I was born in Manchester, England in September 1989. I had Emma as my new sister and Joel my brother. I was Martin and Jennifer’s last child. My parents and siblings were all Christians and I would be brought up with Christianity being my foundation.
My first memories are vague and have had to be reinforced by photographs. Manchester is a blank to me as I, along with my family moved to Inverness, Scotland soon after I was born. The primary reason for this was because my Dad’s company was opening a new branch and wanted him to head it up. I was only just five when we left and therefore don’t have the same recollection of Scotland as my brother and sister do but I do know it was a good place to start life. My only vivid memory is snow, lots of snow. Sledding and making snow-men and angels. Happy memories of a happy childhood.
The four or so years in Scotland were up. It was time to move on. A new stage was to begin, a new era for us all; this era however did not last for very long. We moved to a town in the north of England in Lancashire where my dad was to be the leader of a church there. We began to settle in but nine months later we found ourselves moving on again.
Next stop Aldershot, Hampshire. I started at a school named “St. Michaels” and really enjoyed myself here. In terms of education, I was quite bright and school wasn’t a burden on me, the few years I spent at St. Michaels were great.
Soon though we would be leaving yet again – this move however would not be like our others. Instead we would be moving to another continent, another culture and our new language would be Spanish. We would be leaving everything familiar and replacing it with everything unfamiliar. Our destination was Guatemala. Guatemala – Where’s that? Exactly.
We shuffled in to the living room afraid of the silence but not daring to make too much noise. Mum and Dad had something they wanted to tell us. “We have decided it is right for us to move to Guatemala,” was the gist of it all. How we were actually let in to the plan, I’m not sure. I remember a few odd sentences here and there such as, “I am going to go out there for a few weeks or so soon to find us a house” and “we’ve found an American missionary school for you all to go to, we have some pictures of it.” But that was it, we were off.
We were being sent out with the support of our church, to go and “do” whatever we found to do. There was no plan, there was no map, we just went.
The nasally voice saying “Welcome to Guatemala” as we landed invited a sigh of relief after an eighteen hour flight. This relief however did not last for long. After sweating our way through hectic city traffic we arrived at what would be our new house.
It was filthy; our house that is. The windows had been left open for months and despite a promise of it being cleaned before our arrival bur there was no such evidence of it. Everything was black, the 6 bedroom, 7 bathroom house was covered with volcanic dust from the ever puffing volcanoes near by. First impressions always seem silly years later but first impressions are all you have in the beginning and I’m sure the words “big mistake” were creeping in and out of our rooms that night.
Three days after we arrived I started school, it was a lot of fun; it was interesting and it had a different atmosphere than my old schools, I made friends easily and didn’t have any trouble with the work set.
After fourth grade I left this school and started home schooling because it was likely that we would soon move again, within Guatemala but this time to the countryside. There were no other suitable schooling options for me if I ever wanted to return to England for higher education.
We did eventually move, after a 7-8 month process of building a house. It is 5 minutes away from a town called Tecpan but it is located in a peaceful valley; it is calm and quiet. There is a real country feel to it. Not an ideal spot for a city girl but it was pretty none the less.
Our “ministry” (a label we try to refrain from using) is here. We started renting a former medical clinic close to the centre of Tecpan about three years ago and we now have a small church setting there.
I couldn’t believe it though, I had just gotten used to life without a proper school and less of a social life and then another bomb fell. An hour away from civilisation, an hour away from friends and an hour that I thought my parents wouldn’t be wasting too often. I was scared.
Our new house was a good thing though; we were able to design this house and therefore it was much more to our preference than others we had lived in. I moved into a big room with an en-suite. It was and is luxurious but still all this hasn’t made living here easy. Material things never do in the long run, they are only temporary highs. The only reason I have managed to live here and stay sane is because of my best friend; Jesus. It sounds bizarre to lots of people that I depend on a God that I cannot see but doesn’t everyone depend on oxygen even though we can’t see it.
In conclusion to all I have written, I am still here, in Tecpan. I am studying for my GCSE’s and I will travel back to England to attempt my exams in May and June of 2005. My life is already full of memories and I will collect more over the years but there’s more than memories on my mind. There is the future; my future. My dreams, my ambitions and my walk with God. I know without God I would have no auto-biography, but with him I can continue to live it.