Andy and I were flooded in December so spent a lot of time staying with friends and family; we had fun but it was tough. And we’d been planning on moving from The Lake District further south, but one night after the floods we were out for dinner, got really drunk, and decided why not move abroad for a bit. We’ve always said we’d love to, but it was very much a ‘maybe someday’ thought.
But the more we talked about it, the more we felt like why not. So Andy started applying for teaching positions all over the world, I was up for going anywhere! A few skype interviews came and went until February 28th when Andy was offered a job in Malawi, Africa. And we said hell yes!
We were sick of the rain, and just wanted something new. There were times when we had a bit of a wobble and is this totally mad moment, but I just always think I’d rather go and not like it, than not go and never know. We wanted to see the world, not just to travel but to live in completely different culture, because why not, and I know it’s said far too much, but life is too short.
So we’ve spent the last couple of months working like mad; I played at a load of different festivals and venues, including Chris Evans’ Car Fest which I had such a great time playing, the crowd was brilliant! And in between work, and dodging comments like ‘will you be living in a mud hut?!’ (which by the way, we’re not), we attempted to pack our life up. We had two different things to pack for, AirFreight and storage, both of which happened in the space of two days; it was manic. But our friends and family were amazing help (once they’d gotten over the fact we were moving a bit more south than planned) and along with a lot of takeaways, beer and so many bottles of champagne we had left from our wedding, we got there eventually! My favourite part was the night before the storage came, we moved our sofa off the balcony because there was no other way to get it out, and those of you who watch ‘Friends’ it was the perfect PPPPIIIVVOOOTTT moment!
Finally packed we said bye to The Lake District on Saturday 20th August and headed down to Andy’s family for my sister in laws wedding on Monday 22nd. We flew the next morning. Crazy!
Saying bye was really hard, I knew it would be, I think I cried every day for two weeks until we left! I’m so close to my family and friends, but with things like facetime and facebook (all things faces), it’s not that bad, it’s more just the thought of physically being so far away. But as my Dad said, we’ve opened up a whole new place for everyone to be a part of, and to come and visit, when they probably would never have come here otherwise. That’s a good way to look at things. And I think the same about that for my work. Things only are left or forgotten if you let them, but if you embrace new things and add them to what you have, you can’t fail. There was a part of me that when we spoke about moving away, that thought oh no, I’m going to lose all my contacts and progress I’ve made over the past three years. But then that only happened if you let it. If I make this move part of my work, and draw upon the brand new culture and inspirations for my music, it’s going to be amazing. And that’s why I want to keep writing these blogs, to let you all know how it’s going!
So after 3 flights, no sleep, one lost guitar in the connections, and a hell of a lot of Gin, we made it to the city of Blantyre, Malawi on Wednesday 24th August 2016. And it is just AMAZING. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like. The people, the music, the culture, the weather, everything is just awesome. I think the first thing we noticed is just how happy the people of Malawi are. They have so little but know no different, which on one hand is sad, but on the other they sure make the most of everything and are so grateful; something to definitely learn from.
We live in an apartment close to Andy’s school, St Andrews International Primary School, which is more like a university campus than a school, it’s so lovely, I’m so happy for him. And I’m really looking forward to getting a choir going and taking some singing and guitar lessons with the students.
We’ve been here for 5 days and already feel like we’re at home; I can’t tell you how nice everyone is! And the city is just so cool, huge markets, everything is fresh and handmade, totally different to the UK. And the bars and clubs, so we were taken out the other night to a club, and in my head all I could think was like TigerTiger (tragic, right!?) but it couldn’t have been more different. It was a huge outside bar with palm trees, candles and even a bbq going. Africans just do everything better!
But it’s just everything about a new culture, it’s just great. I’m sitting on our balcony writing this now and watching monkeys jumping around. We went to a place called Majete Game Reserve yesterday on Safari and saw Hippos, Elephants and Buffalo! To see animals completely in the wild was brilliant, but I just couldn’t get my head around it; I was waiting to come across a fence or zoo gift shop, but nothing, it was like driving around in The Lion King! Andy summed it up well saying I don’t think we realized just how wild we are, like if we broke down in the reserve we’d literally be there for days until someone came and found you… before the lions did!
We’re coming down a bit now after feeling like we’ve been on holiday for the past week, and are getting unpacked and sorted out. I’m setting up a load of recording equipment I brought over with me, and can’t wait to take it out on location and into the townships to get some takes; I’ve got some cool ideas, I’ll keep you posted! I’ve been writing so much since we arrived, sometimes a change is all you need to fire you up, I feel so inspired. So excited to have been booked before we came out here to play Malawi's biggest Music Festival, The Lake of Stars, at Lake Malawi. Sep 30- Oct 2nd. It looks awesome, check it out at www.lakeofstars.org
Right, I’ve rambled enough! Keep a look out on here and I’ll be updating very soon! Right now my contact number isn’t usable so if you need to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org is best.