My story part II (1972-1996)

Five airlines in three years, Lloyd International, Dan Air, Lakers, Donaldsons and finally Somali Airlines, all quite small compared to the larger major ones. It wasn’t really glamourous or should I say I wasn’t, I could look a real wreck at the end of a long eight hour non-stop day. We had to work twice as hard as the big airlines because with only a few aircraft, if they were on the ground the company wasn’t making money – however I experienced a freedom and lifestyle that I thought was exciting and a little bit naughty for a young girl from Kidderminster.!!

I was also arrested twice during this time – both nothing serious, honestly – do ask if you want to know more.

Eventually meeting my Italian husband when I was based in Somalia and his father was the headmaster of the Italian school in Mogadishu.

It is so clear that the Universe has a sense of humour when one afternoon, a few months after arriving in Mogadishu and, on returning back to our very basic hotel after a lazy day at the American beach hut, we were spotted and followed to our hotel by this group of young Italian men driving a jeep. I was with two other stewardess friends, both of them far more presentable and attractive than me that day; I had a big fat coldsore, hair like Topsy all over the place from swimming in the sea and a bright red face from too much sun, not attractive at all – and the next thing I knew, as we all walked to our bungalow after coyly inviting them back for a drink, he was there, right by my side – soul agreement fulfilled !

It took me some while to get the Universes message, and it was funny how after all agreeing to meet the following Friday after our own scheduled flights, the Universe decided to make the aircraft (we only had one!!) breakdown in Sana’a en route to Abu Dhabi, complete with the other two girls as its crew. Which meant I was left on the Friday, the only one to meet with the three boys who expected me to join them. I made my excuses and for about the next month, with a trip back to the UK I avoided the follow up meeting with this persistant, very handsome, young Italian.

Eventually I succumbed and I was totally bowled over by his story, impressed with his confidence, his education, his Italian family including two headmasters, one headmistress, one vet and one mayor !!! – and one time him telling me to call his mother as I was going through Rome airport and to say “ Sono la fidanzata di Ricardo .” not knowing what I was repeating !!

I should have known it wasn’t to be a straight forward romance when, on our first date and canoodling on the deserted balcony of the American Beach hut, oblivious to a light fingered local who whipped my bag from where I had left it on the bench, and took off up the secluded beach with Ricardo in hot pursuit, and me left on my own at midnight, heart pounding and wondering what might happen next. He returned about 5 minutes later just with a piece of shirt in his hand but no bag.

About six months later we returned to the UK and were married in October ’75 and over the next 5 years had two beautiful children, with me not realising that life had any other purpose, other than to be there for them all. Supporting Ricardo selflessly during the next ten years as he went from strength to strength, with us moving en famille to Scotland, then South Africa, Paris and back to the UK. Eventually having his own very successful medical diagnostic companywhich combined all of his own precious talents and business connections he had made in the USA, Egypt, South Africa and the USSR although at a cost to the amount of time he spent with his family.

Although now on reflection I see that I was blessed with some good experiences and did learn quite a lot during this time:- obviously an acceptable level of spoken Italian; how to cope and manage the family home independently for up to two weeks at a time; to ski fairly well; became a competent driver both left and right side of the road; some lovely times in parts of Italy not known to the everyday tourist; and the experience of living in some beautiful homes even with our own swimming pool in Johannesburg.

There was also a rather memorable time when living in Marley le Roi, west of Paris and the children and I were going to collect my parents coming by Eurostar and due in 12.10 at the Gard de Nord. Unbeknown to me my watch had stopped and I found myself calling the children in from the garden at 11.45, panicking when I realised what had happened. Ricardo had just got me a car that week and I was still getting used to it, so packing the children quickly in the back we sped off with it starting to rain, along roads towards the centre of Paris which I had only ever been on with Ricardo driving before. By now pouring with rain, we counted off the number of exits of the twelve arterials of theArc de Triumph to find the road for the train station. We pulled up outside the station about 12.30 amazed to find a parking space waiting especially for us. TYG. We ran across the road into the concourse and there we spied my mum & Grandad quite happy, looking out for us. Their train had arrived 20 minutes late ! I can remember my dear dad was so proud of his daughter, who had been able to negotiate all that frantic Paris traffic. I think I was very proud of her too.

1985 we returned to the UK with Ricardo becoming MD of the same company he had first joined as their export representative in Scotland in 1979 and then, two years later starting his own company from our fourth bedroom.

I was at last finding some self fulfillment with various local voluntary organisations and also joined our catholic church yoga group, meeting with some quietly confident women who had some interesting thoughts on life. The yoga teacher especially triggering some new concepts regarding our reason for being here, and her thinking that my love life was needing a bit of TLC.

I even converted to Catholicism when the children were confirmed, even though I found it quite a difficult time not being totally accepted, as a previously divorced woman, by a couple of the local priests.

About eighteen months later the Universe decided it was time for some major challenges for both of us.

