Old friends, new city

When Sarah our resident UN intern returned home from her first day at work yesterday, Craig (my host) and I quizzed her intensively about her first day working at Obrigado Barracks (the name is a pun by the way. ‘Thank you very much’ in Tetun is said ‘obrigado barak’. Clearly someone had a sense of humour at the ready when the UN began their mission in East Timor).

She told us about her colleagues – their names, where they come from, what they are doing here with the UN. Then she described her new boss – Murray M, an English man, “cool and laid-back”. It turned out to be Murray who I knew from my year in Mostar, Bosna-Herzegovina, in 1998. Working in Mostar at the Pavarotti Music Centre was a significant and pivotal time in my life, so connections from those days are particularly precious. I sent Murray a note via Sarah, and he called me during the morning break at Tetun classes and we arranged to meet for lunch. Such a small world! How quickly the connections start to reveal themselves in a city like Dili!

Tomorrow night Sarah and I will join Murray at a rehearsal of the Expat Choir. It is apparently run by the wife of the Australian ambassador. I learned today that there is also a jazz band here, made up of various busy people like ambassadors, head of the ANZ bank, etc. I wonder if they’d welcome a guest clarinettist? Or saxophonist/flautist, when Tiny arrives in December? Perhaps Christmas here won’t be so quiet after all… perhaps we’ll even be able to hold my traditional Christmas Carols party?!

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