Archive for July, 2015

Slow Time is for Thinking

July 27, 2015

It’s a slow day at work; last week I even resorted to sifting through stacks of paper that have accumulated over the past 2.75 years on our shared desk and recycling most of it (the most exciting find was my daughter’s vaccination records, which I thought we had lost).

So I’ve been reading… Harry Potter memes, national news, and old blog archives from current and former team members here. I feel like I’m in this quest to figure out what it all means – our time here, to be specific – what we’re supposed to be doing or accomplishing – and how will we know when it’s time to move on?

We signed up for five years, but I feel like our hearts have never been fully given over to life and work here. It’s always been a bit tentative, a bit hesitant, a bit wondering if this is really the right fit for us. Always holding back like a bad boyfriend (the one who will only walk you halfway home after a date, who gives you a fucking cactus for Valentine’s Day). We’ve never really fallen in love with this place, but then I think we never really tried either.

Gimli says there are three things that would make him want to end our term early: 1) having to deal too much with this one department at HQ that he hates, 2) Bogota becoming unbearable, and 3) a job opportunity opening up in Albania. I’m on board with that, for sure… part of me is still grieving Shqiperia. And while Bogotá is growing on me, it’s still an enormous polluted city of over 8 million (mostly very rude) people. The work itself, and the organization itself, I do care about, though. HQ doesn’t bother me. But I’m the kind of person who can’t really enjoy watching a movie if the person I’m with isn’t enjoying it.

So I just realized that my last blog post was about this exact same thing. Circling around to the same thoughts and questions. I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to see a family psychologist. I’m not in crisis, but I feel like I need help.

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July 17, 2015

Man, it’s been a long time. I unchained myself from my computer when I submitted the final, final version of my dissertation and bought tickets to graduation. It felt HUGE to attend that event, really and truly a celebration and putting final punctuation to a nine-year process. It doesn’t even matter that I don’t have a clear plan for a continued academic life, it just feels incredibly good no longer to have that huge thing hanging over my head all the time.

At the moment I’m enjoying the extra free time by reading tons of Harry Potter and celebrity gossip. And paying attention to some of the qualitative things at work that I’d left languishing. I feel a new sense of energy for parenting. I’m thinking about ideas for cooking with more vegetables, thinking about extracurricular possibilities for Illyria, even haircuts and craft projects.

Last week I attended a retreat where even though I was in a supporting role (not the “intended audience” per se) there were some wonderful spaces for contemplation and renewal. I’ve been thinking a lot about Albania, and Colombia, and why I still feel such a strong sense of attachment to the former but the latter still leaves me cold. Obviously these are two facets of the same coin. But I finally feel like I’m no longer grieving Albania. I feel a sense of acceptance and peace about that chapter having ended. I’d still love to go live in that part of the world again, but I’m ok with not knowing when or whether that will ever happen. More than ok. I’m good with it.

So Colombia is growing on me. I’m feeling a new sense of appreciation for this country, and what life here brings us. A new sense of interest and curiosity. Gimli isn’t in the same head-space, though, and that means we’re still talking about whether we’ll weather the 5-year contract to the end, or cut it a bit short (possibly July 2017 or so). We’ve decided to decide by February at the latest.

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