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South Africa Conference
So, there's an Open Source Geo conference in South Africa, September 29, 2008 – October 3, 2008. My boss wants me to go. In theory, great. In practice...

Travel is a 24 hour flight -- at least -- each way. Okay, so that's not so horrible -- but for just 5 days of a conference, it's a bit much.

"No problem", thinks I, "I'll do some South Africa Tourism while I'm there!"

But wait, says brain. Girls -- including Jess -- will have just started school. You would essentially be abandoning Jess for two weeks during her first semester back at school in a year with an 11 year old drama queen and an over-energetic 7 year old geek girl. Wouldn't that be cruel and unusual punishment?

So now I'm kinda stuck: I'd really like to go, and I'd really like to see South Africa, but I feel like I can't go, because it would mean leaving Jess alone with the kids for too long, and I don't really want to go just for the conference.

I dunno. Maybe I'm being silly -- maybe it's worth it to fly to South Africa for the conference. I mean, it'd be a nice conference to be at, but there's just a lot of cost involved for something so short, in my mind.

Am I crazy? What should I do here?

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Would your mother-in-law and some of your/Jess' friends be able to help out during that time?

Would Jess feel that is a viable solution?

I'd go and do some tourism. When's the next time you'll have the opportunity to go to South Africa?

Go. I would kill to go in your shoes.

Yeah, see, that's the trouble. I'd plan to go, and then you'd kill me and wear my skin so that you could go instead!

Honestly, you should no more pass up this chance than you passed up Lausanne. For serious. Everyone will handle.

Right, but this is different, because I'm talking about 2.5 times as long as Lausanne. Lausanne was only a 4 day conference; I was gone for 6 days total. Here I'd probably be looking at at least 10, maybe 14 if I could somehow pull it off, and I think it would make life difficult for you unless we could somehow get you someone to stay here and help daily.

I mean, most of the time when I go to conferences, the girls end up missing school -- which isn't so horrible -- but if *you* ended up missing school, that would pretty majorly suck.

Agreed. Ain't no way you should pass up South Africa. You can make it up to me by letting me travel someplace else sometime. :)

I didn't want to add my opinion to this until I'd seen what your local friends had to say — but if Jess is saying you should do it, and honestly meaning it, then you should trust her and do it. I think from what you've said in the past, Jess and I seem to have a lot in common in terms of brain stuff; so if my opinion helps, I do think you should go.

Go! My friend was just in South Africa for a few weeks and loved it.

Me: GO.
hyounpark: Chris, do I have to SHOVE YOU ON THE PLANE?

Plus, yeah, then Jess can go and do one of those January terms abroad. :)

I'd tell my husband to go if he had that kind of chance, and my kids are much younger. If Jess says go, then definitely go!

You have the opportunity, and your family has a lot of support from family and local friends. You should definitely go, I think.

You should totally go. The lab's former postdoc just moved to Cape Town and it's totally awesome. How often do you get to flee the country on your employer's dime? I'm sure you can get help around the house/with the girls etc. while you're out of town. The first few weeks of the term at Wellesley are always Interesting, but usually pretty benign.

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