I am off to Rome in a few hours for a few days. I am hoping that this trip won't disrupt my blogging like my trip to Berlin did in February. But there are no guarantees. If I can't find a cyber cafe I will be out of luck!
I am going to Rome to speak at a Microsoft conference. I have been invited to talk about using collaboration to increase innovation. I hate public speaking. I don't mind speaking to groups of colleagues that I know. But a room full of strangers fills me with complete fear. I turn red and break out into a rash and my ears always feel like they are on fire. I speak so quickly I can finish a 40 minutes presentation in about 10. I have to or I might vomit. I am the last speaker scheduled for Friday afternoon. I am hoping that by that time I will have gotten to know some of the delegates at the conference and I can pretend that they are the only ones in the room and that they are mere colleagues. Well, this is my coping strategy. Wish me luck!
I have been to Rome before and after Florence it is my favourite Italian city. I just get absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer scale of history. I once dined at a rooftop terrace restaurant just across the road from the Coliseum. There were ancient pillars every where I looked and the Romans simply walked past them every day on their way to work without so much as a second glance. I suppose it is a bit like me walking past Windsor Castle every day and not taking any notice. Except the Coliseum is nearly 2000 years old.
I always miss my children and husband when I am away. I miss hearing my children tell me about their day and I miss sharing mine with my husband. It is getting easier now that they are getting older and technology is a wonderful thing. They can talk to me on the telephone with some understanding. Marc can send me photos of them having dinner or sleeping from his phone to my phone.
I love how their eyes light up when I return home and Friday night I should be back before they go to bed if there are no flight delays. Fingers crossed the mass migration back into Heathrow on a Friday evening will go smoothly and I will get home in time to tuck them into bed and have a lovely evening with my husband.
But I do love travelling. I travelled constantly for the first 15 or so years of my career. I used to fill up passports with stamps from all over the world. Now I'm lucky to get 3 or 4 stamps a year and those tend to be for our vacations. But with my new position I've travelled a bit more. And as my children get older it will probably increase again. There's a real vagabond in my shoes. I can pack in under 10 minutes for a 4 day trip! I will enjoy meal on my own and reading my book in the evenings (without interruptions).
What I am not looking forward to is the state of the house when I return. Marc and I have very different ideas about levels of acceptable tidiness and nutritious meals. So in my control freak best maneuver I have done the grocery shopping online (to be delivered this evening), made up a list of meals for the evenings, listed all the school/play activities for each day, made up a list of things he must do (eg laundry, run dishwasher, unload dishwasher, feed dog). He's got post it notes on the back door, on the fridge, on his computer screen.
Of course, he will pretend not to have seen any of them. This is what happened when I went to Berlin. Each night I called home and asked him what the children had eaten for dinner and he would report hot dogs. Every night. When I asked why he wasn't giving them what was on the menu he said they didn't want what I had written down.
Basically, I am expecting carnage. But it is carnage in my absence. So, I ask my self, does it really exist?