Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to Borneo

It's been a month now since I got back from Borneo; I wanted to write about it at the time but a stint cat-sitting in East Dulwich rather took up my time. In a way, this is a good thing, as I am now through the melt-down I've been having since my return. I think this would have read very differently a couple weeks ago: it has stirred up all sorts of emotions and needs (which I shall deal with one at a time!)

How fantastic to go as a tourist, to see Mia get married, to spend time with Chris and Sam - and to go back to Batu Puteh. Needless to say, I cried on arrival and I cried on leaving. I will never forget the warmth and support I got from everyone there. I'd never experienced anything like it before and I haven't since.

The ecocamp is amazing. They have made a wonderful job of it; what a special place. Getting the chance to stay overnight at the end of the trip was probably the highlight.

Rosli is The Man.
I am so lucky to have got to go back, with those people, at that time. Whatever I write here can't express it.

All the pics are on flickr.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Signing on the dotted line

A few well-earned days off up north at my Mum's, heading down to Dad's today to meet the rest of the Grant clan. I was hoping for some peace and quiet with my coffee this morning but my cheeky little nephew heard me get up and has decided now is the time to squirt me with his water pistol.

I have the option of staying on after my six month contract is up. Either for another six months, or to sign-up properly. With my finances and the economy as they are, this is a very obvious choice but it means I have to let go of any lingering "but I could do this... or this... or this... I could be here, or there... or maybe here would be better...." We were discussing this at Richard's last week. In a way I think this downturn is forcing our generation to be happy with what we've got. This whole concept of choice - do whatever you like - is becoming increasingly out of date. Who knows how things will look in a few months time.

I am enjoying my role, I like the company, I can see it will continue the move into a change-type/people development role. (And it's financial services, who'd have thought!) As a rule, people actually care about what they do, care about the company and want to make a difference. There isn't the same 'banging your head against a brick wall' feeling there was at BT. Although perhaps it's me that's changed. Jan told me last week that working with me now is entirely different. She'd hoped that may happen but hadn't realised just how much it was going to - she says the difference in my maturity levels, my confidence and my approach is huge.

Who'd have thought? The recipe for career success is to disappear around the world for the best part of a year and a half and then faff around up north for a few months....

Jan wonders if a big part of the change in me is as a result of coping with Toby's death and that time in my life. I'm sure it is. I still feel this guilt that I've not done enough since he died to make a meaningful contribution; it was - and still is - such a powerful feeling that I am alive and he isn't and I will do something meaningful with my life. But as Mum says: you're looking for some monumental changes right now but it's more about who and how you are as a person and how you approach making changes, it's a process. But my 35 year old head isn't very good with the process or with patience. It never has been.

So, looks like it's London for now. That's the part I'm not so sure about. All the schlepping around, the noise, the people, the lack of connection time. But on the other side: the energy, the enormous range of things to do, the mix of people. There's nowhere quite like it.

And even better, I realise I was running away from a lifestyle that just isn't there anymore. (Unless I want to be heading to Salvation on a Sunday via a lamppost, and I'm not sure they'd let me in...)

One is always quick to blame others for one's own poor choices. And running away isn't the answer. Here I am again, facing my age-old struggle with making choices and nailing my colours to the mast.

Oh, and I highly recommend hanging out with therapists when trying to make any decisions. It's proving to be a psychological Easter work out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Same same but different

Six weeks back in the big smoke and corporate life and I feel as if the past 2 years have been a dream. The memories feel like a film; as if I'm watching someone else experience what I've experienced and being with the people I met. It's most odd.

I was walking along Bishopsgate the other morning around 8am, tuned in to one of the tracks Russ put together for me: 'Blue Sky' by the Altman brothers. And for one moment I was back in the Utah desert with Sarah, Lee, Jane and Spence - open road and cold camping and cheap beer and a huge smile on my face post-Ben. A million miles away from me in my Paul Costello navy suit and heels checking the crackberry for the day's meetings.

