Everything posted here is stricktly the opinion of the poster and shall not be taken to be the official position of UNMIS, UNMISS, UN, the Norwegian Armed Forces or any other organisation whatsoever.

Monday 13 December 2010

Being home on leave

It is... strange, I think is the best word, to be home on leave.

I'm sure most people can relate - over the last few weeks I've gotten into the habit, as it were, of being posted to Sudan. Now I suddenly find myself in Norway... not only is the temperature significantly lower, but the mindset is turned around completely too.  On the other hand, the mental refill a visit home provides is most welcome. A return to normality - however brief - is a great way to reset the brain... to show me that not everything is dust and mud and borderline poverty.

Much in the same way the contrasts within Sudan always grabs my attention, the contrasts between Sudan and Norway is at the forefront of my mind when I'm not busy otherwise. Not just the obvious ones - like the weather - but also the ones that are less in your face. Like the fact that you can pay with plastic in Norway, while cash is the only game in town in Sudan. You can get what you need both places, even if there is more legwork while in Sudan. The difference is that in South Sudan I get what I need, while in Norway I can get what I want - a big, but not always obvious, difference. Another difference I much appreciate is the fact that I can do real cooking while at home, buying meat I can trust not to have been out in the sun for hours.

 Yei the day I left...
...home, the day I arrived. Can you spot the difference?

Off course, being home can be troublesome too - like having to call the chimney sweeper to help clear a blocked flue. Blocked, I might add, because the guy who swept the chimney last year managed to get his chimney brush stuck in our chimney and left it there - WITHOUT telling no one. The chimney sweep that came by today was looking forward to looking up in the system who did our chimney last, and leave the brush and ball on his desk...

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