Three Months Later

Posted: 11 November 2008 in Charlottesville, work, you've got to be kidding

I woke up this morning with a weight on my chest.  Then, I showered, dressed and walked the dog, all with a sick realization that I felt overwhelmingly sad.  For the first time since I left the Foreign Service in July, I felt like I had made a terrible mistake.

Trying to keep from absolutely panicking at having made this worst choice, I focused on the changing, falling leaves.  Surely, they wouldn’t have this in the places I’d have been posted.  I noticed the convertible laced with frost.  The top wasn’t slashed and was, in fact, parked safely and naively in an open lot radio intact.  That’s an impossibility in the places I’ve served.  I concentrated on the dog, blissfully unaware that he might have been living in a cement city, cooped up in airplanes, scolded for terrorizing government furniture.  I remembered all the nights the phone hasn’t rung with work, all of the afternoons spent in jeans with books, all of the weekends that belonged completely to me.

This was a right choice.  But it’s also a done choice, irrevocably.  You know by now that I love living in Charlottesville, love the University, love shhing the undergrads. I just wonder what triggered it.

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Comments
  1. Digger says:

    My two cents? The election triggered it. With Obama as President, lots of us are much more optimistic about the future, especially those of us with same-sex partners. But even if they give us all of the rights of married folks, it won’t change the nature of the beast. You will still have to choose between work and family. You would still have to be in all those dangerous places. You would still constantly worry that some manager with zero experience managing and less empathy would make your life hell for 2-3 years in a foreign place (asshole managers are easier to handle when you can come home to a place that makes sense to you). Your whole life would still be at the whim of people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

    You made the right choice…just my two cents.

  2. linaria says:

    I also think you made a good choice, for yourself, D. , and the dog.

    Is it possible you’re feeling some of the stress of acculturation? It’s only been three months–how many years did you live abroad? I mean, you know, it’s normal to feel a little weird after a drastic change in one’s cultural surroundings. The people you see on a regular basis won’t have the same basic understanding of their society as you will, since you’ve lived outside it, so it gives you a weird feeling. It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from–immigrants get it, so do ex-convicts, veterans, etc. It takes awhile to adjust. It doesn’t mean the change itself was a bad move.

  3. Amy Hunter says:

    I agree with Linaria. It sounds like culture shock.

    I can relate. I intended to go into academia, and spent much of the year in the Caribbean when I was in grad school. I was in ecology and studied fish. Academic culture is very different from “the regular world,” and academia was my life. Then illness forced me out. I ended up getting out, staying in Minneapolis (I hated cities–just came here for school), and now I work in a skyscraper in the tech industry. Huge, huge shift in lifestyle, and I’m surrounded by people very different from myself and who don’t share my life experiences.

    It’s been ten years, and there are still times I feel a bit like an outsider, and I’m sometimes sad for the things I lost, even though I was struggling with what I had. There are things I do enjoy about my new life, and it was a necessary change, but I will always speak “regular people” with a bit of an accent. I will always feel like I’m living a life that isn’t quite mine. But there are good things about this life too, and on the whole I’d say I’m happy.

    So give yourself some time. It will get better as you make more connections, and C’ville is a good place for a transition. Getting stuck in Minneapolis was a bit rough, although there are things I do love about being here.

    Anyway, hi–you don’t know me, but I found your blog a while ago when I moved mine to WordPress. I visited C’ville four years ago and thought about relocating there. Ultimately decided not to, but I did love the town. So I keep an eye out for blogs that talk about it. Hope things continue to go well with your transition. 🙂

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