It’s very nice to go trav’ling
To Paris, London and Rome
It’s oh, so nice to go trav’ling
But it’s so much nicer
Yes, it’s so much nicer to come home
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and most famously sung by Frank Sinatra
During my career I have been fortunate to work in several parts of the world. It is always a privilege to meet people from different countries, to learn something of the culture, history and cuisine of a country, and to try and understand how educational provision has been developed and managed. Exploring teaching and learning with professional colleagues provides an opportunity to share ideas, learn new ways of thinking and develop approaches to working that are often refreshing and interesting. Through such work I have established helpful professional networks and also made some very good friends.
One important aspect of this travel for work has always been ensuring that I have the ability to keep in touch with home. On occasions when this is difficult because of the remoteness of location and the poor availability of telephone lines, internet, or even electricity, this can be a source of some frustration. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and in particular the availability of skype, it is normally possible to maintain that vital link with family back home.
Last night was a source of some amusement as I made my daily contact from Malta with Sara, knowing that she would be having supper with my eldest son and his wife and our granddaughter Martha. As skype connected us, to my great delight the first face I saw was that of Martha and I immediately began talking to her just as I might had we been in the room together. But here for Martha was something of a challenge. At ten months old she was clearly bemused. As I watched her face, staring at a screen I could interpret her look of confusion as saying – I know this is Granddad’s face, I recognise the voice, but what is he doing inside Gran’s phone? After a while it was clearly all too much and she retreated to the arms of her mother trying, I imagine, to work out the meaning of this strange situation. Ah well, such innocence will not last long, and I hope that it will not be too long before we can have a proper conversation when I am away. More importantly I will be at home by this time tomorrow and look forward to being back with my family, including Martha for some real life conversation.
My brief sojourn in Malta has been rewarding for the opportunity I have had to meet with children, teachers and other professional colleagues whilst undertaking my work in schools and education centres. As is almost always the case when visiting schools, the warmth of the welcome and the enthusiasm of staff has been considerable. These are the factors that always make work away from home most enjoyable. Add to this the fact that I have been working with a fine team of committed professionals who have been good company, and from whom I have learned so much as we have shared our tasks together during the past week on this Island, and I can understand why the time appears to have passed so quickly. So as I prepare to leave the sunshine of Malta and return to what I hear has been a somewhat cooler and wetter England I must say thank you to Amanda, merci Serge, diolch yn fawr Verity, tack Per and grazzi to the people of Malta, it has been an honour to work with you all and I hope that we will have an opportunity to collaborate again in the future.