The Iceberg of Cacti

Icebergs, people, cacti….you can’t always see the full picture, maybe because your perspective is skewed or obscured.  Sometimes you have to go the extra mile and dig a little deeper (in this case inside my wheelie bin) to get the full story.

These large cactus ears popped out from behind our chimney over the Christmas break.  I thought they looked about the size of a human head each.

I let our landlord know and a man with a ladder duly appeared to remove them.

I meant to ask him to let me see the cactus before disposing of it, but it had already gone in the wheelie bin by the time I’d walked the dog.  I smiled and pretended that was exactly the answer I had wanted to hear. It wasn’t though, I am inquisitive by nature and really wanted to see the cactus and confirm whether my human head estimate was accurate.

I waited for him to leave and the minute his car turned out of sight I was rummaging in the bin and ended up tipping the contents all over the driveway to see what I could see.

The cactus was far more aggressive and extensive than I had imagined.  


Just like an iceberg, only the tip of it had been showing.

The leaves turned out to be quite a bit bigger than a human head.


…and despite my fetching homemade day-glow orange plastic bag glove, I got one prickle.

It was worth it.

Expat life is like a box of chocolates giant cactus on the roof, you never know what you’re going to get until you climb into that metaphorical wheelie bin and rummage through all the crud or in reality jump on that airplane and head for foreign shores embracing all the challenges that are thrown at you.  Only when you have done that will you know for sure whether a cactus leaf is bigger than your head, whether the grass is greener on the other side and how enriching, fulfilling and sometimes painful (mind the prickles) it is to live successfully in an interesting new place.

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