Monday, September 22, 2003

So, day one is over -- and a truly strange experience it was.

In some ways it felt like I'd been away for an eternity yet in others it was as though I'd never left.

After the initial flurry of excitement, with a photographer from the BBC staff newspaper on hand to record the moment of my return for posterity (I have a copy of his picture but for some reason can't open it, so I'll try and upload it tomorrow) I was able to settle down to business.

It was then that the true extent of my absence hit home. I felt like someone arriving at an exam only to realise they haven't done any revision -- or even taken the course they're meant to be examined on. After a couple of hours, though, things began to make more sense as I began to pick up my old habits and rhythms again.

In truth, I seemed to spend much of the day talking, catching up with friends and colleagues I hadn't seen for months. The normality of it all was extremely reassuring and grounding after months of strangeness and uncertainty.

Spent a while getting my head around the logistics for the European Union Intergovernmental Conference in Rome on October 4th -- my first gentle foray back into the field.

I got an e-mail from the correspondent I'll be working with at the summit, welcoming me back on board. "Rome in early October is good place to begin," he said. I couldn't agree more.


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