It presented Ricardo with a tempting proforma invoice for computer items from his Russian customers – this was pre-perestroika – and myself, being tempted with the spiritually aware son of Maria, a lovely simple woman, who was my escort when I drove for the WRVS delivering meals on wheels.

I can actually vividly remember the first time I met Maria’s son and he went to kiss me, I literally felt my conscience,bristling protectively on my shoulder and I saw myself physically flip him off – pow. !!!! That was my part done.The brief affair lasted probably two weeks during which time I thought that I would learn something really profound about this spiritual business and I certainly did but not as I expected, as all of this would lead on to divorce and the next chapter of my life.

The computer invoice was signed and over the next 12 months the items were gathered together. My husband’s medical diagnostic company quickly grew, and moved to larger premises and more staff employed. Including a doctor in microbiology and her husband lovely, interesting Richard,a doctor in haematology, who walked in the office one day in1987 and contributed to a conversation that ‘actually we have many lives and keep coming back until we reach perfection (GOD)’ and the next day brought me in a copy of Richard Bach‘s – Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

TYG for this particular input, as I would never have coped with all that followed without beginning to understand that there was a bigger picture to all that was happening. The problem for me at the time was that the spiritual input was slower than the drama that was being created !!

So about nine months later when the proverbial hit the fan – all I will say is that it led to my nemesis – read KGB, MI5, tapped telephone calls, suicidal thoughts and even the instruction for ‘No Comment‘ – and one Italian’s very bruised pride .

I do remember that the only words I could call upon to help me through this difficult period was the Serenity Prayerwhich my mother loved:- Lord grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.

As is widely known from the movie The Godfather, once loyalty has been broken in an Italian family, there is little chance of true reconciliation. But I hadn’t seen the movieand for the next couple of years tried to make amends for my part in the breakdown of our marriage. It was about this time I felt it was better for our relationship that I moved into the now vacant, fourth bedroom.

Taking myself on a counselling course in 1991 to try to understand my husband. I hadn’t originally realised the impact of not only a different language but a different culture could have on a marriage. Here there was another gift when I made application at the college and the Head of Department, Cassie Cooper, who I was later to discover had worked alongside the eminent child psychoanalyst John Bowlby at the Tavistock Clinic in London many years ago, taught me another Spiritual Lesson, of Surrender & Acceptance when she told me “Georgie, I accept everyone on this course – those who are there on the Monday morning are the ones who are meant to be there” – she knew she didn’t have to influence anything.

The Universe knew I was ripe for this counselling course in more ways than one. When I met Carol, a devotee of Sai Baba and, from the courses reading list, read Carl Rogers, On becoming a Person where I found Ricardo about a third of the way into the book. Only then was I was able to experience true compassion and drop any bitterness I had towards him when I was able to see that he was the best possible teacher for me at that time.

Also John Cleese and Robyn Skynner – Life and How to Survive It allowed me to understand how Ricardo’s pressurized Italian upbringing full of expectations, had affected the person he had become. I can now smile when I remember him coming back from a Moscow trip and telling me of one of his customers, a learned professor asking him the question “Who are you Ricardo ?” And he was surprised that he had been unable to answer it!

I next found myself near Hendon, for a short course at the School of Psychosynthesis, conceived by Roberto Assagioli. It is an approach to counselling and psychotherapy which takes into account the whole person, Body, Mind, Feelings, Spirituality and Sexuality.

It was here that I understood that ‘Surrender is about letting go of control without losing the power’ and the school’s conclusion that this power is God.

Again the Universe continued to show its love and care for me, when knowing that I needed to learn meditation and couldn’t afford the going rate for a TM course, it cleverly introduced me to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. A series of beautiful synchronicities led me to their London headquarters in Willesden Green for their first birthday event in 1993. I signed up for their Raja Yoga 6 week meditation course which wouldn’t cost a penny, just a donation,  and was to be the start of a 25 year BK blessed friendship. The BK’s have taught me more about my Soul and the Meaning of Life than all of the books put together however it has taken me 25 years to fully integrate that fact.

So still believing there was a chance of convincing Ricardo that all I was learning had some benefit, I tried to promote a discussion to share the books I was reading – silly me you would have thought I would have learnt by now. My books ended up thrown over the railway line at the bottom of our garden !!!! and I was referred to the local priest who hadn’t got a clue on what I was saying. Especially when I, perhaps a bit foolishly, attempted to ask him about re-incarnation and Sai Baba!!!!

I was quite involved with the local Volunteer Bureau which had the Harrow Churches Visiting Scheme in the same building, so I asked one day if they knew of a vicar who I may be able to have an impartial discussion with. I was referred to an eminent local christian vicar who, bless him patiently listened to me and literally on my way out through the door referred me to the book The Prophet by Kahil Gilbran whose last paragraph states ‘ A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me’ This book along with Jenny Cockell’s Yesterdays Children, was a true defining moment for me when I knew that I wasn’t going crazy and that what I was learning was actually making sense and there was a real possibility it was all TRUE and I began to get stronger – and in 1996 moved out from the family home..

Part III (1996 – 2001)