Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat?

A few months ago I interviewed for a job here in G Town. Unlike most other times, I didn't need have to spend the days before researching the company and the job role in my usual pre interview agenda. I didn't have to google the office location, or look up the interviewer. These were things I already knew because I'd been working for the organisation for the past 8 months. I'd assisted with planning three large fundraisers and through those events, helped the organisation raise over £85,000. Suffice to say, they knew me, knew my work and my strengths and capabilities.

At the interview I outlined a 15 month fundraising schedule that I had developed that included introducing a new range of events that targeted the 21-35 year old population; a group that I felt the organisation had failed to tap in to as potential long term donors. My plan included a list of event ideas, potential dates and venues and details on how to market these events to the target population using social networking tools. It was smart, comprehensive and guaranteed to raise their fundraising levels by at least 20% over the next year.

They listened to the entire proposal, smiled and nodded. Then they pushed aside everything I'd said and decided to focus on the fact that I didn't have access to a vehicle - which they stated was integral to the role - and that I didn't have an established donor network here in the city (or the country) that I could tap in to for support and outreach; also something they stated was integral to the role. I pointed out that I had somehow managed to do the job (rather successfully at that) for the past 8 months and hadn't let either factor be a hindrance to my success. Still, they weren't convinced and a few weeks later, I got a letter informing me that I hadn't got the job. It was a bitter pill to swallow. I was so sure that my past actions spoke volumes for my capabilities and deep down I felt I deserved the job far more than any of the other candidates. Fortunately, I left soon after for the south of England and soon the sting of that loss was a distant memory.

Some weeks ago, I received an email from the same organisation that was a call for volunteers. I checked the date and knowing that I had no other plans, confirmed my help. I even roped in a friend to go along as well. Last night at the event, we sold tickets, manned stalls and generally helped out all evening. I knew a lot of the other volunteers there as we'd worked together before at other events and it was a generally fun filled night. It was the first time that I was meeting anyone from the charity since the interview. It was also the first time I met the person they'd finally hired, but with two jobs in hand and a plan for a third on the horizon, I was in a much better place than six months ago, so it wasn't a big deal at all.

This morning I got a text message from the Fundraising Manager. Let's meet up soon. I have a proposal for you. 

I'd been tricked before. So, this time, I'm hoping for a treat. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where Have All The Nanas Gone?

It is a truth universally known, that early morning phone calls are always to be mistrusted. For whatever unexplainable karmic reason, good news will come to you during the day. But that phone call or text message or pager that you get in the wee hours of the morning - that will always, always be helped along by an ill wind. And so, when my phone rang at 10:43 am today and caller ID said "home", I knew that picking up the call would definitely put a damper on my day.

It was my mum, calling to tell me that my dad's aunt had passed away. She was the last of her generation on my paternal grandmother's side of the family. I never knew my own grandmother as she had succumbed to ovarian cancer much before I was born. I am named for her and I share her passion for music and her talent for dance. Aunty Eye was her younger sister and almost everything I know about my grandmother came from her; but even after hearing all the stories, I feel there was so much more I could have learned, so many more questions I could have asked.

And that's what troubles me the most. As each grandparent, great aunt and grand uncle passes away, there are fewer and fewer voices that can reach back and decode the mysteries of the past. Suddenly it feels like a race against the passage of time and already I know that I am falling further and further behind. But, I wonder, is the sense of this loss a sorrow for their mortality, or is it that I know that I am just another step closer to mine?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Last year I found out by chance that a lot of my friends here in G Town had never taken part in that oh-so-delightful Autumn activity otherwise known as pumpkin carving. I decided that it was my bounded duty to spread the good cheer of Halloween and with that in mind I invited a few friends around for a night of carving. It was a fun night; lots of laughs, good food and getting to know new friends. And a whole lot of folks who lost their proverbial pumpkin carving cherry!

A few weeks ago, some of the friends who'd come to last year's party cajoled me into organising another such evening. Last night, as I looked around at the gang gathered around my living room I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had established a tradition of sorts.

Today there was more evidence of further integration into local culture. Come 8 o'clock and I'd settled in to watch X Factor - the results show. Drama and his boy got me hooked the weekend I was in London and I'm now cheering along with the rest of this island. Again, it seems trivial but its just another thing that makes me feel more at home. Makes me feel like I belong here. Here, in this adoptive home of mine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Character Reference

At a meet up with friends Tigger and Roo last night, we got talking about our year end holiday plans. Roo is from Oz and Tigger is from Finland, so both are relative-less here in G Town. They told me about their plans to be with Tigger's folks for Christmas and she listed all of the little Finnish customs and traditions that she was looking forward to. When it came for my turn to tell of holiday plans, I shrugged despondently. I'd been invited to spend Christmas with friends from Newcastle, but seeing as how I worked until 10pm on weeknights - and Christmas eve is a Friday - it was going to be impossible to get to theirs in time for a holiday celebration. Almost all forms of transit shut down by 5pm on Christmas eve and don't start up again until Boxing Day.

While Tigger murmured her sympathy, Roo gave me a quizzical look. Pixy, you work on expenses right? Spreadsheets, money, allocation of funds... the likes? he asked. Wondering at this rather abrupt change of topic, I nodded in agreement. Yes, that was essentially what I did at work. His brow cleared and a big smile spread across his face. Good Heavens!! he yelped. Good Heavens, Pixy. You work with numbers and money and you're probably going to be working late on Christmas Eve. You're a real live Bob Cratchit!!! 


Friday, October 01, 2010

Divine Intervention

There was an email in my inbox this morning telling me about the death of my mum's cousin. He had been very ill for a while and for the last year bedridden, so it was a blessed death. Later, as I was speaking with my mum I mentioned how October 1st seemed to a popular day for our family. Today is Nana's one year death anniversary.

My mum murmured her agreement. After all Pixy, she said, Prim* Nobert was Nana's godson and he was really very fond of her. He must have remembered it was her death anniversary and decided that would be his as well. Now laughing madly, I told my mum that no matter how much he liked his Godmother, it would hardly be up to him to pick his time of passing. My mum was silent for a bit and then spoke. You're right. Prim Norbert wouldn't have been able to do anything, but Nana could! 

And although I rang off still laughing madly, somehow I could totally see my grandmother being on some kind of welcome committee up in Heaven saying to a perhaps bemused and disoriented new arrival. Sit down baba, have a sandwich. You look tired. After all, its been a long journey to get here.  

*Konkani word used for older cousin
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