Home is where the Company is

Posted: July 24, 2009 in Kennedy Center, Training
Tags: , ,

Liberty and Egypt I know it’s been a while (comparatively) since I last posted something on the blog but dang, it feels like just yesterday that I left on the 3-day camel trek to get back to SA.  8 hours from DC to Amsterdam, only to wake up and find, despite a working day having gone by, that you are faced with another morning.  Then 12 hours to Cape Town.

Crazy.

DC ended with the inevitable run of goodbyes.  And admittedly, on a *little bit* of a hangover from a Swapping phone numbersfinal night of Fellowship, it might have been slightly more emotional than planned.  The goodbyes started at the hotel where those who weren’t yet leaving (or most of them, at least – Federico!!) came out to wave the first airport shuttle off.  I was in this bus and so, much like last year, my final memory of DC is the stoep of 2424 Penn being awash with hugging and kissing.  (Just for the record, no one cried; we’re very cool and level-headed, us Fellows.)  Luckily I got to travel to the airport with a large group of the Fellows, so it felt more like we were going on an outing than getting ready to leave.  Despite the very long queue to check in at  Dulles Airport, we still had heaps of time to kill Final goodbyes before we all boarded our various flights and so turned to what we do best, besides Arts Management: eating!  We had the choice of two restaurants: The Tequileria or Something-Else-That-I-Can’t-Remember.  We chose the Something-Else as it seemed a little too early for the Tequilaria, even for us hardened folk, and were served by the world’s most unhappy, disinterested, sad waitress – perhaps she too had been saying goodbye to people all morning – until finally the call came for Lukas and Nada to board their flight.  The second round of goodbyes.  That left Zvonimir, Fation, Kheri, George-of-the-Escalating FellowsJungle and myself still with hours to kill.  However Zvonimir and Fation were going to a different boarding gate to the rest of us, waaaaaaaaaay on the other side of the airport.  Croatia and Albania.  Nowhere near South Africa.  So it was goodbye number 3, leaving Kheri, GOTJ and I.  And still we had time to kill.  Done with the shopping, eating, goodbye-ing, we made our way to the boarding gate and waited to board, praying to be able to sleep and sleep and sleep as much as possible in the tin can that is economy class.  Did we manage?  Who knows.  My flight is a haze of Everlast, Tetris and Slumdog Millionaire (finally), laced with a fair amount of discomfort.

Finally we arrived in Amsterdam where we (surprise) got something to eat and wandered around the airport stretching our legs.  Now, Dutch cheese rocks, right?  So, wanted to buy some in the Duty Free at Schiphol Airport.  I asked the Cheese Lady whether I would have any problems at customs on entering SA.  “Oh, no”, she says, almost condescendingly, “everything we sell in this airport can be taken on a plane with no problem”.  (Subtext: I am Dutch and we are very organised so you can trust me.)  I read the subtext and buy great wodges of cheese for people at home.  By the way, I would love to know how shops in Duty Free go about their marketing.  I mean, they have a captive audience who is everything you want them to be: Honkie & Klonkietired, bored and trying to get rid of their foreign currency on gifts they forgot to buy before they left.  It’s genius.  Imagine the money a theatre company could make entertaining bored passengers in transit… Anyway, it then came time for the forth and final goodbye.  Kheri and GOTJ were carrying on together to Nairobi leaving li’l ol’ me and my 12 kgs of cheese to keep each other company.  I had to wonder why the 2 South Africans had been split up.  I’m not sure if Johann would have been more entertaining than the cheese but at least I could have laughed at how none of the airhostesses could work out whether he was asking for the chicken or beef.

So I boarded the plane with a heavy sense of reality that the summer learning, fun and Fellowship was now…officially…over.  Sniff.  Then I passed out.  And the next thing I was conscious of, besides the smells of perfume and toothpaste, was the plane touching down, and I knew I was home.  No matter how good “away” is, there really ain’t no place like home.  Proudly South African, ek sê.

And by the way, you can’t bring cheese into the country, as my lovely customs official pointed out when he opened my bag.  I quoted the Cheese Lady several times; he pointed at the Forbidden Items sign repeatedly.  It was only after much begging and pleading and batting of eyelids that he let me go with my cheese in tow.  Which is a good thing.  One should never come between a tired women and her cheese.  It’s just not clever.

Kennedy Center So here’s to a great summer, a wonderful Fellowship and an exciting year ahead.  And as I look at FTH:K and all that we want to do and achieve in the coming year, I have to remind myself of David’s words:

Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed.

A big ask but an important one – what good are you to anyone when overwhelmed??  Besides (says Michael):

It does not happen in a day; it does not happen without failure; and it does not happen without discipline.

Here we go, world.  Watch this space for miracles ;-)

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