I’m writing this as I travel to the airport to begin the long journey south. 8 days at home have flown by and as always I will be leaving with a heavy heart. So many friends and family I didn’t have time to see, it’s been one of the most hectic weeks of my life.
It all kicked off with the charity curry night, a day after I’d rolled back into town, half asleep from the long flight back. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. My family and in particular the wonderful Jules, were such a help. We even recruited my nephew and niece to push the raffle ticket sales…some incredibly adorable (and effective) sales techniques on show (no shame for deploying the cute kid card). £1300 raised (Over $2000) and some fantastic reunions with awesome friends and family. The only dampener of the evening from a personal viewpoint, was the Afrikann’s accent I brought to the table during my speech. No idea where that came from or why the nerves forced it out, but Im blaming it on one too many braais with all the top ‘okes’ back in South Korea.
Next came two speeches at my old school, Wigston College (For my generation, Guthlaxton College). A massive honour to be asked to talk at my old school. My old head teacher surprised me by casually dropping into the conversation that all this coming years fundraising for the school will be going straight to supporting Wishes 4 Kids. It took all my effort not to embarrass myself and burst into tears in front of half the school…fortunately I was preoccupied with the bizarre problem of trying not to deliver the speech in my newly found Afrikannes accent (never thought I would be writing those words). Thank you to everyone at Wigston College for the efforts they are going to be putting in over the year for Wishes 4 Kids.
Next came the radio and television debuts. Safe to say I was looking forward to these the least but both came off reasonably well. I attempted damage limitation trying not to come across too nervous and trying yet again not to sound Afrikaans’s and I think in the end both were a success (you can find links to both on the facebook page…oddly enough Hollywood hasn’t picked up on it yet).
To finish there was the beautiful wedding of one of my oldest and best friends; Ollie and the lovely bride to be Jenny. I had the honour of being one of the groomsman and the weekend got off to a flying start as the suit I’d been measured up for from South Korea fitted like a glove. The Friday night, my 2 other best friends and I had the sole responsibility of making sure the groom was in bed by 11pm…at 3 am and after popping downstairs for another round, we had failed our mission significantly. We had big plans to head to the gym the morning of the big day to feel in great shape for the wedding. However after the night before, we rolled out of bed early doors, put on our gym kit and took up positions at the breakfast buffet, where we stayed for the majority of the morning. The only exercise on show from us all were the constant shuttle runs back to the buffet counter. A change of clothes later and we were off to see the marriage of two amazing people. A great service and a fantastic evening set against a stunning backdrop of British countryside. Fantastic speeches and entertainment for the night and a great time had by all.
Sunday and Monday were a blur as I packed up and got ready to set off for the epic journey. After some emotional goodbyes to family and friends, I was soaring over Greenland on my way to Anchorage and to start this challenge. Thank you to everybody for the help and support I received in that manic week at home. It was a humbling experience and if ever I needed reminding, set firmly in my mind that there’s no place like home.