And yet I'm enjoying it - I'm loving the role, it's great to be back with Jan, I have a bright team, there's huge amounts of change happening in the business and my programme is part of that...... Well, if there's one thing I do well, it's adapting.

However. A powder alert arrived in my in-box this morning - the Bird has had nearly 7 foot in the last 12 days. Dumping it down...... It really is the best place in the world to ski. Nowhere else consistently gets this type of snow on this kind of terrain. Dad was in France for a warm up the other week - everyone was going "wow" with a dusting.... and he thought "you have no idea."

This looks like it was taken around the 'Mach Schnell' part of the mountain... the only place that has Aspens. I still can't ski in tight trees.... sigh.....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Edinburgh 2009

Edinburgh was great last night: it felt really international, so many tourists here for the street party. I made friends with some Australians (again). Groove Armada were as storming as ever, I'd forgotten how good they can be.

I'm in the middle of packing up for the drive to London tomorrow. I still haven't quite got my head around this move: just when everything is slowly coming together here. It's always the same feeling; I felt it really strongly when leaving Salt Lake too. Still, I'm really looking forward to getting back to work proper and have spent the equivalent of a ski holiday on a new wardrobe. What a choice to make!! The skis are still at Dad's - but they winked at me every time I went into the attic over Christmas. You never know.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The next chapter

I started this blog when I came back in May, really as a form of therapy to ease me back into the real world and into Scotland. And now, finally, I think I'm out the other side. I only realised this a few weeks ago: I wasn't hankering after what had been and instead was much more focused on what next, where I want to get involved and make a difference. I'm a whole lot clearer on that one now.

Edinburgh is shaping up nicely. John, Pippa and Fiona are looking after me in different ways and I'm meeting some good people. My Glasgow friends are helping me out too. And it is great to see my brother, Paula and Beinn more often. Duke of Edinburgh is proving challenging but fun - how do you keep a room of fifty 14 year olds occupied for an hour? I've found a great group who are interested in spiritual philosophy and meditation and I'm loving all of that, people with whom to talk about the meaning of life! And I love the size of the place, you can cycle everywhere in 20 minutes.

The only real fly in the ointment is work. Finding interesting roles is a challenge. I think this is partly down to the economic situation, partly lack of clarity on my part, and of course the fact there just aren't the same range of opportunities here. And I'm trying to make a bit of shift without a real network to connect me to the possibilities.

Add to this recent contact with my old boss who may have an opportunity for me and I'm feeling quite torn. Is it back to London for now? Exploring the options will help me decide. If it is, it won't be back to old life, I'm confident of that. But I'm not ready to slip into my pipe and slippers quite yet and I mustn't commit myself to something in that environment, I'll be going mad in 6 months. I need to get into a decent role again, I feel I'm stagnating and it is bloody boring. Not to mention the money situtation which is worse than awful.

Whatever decision, I'm there. I've been and seen and am out the other side and feel it is time for this blog to come to an end. Once I find an interesting topic on which to write, I'll start another. Time for the next chapter; thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I've been watching the youtube Obama video that Tamsin posted this morning. It is indeed inspirational. What's interesting though is the running commentary being posted under it every few seconds. Some of the racist comments are shocking and to me, really shows why this is still such big, big news. As a 'bleeding heart liberal', sometimes I forget all do not think the way we do.

Aside from any of that, no more George W Bush. Thank goodness.

I'm struck that we can see the crash of the financial system followed by this inspirational news, all within six weeks or so. Times are a changing and we can - we must - make a contribution in whatever way is possible for us.

Oh, and of course I did cry when it was announced at around 4am. Pretty predictable really!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Is anyone else excited?

I am. I know he's not perfect, but he's the best chance for some change.

Think I may have to stay up and watch the victory. In fact I might even cry when he wins and I'm not African-American, or even American.

What we need is a similar evangelical, principled figure to shake up the British establishment. Perhaps that too will happen as we go into this downturn. I do hope we all become more involved as opposed to more individualistic and/or apathetic. Today, that's what I feel is happening within me. On days where 'THE FEAR' is paralysing me I'm just as self-obsessed as ever. Still, baby steps forward.