Sunday, May 20, 2007

New York Summer Retreat!

New York, New York! The world wind trip to the big Apple was filled with many kinks in the travel but the work was good, tiring but good.

It all began with a two hour delay in the Tampa runway, a traffic stopped bus ride to Port Authority and a ten block jaunt in the rain to the hotel. Luckily, there were warm hugs and smiles when I arrived to Novotel on Friday. The summer program senior staff retreat in a two day intensive information session filled with mindless paperwork and stories of chaotic situations of yesteryear. The best part is getting the chance to sit down with folks to exchange ideas about programming and ultimately creating the feeling that you are not alone.

After hours of meetings in large groups, in coordinator versus director groups and then country groups, the program treats us to great dinners with multiple courses, fine wine and interesting conversation. It is always fun to meet and listen to the potpourri of characters that come together. Above is a picture of this summer's Spain team.

The planning is always the best part of the trip. I really do enjoy thinking up activities for the students to do and finding the cool places for them to visit like tea bar with belly dancing or pedal boat trip down the Guadalquivir River in Sevilla. Hours are spent planning the first couple of days of the program.

The trip home was just as frustrating as the trip there. A taxi drive to LaGuardia, a long wait through security and finally a boarding call that intially seems will provide the comfort of smooth ride home. Of course that is the ruese, the gate opened and we were cattled down two flights of stairs onto a mysterious bus that then drove us to the other side of the airport where an itty bitty plane was waiting for us.

I hate planes as it is so there was no comfort at the site. 13 rows total! The panic set in. Anxiety was taking over my entire body. There is no real good end to this story except I had to get over it and sit there. So I did. The moment I arrived to Raleigh I bought a pack of cigarettes and a gin and tonic. I chained two, chugged and was off to another little plane.

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