Thursday, August 8, 2013

You don't know how strong you are until......

22-27 July 2013

Bangkok, Thailand

This was a most opportune trip in many ways. But it was also very very heavy going.

The 11 days since my previous trip to Hua Hin had been very emotionally tumultuous  and work-wise had been nothing short of crazy-- and the 21st in particular had been particularly tumultuous.

That week, I had difficulty sleeping (I was now the first to arrive in the office when I would normally have been one of the stragglers-- taxi either!) and barely ate. Food has always been important to me, but now I could not finish half a plate. The plus side was that I lost enough weight in that week to be able to feel svelte again and part of my brain was pleased about that. But I was literally fearful that I would not be able to physically get through what promised to be an intensive week of stand-up facilitation, which I had been experiencing great anxiety about already even before the emotional drama.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I had my monthly tour to conduct at the museum on the 21st, which I worried I would not be able to deliver coherently. As it turned out, I was able to hold it together that hour, and was able to entertain the group, which included some trainee tour guides from some tourism academy. When I overheard them say that I had given a great tour, I realised that I would be alright in Bangkok after all.

Bangkok was tough, no question about it. The participants had a really great week with short training days, and plenty of time to shop in the City of Angels, but I was definitely put through my paces with 14 hour days, 10 of which invariably involved me standing in 3 inch heels (By Day 4, I was training people barefoot). Nights were then spent working on emails and trying to resolve some of the emotional upheavals, so sleep was sorely lacking. By now, my body was so exhausted that I did at least manage to fall asleep without much difficulty, although I would wake at 5 every morning to worry about the day's facilitation. For the first time ever, I made it to breakfast every single day of the trip (usually I average zero).

It was really difficult to stay switched on, keep my game face on, but I guess I did alright given the circumstances. I even managed to reach out and counsel a colleague going through a rough time at work.

For the first time in a long time, I felt proud of myself and of what I was capable of. And that's something not to be sniffed at.

Yes, sometime, work really can take your mind off things.
This was actually the first trip that I prioritized people over what I wanted to do. Typically when I travel alone or for business, I would make sure that I have enough time to do what I want ( if I plan anything at all) before I even think about meeting up with friends in those countries. But this time, I did actually plan ahead to meet with some ex-colleagues. Sadly, I had to cancel on one due to work, but I managed to meet with B at Siam Paragon (where I did my only shopping-- spicy peanuts for CK and some crackers for the folks).

Pretty amazing that only having known each other for a couple of weeks in the summer of 2011, we still had loads to talk about, and I even was able to pour out my angst to her (sorry B!).

The Saturday, I changed my flight to an earlier one so that I could see M sooner. This is turning into a SOP for each trip. What happened next is another story...

In anticipation of sadness and in need of moral support, I snuck baby into my luggage. She hasn't travelled since UK 1999. Here she is with a Thai aromatherapy pot.

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