August 12

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D-Day (-) 6

In 6 days, Monday 9.20am to be precise…., I shall be landing in South Africa – literally and figuratively… 🙂  – for the very first time [why am I humming a very famous Madonna song… I do not know!!!]

  • Am I excited? – Of course I am… What a silly question!!!! (You should know this by now!!!)
  • Am I scared? – Absolutely! I am not the ‘adventurous’ type of traveller so this will definitely be a challenge!

It is funny how, when I tell people about my Pulse assignment and travelling to South Africa, 2 things happen:

  1. I get the expected: ‘How exciting?!’, ‘What a wonderful opportunity!!’, ‘I’ve always wanted to do something like that!’ to which I usually reply, ‘it is!’, ‘it is!’ and ‘just do it!’  🙂
  2. I also get the ‘ooohhhh South Africa is a dangerous place’, ‘there’s a lot of gun and knife crime out there’ – Now this is factually correct (no… I am not that naive!!!)… I’m not sure whether people realise what the impact of being constantly reminded of it is… or maybe they’re just jealous…  😉  and feel like they should make it sounds a little less nice!!!

My thinking on the matter is that, like for everything, it’s all about striking the right balance between worrying enough that you stay safe and don’t get complacent and relaxed enough so that it does not ruin the whole experience by staying locked into your hotel room!!! 🙂

The only way to find out…. go out there and experience it for myself! And anyway, anything could happen anywhere… that’s what the News seems to say! Don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time! Obvious really… 🙂

I am no stranger to ‘going into the unknown’… I did move to the UK from France 12 years ago for my first job…. I didn’t know a single soul on that side of the channel and I was much younger and ‘inexperienced’. Not quite the same thing you might say but 12 years ago, it did feel scary! “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”… ish!) I call it home now… 😉

Is this a sudden rush of ‘self-awareness??? – one can always hope 😉 … I think a Pulse assignment is about pushing your limits. And I will definitely be pushing mine! I probably wouldn’t have done this type of thing on my own and I am really grateful that GSK is providing its employees with a framework (the Pulse program) to do this!

I remember the Pulse Team telling us on our 2-day orientation course: ‘We wouldn’t have matched you to your assignment if we didn’t think you could do it!’ It seems like such an inconspicuous thing to say, but it was such a great compliment! This belief, from people who hardly know me, that I could do this!

Paul, my Project HOPE UK supervisor, said that when he saw my CV, he thought I was a weird match for the assignment (being a bench scientist in my ‘normal life’ and an ‘enterprise development officer’ in my Pulse assignment) but that he had every confidence in the Pulse matching process…. Pulse is a great program and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with other so that they too are inspired to take part!

On a very final note, here’s a message to you, who are reading this blog. Whether you are family, friends, colleagues, strangers who think I’m crazy, or funny, or both, you are my support network on this adventure. I feed off your comments and messages of encouragement. THANK YOU!

Project HOPE UK selfie :)

Project HOPE UK selfie 🙂

And to carry on with the selfie trend…. Paul, Debbie, Mandy, me & Anette