As my second day at the National draws to an end, I'm pleasantly surprised by how quickly I've settled. The first day at work was always going to be nervous, potentially neurotic experience. But, working with an team that's eager to integrate, encourage and guide me has already reaped humble rewards; namely my first newspaper story, a debut blog post, and a small booklet filled with story pitches.
Having only cut my print journalism teeth in the UK before this point, I know the challenges to reporting accurately, quickly and concisely are going to differ. As will the conveniences.
For example: marching through thick mud clenching soggy shorthand notes are a thing of the past. However, UAE summers will undoubtedly become a daily source of perspiration-induced frustration. And, where having to catch five separate unreliable trains consecutively almost left me stranded in Tewkesbury, getting caught in Dubai traffic with a looming deadline in Abu Dhabi would be enough to drive anyone mad.
This is also my first stint at a national newspaper. At a regional, smaller-scale paper, I could write an 800 word piece regarding the council's agony over a request to extend a rowdy restaurant's opening hours. Although such reporting is great journalism, the scale and power of national stories are refreshing, as is the challenge of articulating them economically.
Most importantly, though, figuring out how best to articulate the spectrum of local issues, achievements and passions is going to be a deeply rewarding experience.