Wednesday, February 24, 2016


The wait continues. It seemed certain that I would know by now whether or not March would see me traveling to Mali. Bureaucracy has its ways, though, and most of them are slow.

In the meantime, I have taken up guitar lessons via Skype with a fun teacher who keeps me amused and doesn't pressure me too much in terms of practicing and improving. I also joined a French-speaking Meet-up group and have managed to enjoy two weekly meetings over the last month. A few weekends ago, I went to Miami to celebrate my grandmother's 97th birthday with my parents and brother, which was great! Well, the flights were delayed and I have an ongoing fraud fight going on with the car rental place that didn't give me a car and then charged me for it... but the visit itself was really nice.

I stayed at my grandmother's apartment during the visit while the rest of my family stayed with other family in Miami, so I got extra time to chat with my grandmother. I told her about my situation and my feelings. She nodded when I mentioned the guitar lessons and French meet-ups, saying, "Well, of course. That way you can be in control of something."

My grandmother is so wise. It surprised me to hear her perspective on what I saw purely as ways to distract myself from the frustration of waiting. But... she's right. Though I've never considered myself as one who has to maintain control, in this case she's absolutely right. With no control over whether or when I might go to Mali, life has felt recklessly out of control lately.

My dad recommended that I try focusing on being "posted" to DC, and then if I'm told to head to Mali, that will be the next adventure. Good advice, but hard to overcome that year of expectation and training and preparation. I'm working on re-focusing.

And so I wait, and do my darnedest to maintain a modicum of control over myself, the here and now. Spending time with friends, settling into some hobbies, and definitely trying not to think too hard about what news tomorrow might bring about Mali. 

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