Groeten uit Amsterdam!

My phone seems to think it is still on Boston time, when in fact I am really sitting in a wifi lounge in schipol enjoying a delightfully strong cappuccino as I kill time before the next plane leaves for capetown. It’s been years since I was in Europe, but I still remember vividly my first sip of “real” coffee. Before that sip, I was a starbucks junkie, and as far as I was concerned, the sweeter the better. A single latte in Amsterdam near or on my 21st birthday forever soured me on the saccharine syrups and caramel drizzle I had once requested in excess.

Last night’s flight marks the first overnight flight when I successfully slept. Now I’m jonesing to go out and explore the city; though, I would prefer to do so with my companions from my last Amsterdam adventure or perhaps with any of the many folk to whom I have since promised a future trip to the Netherlands. Instead, I have another 12 hour daytime flight to capetown ahead of me. How I will stay awake on the flight and not mess up my good track record so far is yet to be determined. I wish the rijksmuseum could be open so I could get even a hint of the splendor outside the airport while I kill time.

As we were flying over the Atlantic last night, I looked out to see one of the most incredible sunsets i’ve ever seen: literally bands of red, orange, yellow, fading into a soft blue and glorious lavendar. I looked down to the water and saw ships – navy ships, I imagine, lit up in what seemed to be Christmas lights from my vantage point. It made me think of a friend who returned from deployment a few months ago with his naval SAR squadron. If those were the kinds of sunsets he saw regularly while traversing the Atlantic on his travels, I’m admittedly jealous.

I’m excited for South Africa, though I can already tell that I will be in crazy mode during the sota. This being my first international trip for work, I’m anxious because I want to do stellar work, but I’m still feeling a bit foggy on the details, which makes me nervous. My colleagues remind me that I “know this stuff,” and I’ll be fine; I guess I still need to work on going with the flow a bit. Maybe I’ll just read through those grantee reports one more time on the flight over…