I just found out I won’t have a job in a month.
As funding runs out, my program is coming to a close. This is a normal part of humanitarian work, and I’m okay with it. All I have to do now is close out 2 projects and lay the ground work for the next person who will come in when the money is available. While some of the recent uncertainty I experienced caused a fair amount of stress and frustration, especially after working so hard for a number of months to make sure things progressed smoothly, I’m actually incredibly relieved something is set in stone.
So what next for me? Money could appear in the next month or I could get a job with another NGO and stay longer in Sittwe if I wanted to. A part of me would prefer to move to Yangon – while other expats complain about and endless laundry list of minor inconveniences – there is something about the city that just clicks with me. While spending longer in the country that has excited me for years, spending more time with the friends I have made would be wonderful, I know deep down that I need to go home for a while. I miss my family, my Scottish accent appears on the days I feel most homesick, and there are friends I need to see or I’ll lose contact with them completely.
I transitioned from Liberia to Myanmar a little faster than I would have liked. After 6 months of the Ebola response no-touching policy, I jumped into dating a guy who turned out to be such an asshole I got on a plane to the other side of the world without saying goodbye. So many of my old friends had moved away or simply got on with their lives, the time I did spend at home was fairly lonely. In some ways I rushed back into the field in order to keep busy. I don’t want to repeat that – not mistake – that judgement call.
The next while will be spent focusing on my own needs and desires. The other week I realised I was wearing some of the same clothes I was wearing in Myanmar in two and a half years ago – I want to take pride in my appearance, have reasons to dress up again and not wear the same clothes all the time because that is all I could bring with me. It would be nice to go on a date and actually have the potential for it to somewhere long term. After three and a half years of a very transient existence, I have a major urge to stop for a bit, throw some paint on some walls, cook in my own kitchen and have at least a semi-permanent home.
So what now? I have a rough idea of where I want to be in the not too distant future. And I know it is not just a whim. Because I planned it and planted the seeds that could help me a year ago. It’s terrifying for me to realise how casually I plan my life ahead, how I knew exactly what small actions could help me in big ways years later, how I will happily wait a difficult situation out knowing I can work it to my benefit if I only be patient. Everything will be fine, whatever I end up doing.
But first, a break. A proper, unadulterated break.