Saturday, November 30, 2013

18 days

It's the afternoon before my first day off since I started my journey to the Philippines 18 days ago. The hours have been long, but that hasn't been a problem - it's amazing how fast 15 hours can fly by when you're busy for every minute of them. I'm now based in Cebu City, in the temporary office we have in a hotel conference room. My colleagues are truly something special - the national team here are very experienced in responding to typhoons (and other disasters) and have all been so welcoming and hard working, and always smiling. As for my international colleagues - there have been many reunions with old pals, and plenty of new friends as well. We've got a great bunch of people in Cebu, and in three field offices in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

I haven't gotten out to any of our field locations yet, but they are doing fantastic things. I look forward every morning to calculating the new numbers of people we've reached and the figures are pretty impressive. From a few thousand in the first few days, to now close to 200,000 it is just amazing what my colleagues can do. I hope to get out and see for myself soon enough, but there's plenty of work to be getting on with in the meantime.

But what I'm really looking forward to is a big sleep in, and a day by a pool somewhere with a good book tomorrow. It's very much needed, and I think well deserved!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And I'm Back!

Well it's been about four and a half months at home. Not quite the six months I had originally planned, but considering I had no luck finding an apartment to buy because I don't quite have enough money, I figured it was probably a good idea to go back to work. I decided this last week and set tomorrow (Wednesday) as my return date, pretty sure there'd be no deployment for me to go to immediately so I'd still have time to finish my novel and my quilt.

Um. No.

I'm flying out to the Philippines for an indefinite period tonight. No doubt you've seen the devastating images; there's going to be a lot to do. I'm actually really excited about getting back to work, and catching up with colleagues there. I had a huge mound of stuff to pack this morning, and somehow it has all fit in my bag which zipped up without any problems....I haven't weighed it yet, but I'd put my money on 19kgs.

I have enjoyed my time off though. The novel is almost done...only about 4000 words until the first full draft is finished. The Doctor Who knitted quilt I've been working on is almost done. I just have to crochet it altogether. I've had a ball knitting up a storm, and teaching myself to crochet various bits and pieces. I'm all set for retirement really.

I've also had a couple of visits down to Melbourne for apartment hunting and general fun times, and a great road trip with my dad down to Canberra where we didn't manage to defend our championship at the National Capri and Small Ford Muster. But we did have gorgeous weather for navigating around the nation's capital, and indeed for the 1300km each way drive (though I didn't join Dad for the drive home).

I think everybody should take sabbatical's now and then to recharge their batteries, attempt new things (even if they are unsuccessful) and just generally enjoy themselves. I for one can highly recommend it. From here on in, I don't think there'll be much recharging of batteries for a while, and I've got to say, I can't wait!!