People tell me a lot that I don’t post enough. Or at least that I’m not super consistent. And if you are a closer follower (and I will assume you are because you are reading this now) you will see that it has been over a month since my last post.
That’s my bad.
But what’s true everywhere you live is true here. Life gets busy. I have a running to-do list complete with a lot of scrawling, a few additions and subtractions. And obviously when I say I have a running to-do list, I mean by the end of every week, I have no fewer than 3 that I then take a significant portion of my Monday morning to condense and compile into just one. ‘Cause I’m a living example of organized chaos.
Over the past month, we’ve had 2 USA teams visit, 2 upcoming supporter trips, our CEO is to follow and then my sister arrives August 4th.
And did I mention that I am preparing to leave Zambia?
Can you believe it has already been 2 years? It’s a little hard to swallow, but just as expected, time really flew by. And now, suddenly, I am panicking and packing (well, thinking about packing).
That’s my big announcement. I am planning to pack. I’m uncertain what’s next – I’m scheming and hoping and praying, but nothing is etched in stone. I’m planning some time for rest, a few conferences, time with family, a few getaways with friends (get in touch, we’ll do coffee. Or Target). I will be catching back up with my churches and communities and hoping to find ways to reconnect. I will be spending a few months working on some Wiphan projects, and then things are a little hazy. I’m learning to be okay with the temporarily hazy.
In the meantime, I’ve started the reflection process. I’m thinking back on what these years have been, what they have meant. Here are things I did not expect:
- To lose so much hair. Between the heat, the anxiety, the water, did I mention the heat? I’m amazed I still have anything on top of my head.
- The sicknesses. I mean, woah. Luckily, I have a friend in town who is all too used to me asking “Can you take a look at this strange rash forming on my abdomen and tell me if I should be concerned?” But don’t worry, I don’t think I am diseased or anything. It’s like your first year teaching, right? Your body is exposed to new things and they have to go through your system.
- For this to become real life. I think Zambia sounded like an adventure 2 years ago. When I first visited, it seemed like another planet. But now, it’s just my life. It’s the place I have my home. Where I have friends, groups of folks, a job. It’s the place where all the things that make up a life are for me.
- Not to miss things. I’ve joked a lot about Target and peanut butter m&m’s. For obvious reasons. But people aside, there is little that’s not here that I really miss. Sure, I’d eat more tortilla chips and spend more time at the $1 spot if I could. But I cannot. And I haven’t been able to for years. So I make do with what I got. It’s enough. It is more than enough.
- To be seen as so powerful. I’m asked for something every day. Usually it is money or a bag or the earrings I’m wearing or the purse that I’m carrying. Sometimes I’m asked to become someone’s wife. This week I was offered someone’s babies. It’s a weird, difficult thing to be a powerless person seen as holding the power. I stammer a lot. I awkwardly laugh. I ask why the asker thinks what they think or sees what they see in me. It’s unclear.
- To learn so much about mechanical things. I’ve probably opened the hood of my car more in the past 3 months than I have in the previous 30 years. And sometimes, my tinkering has actually done something. It is amazing. I’ve reattached battery cables, poured in fluids, fiddled with spark plugs. Truly, it has been unexpected. (And I amend #4, I do miss the possibility of calling AAA.)
- To learn so much about me. Some of it is good. Like my networking and connecting abilities that have been in full force as I settle into life in a new country. Some things are less good, like my inexplicable ability to be so completely selfish and contentedly self-absorbed.
- To leave with so many more questions than answers. The truth of the matter is – 2 years is not a lot of time. It is a blink. I find myself asking “what have I even done?” OR worse yet, “what could I have done?/what could I still do?” It’s the challenge of being short term addressing long-term needs. It will always need more time.
I’m not done reflecting. These are not the only things I have seen or the only things I have learned. There’s more. There’s a lot that is deeper and more personal, and may be appropriate for a blog later, but may also be more suited to a teatime conversation. ‘Cause that’s how I roll, now.