My daughter has started the countdown. Now she knows how many days remain before I show up the door. As a parent, I feel proud for two reasons. The first, she misses me and the second, she knows to count; it was investment on her education. It has been 8 months and I wanted to start a countdown as soon as I booked my tickets. The "cold snap" and the business of being involved in everything yet nothing has prevented me from doing it.
Looking back, the last time I did a countdown was in 1997. A few days in Bern for the first overseas assignment, I was homesick. I wanted to go back home. I wrote the days remaining on text file and updated it every morning. When that was not fast enough, I reworked on the countdown and calculated the number of hours remaining. Luckily, that moved fast enough for me. If it did not, I would have moved on to minutes and then seconds. Like I said, I was homesick! It was a jinxed countdown. When the goal was within reach, they extended our stay by another one month. You can imagine my despair.
That experience with the countdown also had another effect on me. Now I'm prepared whenever I go for assignments, however short it is. Deep inside my mind, I know these can get extended. This also is one advice I give freely to anyone who flies to a different location for an assignment. Have an open mind with respect to the duration.