What can I say about leaving Beirut? It's been a very interesting five and a half months. At times it has felt like a LOT longer than that, and others it feels like I've only been here a few weeks. Either way, it's been wonderful to be back in Lebanon, living in my favourite suburb, and down the street from my favourite coffee shop. My colleagues have been an excellent bunch - it would be hard to find a more experienced, capable and friendly group.
I had a great farewell on Saturday night with my lovely colleagues and special visits from Nicole, Chadi, Jenan and her lovely new husband Karim who all came down from the North, and Oli and Sara with their cheeky little monkey Sam so it was fantastic to have a little UNRWA reunion as well. It doesn't feel like it was 3 years ago that I last said good-bye to all of them.
I leave with mixed feelings. The Syria crisis will continue on for the foreseeable future, and there is so much work for the team to do, with limited funding available to do so. I hope it turns around for them soon, and they manage to deliver the fantastic programme they aspire to do. On the other hand, I can't wait to get home. I'm taking a long period of time off, to hopefully buy my own little cave, and find some semblance of a 'normal' life...at least for a while!!
So Chasing Carly may not be that action packed in the near future. I expect to be spending a lot of time in the hammock (winter where I live is still pretty warm and sunny) resting, and then cracking on with my sci-fi young adult fiction novel. With you all as my witnesses, I WILL have it finished by 31st August. (Incidentally, if anyone knows any 'young adults' who might be interested in critiquing the 25,000 words I have so far, do get in touch!)
Now I just have to get through the 24 hours of travel ahead of me...oh the joys of living in Australia!!