This week I feel like I’ve started to get my life back. Not that I’m dissatisfied with my new life as a mother, but sometimes I feel as though the old me has been swallowed up into a whirlwind of feedings, nappies and baby groups. Lately I’ve begun thinking about what I used to do and wanting a bit of time to pursue my own interests again.
Yesterday I did my first shift in the library since my son was born, and it was so nice to be back out there doing something that doesn’t involve feeding or nappies! The library is quite small, although it’s always growing, and is staffed and run by volunteers from the community. I think it’s a great example of what can be achieved in an expat community and it has certainly kept me occupied over the past few years.
I started volunteering in the library soon after I arrived in Brunei; as a former English teacher and keen reader it seemed the ideal place to offer my services. It wasn’t long before I joined the committee as English Librarian – my ideal job as I got to buy all of the new books for the library! After a year I became chairperson instead and have remained in this role although I haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves for a while. Luckily for me there are a lot of dedicated volunteers to keep it ticking over. Today was a little like being a child in a sweet shop, as I hadn’t been in there for a while there were so many new books! I restricted myself to just one – Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize Winner – as despite my best intentions I just don’t have the time I used to devote to reading books.
This week was another first – my return to Brownies, another activity I used to volunteer for. This one was a little less of a break as it is during the daytime so I had a baby in tow. Trying to keep twenty-plus little girls from poking him was a challenge but one that we survived! It was my turn to plan an activity after five months off, and we made poppies for Remembrance Day out of crepe paper and card. I thought they looked great, and as we can’t buy them out here it was a good way to mark an important date on the calendar. Although it was hard work it felt pretty good, in a way that giving up your time to volunteer generally does.
Today’s planned outing is a trip to the gym, another first, although I won’t be doing much apart from trying out some of the equipment to see how I get on. It may only be for half an hour but it’s amazing how exciting that seems after four months of being on constant duty. In the meantime, I found that I quite missed my little boy when I was away so I’ll enjoy the moments I spend with him today even more.