For as long as I remember, I didn’t really have a big day like most people do (I think).
My days are always unexpected so I am more surprised most of the time than being prepared. Meetings, presentations and training are never really that nerve wracking experience because I am never alone to hurdle all those around the table and speaking in front of people is like talking to weeds (at least that was once told to me when I was training for it).
So what is there to prepare for?
I am a creature of habit — I like doing things over and over if it works for me but at the same time I also try to test my limits as long as it doesn’t include open space under my feet. So when I move around, I go check out the places before I even set foot in the car, or the plane.
After six years of comfortable life in Cambodia I decided to accept a challenge to work in West Africa. A wise woman told me that
… you will know in your heart when it’s time to go, so I went …
I accepted the new posting for similar type of job and started psyching myself not knowing what to expect. Closed up my project, prepared all my hand over documents and started joining most parties since it was the holiday season but I was never saying goodbye.
I am never good at it, at leaving or saying I am and I don’t like to promote it either, just wanted to slip away and be off somewhere until I re-emerges in another location.
Fast forward to the next destination I was caught up in the excitement of the new destination, Sierra Leone. Not knowing more than what I read, thanks to Lonely Planet, and to the words of wisdom said by those who’ve been there before me or married to someone from that continent, I was not really expecting anything more than that. I psyched myself to not imagine anything more that where I was from so that my bubble won’t be depleted immediately.
At the connecting airport, in London, I was getting all the trepidation of a ring master entering the lions den for the first time, I kept my ipod on all the time – my calming “new wave” music, I kept my book handy, I tried to chat up people in the waiting area since my flight was not until very early the next morning, I have all the time to “kill” and get ready.
The moment I boarded the plane, it was a different story altogether, it’s like I am back to my comfort zone and was all ready to face the new adventure. When it landed, in an island airport, I knew it would be in an adventure. Where else can you go where the passengers are picked up by an old Russian helicopter flown by Russian pilot in a West African country? Only in Freetown. If the helicopter is broken, there is the amphibian boat to bring you to the mainland and both carriers takes 15 minutes. If you’re that scared, you take the slow boat which takes anything and everything or you take the big 4×4 vehicle cut through the jungle and take the 4 hour drive to the capital. I chose (and enjoyed) the noisy, shaky feel of the orange helicopter and with it all my days, months of anticipation and fear if I will like my new post had gone up, up and away.
That began a two year of adventure and education into another culture and began a new understanding of what life is really all about.