Sunday, 17 February 2008

Losing the plot - the story so far (part three)

November 2007

Having sent my aplication off I review the checklist of things that need to be done before March.

I need to get flights booked, but I shouldn't really do that until my volunteer dates have been confirmed. I need insurance, of course. I will probably need a visa, and the information Jatun Sacha have sent me says that thy will help out with the visa process of anyone volunteering for over three months. I will need to write a shopping list of clothes and equipment. I need to learn Spanish. I will need to save enough money to pay for my trip, my living costs while there, and to pay off my loan and overdraft so I don't come home to a nasty shock.

I need to give up my allotment. It feels quite ironic that, as part of my preparation to learn more about agricultural techniques, and sufficiency and sustainability, I cut off my only real connection to nature. But I already feel guilty of not giving it enough attention and the future predicts that working on my plot will become more and more difficult. My parents live near my allotment, you see, and I do not. I combine a visit to dig with a visit to them. It breaks the journey and means that I do not have to carry huge sacks of potatoes on the bus. But they are moving away from the area.

There is a possibility that I may not come back to live in Manchester after Ecuador. As my sister is soon to go to Canada as part of her own career change, it means that the city will no longer hold any blood ties for me. I will have to leave my job, and my flat, and say goodbye to a life I have learnt for a long time. Perhaps this is just the time to start a whole new life somewhere else. Who knows, I cannot plan for that far ahead - I don't know what I will know and who I will be come September? In any case it would be selfish to keep the allotment and allow it to be neglected further only to give it up at a later time.

Losing the plot seems to be a general theme of my life at the moment. Hopefully, in the next few months I will have found a new one.

I am getting quite worried that I haven't heard back from my application to Jatun Sacha yet. It has been almost a month, now, and they say they have not received anything. If I reapply now, I might not even be able to book my flights until the New Year. I'm really not sure I will get things done in time - I might have to push my departure date back. But that would be a huge disapointment to me - now I have made my decision I am looking forward to going, and the though of moving on and getting out there is a relief during difficult moments.

After I email Jatun Sacha for the third time to ask whether they have received my application yet, they reply saying no, but offer for me to start my application online (minus the cheque and doctor's letter, which can be resent later) so we can get some dates set and I can book my flights. I am so unbelievably relieved that I can finally get the ball rolling with arrangements.

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