I wanted to share a more personal moment this week, which those of you who signed up for the latest webinar will have witnessed firsthand. For those of you who didn’t – shame on you. Because what was a well-informed, expert-driven, research proven exploration into the merits (and there are many) of journaling, fast unravelled into a demonstration of resilience in the face of adversity and a reminder that when things get tough, it’s far, far better to have friends beside you. Even if they are sniggering uncontrollably.
It started to go a little haywire off air, when I got rather overexcited chatting to my two guests – Trisha Carter (of CiCollective & Finding Home Abroad fame) and Julia Simens (esteemed author of Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child). As expats, it’s not often we get to have two of our favorite people in the same room, so you will understand that when it happens – even virtually – it’s easy to get carried away.
So when 10 a.m. rolled around, we weren’t exactly prepared. However, my British obsession with punctuality / nervous twitch kicked in, and the ‘Broadcast Live’ button was pressed.
With hindsight, it probably would have been better to mention it to Trisha and Julia. Instead of our professionally approachable, competent smiling faces, viewers were greeted by the back of Trisha’s head and indignant tones berating the noisy birds outside her studio. Closely followed by her turning, noticing the ‘on air’ sign was lit and gamely attempting to pull it together.
Turns out, schooling your expression is tricky when your co-presenters have erupted into sniggers at your expense, and all hopes of a respectful, articulate start have gone out of the window.
It was the foreboding of things to come. Having managed to get back on track and tackle to matter in hand, we were then scuppered by a massive echo on the broadcast. Enter the mute switch tango, in which I discovered that muting the presenters would fix the problem temporarily, but then could not unmute them. Julia’s mute button stopped working altogether, so we had to rely on hand signals to let her know we could hear her, at which point the software decided that Trisha was by far the most attractive subject matter and refused to show any screen but hers. There is something infinitely special about watching Julia dispense wisdom from a tiny inch-square box in the corner of the screen, while a life size Trisha nods on approvingly.
Just when I thought that we might just pull it off, the minions arrived. And by minions, I mean the newly adopted, 14 week old kittens who have an alarming fascination with keyboards, and had just broken into the office. So now, not only am I toggling between screens (futilely, as it turns out), and wrestling with the mute feature, I’m having to wrangle two felines who are invading the desk, intent on being part and parcel of the current circus. So if you were wondering what was gripping my attention on the desk and causing an alarming amount of fidgeting, now you know. Eventually, they got the hint and started scaling the curtains behind me, which made life much easier for me, but for a mesmerised Trisha, not so much…
Here’s the thing. If that’s the worst that ever happens on a webinar, I’m truly blessed. I finished the hour drenched in sweat, but bouyant with happiness. Putting yourself out there, taking risks is all part and parcel of life, and if any viewers on the webinar were disappointed by the glitches, they are probably not the audience I’m aiming for. I’m looking for ones who laugh along with us and recognize brilliance, tolerance and an ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ dedication when they see (and hear) it.
To me, it’s one of the profound joys of life – especially life on the move. Surrounding yourself with people who support you, regardless of your location, your struggles, your difficulty in communication. And so while the webinar might have started out as one on journaling, it became an hour long live demonstration of friendship, support, resilience and laughter.
To Trisha & Julia. Thank You.