I've been off the intarwebs for the past few days - flying 48 hours to South Africa, teaching nonstop for a week, then flying 36 hours back has been exhausting. It was a wonderful POSSE; I've yet to go and follow-up on much of it, and that is on my mind. However, as I'm going to Rochester and Toronto on Tuesday, I've spent nearly all my time since landing back in Boston breathing and doing nothing in particular, and a large portion of that time unconscious. It's been good.
Part of me wishes I'd been able to go to the Etherpad FAD at Olin. Hypothetically, my plane landed at such a time that I could have rushed to campus in a rental car, caught the last session, had an after-hours dinner with everyone, and so forth - running on pure adrenaline, with accumulated jetlag and teaching exhaustion and a timeshift shoved aside. Another day, I might have pushed myself to do that. Another day, I might have not noticed that my thinking was becoming less and less coherent, or how much effort it was taking to actually remain upright. This time, though, I took a nap. Friends are good. (Also, there is a fantastic French restaurant in Needham.) And reading some of the blog reports on how the FAD went, it sounds like things went very, very well.
I'm still taking it easy today, taking a shifted weekend (Sunday-Monday, since I spent all of Saturday in the air). Probably looking at work email at some point to make sure nothing's exploded since I boarded my plane on Friday. In the meantime, though, it's time to catch up on life and things that aren't dayjob, like family and friends and grad school applications. And sleep. I'm writing this post slowly after breakfast in the morning to remind me how I want to think about the day. I also want to write down a few things from the past week abroad that I don't want to forget.
First are all my layovers on the way there and back - Boston (though that one was cut ridiculously short by weather-induced delays), Frankfurt (where I spent my 9-hour layover getting out to the main train station, going oooo, bookstores! and wandering around by the river playing guitar), and Johannesburg, which was used catching up on phone calls and emails. On the way back from Cape Town, I stopped in London (at ridiculously early in the morning, where I proceeded to get lost in the wrong terminal) and Newark. I flew a propeller plane from Newark back to Boston, sitting next to a retired schoolteacher and talking about classical music the entire time.
Then there's Cape Town itself. The internet connectivity leaves something to be desired (slow, intermittent connectivity doled out via 50mb vouchers from the hotel's front desk) but the city itself is nice. I think. I didn't get to see it except for the drive to/from our Thursday dinner (which was awesome). I'll have to go back - missed the beach (sorry, Max, no penguin pics) and the mountain-climbing trip. I slept through dinner one night and ended up in a crazy bar during my quest for food, in a tiny kitchen suspended in a hallway between dark rooms with billards and throbbing heavy metal music and alcohol-soaked people - it was the only place still open, and an old woman very patiently made me a small pizza. Pierros and Jan were absolutely wonderful to teach with, and each of the professors at POSSE was a joy to get to know. I believe they're trying to put together a local FOSS conference this spring; I'd love to go back for it, bring some more Fedora folks along (one of the things heavily discussed was how they needed more interconnectivity with the FOSS community outside of South Africa).
Then there was POSSE, which I'll write more about at some later date. I love teaching. Love teaching.
Some things I've been reading on the way: Paul's post on radical transparency, which I think needs to get into TOSW somehow. Research on group intelligence and social sensitivity (summary: they're positively correlated). Skud's t-shirt challenge, which I am noting here because I want to send that post to every conference I attend in the future. What Chris Lehmann asks of his teachers, which are things I want to ask of myself as a teacher and a learner - including #10, "take care of yourself."
This post isn't supposed to make sense, it's just to get stuff out of my head so I can move on with the day. It looks to be a sunny one. Directive #1: relaxing and resting up for the week ahead. Mm, decompression. Rest... is good.