Sunday, September 24, 2006

I've been AWOL

For almost a month now, I haven't put anything on my blog. It's not because I haven't had anything to put up; I've just been too tired to do so. I apologize to those of you who've been waiting with bated breath (that's you, Dad) for the next installment of Denise stuff.

The last time I put anything up here, I was still living in Crawley, in the Southern part of the UK, with this lovely lady, and shadowing the WORTH Project. The WORTH Project is part of the larger West Sussex Community Safety Team, and the main team was in Chichester, a picturesque little town also in the Southern part of the UK. I should visit there properly, as I only spent a day there the last time.

I have moved to Thornton Heath, Croydon, which is about twenty minutes by train to Central London. I spent my first week there relaxing and transcribing my notes from the past month in Worthing. I returned to Worthing one of the days to interview a lovely lady who works at the refuge there. She also was once an occupant of the refuge, and is known in DV lingo as a survivor. We had a lovely conversation where she told me how she had gotten into her current position working as the Housing Advocate for women and their families in the refuge. The main thing I got from the conversation was that running any type of DV agency will not be succesful unless there is legislation and multi-agency cooperation.

The following week I went to visit an organization, the Women's Safety Unit, in Cardiff, Wales, where I stayed in a hostel called NosDa @ The Riverbank. Apparently NosDa means "goodnight's sleep" or something like that in Welsh. I met some nice people while staying at the hostel: a Pakistani British citizen called Khalid, a German student coming to study in Wales, called Niko, and a girl from Hong Kong who had just finished a BA here in the UK, called Sharon. It was pretty interesting. At the WSU, I met a lot of different people, and got the chance to chat with a police officer about the new police approach to domestic violence. The first day I went to the WSU (I arrived on a Monday and went to the office on Tuesday, 12th September), I was told that the WSU had a documentary that would air on BBC Wales 1 that evening. It was a nice documentary, and the three people I met at the hostel watched it with me, causing us to have a lovely conversation about DV.

I returned to Thornton Heath on Wednesday night, arriving after 9pm because of a series of unfortunate events (no pun intended). I caught the train from Cardiff (Caerdydd in Welsh! Very lovely) to London Paddington airport, but the train was delayed by about thirty minutes, so that I arrived around 6pm. I stopped to buy some underwear at this lingerie store called La Senza, then I caught the underground to Victoria station. From Victoria I had to take the train to Thornton Heath or East Croydon. The train to East Croydon was fastest, so I took that one, hoping to catch a bus from across the street to get to Thornton Heath. As my luck would have it, it was raining cats and dogs, AND the street across from the train station was closed for repairs, which meant I had to walk for about 5-10 minutes to the next bus stop, to catch the bus. Looking for a shortcut, I saw one of the buses, the 198, stopping next to the train station, and naively (or selfishly) thought that since the road was close, the bus would just turn around and go back to Thornton Heath. I therefore sat on it. Hahahaha!! I went all the way to the last stop on the other side of Croydon, and the bus driver actually kept screaming "Last stop, last stop." LOL! I had to go up there and tell him that I had unintentionally gotten on the bus as it was going the opposite way to my destination. It cracked him up, and he didn't chuck me out of the bus! Thank God, because I didn't know where on earth I was. I finally got home around 9pm, tired, wet and hungry. :)

Twum arrived in London on Thursday morning, and I went to meet him at Heathrow, although I was a few minutes late. We got to his hotel near Victoria Station with a taxi, and got settled in his lovely hotel room. The following Monday (the 18th) was my birthday. Happy Birthday to me!! That same evening we went to visit Twum's aunt Vida, her daughter Naaki, and granddaughter Noina (who is the cutest little girl!).

On Wednesday I went to have a very enlightening and reassuring conversation with Linda Regan of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit in London, and then had a lovely lunch of one jacket potato with grilled vegetables, chicken, a salad and avocado. For four pounds. Yeah, baby! That evening, Twum and I on impulse went on this walking tour of London's grisly murder sites called "Blood and Tears: London's Horrible Past", which was conducted by a former actor and current researcher from Ireland, Declan McHugh. :) It was about two hours long, pretty detailed and interesting. It was also quite effective because it was held at night. Since then I've been a little scared of people following me around. LOL! The next day we went on the Big Bus Tour of London, and even took a ride on a boat down the Thames River. Pretty exciting.

On Friday Twum went to work, and I went to get my visa from the Indian consulate (or tried to). Since I had about an hour and a half to get there, I decided to take the bus to the consulate instead of the underground like I had the first time. Unfortunately for me, (and I should have thought about this), the bus stopped in a part of Holborn (the town) that I didn't know, so I just sat in there, waiting for a bus stop near the consulate. This stop never materialized, and before I realized I was in Bethnal Green, another town of London. I know, I know...I keep making mistakes like this. :)

Twum left Saturday morning on a 7am flight. He's on his way to Ghana. We went to bed around 1:30am after packing, and woke up at 3:30am to get a cab at 4am for the airport. I came back to Thornton Heath, and went to braid my hair that same day. I should have gone to bed, but I didn't, and stayed up till 3am Sunday morning. I woke up at 3pm Sunday afternoon. :)

So, that's a short recap of what's been going on with me. :) I'm waiting for my ticket to India. I leave on the 8th of October (hopefully), and from India, I will be going to Trinidad. I'm trying to get my ticket so that I spend Christmas in Trini. :) I'm also doing a bit of research on other countries that I can visit, since I lost Sri Lanka. I'm looking at Morocco, since I want to go to another African country after Trinidad, before going to Uganda. If you know any organizations in Morocco, or an Islamic country in Africa that is stable at the moment, do let me know.

With lots of love...

PS: I have a lot of pictures. I'll put some up later. :)

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Happy (belated) birthday! I'm such a bum! Melissa S. told me that you're now married according to traditional law but have yet to have a ceremony. In any case, congratulations. :-) And I'll try to catch up on your blog tonight. I haven't had much time to read of late, but I'm very excited.