News From Elsewhere

When I’d phone and ask my mother how she was, how her health was, she’d say, “Oh, not as bad as Mr, So and So across the road”! Then she would go into great detail about his difficulties. “But how are YOU”? I’d ask. And gradually her story would come out and we would laugh together about her habit of defaulting to talking about the neighbours heart condition and not her own. “He is SO much worse off than me”!

When the water isn’t running so well in your bathroom think of Tim in the Balkans. Getting water at all in Kosovo, is a struggle.

Dear Rev Mugo

I have been following your almost daily blog lately and today listened to the recording you made on making transitions in life, this struck a few chords since making transitions in an ever changing life often seems like a full time occupation to me! The latest being of course the transition to fatherhood. For a long time I also used to have an ‘am I being a good Buddhist’ thing when I read the words about traveling to ‘other dusty countries’, especially as I have always had and urge to travel and adventure. It took me a long time to realise that the seat on which I sit and the wall at which I stare are always the same seat and same wall no matter where I am in the world. And in fact the only real journey we ever really make is an inward one. This was illustrated recently by some insightful emails from my 19 year old nephew, Jake, who is currently traveling around Asia before going to university. On his first day of travel and arrival in Bangkok he sent me an email in which he told of the shock of the day of his arrival in that strange and different city, of being lost and wanting to take the next flight home, of writing the whole venture off as a mistake. Now 6 months later he has returned to Bangkok and told he could not believe he was the same person who had arrived there, lost and scared, 6-months previously. Although he had been to many places and seen many things it seems his real journey had been within.

My own blog site about our mountain house has not been up dated in a long while, circumstances seemed to taken over once ‘E’ was pregnant and I don’t seem to have been able to get back to it. Also we have a bit of a problem with the house, or rather related to the house. We recently received a claim in the courts from a pre-socialism land owner that our house is without permission and that we don’t own the land. The so-called owner has filed papers at the court to have our house demolished! As serious as it sounds this is not unusual in this part of the world and is fairly routine here. It is the result of socialism, war and missing documents and a general lack of clarity in these things and persons, usually poor, with very spurious claims (as in this case – ‘we’ all the required papers for the house and land) do this kind of thing in the hope of getting ‘paid off’.

Anyway the whole affair has put a bit of a dampener on the house project. We still live there every possible weekend but somehow I couldn’t bring my self to do any significant work on the house or write an interesting blog. Hopefully this will all be settled in court soon, our solicitor here tells us it will be over in 5 minutes. But this is Kosovo, anything can happen, we shall wait and see.

Otherwise things here in Kosovo are fine, I’m still working with the water companies trying to make step by step some improvements, although often it is two steps forward then one back!

Finally I trust this message has found you well. All the best for your journey back to England and thank you for your continuing blog. It really is a good and valuable connection to the practice when one is literally in another dusty country! I’ll keep you up-dated on the baby’s development.

With all best wishes, in gassho

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