You could call me a creature of habit. I always catch the same train to work, get on at the same carriage and sit in the same seat. I always do my shopping on a Thursday night and always have the same dinner that night as a treat. (Chocolate croissant, in case you were wondering. Not the best dinner I admit). I drink coffee until lunch time and tea in the afternoon. I like knowing what I am doing and I like my comfort zone.
Which is why I am a little surprised that one chance e-mail followed by one phone call in March has led me to this point: being a bit of a panicky, shaky thing, bound for the Philippines tomorrow night. I don’t like flying, but I have three planes to catch, totalling almost 16 hours in the air. I’m not confident about meeting new people, but I don’t know one person there. I’m slightly obsessive about being clean, but I won’t have a shower for two weeks. Gulp.
Despite everything though, I am a bit excited. And I am pretty sure that I might be coming back with a slightly different view on things. I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks.
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. I have a lot on my schedule, starting the day I land in Tacloban, and it’s busy due to the huge number of you who have added money to the fund. I hope I can do you all proud.
And thank you to my lovely friends who have attempted to keep me calm in moments of panic, who have offered practical help (especially to you, nearly neighbour, for sorting my spreadsheet and getting me out of my muddle tonight!) and to those who have spoiled me – I have had cards, gifts and even a cake at work today – it’s like a birthday without actually getting older. The fact that I’ve probably aged about 10 years in the last few months shall be ignored… And especially to Jackie. None of this would have been possible without her, and she has been amazingly patient with my questions on topics from the politics in the area to what exactly I do with toilet paper once used (Yes, I am taking my own. After Sunday studies with my family which involved unrolling a loo roll, counting the squares and then estimating usage, I am taking three. You probably didn’t need to know that.)
So thank you and good bye for a short while. Blogging from where I’ll be will be a bit tricky, so if you want to keep up to date, I’m just going to try to blog here: http://helpinghandsfortacloban.wordpress.com/ It’s a bit more sensible than the pog blog, but we’ll catch up when I get back. I have a feeling I’ll have a few stories to tell :o)