I decided to do a short post about the week and then another post for the weekend this time around (mostly because I had two good titles and wanted to be able to use them both).

The week started out kind of slow and I was still feeling a bit homesick, for some reason I was having a much harder time adjusting to being away after my trip home than ever before. I think it was just the timing of everything: my getting a (short) taste of summer before coming back to winter, lot’s of folks that I had been hanging out with leaving right when I got back, knowing that I had spent a lot of money on the trip to Greece so probably shouldn’t travel every weekend here. And to top all of that off, folks are really busy in the office so some of the sessions I am facilitating wind up getting cancelled.

Of course there is plenty of work outside of running the actual sessions as we are constantly refining and updating the material, scheduling the next set of sessions, working on getting a career development framework in place, and adding new optional sessions such as presentation skills to allow folks that have completed the core set of activities to continue learning within the company.

So I was in the office at lunchtime on Monday and joined a group to grab some food. We didn’t know where we were going to go when we left and decided quickly to stay in our building when we got downstairs and felt the cold air coming in the front doors. The menu is fairly limited downstairs as they only have about 10 options, however a few of them change daily and today there was a chicken roll with ham and cheese option that sounded interesting so a couple of us ordered it.

When it arrived, it was a bit different than what I had expected, and really did look like a chicken cordon yellow, i.e. chicken cordon blue with yellow cheese (and I’m not hinting at a good sharp cheddar here) instead of blue cheese. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted just fine, it was just yet another thing that I would never have expected. And as with most things from the downstairs cafeteria, there was way more than one person can eat at a meal.

Given the struggles that we had been having filling the sessions we decided to try something Lourenço suggested and offer some sessions over lunch. This has the advantage that folks can come in an hour early or stay an hour late instead of having to add two hours on one side or the other to attend a full session before or after their client work. It’s been a hit. We have had two such sessions, one with 8 participants and the other with 6 while we have been struggling to get more than 3 to sign up for the morning and evening ones. And since we do a lot of group activities and discussions, the sessions are much richer if we have a larger group, not too large of course as that would make it hard for everyone to participate.

So with things running smoothly, of course something was bound to change. And it did. Due to needs within my company I am going to have to head back to the US 3 weeks earlier than originally planned so I will be leaving here on August 25th instead of September 17th. This definitely puts some extra pressure on me to get things to a state where they can move forward without me here, I have been working towards that from the beginning and have some things in place since I knew I would be leaving eventually, it just means that the last pieces need to come together more quickly than originally planned. And on a personal note it means that I have to make some quick plans to travel the next two weekends to see at least a couple more things here before heading back.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some benefits to going home early as well as I do miss my friends there and I have lots of work to do on my condo. However, the work could easily have waited another few weeks and I have at least been able to talk to most of my friends given the wonders of Skype and Vonage. It is just one of those things that come with long international travel, you miss home while you are away and you miss the place you relocated to as soon as you are home.

OK, enough of the sappy stuff, back to the food theme. One of the things I have sadly been doing in some of my free time is catching episodes of Top Chef whenever I can. In the recent show the contestants had to select countries on which to base their dishes and one of them, well I can’t really say selected as it was sadly the last choice available, wound up with Brazil. Also he sadly went home for his dish as he really didn’t embrace the challenge questioning at one point “does Brazil even have a cuisine?”. And his competitors weren’t much help either as one of them asked “did you get Brazil nuts?”. Basically he cooked some beef and rice, an OK choice but he could have been a bit more creative and open minded.

Well, it’s time for me to go off and enjoy my weekend, and maybe work on my next Greece post.