Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On the Beach -

Writing from Katerini, a beach town in Central Greece not far from Mt. Olympus. After five days of writing and editing our team said goodbye to the host city and came here for a bit of R&R. The long-termers who requested the team came as well and have continued to take care of logistics for us, going far beyond my expectations.

That's been a relief. Although I'm a decent small-group facilitator, my ability to herd people around, anticipating and meeting their practical needs is fairly limited. I'm not the one you should hand the map to and put in charge, and I haven't figured out this group's dynamics well enough either to take on that role effectively or to empower someone else for it. The team's leaders really don't want to do it if they don't have to, either. After a couple of months of this they are ready for a break.

I've been in charge of the overall schedule, though, and that I can manage. Mornings at the beach, debrief sessions (when the team two-year-old is napping) from 2:00 to 5:00, evenings out (back on the beach and/or dining at any number of beach restaurants), bed whenever - it's been pretty relaxing. Between, I've had to spent time preparing, but not too much. I've met with each team member one-on-one to check in with them personally as well as pushed them to share what they were thinking and feeling and to anticipate what it might be like going back. It can be tough being a bit of an outsider, not quite one of the group, but it's nice to have as much of a part in things as I have.

There's still a good bit of work to do in finishing up the writing projects. Thought about staying in my room to work on these things while we're here and being that much further ahead, but I needed a break too. So this is also my first and only visit to the Internet cafe.

Have to say the sensuality of life in a beach town at high tourist season is getting to me a bit. I don't think I've worn a two-piece bathing suit since some time in the 1970s, but most of the women are unflinchingly bikini-clad - if that. We try to stay away from the beach during the afternoons when we think there's a higher rate of toplessness...

We head to the big city (Thessaloniki) this afternoon, wrap up some loose ends, have a last team dinner together, and say goodbye. The first airport run is 2:30 am.

I'll try to post some internet-appropriate observations, word pictures - and some photos - in the next couple days, and put additional content in an upcoming newsletter.

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