It’s been years since I last saw friends and colleagues at the annual cardiology gatherings, decades since I last visited the Far East.
I enjoyed the conversations with students and catching up with colleagues, mentoring and reminiscing. There was a lot of art and a lot of science to explore, and discuss. The business meetings, veering between formal and familiar, brought new ideas about how to complete products and how to achieve profits.
And, in the off hours, there was the challenge of understanding and traversing a new culture on my own, the experience both stimulating and humbling. Like my early days living in Europe, everything was again new. The simplest tasks of catching a train or ordering a meal took unaccustomed time and thought.
And, finally, there is happiness in getting it right.
There’s comfort in spending a long twilight along the Bournemouth beach. I can make easy talk with the server, eavesdrop on the next couple in line waiting to order, pick up the nuances of face-to-face conversation.
There is normalcy in catching up with gossip and politics over strong warm beers. I enjoy the ease of ordering familiar foods after driving the well-worn A338. People wake when I do, work, then settle into evenings and weekends when I do; I again cook meals for sharing together. My clothes are spread out and hung, I have enough plugs, and I don’t have to walk miles on an injured toe.
And, finally, there is happiness in being welcomed.