Actually, I can

actually, I can

Can I have two Mondays and enjoy them both? Actually, I can!

A story of Time Travel and Bravery – via the Golden Gate Bridge

So I’ve started in on a ten-month Leadership programme that involves the unfortunate requirement of having to go to Sonoma, California four times.  It’s a hardship, I’m sure you can imagine.

I left Shanghai about midday on the Monday, and thanks to a rather brilliant United flight made it safely to San Francisco for about 0830 on that same Monday morning.  Confused? My head was.

My first Monday, aboard the plane, was about as nice as it can be – aboard a plane.  I ate, I drank, I slept, I read a bit.  Traveling without the three little ones in tow really is a pleasure.  I now truly get why hubby doesn’t mind all his to-ing and fro-ing.  No one gets to ask anything of me on the plane – other than whether I want beef or chicken!

My second Monday was pretty awesome too.

I picked me up a fantastic little Fiesta (can’t kick the Ford-ness out of me, no matter how you might try) and headed from the airport through San Fran and out across the Golden Gate Bridge and down in to Sausalito.  How could that drive not make you smile?

I can

When did I last get to explore on my own? To just meander around, stopping whenever and wherever I wanted?  Well, on this second chance Monday, that’s exactly what I did.

Iced coffee and cookie overlooking the city? Yes please.

Hearty singing to a truly bad playlist, whilst happily following Google Maps? Actually, I can. (With a little help from SYNC technology – sorry, couldn’t help but put that little plug in there!)

And then a night to myself in a gorgeous hotel in Napa – the River Terrace Inn.

And that’s when I decided to be brave.  (After a little power nap to head off the jet-lag snoozes.) I could have just hibernated in my room. Grabbed some room service, watched some bad TV and gone to bed early.  I was on my own after all. And I didn’t know the place at all.  But instead I decided to take myself out for dinner.  To get in the car, and drive myself 30mins up the road to head to the Auberge du Soleil for dinner.

In pre children times, hubby and I had talked about heading there for a Napa Valley vacation, but it just never happened. Other things did instead.

So I took myself there.  I got a table out on the veranda. And I sat there, with my book, surrounded by people on dates, and I felt brave and happy. And well fed!

Actually, I can!

And that kind of sums up how the rest of the week went.  I got to challenge so many of my own assumptions of what I can and cannot do.

Can I walk into a room of 20 or so strangers and tell my story of why I’m there? Actually, I can.

Can I show up and really listen to all their stories, even when uncomfortable, or heartbreaking, or both – and not try and ‘fix the problem’ but instead just listen? Actually, I can.

Can I climb a 20ft wooden pole, stand on the wobbly top and then jump off it – knowing that this group has got my back?

I can
Yep – that’s me up there. Crapping my pants!

Actually, I can.

There were a whole pile of other, smaller wins as well.

Can I sit and talk with this group of new friends about my biggest fears – without a glass of wine in my hand?

Can I dance as if nobody is watching? (Um… this one, maybe not quite so easily.  I can shuffle from leg to leg, and then slowly and gently be persuaded that with my hair and my dodgy rock loving past, I could manage a ‘rock-on’ that no one would laugh at too much!)

Can I enjoy whatever food happens to have been made that day, without getting fussy? (Um… yes, the food at Westerbeke Ranch where we were staying was unbelievably good.  I was so sad to leave it. Shanghai, you are sorely lacking right now.)

It was a great few days that put the sparkle back into the tired old (jet-lagged) eyes.

The question now is whether I can put what I’ve learned into practice in the real world?

And whether I can enjoy the next three trips out there as much?

And I know the answer…

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