Re-set and restart…

In March, when this all started. I had packed up my life and was on route to build my new life in Sabah. I stopped in Dublin on the way to attend a conference and planned to start life again and work back in Sabah, Malaysia late March. While I was in Dublin the world changed. Yes, I was called back to Australia by the Govt, as well as by my university. I had nothing to go back to, nowhere to live, no job, nothing really. And yes, my family was in Australia, but I am 51 years old and independent. I am a Psychologist, a PhD Candidate, a Senior Lecturer and researcher, an athlete (of sorts), and all the other things I am. I have lived and worked in South East Asia for about 6 years and wasn’t really planning on coming back permanently for some time. I had finally found my space, the place where I functioned best. And no-one knew the extent of this pandemic. No-one anticipated a year of lock-downs and border closures. And no-one anticipated the Australian Government introducing a cap on the number of international arrivals into the country per week. I booked a flight in April to fly July. The caps were introduced before I could get the flight. I did get offered a second flight and was given less than a day to get ready and fly. In the circumstances I was in, my increased and severe anxiety and stress, and knowing I had little to return to, I didn’t take it. We still hoped that the border to Malaysia would open enough and I could head to where I had friends and support, and a job, or to Thailand where my partner still is.

I am back in Malaysia. Not quite Sabah but close, and able to start working. First classes today was so good. Yeh, it’s the honeymoon period but lets take what we can get right?

Published by sandijames

Graduate researcher at La Trobe Uni Australia, ethnography, traditional alcohol, Kadazandusun Sabah Malaysia,, alcohol policy, public health and medical anthropology. We also have established a Mindfulness Based Circus Arts pilot program in a rural school in Sabah. I also run ultramarathons in my spare time. My other research interests include injecting drug use, the war on drugs that is killing PWUD, and the decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs that are currently classed as illicit. I like to keep active and busy..

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