22 February 2011

Half Way Done (and Only Just Begun)

It’s 1:30 in the morning as I start this, so I’ll just note that any incoherence should likely be attributed to that. I woke up about an hour ago to a great thunderstorm. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as wet as a good rainy season storm, but the sound and fury of the thunder and lightning are making up for it.

It’s been a quiet few weeks on the blog front, but not so much on the life front. I quit my job at the Ministry at the end of January, finally pulling the plug on an experience that had been making me dreadfully unhappy for a long time. I had a few things in the works when I quit, but nothing actually confirmed. Leaving without a definite next step was not at all like me, though I did quite enjoy the feeling of bravado it seemed to lend me for a few days. I quickly rocketed from relief to nervousness and back again, but it was all relatively short lived in the end.

A week after quitting, I got offered a chance to do exactly what I’d wanted to do all year – substantive work on social protection issues, with real responsibility and institutional support to get things done. I’m now interning for a large multilateral organization with a focus on youth (yes, your first guess is probably right).

Though I was originally slated to do mostly technical work on economic strengthening programs, I got drawn into legislative shenanigans on my third day. I’ve spent the last few weeks reliving my advocacy years – writing fact sheets, building coalitions, and wandering the halls of the Capitol. It’s been amazingly fun and the ease with which campaign planning still comes to me has given me a new appreciation for just how much I learned during all that time in Sacramento.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, I crossed the halfway point for Liberia, Take II. I spent most of November and December feeling like my time here was interminable, but now that I’m down to just about four months, it doesn’t feel like nearly enough time. A lot of that has to do with switching to work I’m really enjoying. The work part has also helped ease my general-life-unhappiness – it turns out that when you don’t have several hours a day to reflect on how miserable you are, you end up being a lot less miserable. Shocking, I know.

Now seems like a good time to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has graciously put up with the poorly timed phone calls, navel-gazing emails and occasional blubbering knocks at the door over the past six months. Your ears, words and hugs are very much appreciated. This being Liberia, I’m sure the rest of the road will still have some serious potholes, but I’m hoping there won’t be any more washouts between here and June.