I have finally settled into a home on a hill where from my window the city of San Francisco sprawls across rolling hills and the fog, ever-present, hangs quietly overhead. It appears that after many, many months of roaming all four corners of the globe, this wanderer has finally put her feet to rest – at least for the time being. I moved to San Francisco a month ago and since then have traipsed far and wide across the city searching for a home, hiked vertical streets, dodged bell-ringing cable cars, and run around madly entertaining guests at sea and on land as the first San Francisco America’s Cup World Series event unfolded across the Bay. I have slowly begun to unpack and plant roots and, ultimately, come to love my new part of the world.
Meanwhile, in Uganda, progress is being made. Since I last emailed from Paris, just one month ago, we have raised almost $5000 NZD – close to half of what we need to get this dormitory up off the ground. The pile of bricks we started with is rising and construction is ploughing forward. Thank you so very much to those of you who have donated so far, the gratitude flooding out of the village is overwhelming. If anyone else is still interested in donating, we have a truly incredible sponsor who has offered to match dollar for dollar any money received between now and the end of September! A very humbling show of generosity.
There is a Canadian volunteer, Justin, at KAASO who has been keeping us updated on the dorm’s progress and sending through photos as construction continues. The goal is to have this building finished by the end of the year so it can be opened and the children can move in before Christmas.
Thanks so much to you all, from my little corner of San Francisco draped with African beads and dotted with Ugandan baskets…
I currently find myself in a sun-drenched hotel room in Paris where my view consists of old brick buildings and spired domes, piercing the skyline. The windows are open and summer really feels as if it has arrived in Paris. Bliss.
The past three months have been a whirlwind of travel, faces, places and ever-changing horizons. I left my Bondi home in March and flew to Paris where I started work immediately. I launched myself into Parisian life – with a warm coat, a woollen beret and plenty of wine and cheese to ease the transition from Sydney summer to a rather icy winter. I spring-boarded between Venice, Monaco, Naples, Newport, Verona and Paris in the build-up to the events that I was to be working on: the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, the Louis Vuitton Classic – a classic car rally from Monaco through France and Switzerland to Italy, and finally the America’s Cup World Series in Venice which saw super modern boats sailing against one of the world’s most ancient backdrops. It was like sailing in a painting.
I have met so many amazing people these past months, have paddled canals on gondolas, driven through snow-covered mountain passes while skiers fly by, watched yachts racing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvio, wound my way along the shores of Lake Garda at sunset, walked to work each day past the Louvre with the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the background, and island-hopped through the waters of Venice. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it’s all real but I have been lucky enough to share it with a cast of wonderful characters along the way who help to keep things real amidst the madness.
So now another page is turning. I am soon to be moving to San Francisco which is to become my home for the next 18 months. I am looking forward to setting up a life there, to wandering the winding streets, exploring bookshops, finding my local cafe and discovering another corner of the world in a city I love so much.
And, as I am always one for contrasts, I have just booked flights from the next regatta in Newport back to my African home – yes, I’m going back to Uganda. It’s only for two and a half weeks this time but every second I can have in the village is better than none. I am so incredibly excited to be reunited with Dominic and Rose and all the amazing people at KAASO and what makes it all the more special is that I will be with Cherie and Kirsty. The three of us haven’t been together since Kirsty flew out of Zanzibar in August 2009 so it will be a reunion to rival no other. I can’t wait to see the progress that has been made at the school and to be surrounded by the love and warmth of my Ugandan family once more.