"This shouldn't frighten me, but it does," was the only thing I could think when amended orders suddenly showed up in my inbox. The message delivered on bureaucratic letterhead was very clear that my year of Arabic study would be in Jerusalem, the same location as my subsequent job, meaning four years total in the same place, maybe even the same house. I didn't want it to, but it felt like a jail sentence. How ironic that the prospect of staying put for so long was the most foreign thought I'd ever had in my entire Foreign Service career. The last time I could claim to have spent four years in the same location, I was 11.
I'm not sure what I'm worried about. The chance to really get to know a city? The thought of being able to properly cultivate a garden? Actually, that's a lie: I know what I'm worried about. I worry about being alone for four years. And I worry about being bored. And I worry about being 37 when I leave and still without a partner, looking at the same scenario all over again at my next post.
So I remind myself that I like my job. Because I really do. And to do something else would only mean having to choose a place to stay forever. And the world is so big.
And shouldn't I be worrying more about the open-ended question that is Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan...?