domingo, 19 de mayo de 2013

In 2012 a farewell May

A Long time ago, in another island far far away

Barely a year ago but seems like much more. Not to summarize here what happened in the last year (season 2012-2013) but to cross check between highlights in Timor-Leste during last May and others during May 2013 in Malta.

May 2012May 2013
Mother's Day in Ocean View
Emma and friend visiting Knigth's tower in Comino

QSI Dili Talent Show 2012

Eloisa, Emma & Nancy at Il-Prajjet Bay

May 2012 was a sweet-bitter month, and very stressful. Already talked about the stress of moving?. This one was a rush. In March/April 2012 Albertina received an offer to join the mission in Libya. And we decided to accept it. Good professional prospect for Albertina's career, new working opportunities, and another year contract with options to renew. Also facing the end of the UNMIT mission, my contracts finishing with Freebalance and the NAO, and the options in Asia looking dim. Our application for Australia immigration was short of 5 points and no where to find them (finally in March 2013 I received the final no from the immigration service, but long before we exhausted all the possibilities and assumed that it was not going to happen).

Looking back to almost 4 years in Timor-Leste it was a no brain decision: the experience was great, new friends, some close as a family, a strong mind and character building for Emma and Eloisa, professionally some of our best years and thousands of pictures that reflect a little bit of all that in our memories. But Timor-Leste living style was done. We needed to change.

A usual but last dinner at our house
Last Thai lunch in Dili for Albertina

Albertina's last day in Timor-Leste

Eloisa plays with Tina that same day

Birthdays Party!

People gets used to almost everything. Sometimes sadly (luckily not our situation). And when they are in the comfort zone it is difficult for them to see outside the box. And change is delayed, why are you going to risk your current situation?

Evaluating options to get out of the comfort zone

After many years in one place you realize which actions can help you to integrate with the local economy. Meaning that you are not economically dependent on something that it is external, like Albertina's contract with the UN. Being in the comfort zone that can be tempting. Quickly dismissed for the Timor-Leste option. Beautiful country but not clearly in our top ranking.

Fishermen in Ocean View - Atauro on the myst

But what would happen when the umbilical cord of the UNSMIL is gone? Back to home base? Just thinking on that caused extreme anguish. But if not other option was on the horizon you have to go back where you are legally entitle to live. That opened another option: Brazil. Why not? That was plan B. Or you can attempt to move to a place that getting a temporary resident permit is doable. And with some creative manoeuvres also you can work. Why not Bali? We love Bali, it was just a little bit outside of the comfort zone, with a Latin American mindset you can be creative with the Indonesian bureaucracy and the potentials economic options can be done from there.
So we sorted our options and we came up with the next list:

  1. Bali! So start evaluating options
  2. Brasil. Leave until clear first option as not doable
  3. Argentina (change the sort order to letters, and Argentina will get Z, so caro reader you can get an idea of how depressing was considering that option for us)

This list is the final element after many nights of the irresponsible parents of this blog discussing the topic "our comfort zone is going Bye Bye, what's next?". Low voice conversations after putting to sleep the unaware 2 other happy and naive characters of this history. And the deliberations started just after jumping off the plane when arriving from the Amazing-Awesome-Wow vacations in New Zealand. Early January 2012!

Leaving New Zealand
From January 2012

The list was issued around end of February 2012. By March 2012 the plan Bali was in full speed ahead:

  • already contacted other expats with experience in Bali
  • thanks to that we contacted and gathered information on how to get a resident permit
  • the school: applied, filled up the registration papers and accepted!
  • places to live, what to rent (a must: a villa with swimming pool)
  • cost of life (this last bit finally pushed out of the ABC the plan Z)
  • already started to view ourselves in the expat life of Bali using our mind eye...
  • working out options for jobs after the UNSMIL contract was due (December 2012)


Surprises as in a soap opera

This blog would have continued if not because of the collapse of an infinite pool of probability waves, and pushing to probability = 1 (certainty) of another probability wave that neither have any idea of course. The writer of the script wanted us to start a new blog.

The surprise in Albertina's inbox is well known for the few (but loyal) followers of these adventures: Libya and North Africa was the next destination. Tripoli will be Albertina's next port.

So the clean and tidy list was literally used toilet paper, and discarded as that. We flushed all the other probability waves, and we warily let us swirled in the incoming maelstrom [Note of the Editor: sometimes we let the writer go dramatic]. Now there is a new task list, not any more a wish list!

