09.06.2007 - 10.06.2007 6 °C
If you were to ask me if I thought I would ever be in Africa this year in January, I would have given a definite answer of no. To have the opportunity to come back a second time in 3 months is simply unbelievable.
I started my journey this time from Boston, having worked for the past week in our corporate office in Marlborough. Friday seemed like a surreal day. The big news was the annoucement of my transfer to the UK as the Regional Business Manager for Northern Europe. Having the news took a huge weight off of my shoulders - the weight of the unknown. Now the real fun begins! I'm sure it will be a somewhat hectic summer as we prepare for our big move but I'm very much looking forward to the adventure for me and my family.
The announcement came in the midst of a day long schedule of conference calls and the day wrapped up with a VIP visit with a pathologist from South Africa. This pathologist was visiting Boston this week for a conference and was invited to come take a tour of our facility and meet some of our people. Despite having just flown in and having 6 hours of jet-lag, he was a great sport and enjoyed the time in Marlborough. We wrapped up the evening with a wonderful dinner in Boston before saying our good-byes. How ironic that he arrives into Boston less than 24 hours before I leave for South Africa!
My route this trip took me from Boston to Washington, DC and then continuing on to Johannesburg. There was elderly indian man in front of me checking in at the Boston airport. He managed to push his way up to the front of the line as he seemed in a hurry but found that he was on the same itinerary as I was. He made me smile the whole trip because everytime we needed to get in line, he would rush up and want to be there first. I don't know if he realized that we would all get there at the same time!
On my flight from Washington to Johannesburg, I sat next to a young girl (high school sophomore) who attends boarding school in Maryland and then returns to South Africa for the summer. She was looking forward to seeing her parents. I couldn't imagine being away for such a long period of time.
The flight was uneventful - the best kind. I had dinner on the plane and watched a movie (Breached - very good) and then went to sleep. I had a harder time sleeping this time than last because of the time difference not being as great (east vs. west coast). We arrived in Johannesburg around 2:30pm on Sunday. My little friend raced me to the passport counter, I collected my luggage (first bag out!) and Belinda and Simone were right outside to pick me up. In case you've forgotten, Belinda is the Women's Health product manager for Perryhill, Cytyc's South African distributor. Simone is her 15 year old daughter.
The weather today was sunny but much cooler than when I was here last. This is the start of their winter and it has been unusually cold. I checked weather before I packed and thought I'd be fine - high's in the 60's but Belinda told me today that the evenings and nights have been below freezing! I think I may be shopping for a new jacket tomorrow night.
They took me to my hotel, Irene Country Lodge so I could unpack and take a quick shower. They came back to pick me up at 5:00pm so we could get dinner, review the plan for the week, and discuss the National Health contract which is due tomorrow. We had sushi for dinner and I was back at my hotel by 8:00pm local time. I think I've already adjusted to the time zone because I don't think I'll have any problems sleeping tonight!
Tomorrow we have meetings with a lab in the morning and then I'll be conducting training in the afternoon. Belinda has my schedule packed solid for the next 8 days with meetings, interviews, and trainings. It will be challenging, I'm sure, but I'm reminded of how great the need is here and know that each step makes a difference in lives of people throughout the country.
That's all for now. Sorry to be so long-winded and not have any nice pictures yet - I'll work on photos starting tomorrow. I need to find an adapter for my electronics tomorrow as well!
Thanks for reading and if you have a minute, please drop a comment in the "Comment box" - it helps me feel not quite so far away!