Saturday, November 26, 2005

A friend in need

Changing your life isn't easy. Leaving a high-pay, high-pace lifestyle to work in the charity sector and to go back and re-train requires some painful adjustments. The financial implications are severe and the isolation of being a student when most of your friends still work full-time in and around The City can sometimes leave you very low. Having said all this, I wouldn't have done anything differently.

Every downside has its upside. I may earn pittance compared to my previous salary but I get home every evening knowing that I've made a very real difference to the lives of some very distressed people. That feeling is worth more than any pay cheque. My course is demanding and so the isolation is important to focus on my studying. Even the demise of my last relationship has played a huge role; I might never have decided to go back to university and do something that was so wholly and utterly for me if I hadn't been forced to put the peices back together.

The thing is, I'm lucky. I have the most incredible support any person could ask for. Recent discovery of dry rot meant that all my savings had to be diverted from my kitchen to replacing my bay windows. My lovely dad stepped forward and plugged the financial holes, which was amazing of him considering he's paying for my fees until I'm at last eligable for a Career Development Loan.

The disaster left me thoroughly fed up. Cooking off a camping stove in a kitchen comprised of an Ikea table and a set of B&Q shelves is a thoroughly miserable exprience, especially during the cold months when all you want to do is come home, put a pizza in the oven and curl up with a good book. The misery is heightened when you know it may be that way for three years.

But everything changed on Thursday. Babs and Hope surprised me with something so spectacular I still can't quite believe that it happened. They took me to a wine bar only to break the news over a bottle of champagne that eighteen of my friends have clubbed together to buy me a cooker for my thirtieth birthday. I cried like a baby. So did Babs and Hope.

So now, every time I stick a pizza in the oven, or cook up a roast, I'll be reminded of how much support I have and how important my friends are to me! I'm not quite sure how I can ever repay them. I guess I can start by having them over for dinner! Thanks everyone!