Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 28th August

I am becoming a seasoned traveller. Tonight we flew to Bloem for the third time this year to do a workshop. I even knew just where to go to check in and then to go through security. I even knew just where the boarding gate was. (This may have had something to do with the fact that I spent an hour and a half waiting for the flight to leave last time I flew down here.)

It was a very different experience from when I flew the first time this year. Then I felt like an alien, reading every sign carefully and asking where to do what. Now, it’s almost old hat.

I have not really been looking forward to coming to do the workshop, because it has been an exhausting time recently, what with the play and all. I think I really just wanted a quiet weekend, doing nothing but Parkrunning and generally arbing.

Here I am, though, and it is going to be great to do this thing.

If it’s about teaching and helping students to improve in some way, I’m there.

There is something about interacting with a group of students and getting to know them that is so much fun and so rewarding. It is also about knowing that we have something to offer them and that we can help them to develop something in themselves.

I am, after all, a teacher.

We’re staying in the same hotel as the last time we were in Bloem and it feels really familiar – and yet not, too. I think it’s like that with places you go back to, but which are not regular haunts.

I find it so weird to be comparing the hotels that I’ve stayed in this year.

In some ways, being in a hotel room reminds me of being in hospital, under very different circumstances. Last time I was in a hospital, I was surrounded by my family for most of the time. I’d also just had major surgery. That’s something you don’t forget that easily. There is a strange sameness, though, that makes me want to equate the two – except that I am on my own here. And I am not sick and I haven’t been cut up recently.

And I am cancer free 🙂

That is something I would have said a year ago, if I’d even vaguely thought about it. And I would have been wrong, but not known it then.

It’s nearly a year since the cancer was found and I keep thinking, “What sweet innocents we were.” Then, if we’d but known…

That’s how it goes, though. We don’t know things until they are thrown in our faces. Sometimes they change nothing; at others, there is an effect that will go on and on, even if it is simply to produce a raised awareness.

It’s all about heightened perception.


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