Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons From A Troubadour

Ah, a blog post.  This will be a mish mash of random thoughts.  I haven't been motivated to do a lot of writing lately.  I still need to post about the last couple of days in Sri Lanka, Ramadan, Miami, and a few other things.  I have a sticky note to remind me daily.  But, motivation and words escape me a lot lately.  Part of it is a bit of paranoia.  I have been reading with interest/horror/contemplation the many posts lately focusing on FS blogs and bloggers and the potential effect on one's career.  And even though I follow most of the unwritten rules, it's still something to consider.  I'm not really all that anonymous, but, really, the FS world is so small that it almost doesn't matter. 

Work has been really great and really challenging lately.  I'm busy almost every minute of the day, which I enjoy.  I have been here long enough to know my portfolio pretty well and feel relatively established (and also who to ask when I don't know things).  Summer transfer season meant saying goodbye to some wonderful people and welcoming some other wonderful people. 

When I hit the one year mark at post, it still felt like I had a long way to go.  Which was good.  But all of a sudden it feels like time is moving entirely too fast and I'll be leaving Jeddah all too soon.  There's still so much to be done!  I think I was so anxious about bidding and finding out my second post that one year seemed like an eternity.  Now that I know and am excited and relaxed, two months have passed in the blink of an eye.  It's both comforting and discombobulating. 

Fall is my homesick time.  All this talk of apple picking and canning vegetables and fires in the woodstove and leaves changing color has me wistful for a New England fall.  It's been a while...  It's no wonder I've been making all manner of Thanksgiving foods lately.  But pecan pie on a day when it's 110 and feels like a sauna outside just isn't the same.  (And, Mom, this does not mean I'm going to get all wistful over NH winter.  I still dislike snow and sleet and cold.)

And then there's the world.  So much going on.  It's hard to keep up some days.  The 24 hour news cycle and unique perspective I have on international affairs as a result of my job means I'm never really separated from the goings on.  My dreams have been even more vivid and related to real life than usual lately.  Maybe that's why I feel less rested even when I sleep more. 

East Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, is on my mind a lot.  For some obvious reasons.  For some less so.  Probably partly because I'm moving to the region next year.  A week or so ago I read an article in the NY Times by poet/musician K'Naan about his return to his homeland of Somalia.  It is definitely sticking with me.  As one Facebook commentator said, the article is both eloquent and heart-wrenching.  And now I've been listening to his music almost non-stop.  I always loved the very catchy anthem "Wavin' Flag" made popular during the World Cup in 2010, but I'm enjoying his other songs as well. 

I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the latest news from Saudi Arabia concerning voting rights for women.  According to most Western media, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I'm not convinced, nor are a lot of the women I talk to.  This is not the right forum to get into a discussion (see first paragraph), but there's a lot more to consider.  And some of the many, many articles I've read have raised some of the other issues.  Read a broad spectrum of articles if you want to know more.  Don't get me wrong, I am of course excited at the news and applaud King Abdullah's efforts.  But everything comes with a context, including this. 

But even with everything going on and the nonstop commentary and analysis going on in my head, I'm content.  And it feels comfortable. 

But if Callaghan doesn't stop biting my feet in the mornings and tearing the lining out of my shoes, I will be a whole lot less content.  Perhaps it's time to dip back in to my water gun stash. 

When everything else is chaos, the kittens are a constant.  As it should be. 

Why, yes, I was busy.  But if you're going to pet me, I guess I'm available.

Please, please, please take off your shoes so I can eat the linings! And are those exposed toes!?