Moving … home

So I got in around noon on a Wednesday. As my arrival coincided with a big conference happening in Cape Town, by 4pm I was down at the CTICC for back-to-back meetings, followed by rooftop drinks and a chance to reconnect with one of my new friends from the Bay Area. I really, really like this guy: smart, and a straight-talker, and one who’s not afraid to talk a little smack either.
There are pros and cons to living in a global village. It’s great that I have friends from all over the world, but at the same time your friendship can really only go so far when you see each other maybe twice a year.
So after drinks, dinner, then more drinks, then yet more drinks with a different group who were hanging at Bascule. It occurred to me when I got home at 1am and was chatting on the phone (actually to someone about whom some smack had been talked earlier in the evening, ironically enough), that this had all gone a bit too far. I’m not in Kansas any more, and by Kansas I guess I mean Denver. Or maybe San Francisco.
Our company was moving offices over the weekend, so the short while in the office in advance of that was very distracted with the impending move. The physical move itself was all right, although it was more straining for some than for others. Luckily I only found out after the fact about how one person was nearly hurt badly carrying all of our stuff down several flights of stairs.
I’m not going to lie. Settling back into Cape Town the first few days was rough. My body was probably still a few time zones away; my head and heart were also not fully present. It was a rough trip, and I was severely out of sorts. Bad diet, bad sleep, very little training, quite a bit of drinking, some emotional strain, and travel-related stress. Even worse, that feeling of ‘home but not home’ that you get as an expat was much stronger. I’d never been away from SA for this long before and when I get back it didn’t feel quite right and I was gripped with nostalgia for those Denver mountains, for Starbucks, for safety.
Well the grass is always greener, right? It just so happened that a friend from Sweden was in town this weekend at the tail end of a longer Africa trip. I had dinner with her on Friday and hearing her speak about how she feels about South Africa and Cape Town reminded me of myself a few years back. Like, almost word for word. So that helped.
It also helped to go to a birthday brunch for one of my good friends, and to get to spend more time talking to some really smart, dynamic women (there were men there too, but not at my end of the table so much!).
The longer days also helped, a catch-up in the form of a hike in the Tokai forest with my friend Amy who is leaving the country soon and getting her perspective on that …. Well, a sense of place is important but I suppose it’s actually not as important as I once thought. Just like I can’t predict my career after the current job, I’m kind of done predicting my future.
Living in the moment and appreciating every jacaranda tree.
I also realised something else when talking to a relative newcomer to CrossFit. I’m in some relatively bad shape at the moment, but I’ll get it back soon enough. When I was talking to her I said something that pretty much amounted to: “I’m a competitor. When a competition comes I take it to a whole other level that I just don’t do in the gym, whether out of mental laziness or weakness.”
The same is true of work. Peter once told me that when I have responsibility for something I take it by the scruff of its neck and apply myself to it in a way that I don’t always. This is the difference between ownership and involvement.
Or between being a pig and a chicken (the old Scrum joke).
  • “She wouldn’t like you very well.” – Steven
  • “You always know where you stand with him.” – Robert
  •  “I believe we make our own luck.” – Katarina
  • “I don’t think you should choose work over true love.” – Sam
  • “It’s a big difference if you say yes or if you say no.” – Katarina
  • “All’s fair in love and war, right? Well, business is war.” – Ellie
  • “But I still feel dirty.” “Yeah, it is dirty. But it’s not unethical.” – Ellie & Katarina
  • “That’s not alcohol. That’s olive oil.” – Rudolph
  • “Is that a real article? It sounds like something The Onion would write!” – Ellie
  • “They were from new York though so they’re not really American.” – Jennifer (she’s American)
  • “My CEO just told me not to be hung over tomorrow.” – Tim
  • “Americans are so coddled!” – Amy (she’s also American)


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