I currently find myself in a sun-drenched hotel room in Paris where my view consists of old brick buildings and spired domes, piercing the skyline. The windows are open and summer really feels as if it has arrived in Paris. Bliss.
The past three months have been a whirlwind of travel, faces, places and ever-changing horizons. I left my Bondi home in March and flew to Paris where I started work immediately. I launched myself into Parisian life – with a warm coat, a woollen beret and plenty of wine and cheese to ease the transition from Sydney summer to a rather icy winter. I spring-boarded between Venice, Monaco, Naples, Newport, Verona and Paris in the build-up to the events that I was to be working on: the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, the Louis Vuitton Classic – a classic car rally from Monaco through France and Switzerland to Italy, and finally the America’s Cup World Series in Venice which saw super modern boats sailing against one of the world’s most ancient backdrops. It was like sailing in a painting.
I have met so many amazing people these past months, have paddled canals on gondolas, driven through snow-covered mountain passes while skiers fly by, watched yachts racing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvio, wound my way along the shores of Lake Garda at sunset, walked to work each day past the Louvre with the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the background, and island-hopped through the waters of Venice. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it’s all real but I have been lucky enough to share it with a cast of wonderful characters along the way who help to keep things real amidst the madness.
So now another page is turning. I am soon to be moving to San Francisco which is to become my home for the next 18 months. I am looking forward to setting up a life there, to wandering the winding streets, exploring bookshops, finding my local cafe and discovering another corner of the world in a city I love so much.
And, as I am always one for contrasts, I have just booked flights from the next regatta in Newport back to my African home – yes, I’m going back to Uganda. It’s only for two and a half weeks this time but every second I can have in the village is better than none. I am so incredibly excited to be reunited with Dominic and Rose and all the amazing people at KAASO and what makes it all the more special is that I will be with Cherie and Kirsty. The three of us haven’t been together since Kirsty flew out of Zanzibar in August 2009 so it will be a reunion to rival no other. I can’t wait to see the progress that has been made at the school and to be surrounded by the love and warmth of my Ugandan family once more.