Exactly a year ago I was invited to speak at the Do Lectures in Wales all thanks to my incredible friend Duke Stump, a fantastic speaker from last year. I was thrilled to be invited, said yes, and then sort of forgot about the whole thing for a year while I was busy working on the school. Time passed and before I knew it I was packing up my bags, kissing the kids goodbye, and getting on a flight to London.
The thing is, I don't particularly like talking in public. My face turns beat red and I'm nervous for hours before I have to get up on stage. Sure, by now I've gotten used to telling my story. It's kind of a hard topic to avoid and it usually comes up (in the States) while I'm getting my haircut, at the grocery store, in the Apple store, and just about anywhere and everywhere, usually starting with a question like, so are you a college student? I've gotten used to telling the short version and answering questions. But getting up in front of a group is a different story, especially when there are cameras and you're being recorded and then put on the internet forever.
The talks were in a big tent set on a farm in the middle of the countryside in Wales. It was beautiful. The speakers were all so different and interesting. There were publishers, and designers, architects, artists, musicians, scientists, entrepreneurs and farmers. It was just so cool. One of my favorite lectures was by Ed Stafford, who just finished walking the length of the Amazon. It took him 2 and 1/2 years and he's the first person to ever do it. I will think of him every time I ever want to complain about having to trek anywhere again. While each of the speakers was up there on stage, I would just stare in absolute amazement. It was so cool to watch them all oozing with passion and excitement for what they do and every single talk left me feeling completely recharged.
Seriously all the talks were inspiring and it was humbling to be amongst so many different people from all different walks of life. I loved the farm and the baby piglets and the fresh air. I loved meal time and chats by the fire. I loved the whole set up of Fforrest, my tent and my tent mates, my hikes to the nature preserve and along the river. I felt incredibly lucky to be there and a part of all the magic.
I'm really thankful my talk was right in the beginning because if it wasn't I would have dreaded getting up on stage the entire weekend. I finally stood up shaking, took a deep breath and told my story and the 25 minutes was over before I knew it and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. The weekend was also over before I knew it. I headed back to London and spent a day with lots of Juntara, Kate's and my dear friends who helped us through our few months of living there last year. They are such a sweet gang and I was thrilled to see everyone. 24 hours later I was back on a plane headed for Kathmandu.
I spent 2 days in Kathmandu, one recovering from the cold I caught through all the travel and another visiting a few schools that I've been meaning to check out for a while. I also picked up some more workbooks at the book shop for our kindergardeners who in case you hadn't heard, are absolutely out of control. I swear, picture the 25 most energetic attention deficit kids you've ever seen in your life and put them all in a room together. That's my kindergarten for you. I'm counting down the days before my Aussie kindergarten teacher trainer gets here in December. This is all just way over my head.
After my 2 days in Kathmandu I was really really ready to get home so I caught a flight to Nepal Ganj, just three hours away from where we live. Just as we landed I heard there was a big strike in Nepal Ganj, and no vehicles were allowed to move. There had also been a strike when I was on my way to London that I had easily talked my way through so I confidently thought I could talk my way through this one too. What started out as a calm discussion with the head honcho guy from the group who called the strike, soon turned into a major confrontation. I hate the word no, especially when I'm tired and and in a bad mood and just want to go home and the kids are waiting for me. As my family will tell you, I don't always know when to shut my mouth. Word of advice, don't get in a fight with the guys calling the strike, you will never win and they'll never let you through.
After two days of being stranded in my not most favorite city in the world, riding around and doing some shopping on a bicycle rickshaw, the roads finally opened, and the trucks and buses started running again. I finally got home around midnight last night and woke up this morning to all the kids crammed into my little room catching me up on the million and one things that apparently occurred while I was away. I'm currently listening to a few of the boys who are supposed to be showering in my bathroom. You'd think they were attending a rave. I wouldn't find this nearly as entertaining if I hadn't been away for a week.
If you have a minute check out the DO LECTURES!! The people there running the show are some of the best that I've come to know.
Lots of love and more soon,