Beginnings are hard. Maybe because they seem to involve ends in one way or another and I often want to leave a part of me in what was before, perhaps because new things are a bit scary.
But in either case I find myself at a new beginning and in a way am not really sure of what I am like anymore. It could almost be anything. I think that this is part of the mystery of forgiveness.
Like the title suggests I have left that most curious village in Tasmania to return to England: the land of snow-drops, angel cake and the queen. And a place that I think I like a lot more having been away for a while.
Many people who I speak to are a little confused by what I have been doing, what I am doing, why I'm doing it, and whether or not I've been living in something like a nazi-camp run by a strange set of cultish Christians. As for this last point of interest I can assure you that any explanation I give will not adequately explain what the Po was like.
It is true that we were all fitted with GPS tracking chips that activate once you cross out of the village boundaries; it is true that no students were allowed to drink any alcohol; and it is not true that the Po is built on the site of an ancient tribe who worshipped a giant squirrel. (As ever 1 of the above 3 statements is false)
The last 12 months have probably been the most intense of my life, and to conceed a point may well turn out to be one of the more significant as well. To say that they were easy or simple would be a total lie, to say that they were completely awful would also be a lie. If nothing else perhaps the experience has begun to show me something of the cost of looking after other people, particularly some of the people who really need it. And judging by the standards of the stories that other workers occasionally shared I had a pretty tame and easy ride.
The best way to understand what I have been doing is to sit down for a long time (a very long time because my brain is a fairly confusing place) and listen. But the basic way is that I've been youthworking and studying in what felt like an almost 24/7 capacity - which is quite challenging to one's integrity. Now that I'm back in England I'm technically an overseas student in Australia on placement in England. By title I suppose I'm a student or youthworker; Practically I think I might be a missionary - I don't know who validates such a claim so I hold it tentatively but with an amount of pride and joy. I'm looking forwards to living by faith and waiting to see what each day brings in Fusion's work here.
For the first time in a while I think that I'm approaching things wondering if they could be fun and what the possibilities are. Tomorrow I'm sure that I'll have some moments when I will wonder what on earth I am doing and why I'm here, but at least that seems pretty par for the course. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in some things.
And on the whole: it's nice to be back.