“Your colleagues are waiting for you.”

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“Your colleagues are waiting for you.”

That was the first thing I heard this morning – a nice, Slavic voice telling me to wake up and get downstairs to the meeting.  The new job has begun.  I’m in Tbilisi, Georgia, meeting the team of people here that are working to improve government.  My job is to help them track their progress.  So I got myself together, bustled downstairs, and started to learn what this project is all about.

This blog is three weeks late, which should come as no surprise to anyone who saw me during the last three weeks.  I may have kept my wits about me, I may have been smiling, but it was utter madness up in here.  I was leaving my old job, receiving daily e-mails from the new one, planning to visit my mom for her 75th birthday, balancing that visit between parents and siblings, finishing (or trying to finish) a report for the old job before leaving, and then, of course, starting the new one by flying to the other side of the world. The flight was the easy part.

It’s not doing so much that is hard – it’s doing it all well.  “Underpromise, and overdeliver” – that’s great advice and very hard to make happen.  One does silly things in an attempt to do the impossible: for example, I worked while on vacation, and took “sanity breaks” while at work.  Maybe things will smooth out now.

Lots of people asked me, “So you’re taking a job that doesn’t require so much travel?”  Why would I do that? I wanted to ask in return.  The travel is part of my professional fun.  Travel is hard, of course, and some people don’t like it.  But I do – I like airports, I like planes, I like the new faces at the other end, not to mention the new streets and buildings and languages and food.

This was the look on my brother’s face when I told him I like airports:

(That is not his real facial hair.) He and his family and I went skiing while we were back in Colorado for Mom’s birthday.  Kyle’s daughter, my superniece Lauren, is in the following photos, along with my brother and me.

Back at Mom’s house for her birthday party, our sister Kyna insisted on a few accoutrements for the festivities:

Just because my mom looks like Gene Shalit with this fake moustache doesn’t mean we shouldn’t leave it on her.

More soon!






By Keri Culver

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