Saturday, May 21, 2011

Low-Level Dread and Other Diseases

"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...?

3 comments:

SassAndSweet said...

A couple of quick thoughts :) - J-town and surrounding is utterly fascinating.... boredom is not something you'll ever run into while in Israel (my opinion) - and it's 60 min to Tel Aviv and the beach.. and 60 min to Jordan... and one of the best wineries ever is just outside of town... and their are ruins, and history and travel opportunities, and.. and.. and...

But I understand the restlessness, and I'm single and had the SAME THOUGHTS (still do in the dark of night) when I was bidding on my now upcoming posts.... ..and loneliness CAN sneak up at odd moments - but I also made some of my best friends EVER in Israel....

Meanwhile - you'd be welcome to email me if you ever want to chat what to do, where to go in IL - All my best, Rachel (sassandsweet@gmail.com)

Katie said...

Thanks, that's incredibly kind of you. My initial panic has faded, thankfully; now I'm just trying to figure out how best to make use of a four year block. Maybe I'll learn to play an instrument or build a scale model of the Great Wall of China or something. I think my latent knitta ambitions might come to the forefront.

Michelle said...

Katie,

I am thropughly enjoying reading your blog. I was telling your mom the other day what a great writer you are. You paint such a vivid picture with your words. I will keep you in my prayers, safe travels..