Countdown to yet another departure…

I have two weeks left and I already feel like I’ve run out of time.

There have been a few instances lately where, when asked where I’m going and I tell people I’m moving to Guatemala, they say something to the effect of “But didn’t you just get back from somewhere?” Yep, Ghana. “So what exactly do you do?” to which I respond with something like oh I work in nonprofits, or a vague “community development”. And then comes “How did you get into that kind of work?” and then there’s the glorious moment where I can say that it’s what I majored in at college, that it’s my passion, and yes, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing and no I don’t make much money, but yes I’m just fine with that.

It’s even better when these conversations happen just after someone’s finished judging me for working at Whole Foods when I have degrees from Berkeley.

And so here I am, two weeks to say goodbye amid the chaos of christmas and the holidays and I must somehow find the time to prepare for this next journey. Physical packing is a pain in the ass in and of itself, but emotional packing is the greatest challenge of all. I utterly failed in my emotional packing for Ghana. I arrived unprepared and off-balance and I missed out on a lot of beauty in that experience because of it (not to mention I was a real pain in the ass at times, like that kid on the trip that forgot bug spray and is always trying to borrow everyone else’s). So in a way, this departure for Guatemala means a lot to me, it’s a chance to show myself that I’ve grown and learned and will be better. I also have a lot to prove to the people who have asked me to come work with them, to show them that they made the right choice and that I can do the job well and make a meaningful contribution (and ideally be that kid that’s always got enough bandaids and pepto bismal and the really nice smelling hand sanitizer).

And so, as I spend the next two weeks packing yet again (this is the 4th time I’ve moved out of the country for an extended period of time, and then of course there’s every semester of college), any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated, be they physical or emotional 🙂




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