Philip Barclay, the Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Zimbabwe who blogs at the FCO’s Global Conversations says goodbye to Zimbabwe … his final blog post has a familiar feeling for those who move every 3-4 years in this business. I’ve come to think of these arrivals and leavetakings as a large part of the wear and tear of this lifestyle. The getting to know phase in every place is familiar and different in the same breath. It takes about 6-8 months. The goodbyes are often sticky and hard as glue. It takes months, years. You may still be talking about your previous post in the middle of your current tour, hankering about the food, the weather, your old life, etc., etc. You
meet find friends and leave friends. And every place that you have called home is lodged in the forever country of memory, the only place where you grow roots … here is Philip:
“The Foreign Office is cruel. I was posted to Zimbabwe despite its awful reputation. I stepped off the plane anxiously, expecting to be butchered at once and fed to lions. That didn’t happen, but I have suffered a greater pain – falling in love with this beautiful, cursed nation and now, after more than three years, having to leave.
Until today, I had not realised how much I am feeling about leaving Zimbabwe. But now, Easter Monday, the day before I leave for good, I find myself crying tears for the sweet friends and the soul-expanding life I have to leave behind. I know I signed up for a job that makes me move country every three or four years, but I didn’t know it would be as hard as this.”