It's the post I promised you: should I stay in Tanzania an extra year, or move on to somewhere else? My job requires me to tell them by 21st January whether I am planning to stay for another year or leave at the end of the third term.
I love making lists, so here's one i did for this decision:
Top Five reasons to stay in Tanzania
5. It's a convenient point from which to visit other African countries, and there's still a lot more I want to see. I'm learning Swahili and would like to continue. I sort of feel as though I'm still in the middle of living here... not at the end.
4. I get holidays all the time, like, after every 5-7 weeks of work. And I get to go to the beautiful beaches and eat good food and relax ALL THE TIME!
3.I have friends here who I'll miss
2. I love my job. There's only 13 kids in my class and they're quiet and well behaved. I'm allowed to get on with things and do as I like, and it's fun. We have really long holidays and zero commute.
1. Tanzania is a beautiful country. The weather is almost always good and there's such beautiful countryside, wildlife, animals and birds, beaches, mountains... seriously. It's consistently relaxed. If you've not been here yet you need to make it a priority.
Top Five reasons to go and live somewhere else
5. I've only got one life. Why not see as much as possible?
4. I'd like to live somewhere where there's a bit more going on. In terms of art and cultural events, museums and themeparks, but also in terms of simple things. Like pavements, libraries... and surgeons. (I had to fly on an air ambulance for emergency surgery in Nairobi, but that's a story for another time).
3. There's a lot of world out there. All kinds of cool places to be lived in.
2. It's hard to get around without a car, and I don't know how to drive. The public transport is crowded and dangerous, and I live so far out of town that taxis are expensive. I can't go out after dark (6.30pm) without calling a taxi: it's not safe. I'm tired of asking friends for lifts all the time and squeezing onto daladalas. I want trains and trams and buses.
1. My husband, Jouni, doesn't like living in Tanzania. He thinks it's beautiful but has been a while without a job and just now got one, which should help in terms of happiness, but he doesn't like the infastructure of the country and the enormous amounts of inequality (who does?)
So even though I don't need to officially decide for another ten days, I've more or less decided that I'm going. It seems like a good idea to live in a country that both of the people in a relationship like. Jouni may decide that he wants to stay over the course of the next 10 days, but probably not. I know I'm going to miss Tanzania MASSIVELY, but I'm also hoping that the next country will be just as beautiful and interesting and become a part of my heart.
Here's where we might go next:
2. Hong Kong
3. South Korea
4. Sourthern China
Weeks 1-2: Stay in bed and watch TV. I never usually watch TV but since everything is more awesome in Japan I feel like this would be a worthwhile endeavor. I'd mostly be focusing on the advertisements and the music videos, but also on lengthier infomercials and on the hairstyles of people on the boring channels, such as news.
Week 3: Go shopping and ask Japanese people if I can take a photo with them. Of course they will say yes. Have you ever heard of them saying no? On the shopping trip I plan to buy craft kits, candy, magazines and makeup. Also a selection of brightly coloured wigs and accessories.
Week 4: Go to hello kitty world and the studio ghibli museum. Ride the bullet train, eat sushi and also cheap meals, try to learn Japanese. Try to make some friends and visit photo booths. Stalk those conversation girls and see if they really do get paid just to make conversation, and if so, do they have a job vacancy.
I guess if I don't get a job in another international school (the main reason why I wouldn't is that I'm not in the UK for an interview, and our internet connection may or may not be good enough for a Skype interview, depending on the day), we'll probably end up in England or Finland, at least temporarily.
To everyone who thought I was coming back to England after a year in Finland:
I'm so sorry! Please come and visit me wherever I should end up... I'd love to see you.