Sunday, 15 September 2013

This is why!

It was 4.30pm on Friday night and the last day of our circus workshops. The dress rehearsal hadn't exactly gone smoothly, some kids were missing and others wandered off half way through, the hardest part was getting the right children on stage at the the right time, if you turned your back for an instant you would loose some and others who shouldn't have been there turned up in their place. Somehow though we made it through the entire show but after 2 hours I thought to myself it's going to be a long night. "kids often surprise you." I said to charlie while we were worrying about the evening's show. "They are aweful right up the last second. but give them an audience and they shine..." at that moment in time we were actually more concerned about the sun shining than the kids. Our performance space was outside and it had been raining all afternoon, and was showing no signs of letting up. Fiona had said to me that I best start praying. Yeh right. I thought to myself as I looked around at the thick grey clouds looming over the mountains. I really didn't have much faith for such things... If I had prayed it was silent, and it was more of a grumble than a prayer. Really after 2 weeks of hard work...? 

But soon enough the first patches of blue began to appear, the clouds retreated over the mountains and then I was suddenly aware that I had a shadow. I couldn't quite believe it but the sun was out. Just in time.

We walked over to the Roma area that evening. The kids were wild with excitement as they followed us through the streets, miming the parts of the show they would take part in and pointing to themselves eagerly, just to make sure we didn't forget them. Soon chaos had surrounded us once again, chairs and benches were being brought out, sound equipment set up and kids were running about and shouting as I swept the last of the rain puddles off the yard. Parents and many other children began to fill the seats and then it was time... I don't know how but somehow we managed to get all our kids to sit together and almost all of them turned up. (One decided after coming to nearly all the workshops that he would miss the show and go to a wedding instead) I stood up and did the obligatory introductions and then the show began. After the chaos of the dress rehearsal I wasn't quite sure what to expect but as usual they surprised us all. From the opening number as they entered through the audience to the sounds of pink panther, to their closing bows. They danced, balanced, clowned, juggled, span things, through things, dropped things (and sometimes caught things) with smiles on their faces as their families and friends clapped and cheered them on...

There are times when I wonder what I'm doing with my life. Wandering from place to place, no home, no job, no partner, no idea what's next. But then sometimes I remember. As I watched their show, and looked into the faces of these kids who had won my heart and driven me crazy, I new. This is why! 

All the questions melt away in these moments and are replaced by dreams and possibilities.

Tomorrow is set to be a day of many goodbyes. In the morning I wave off my sister Charlie as she flies back to England, she has been an incredible help and as always, a lot of fun. Then after 4 wonderful weeks here in Albania I must pack my things once again ready to leave for Macedonia on Tuesday morning. This is the end of the road for my beloved tricycle too, tomorrow I have to take him apart and pack him away to wait for his ride (in the back of a van) all the way back to England. I will be very sad to leave him behind, I never decided whether it was me or the tricycle who was the goose, we have shared so many experiences over the last few months that 'it' has become a 'He', and almost a friend. (although we have had many arguments.) But with winter approaching and thousands of miles to make all the way home, I must travel from here by cardboard and thumb once again. 

I am sure this won't be my last visit to this beautiful country though, In fact I have already started scheming about plans for next year. And with so many friends here and many opportunities to work with wonderful kids, it seems it would be wrong not to return.

But for now, Skopje here I come...

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