#100happydays Days 26-35

Day 26 More than once I have been made happy by maintaining a clean space for myself to live in. I live by myself so really I don’t have to clean up but I find myself doing so because I know I’m sending a clear message that I love and respect myself.

Day 27An impromptu night out after feeling lonely.

Day 28 Seeing this pic in a recruitment agency as it’s the bus i used to take to my dad’s house and it was a lovely sunny day in Essex.

Day 29 Eating cinnamon buns and treating myself and getting lovely messages from my students.

Day 30 Still running and some days are better than others.

Day 31 Spending time with these two beauties.

Day 32 Day out with my colleagues.

Day 33 Binge reading Maya Angelou.

Day 34 Binge watching Game of Thrones.

Day 35 Getting voice notes from my friend Adam.

Gratefulness before and during Gambia.

Where to begin? So much has happened since I have last blogged and I am aware that I have a lot of catching up to do, so here it goes:

 
Before Gambia
 
Friday 11th November: I enjoyed yet another lovely meal with Devina in our favourite restaurant.
 
Saturday 12th November: I went to my first Feminist conference and really enjoyed hearing lots of new opinions and solutions. I love some food for thought; and that lots of new and old friends were there as well.
 
Sunday 13th November: I have been very lucky that lots of friends have been very generous in donating stationary, clothes, medical supplies etc but Devina’s mum and housemate surpassed themselves by giving me more clothes than I could carry! I also had a lovely Sunday dinner with the North London gang in my dad’s favourite family pub.
 
Monday 14th November: I remember I was quite stressed out that day because I was cooking for friends that evening but had not finished sorting all the donations I wanted to bring. However it was a really lovely evening, I enjoyed cooking and seeing people and I was very lucky that Hattie gave me lots of practical bits for Gambia which I definitely needed whilst there.
 
Tuesday 15th November: One of my colleagues came round to donate me some male clothes of which I had none and we had a good chat.
 
Wednesday 16th November: I was really nervous on Wednesday but lots of people were really sweet, Lisaane our intern let me use her international minutes to call Gambia and some colleagues gave some more donations. On my last night in the UK my dad came down to bring me some labouring gloves and more sweetly, Devina came down unannounced to help me pack my clothes and plan my evening outfits.
 
Gambia:
 
Thursday 17th November: I was really grateful to travel with my colleague Paul, it was good to have someone to chat to and to joke about with, especially when I was feeling quite nervous meeting the 30 odd other volunteers at the airport. Devina very sweetly texted us both to wish us a safe journey which I really appreciated. In fact it was good to hang out with Paul that day and in the days to come, a familiar face in our very large crowd. 
 
I love looking at the stars out of my bedroom window at night and there was a moment when I was walking back to our hotel and for some reason I turned around, looked up and the entire sky was lit up with stars that appeared to be glowing. A moment I will not forget.
 
 
Friday 18th November: At the end of our first working day, I was thankful to sip a drink at the side of the pool with Howard, eat an amazing fruit platter with him & Paul and then to have my first dip in the sea.
 
Now after friday I only made one more diary entry, but these are the things I was grateful for:
 
1. I was working with a lovely family, the Bradfords on our toilet block and with amazing teamwork we were able to go from this:
 
to the amazing finished product that was:

2. I was really thankful for my parents the day I visited the orphanage school. I don’t always get on well with my parents but seeing those small children with no parents, in a culture where family is the bedrock, really made me think. I sometimes take for granted that I have both my parents, and that they are healthy and well.
 
3. I am really thankful for all the lovely people that I met, both the volunteers and the family we were working with. Everyone was really nice and you didn’t mind who you worked with as there was a lot of camaraderie. The boys in the family we were working with were absolutely lovely, they looked after us really well, taking us around, answering all our questions, making sure we weren’t hassled too much etc. They work so hard in what is a much tougher environment and mucked in with us whilst making sure we were ok.
 
4. One of the sisters of the family we were working with made us a Gambian lunch so on three occasions we were able to enjoy authentic Gambian cuisine, this was especially welcome when you have been working hard in the 30 degree heat but also when your breakfast likes to exit before lunch! We ate really well and for me, much more healthier than usual!
 
5. The kids. What can I say? I loved seeing the kids everyday, and wished I could talk one of the four languages spoken in the Gambia! They were so cute and knowing that some of village children we met will be able to go to the school makes me want next November to hurry up so we can see them.
 
6. I am massively thankful for having had the opportunity to go to the Gambia and to see all that I have seen. I saw soo much and learnt something new everyday. I am grateful to Howard for asking me to come and then all year telling me that I would be fine, which of course I was.
 
We come to today:
I am thankful for being able to help make a difference; that my housemate and friends care about what I’ve been up and that our temporary housemate made me a lovely dinner this evening.
Oh my, oh my, what an exciting weekend it has been.
On Friday I was thankful for spending time with old friends, being able to do things simply; and recieving a compliment from a stranger in the loos about the dress I was wearing. 🙂 Also I got a lovely text from a friend about this blog which was really nice.
Yesterday I had a great time hosting the Libra birthday bash,  we drank, we danced and made merry until the early hours. I was really grateful to DJ FrenchKiss who saved the day in more ways than one. But I got a really warm feeling when two friends that came last night but didn’t know many of my other friends separately commented on how lovely my friends were and what a great atmosphere they created. I love all my friends and know they are fantastic but it was really nice to hear. Helped me to understand some more that I am surrounded by friends that are good people and therefore I must be nice as well to have all these good people around me. I also thought it was sweet that my younger sister came along with her friends and they had a good time.
Today I was most grateful for Magda bringing me half a Tesco’s finest lasagne for my breakfast, and even better it was brought to me in bed as well; Ed brought his camera along last night and we went through all the photo’s this morning; between us we took some very good, and very funny pictures and lastly I am grateful to it being a Sunday and being able to watch Gossip Girl & TOWIE.

Mostly  though I am grateful for all the fantastic, lovely people I have in my life.

Today I am grateful for potential new friends and more pointedly for nice people that are genuine without making me feel ill. And most nice, new people do make me feel rather bilious/inadequate to be honest.  I must learn to accept that I got angst instead of sweetness and light when the universe was handing out gifts. (Anyone reading this, I like your niceness!) Anyway, there is nice new intern at work who was at a loss for something to do after work, so I invited them to come and hang out at mine and have tea. Its quite a novel experience for me to be inspired to be nice by someone else. I’m glad that I can do something new.