We’re off to Myanmar! (Burma)

We’re off to Burma (Myanmar)! Pete has got a great job with an NGO out there and I’m already mentioning no names so that this blog doesn’t become contentious before we’ve even begun…

Life is in limbo at the moment. We are camping out at mum’s in Bristol, having packed, shipped and rented the house in London. Pete’s start date (and visa) is suitably vague, hampered only slightly by the recent elections on 7th November and the rumoured freeing of Ang San Sui Kei any day now. We were on standby to fly out on the 18th November as late as yesterday but have now heard it’s likely to be the 25th at the earliest. It’s a bit stressful. Although we have the house to ourselves at the moment as mum and Tony are away so we should be relaxing and enjoying ourselves without any responsibilities, temporarily!

I am VERY excited about Burma. Not a part of the world I know much about, the nearest I’ve been is 4 days in Kuala Lumpur on the way to New Zealand in 1993. But as soon as Pete said it was a possibility I got a good feeling. I mean, Rudyard Kipling and the Road to Mandalay, it sounds soooooooo romantic! We hear it is very safe out there and expats and foreigners are barely affected by the military regime. That said I am doing some research which is harrowing to say the least. And I don’t want to say too much because I have no idea how contentious that may be, or dangerous. More for any Burmese that may work for us that us I suspect. In the meanwhile I will be as circumspect as I can.

We will be living in Yangon, probably in a 3 bed house with garden and a pool in a complex with another 3 houses all with families. I can’t wait to see the famous Schwedagon Paya which is a temple in the centre of Yangon, covered in over 60 tonnes of gold leaf. It takes weeks to get around apparently! And I am fascinated by Buddhism so looking forward to learning more about that and hopefully taking some meditation classes. We will have a maid, as we did in Nairobi, and hopefully someone to take care of Alfie part time. I hope to be able to work to contribute to our coffers; ideally we’ll be debt free by the time we leave in two year’s time. Admin work and English tutoring is widely available so I’m told.

The culture is so alien to me but also fascinating, particularly the mix of religions (incl Catholicism and animism) and the exotic tribes such as the Padaung or ‘giraffe-necked’ women, the ones with all the rings around their neck, remember them? I’m also dying to see the huge varieties of flowers and foliage and try the food; curries here we come. The climate concerns me slightly, only because 40 degrees and high humidity sounds a bit exhausting and I’ve no idea how I’ll cope with 5 months of Monsoon weather…

I’m super excited about being able to get back on my bike, however. Before we left London I bought a bike seat and helmet for Alfie and I envisage both swimming and cycling becoming part of our daily life.

It looks like we’ll be arriving before Christmas though no doubt our Christmas decorations won’t turn up until January, but hopefully it means there will be plenty of social activities among the expats and of course we’ll be able to throw a party or two of our own.

You are all invited!!

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