Lilly the traveling Toastmaster teddy and I visited our first Toastmaster club, Chester Speaking, It is a young club oozing with possibilities and opportunities to grow. We also made the most of any sunny days by exploring Chester.
I have now formally joined the BRI (Business Research Institute at the University of Chester. Surrounded by professors and advanced doctoral student is a little bit scary but amazing. The atmosphere is warm and friendly with an ethos of supporting fellow team members
I arrived at Chester a month ago. During this time I got lost more times than what I care to mention. What a contrast between my home city, Centurion and my new adventure that is Chester. We all thought that the biggest difference between South Africa and England would be the weather. England held its coldest weather back till my arrival. What a difference! Temperatures plummeted from hot as hell to freezing. Armed with new boots, coat, woolly hat and gloves, Lilly and I set off to explore Chester.
It turns out that the weather was not the biggest difference. Getting lost is never stressful or scary in Chester. In South Africa however, getting lost is a big no-no. Getting lost turns you into a soft target. Not that I needed any help with that. Walking alone as a blind female would put me on the top of the list.
The only worry I have when getting lost in Chester, is to make sure I did not ever look lost. How embarrassing! I believe I have perfected the art of not 'looking lost' even though I haven't got a clue where I am. Here are some helpful tips: Don't stop just anywhere on the pavement. That is a dead give away. Turn into the nearest store (even if you have no interest in this shop), find a quiet corner and only then consult your GPS. Don't stop by a corner on the street and try to read the name of the street. Especially if like me you'll only be able to read it if you're close enough to kiss it. If all else fails, find the nearest coffee shop and have a cuppa. Ask your waiter if they have heard of this particular place or street. You don't need to say you’re lost. Keep your pose. With your head held high finish your drink and venture forth with your new set of direction.
After being here for four weeks I found my self more relaxed than I have done in years. I felt safe and as a result, have more energy to concentrate on other aspects of my life. It made me wonder what would happen if everyone in South Africa experienced the same privilege of safety and security. I think our country will rocket into prosperity. Imagine entrepreneurs being able to give all their attention to their passion, children being able to concentrate on their education and have no hostile environment to interfere with their progress.
I am so privileged to have this opportunity. Oh, I'll have my moments, when mental health concerns and my sight interfere with my adventure. I always get back up. Battered and bruised but flying high. ‘Blind, Broken but Brilliant'.