Cheers to the wish you were here, but you're not
(this is a very good but very sad song that reminds me of other places, other people, other things that I miss hugely. Not to say I don't love where I am and who I am here with, but it doesn't, and it can't include all that I hold dear.)
Every time we start to get ready to leave a post, every time we start to think about the logistics of moving and what to get rid of and what we will put in storage, every time it comes time to say goodbye to a place that I have called home for an extended period of time, it happens. Every time we start the sorting, the advertising, the giving away, and every time we start to think about what else we want to do in Country X or what we are going to be so glad to not ever have to deal with again, it happens. My heat breaks just a little bit because I know that this place and those I hold dear here are going to go on the growing list of 'what I miss'.
Every place we have lived since starting this FS adventure (now 9 places in 6 cities), I have loved enormously. Perhaps that is my super power: finding the good in all of our homes, finding the treasures and the fun, trying to ignore the annoyances and move beyond the irritations. Don’t get my wrong, I definitely have had those irritable moments especially with this city’s AWFUL traffic or when I just can’t take another minute of the pollution ... but these moments are a few scattered about in a sea of many really, really good times.
I am not at all ready to go. I love being here, I truly appreciate the experiences the kids are getting in school, and I love my job. It takes a little bit to get used to and good at the job (true for any, I am sure) and now I have one that I love and that allows me to work with groups all over the country and help them help themselves. I have had the chance to get out and see all corners of this beautiful place, and interact with the amazing people who live here. They are trying to find their way, some are trying to get free of the norms they know are holding them in place, and others are snuggling back into the comfort of the lack of change that is at once familiar and safe as well as a bit confining. I love our friends here.
The kids are mostly ready to go. I have done some research for them, looking into the school, and sharing those as well as any surfing tidbits I found, trying to whet their appetite. The school registration forms are completed, and we’ve been watching the school videos. I have the names of kids close to their ages who they can reach out to when they are ready to do that (they aren’t yet; only I am writing with questions). I have looked into what part of the city might be the best place to live, and where we might find our new frequent stops: the school, grocery options, restaurants, yoga places ... the important things. I don’t know though, how the flow will be. We have our routine, we have our hang-out people, I know at least four ways to get from the places I most often frequent to home (you’re welcome, security office!). I know where I can find good olives for the boys. I know the best place to buy chicken. I know how to get the amazing shawarma, and which park is the best for elephant viewing in December. I know which direction the rain clouds come from during the long rains, and where to buy the really effective pool chemicals. I am not sure I will ever know this much about our next city ... except that I know I will soon enough because I have invested this same amount of research and pre-move energy into each new post.
As I sit here, watching the sun set over a crater lake (!!), enjoying a glass of wine, appreciating the cool breeze and birds calling, I know that next year I will not be in a place as familiar and comfortable, that I likely won’t yet have a job, and won’t have my community set yet, won’t know who my local friends will be ... I’m a little sad, again, because I have been here before. I have done this before and know that I will land on my feet, and I will figure things out. Again. Because that is also my super power: figuring out how best to make our new city, our new surroundings, our new home work. I also know in three years time, I will again be feeling this same way as we prepare to move once again to what may very well be our last assignment.