Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Visiting the Queen (Part II of my UK experience) - by Caroline Kiugo

Once I settled into Sheffield it was time for work. I am very grateful for the quality training I got from Ben (Director UK) and James (Assistant Director). The training took 2 weeks and every day I got a chance to explore and gain new ideas and skills, though it seemed too broad to be digested within those 2 weeks but it turned out they were the best tutors, the training was exciting too. (Not my university training when 2 hours seemed the longest hours in my life, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this). I completely felt like a new me –new skills, added knowledge and better understanding of management, projects design, budgeting, marketing. They had a flair for the subjects and were able to enliven my skills, adding capabilities and knowledge, they polished me! My frozen concentration turned out to be creative juices.

With Dig Deep growing rapidly with the projects and staff capacity, we ensure we also grow healthily in skills and experience. With my training wheels firmly on it helped me to neutralize the natural angst of confronting my weaker skills and I feel able to cruise on my very own. After my busy training schedule I was able to take some annual leave for a few days.

Ben and Carol, prior to trustees meeting in London

My Trip to the Most Magical city (London)

Most beautiful city, magical. Romantic and full of fine things…like art I went, I saw and I fell in love with it. Remember all I wanted to visit since I was young was the land of the Queen, TO SEE THE QUEEN!

The fast biggest train.... 2 hours from London to Sheffield!!!! At a point it felt as if I would burst my eardrums due to how fast it was going... The underground was like Hogwarts Express... well to some extent it is true, but the rest pretty much is just English.

Every piece of this Euro-experience was to cherish for a lifetime. The fact that I had to ride in a train alone when going shopping.... and to the airport was a completely new phenomenon to me nonetheless I enjoyed it. Before trip I thought it was about firsts…first time in another Country.. first ride in a tube... first time on an electric train... first time in Europe.. London is surprisingly bigger than I thought it was. This is the city where everybody is rich!! The kind of cars that roll there ... Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche.. 

I am grateful for the taste of fashion, good dresses and amazing accessories, and the feel of good fabric, I appreciate the creative minds that design these wonderful garments that make me feel and look wonderful….when I put them on I don’t pass unnoticed-I am talking about Primani (haha), New look, River Island….unending list, just like the unending Oxford Street.

Carol and the first of many shopping bags

What a challenge it was to sample all these delights, my feet still hurt when I remember the shortest journey from one shop to another yet so far not easy settling which shoe to pick they all looked the same-very stunning.  
I am grateful for good English food, from the tasteful great burgers that I loved quite a lot to the Japanese noodles I had once, that always fell off my chopsticks (need to practice more), wonderful Middle East falafels that I was introduced to- unlike noodles at least there was no methodology of eating them, my hands worked well holding the falafel together, spicy Mexican fajitas and amazing Indian curries (not forgetting Spanish food although I couldn’t read what was written on the menu!).

I am grateful for different cultures and races I saw. I now understand why some people have two weddings for one marriage when people mix in the diversity. This has made me understand though different, we are still very similar in very many ways. We can be kind, we can help and we can smile no matter where we come from. Variety is surely the spice of life." It feels really good to say that, I had my share of local tourism around the magical city. Most memorable was when I went to the museum, I fell I love with the most amazing art.

It was an incredible experience, which was spent in the company of people I hold dear, ASANTE.

They say be careful what you wish for, let me rephrase… I think you should be careful about how you wish for what you want. I finally visited Buckingham Palace... thought I was to see the Queen....and  my fairy tale since I was a child would have been complete, guards were changed but no see of the Queen-my wish became a fantasy as I walked away in disappointment. Well, at least I can google her and I have this proof.

It was more about being grateful! Grateful for the chance to experience a new culture, food, people and getting so much kindness and hospitality from all the colleagues that hosted me. It’s true- the world is indeed a small place its only as big as we let it be.. deep down we are all the same despite borders.. we laugh, cry, love and sleep at night.

However, experience doesn't come without its own set of surprises. I learnt and observed few things.
  1. When someone tells you ' That's funny' what they actually mean is that it is actually not.
  2. Everyone stands behind the bar..... they practically just crowd there, there no waiters passing drinks! In Kenya I wonder what would happen with those who do one drink all night....
  3. People in England say - Ain't it - (meaning isn't it)...it is just wrong!! grammatically.. I can never get used to it.

I loved every chance and experience the few weeks I spent in England-I wonder what would happen if I stayed there for months… Well, success comes to those who embrace change and not those who resist it…I would embrace all the months, it’s that simple!

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