I remember the elation of receiving the last-minute funding.
The frenzy of getting my research poster completed in time; the nerves of boarding the long-haul flight alone. The utter relief, after searching for my cabana room in the throes of a late-night storm and having had 2 hours of sleep in the past 24, of finding crisp white sheets awaiting me.
I remember a 7am swim when the storm had left behind un-bruised blue skies. I remember sipping hot coffee by the pool and trying to FaceTime my boyfriend, my sister, my mum – anyone! – just to say, I can’t believe I’m here.
I remember the flowers.
Flowers in every imaginable mood of the rainbow scattered across the resort.
The disbelief (& the pride)
…at having the opportunity to visit such an incredible place for “work.” Reuniting with old colleagues. Making new friends. Mexican food. So much delicious Mexican food.
I remember the conversations.
Meeting those with an interest in my research area. Getting to be horrendously, ecstatically geeky about a topic I love. Hearing presentations about exciting new developments in the field and (literally) squirming with enthusiasm in my seat.
& I remember Saying goodbye.
…but feeling like something was just beginning.