I’m sitting at the airport in Montreal waiting for the next leg of my milk run to Tanzania (that’s what happens when you buy a cheap ticket on points): Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Istanbul, Tanzania. It’s always a bit hairy getting ready for a big trip and if you are anything like me you do things either WAY in advance OR VERY last minute, nothing in between. I packed one full suitcase about a month ago but didn’t get my malaria pills until yesterday and had to run around trying to find a place that had them. I am so grateful to my lovely friends for the well wishes and for helping me bring a nice bag of stuff to KOLO village. The stress of my oversized bags feels like it was ages ago and now I can just think about tomorrow and the next day and the next.
My plans for this trip are a little different this time. I am working with a new partner who I have not met yet so we are figuring out how to work together. We need to sync our visions for the company and make sure we all have the same values. It’s almost like dating. I’m checking him out and he is checking me out for compatibility, trustworthiness, integrity. It’s a bit weird and exciting all at the same time.
When you go to another country you realize that “customs” or things that we do here, like bring a bottle of wine when someone invites you for dinner or the way you greet someone with a little hug, are culturally different. All those things change when you visit another place so I decided to read a book about Tanzanian culture. Then I started wondering how people in other countries describe Canadians, so I started googling. It noted that Canadian were “big eaters” of mostly meat and that For business meetings, men should wear suits and ties; women should wear conservative suits or dresses and that overall we were a polite and conservative people. I don’t think I really fit any of that (except for the politeness).
What I really think is that not one single person I have ever known fits any kind of stereotype so I am just going to follow a few things that make sense like shake with your right hand (or is it the left?) and make sure that I ask lots about people’s families and am polite and then I’m just going to ask Moshi straight out to tell me if there something that I am not doing right. It will just be easier that way.
Am I nervous and excited all at the same time? Yup.