I had applied to. In retrospect, things were going as they should, but I just couldn’t see it that way at the time.
My parents, bless them, journeyed to Cape Town to try to talk me off the crazy resignation ledge I was obsessed with at that point, trying to talk me into sticking out for a few more months. They used a week in February, the week of my 28th birthday to convince me to wait for my final scholarship results before blowing my life up and deciding to be unemployed on their couch – again.
We spent that week crisscrossing this little part of the Western Cape to get to Cape Agulhas, the Winelands and the city bowl – I had just a week to show them all my favourite things from this place I had called home for three years at that point.
While I didn’t quite agree with them on the waiting it out bit at work, as luck would have it, I was forced to see out my lease at the apartment I was renting before calling it a day – it’s just four months I told myself, June is just here, it will go by like a breeze. Ha!
The months that followed felt like an agonizing crawl with no end in sight. Luckily for me at that point, I had been interviewed and shortlisted for my scholarship which gave me something to hold on to. When the time came I finally quit my job with no assurances about my schooling yet, but with the biggest hunger for space to breathe and think without a story being the point of it. So I moved back to Pretoria with my half baked hopes and the promise of peace. It ended up being three full months of realignment, restoration and complete rest. It was just what I needed before the long-awaited email came in July that said I was going to move to the UK in just a month to pursue my master’s degree. I chose MA in Digital Documentary programme at the University of Sussex in southern England.
Meeting some of the other Chevening scholars at a briefing event at the British High Commissioner’s residence just before we left South Africa, was the official start of this electrifying journey I have now been on for the last six months. I was clearly in very good company and have gone on to make some really good friends with some of the talented bunch.
Now, I have already conquered the first semester and passed all my subjects; refamiliarised myself with editing software and video equipment and last but not least been on a few little trips in the UK. At this point, I have even lost count of the number of trains I have taken from Brighton to London, as without fail there is some or other event there with my name on it at least once a month. Whether be it personal or professional each seminar, show or party have been some of the highlights of my time here so far. I have now spent a Rugby World Cup, a Christmas, a New Years Eve and as of this week a birthday here. I am grateful for the things that have aligned to make this journey possible and making sure I am making the most of my time here, soaking up all there is to learn and living as intentionally as possible. And that’s what this post is all about – I’m realising now how quickly this experience is going by and want to write about it on a more regular basis so I can remember it in more vivid detail than and not have to depend on scrolling back on my phone’s camera roll in future.