I flew out to India on 12th February and didn't return until 20th. Then I didn't log into my OU account until 22nd.
I had prepared - kind of. I completed the week 9th-15th February before I left. I thought (optimistically) that I would immediately pick my OU stuff up and get the week 16th-22nd done after my return. Of course I hadn't allowed for jet lag, tiredness and other 'post holiday' commitments in my blithely made assumption and thus I missed that whole week. I am hoping to catch up on the activities today (I began yesterday) and be able to start this week tomorrow. But I realise now how valuable it is to do everything at the same time as the rest of the group. I simply wasn't part of the conversation. I can read the conversation. I can add my points, ideas, perspective and so on but everyone else has moved on. This is unusual as previously I have often been 'first' to add to a forum, to offer my thoughts and I have had issues with that as well!
Worse still there was a group exercise from which I was entirely absent. I feel a bit bad. I am usually diligent in group work as I never want to be accused on not pulling my weight but this time it is undeniable. Actually - I feel a lot bad! I also missed the introductory tutorial. Both of them! There was one the day I flew out and another the day I arrived home! Both could have technically been possible but both would have been very difficult to schedule in. I am now also concerned I have missed out on the relationship building and recognition side of the group.
But I am back now. I have blocked out some time to properly 'catch up' and hope to be back on track quickly. I am confident I can catch up on the academic stuff - the papers, activities and so on. I am more concerned that I won't be able to catch up on the softer but equally important business of being part of the tutor group.
Time will tell.
Here's a picture to prove I was in India!