  • where are we going to live? UNSMIL is not a family duty station
  • discard Libya, schools shut down, news report not promising
  • what about Tunice? Looks better, but French language and education system. The gender situation is going backwards and the religious fundamentalism winning positions. Are you sure? Look again in the map. We will not regret this lack of vision, but now (today June 2013) I cannot smile with irony with this now re interpretation as a sign
  • The R&R base apparently is a place called Malta. Ugh? Search in the Wiki. Under British protectorate until 1964, joined the EU in 2004, Google Map pictures look promising, only 45 minutes by air from Tripoli, flights every day. QSI Malta? Yes, there is a QSI there. Our darts spot on Malta.
We need to open a new blog: PiterbarginNorthAfrica? The leading work parent will have to endure 6 weeks tours to Libya, followed by 10 days in Malta. Those 6 weeks already looked dreadful. For both parents. And how the 2 little ones will cope with the situation? This is not the entry to dig again in those 10 days of March/April were all the implications of saying yes were evaluated. It was a psychological torture. But remember the comfort zone? Remember the Z no option? We didn't feel like that was going to be a good title. So we changed

Slingshot Again

Click here for the English version

We didn't have much time. Albertina was literally slingshoted into Libya from East-Timor. May 19th 2012 was her last day in the beloved island.

Ready! Check Out from UNMIT done!
Barely we had time to agree on the last list of things-to-do, find a way to stay in Malta legally (!), review the what clothes to pack and what to give away and have farewell events.

Albertina says Good Bye to Timor-Leste

Events around you have a logic on their own though. Timor-Leste was celebrating its first 10 years of incipient, vibrant, challenged but brave of Independence and Democracy, and a new electoral process that was a fantastic and welcomed blow to any intention of the UNMIT or ANZAC as INTERFET staying longer (clarification: no one wanted, the job was done and they were quite happy with the results - time to go)

Timor-Leste 10 years of Proud Independence

Kid's life, school, extra curricular and play dates, tick with an inexorable clock and their own logic. Barely you put some direction but not control upon their lives. A little bit of damage control (we think) was applied and basically daily activities were followed as normal.

Kid's Daily life during May 2012

A logic that keeps flowing even after Albertina's departure to Libya.

The first half month with Mummy far away

domingo, 30 de diciembre de 2012

Historias para el Atico

“What we, or at any rate what I, refer to confidently as memory – meaning a moment, a scene, a fact that has been subjected to a fixative and thereby rescued from oblivion – is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling. Too many conflicting emotional interests are involved for life ever to be wholly acceptable, and possibly it is the work of the storyteller to rearrange things so that they conform to this end. In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we draw.”

William Maxwell, So Long See you Tomorrow

Del prefacio de Until I Find You, de John Irving…

No es una despedida, pero como algunos de los lectores y conocidos (amigos, familiares, nos cruzamos en el camino) de esta blog saben ya no estamos más en Timor-Leste. Fueron casi 4 años, o algo más de 3 en el Sudeste Asiático, dependiendo de cómo uno se sienta al recordarlos.

La cantidad de entradas en el sitio apenas alcanza para dar una idea de las memorias, experiencias y aprendizajes (leáse metidas de pata) que se sumaron en todo ese tiempo. Muchos más momentos y una cantidad considerable de fotos que a la mayoría de los lectores les tendría sin cuidado. Y a ocasionales lectores (el azar de una búsqueda que los trae aquí, o simplemente Borgeanos buscadores de contenido en una biblioteca basta pero no infinita) todo el contenido les resultará patético o simplemente irrelevante.

No es una introducción defraudante o para la depresión. Sino la idea de fijar una idea para guiar de alguna manera el contenido editorial a futuro del blog.  Si no queda claro, simplemente esta entrada intenta ser un público recordatorio al autor del blog de continuarlo. El primer objetivo es tratar de darle sentido a decenas de miles de fotografías que si no se publican de alguna manera quedarán en ningún sitio. Antes existía la posibilidad de dejarlas en el ático y de que una nieta o gran gran nieta las encontráse, escribiese un libro, dirija una película o escriba un blog, o lo que se haga en 50 años.

