|Once I read the customs declaration about not bringing any fruits or veg into the US, I quickly ate my apple|
So after telling people bits and pieces about the holiday today at work, I'm ready to start blogging.
And... I'm going to feel my way with the topical posts but I have made a list of possible blog topics.
When I get tired of posting here I'll start on the travel blog!
The conference people set up a group on Facebook the weekend before the conference and my speaker evaluator invited the 12 of us to it.
I went on and immediately started feeling, "Oh GOD, what have I let myself in for? And do You even CARE?" (I get very melodramatic with God sometimes)
Everyone was all super prepared and I didn't even have the TOPICS sorted let alone crafted outlines let alone written the speeches let alone practised. And this was about 4 - 5 days before it started.
Yessssss. But I was busy with birthday party planning and execution (doesn't that sound all swift and efficient, yet I wasn't) and of course, the small matter of being part of a very under-resourced team at work with TONS of pressure to deliver there.
So I got off the FB group. I thoroughly recommend getting off FB the minute you feel overwhelmed, by the way. It only feeds the comparison monster.
I emailed the nice SE (speaker evaluator), Mary, and said, "I am SUPER overwhelmed and I'm just going to have to wing it because all these super-prepared girls are freaking me out".
She was very nice, said she'll pray for me and so on, and agreed with me that maybe it was best to take a breather from FB.
And then I calmed down a little bit but on the Monday night I was furiously typing out something (blog posts I think for the other blog) and I get pinged on Skype from a friend in London.
"Are you busy? We want to phone you quickly."
Being newlyweds I immediately think, "they're pregnant". I answered that the whole house was asleep (11 pm) and we could only skype chat.
So here's what they say.
We felt we should bless someone and asked God who.. He picked you! So we want to give you 200 pounds, whatever that is in Rands.
My mouth hung open. How amazing is that?!
It's not about the money although that certainly came in very useful. 200 pounds is a lot of Rands (R2600).
It was that I was on God's radar... and He saw fit to touch me.
Are you getting goosebumps?
I was super chuffed from that day onwards knowing God was keeping an eye on me and just saying, "I'm with you. Calm down and stop panicking."
Of course that didn't get the speeches written but I got them written (or at least, mapped out) on the flight to NYC.
Packing and all of that was fine, if late, and I had a helper or two.
All the travel was just fine - my biggest accomplishment is that I only checked in with 16 kg of luggage (allowance is 23 kg)!
I had a good flight, finished a book, read about 60% of another, planned out my speeches and still slept 8 hours. But... didn't watch any TV.
I spent five frustrating hours at Kennedy Airport trying to get my phone and iPad connected and eventually flew to Charlotte.
This is the only pic I took in the airport. I'm scared to death of airport pics after I got scolded by a London policeman four years ago.
Even though it was boiling outside, inside it was freezing so I had to have some (hot) tea.This pic is of my tea.
So, South African Airways...
I don't know if I'll fly direct again. Even though the individual trip was nice, I actually like having it split into two legs - it feels like I'm accomplishing more.
And you get fed more. No joke but we got fed 12 hours between meals. You all know "meals" are not really "meals" and generally I eat a lot (apples and yoghurts in between real meals) so the 12-hour starvation was not good and I had to call the stewardesses for food in the middle of the night because I woke STARVING. I'm the sort of person who starts feeling nauseous if I go over that eating threshold point so they had to bring me something to tide me over til breakfast.
Also, very friendly staff (of course) but the efficiency is not always there :)
The best airlines that I've flown are Singapore Air, Etihad, Malaysia, and SAA/ BA tie in fourth for different reasons.
Do you take pics in airports? Have you ever been reprimanded?
Which is your favourite airline?
PS I absolutely REFUSE to ever fly 1Time. My colleagues laugh at me but I always say, "if I can't afford to pay an extra R100 - R200 to fly a decent airline, then I can't afford to go". I refuse to feel like cattle. RyanAir is the equivalent in Europe.
PPS My colleague tells me she's also been reprimanded for taking airport pics - hers was at JFK!