“Well, not so much, my job was a police photographer. When someone died, I took the photographs. I was very busy. Ten years .. every day … click click click … more death. Depressing. Soul ‘killing’’. I couldn’t make a life out of death.”
So different city, different country, different job?
“Yes. But same girl!”
“She said to me one day that she is coming here. To England. It seemed a good idea. Time for change.”
You didn’t want to do something in photography? Maybe scenery, weddings, commercial … put your skills to a different use?
“My girl friend she is always changing. Me too. I wanted change. But Only one change. Change. Stop.”
So you have been here for ten years.
“Yes. And will be for another ten. My girlfriend she has had 15 jobs in the same time. Sometimes working 50 miles away. Always changing. Always chasing. But never arriving.”
“Me? I’ve arrived.”
Any journey is a series of events and one of those events is the destination. 1
“Yes – I have heard of it I replied. An African nation … right?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t place exactly where in Africa – but, my memory tells me in the North .. near Ethiopia?”
You do indeed know my country. He gave me the biggest smile.
And then this young man from Eritrea launched into the story of his journey from Africa to San Francisco. Not harrowing … though if you know anything of that region, that is more surprising than if it was.
I won a scholarship to America. I am a musician. I came here ten years ago.
Stood to the side of the road, walking stick supporting him. Well kept. Elegant even. Just standing. The traffic constantly passing him by. No slowing down, but then no attempt by him to get them to either.
I slowed down to let him cross. No movement.
I opened the window.
“Would you like a lift?”
“Thankyou.” he said. “Thankyou very much.”
Slowly walking towards the car, he gets in.
“Much appreciated.” he said. “I’m going to 4th street … is that ok?”
“No problem. Which cross street?”
“It doesn’t matter. Anywhere on 4th. I’m going to the bank.”
Jan knows the UK and lives in Texas now, but the journey from one to the other allowed her to see the rest of the world.
She lived in Mildenhall. I’d heard of it. Used to live near there myself.
She joined the USAF to get trained, qualified and see a world ‘outside of the 50’. She left after just three years because she met and fell in love with the man who became her husband (best-laid plans and all that!). Training and Qualifications put on hold, but still traveled and saw the world. After all – her husband was still in the forces.
Now she is an antique dealer and her husband works at the nearby USAF facility. Well not just the USAF, turns out it is the only joint USAF and NATO training facility in the world.
I worked in San Diego in those days. Everybody around me was promising the world and just doing it what it took. Nobody was asking questions. It was crazy. I held to my truth. But I was the only one that did. But it still all blew up.
That was ten years ago. Now I am here, for me, nothing has changed. I work hard. I reap my rewards.
I love Commercial Banking. It is what I do. All of it.
I find the deals. I work the deals. I close the deals.
I never let go of my core principles.
I didn’t react.
Our truths are our lives. Those truths can do move.
“I live about 30 minutes North of here. There really isn’t any work up there. My husband is a mechanic from Mexico. He has his own auto repair business and helps me look after the children. I drive down here to work. I like it, the hours are flexible so it makes the family side easier.”
“I have 5 children. My firstborn is 15, the youngest is 2. It’s good because my mom helps, particularly with my eldest. He likes her and she likes him. It’s a good relationship and they bonded at birth”.