Thinking, always thinking

It’s feeling more and more definite – our vision of the future. Neither of us can see staying here past the middle of next year. And that fills me with a sense of buoyancy.

If there’s any sadness, it’s more the flavor of regret. Regret that we didn’t manage to fall in love with this country, as so many others have. Wondering if it’s some deficiency in ourselves, some cold-heartedness, some failure. Feeling that we’ve deeply disappointed our staff, our partner organizations, in some intangible way. Our predecessor in this position was so well-loved, and so passionately involved in everything – it was a hard act to follow no matter what. We knew that coming in.

We just had a team retreat during which we said goodbye to eleven people leaving now; five of whom are staying in the country either to continue working in the same area, or moving to a different position in our organization. The Colombians on the team always feel deeply moved by those who stay, who fall in love with this country, who form a deep attachment and commitment to the cause.

We haven’t. We’re putting in the time, at this point.

I can attribute some of my feelings of regret-failure-disappointment-guilt to the issues that I’m dealing with in myself in general; it’s the same emotional pattern that swirls around my graduate work and parenting. It never feels good enough, and anything short of perfection feels like failure. I hope that at least being able to identify this pattern in my psyche will help me disengage in healthier ways.

I also wonder, though, if our enduring attachment to Albania was the thing that kept us from fully engaging here? I still cry when I think about that last day, the airport, the last cup of coffee, the last goodbye.

If Illyria was happier at school here, that could change our decision. If we could live somewhere other than Bogotá, that would make a huge difference. But ultimately… it doesn’t feel like staying to the end of our term in 2017 is a very good idea, either for our mental and emotional health, for our family, or for the good of the program and the organization. They need – and deserve – leaders who really love this place. And that’s just not us.

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One Response to “Thinking, always thinking”

  1. Lori Lavender Luz Says:

    I get this, in my own way.

    In my late 20s, I moved to Japan to teach English. I replaced a wildly popular teacher. I had left a boyfriend back in the states. I was lonely and though the first half of the year went well, I grew tired of the job and lonely in the life for the last part. I was putting in time.

    Contrast that to a 2-year assignment my husband and I took in Syria years later (not the same guy). We LOVED our community and they loved us back. There were too many variables for me to say what made such a difference, but I have a Columbia/Albania feeling about each of my experiences, too.

    Where might you go next?

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