Singapore Zoo Water ParkIMG_0177hiEka and EmmaIMG_0863IMG_0910IMG_0969IMG_0976IMG_0991IMG_1147IMG_1534IMG_1790IMG_1820IMG_1864IMG_1889IMG_2364IMG_2529P1040254P1050665P1050984P1050999P1310168P2170015At the SentosaP3050032P4050048I don't like this animla daddyP4090045P5010108P5030044P5200078P5220292P5260263P5300358P6080085P6170147P6190254P6210028P6210034Finally tiredP6260099P6260119P6290133P7080092P7120158P7250041P7260067P7270185P8150265P9210136PA300126PC180060PC200106PC230308PC270084PC280179PC290624
Un pequeño ejercicio de memoria, numerando las fotos de arriba->abajo/derecha->izquierda, que número de foto corresponde con:
  • festejando el resultado del partido Argentina-Corea del Sur (4:1), Junio 17 2010, en Dili Beach Club, Timor-Leste,
  • cantidad de fotos en Timor-Leste? Australia? Singapore? New Zealand? Bali? Noruega?
  • en qué foto Eloisa era caminadora en Atauro? Esperando la lancha para volver a Dili?
  • En qué foto Eloisa comienza a practicar snorkeling en Tutuala Beach?
  • Emma snorkeling en Dili Rock? en Kiwi Beach?
  • Emma en su segunda temporada de surf en Kuta? y su tercera en Manly Beach?
  • en qué playas hicimos picnic en Cementery Beach? en K-57? en One Dollar Beach?
  • qué foto es en el Litchfield Park, en el Charles Darwin Park, en Crocosaurus Cave, en el Wildlife Park?
  • En cuál están en el Zoo de Singapore? y qué están haciendo?
  • Cuáles son del Opera Sydney?
  • En la iglesia de Maubisse?
  • En cuál estamos comiendo en el restaurant Victoria en Manatuto?
Los 2 hipotéticos adultos y responsables tomaron esta decisión ya bien grandecitos, pero las niñas que llevaron a cuestas pasaron el 90% y el 50% de sus vidas allí. Qué es lo que se van a acordar? Piense en lo que usted recuerda de los 5 o 6 años? o de cuando tenía 18 o 20 meses? Cómo se van a transformar esas memorias? Cuánto de lo que recuerden se va a sobreimponer con otras memorias, con estas fotos, con recuerdos contados? Fué la primer palabra de Eloisa “tasi”? Recordará Emma que lloró durante 3 meses seguidos en el colegio apenas llegó a Dili? Si leen este blog dentro de 10 años cómo afectará sus recuerdos? Si alguien les pregunta cuál fué su primera impresión en recorrer Dili, cuánto será real y cuánto una reelaboración? Recordarán con cariño el viaje a Maubisee con vómitos incluídos? Los 4 años de Eloisa festejados con su mejor amiga Molly? Su primera reunión de ex-expatriados de Timor-Leste?

Este blog entra en mantenimiento, pero no se termina. Quedan muchas cosas para contar, otras cosas que en el momento uno no cuenta sin embargo el tiempo y los trucos de la memoria los rescatan mutados y edulcorados. Sin ninguna verguenza de escritor, que no lo soy, voy a plagiar a un amigo mío:

“As time passes the memories of the trip slowly find their place in the recesses of our mind, leaving their imprint in the form of colours, tastes, sounds, thoughts and images. Like wine, the memories of travel acquire new properties gradually, helping us to forget all the actual hassle of moving around the world in family packs: the irritatingly incompetent security checks in the airports, the wrestling match with the car rental company to understand what in earth does the insurance actually cover, the sheer amount of energy that, in fact, is required to “rest” during family holiday travel. But after some weeks we somehow unconsciously start discriminating in favour of the good memories and, after some more time you even forget important details, like the fact that, in that particular trip you still remember with nostalgia, your car was actually stolen with your passport inside. Without this mechanism (or pathology), that some of us present in its acute version, we would not be able to survive as the structural nomads that we are: homo viator in perpetuum”

Veremos como se plasman por escrito situaciones como: “cuando evacuamos a Emma de emergencia a Darwin”, “de cómo pelearse por teléfono con diferencias horarias y sobrevivir todos juntos”, “de cuando te llaman de Hong Kong a Dili para decirte que te quedaste sin trabajo”, “de cuando nos tiraban piedras al paso del auto en Timor-Leste”, “del primer y único intento de hacer cumbre en Ramaleau y de cómo Emma lloró toda la bajada por horas…”, “de cómo es trabajar por la democracia en Timor-Leste (quizás este tenga que esperar, por lo menos hasta que el NDA con la UN expire!)”, “acerca de la hipótesis Star Trek para darle sentido a lo que es trabajo de desarrollo en países como Timor-Leste”, “el ranking de la amabilidad de diferentes agentes de inmigración”, “de la sensación de darse cuenta de que está uno haciendo en algún lugar, generalmente cuando uno hace lo más mundano”, “de los recorridos por los caminos de Timor”, “de la calidez con que nos recibieron algunos timorenses y otros no tanto”, “de cuando Emma se quemó la pierna y eran 2 horas para volver a algún lugar donde se podía atender”, “de bucear a 5 minutos de casa a las 5AM”, “de una de las mejores navidades en Sydney y otra en Queenstown”, “de aceptar cómo vengan a personas de por lo menos 50 nacionalidades diferentes”, “de las comidas”, “de la desesperación de qué contrato va a aparecer en el horizonte”, “de la angustia de semanas de noches sin dormir para decidirse ir a Libia”…

Pero hay que mantenerse en movimiento, mirar para el futuro, así que habrá entradas, espero sin espíritu tanguero, pero para que esas fotos no se pierdan en un disco rígido y por lo menos quede algo en el ático, mapeadas, las comentadas en 140 y las extendidas, panorámicas y las mejores 200

Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time [to go to Malta] (original: Time to die).

[Nota del Editor: Un poco fuera de tono la última frase, pero la quería escribir y no se la censuramos]