December 23, 2003

3 Weeks 'Til Uzbekistan!!!

And how do I feel?...excited, scared, sad, skeptical, and overwhelmed, but most of all I feel panicked, and down right cranky! (A warning of the emotional rambles to come.)

Christmas has made my preparations ten times more hectic and has left me with very little time for much needed reflection about the imminent change in my life. My days have been full of executing tasks on my daily lists, driving, buying, deciding, exchanging, making new lists. The little time in between has been spent imagining my absence from the everyday life of my loved ones when I'm gone. Of course this has been made more acute while preparing my will. The reality of my absence made clearer by the considerations.

Perhaps I’m depressed by the recent morbid thoughts. I have internalized how others will feel after I leave for Uz, realizing the void of what I bring to their daily lives now. I think about how empty the house will be without me, how quiet a drive in the car will be without me, how there will be no more midnight chatters or morning coffees. The most distressing is how there will be no other end of the telephone with me on it for anyone until a few months after training and I am settled into a house with (hopefully, but highly unlikely) a phone. Even then, it will be sporadic and unreliable. Calls from Uz will also be prohibitively expensive, if and when, I can find service. Unfortunately, email and the internet cannot yet close the gap of hearing each other's voice, which is as close to seeing and touching as we can get from a distance.

How is this going to work? How can my loved ones here share their lives with me if they can't even pick up the telephone and call me when they have exciting news, or boring news, when they're sad or stressed, when they have an important decision to make, or when they just plain miss me? I'm afraid I will feel trapped, without the power to maintain both lives. I'm afraid that trying to hold on to this life will handicap my effectiveness in Uz. I'm afraid I can't have everything and I have everything to lose. Whether I go or stay has sacrifices I am not prepared to make.

I have been conflicted about all of this for some time, and no, it hasn't gotten any better or easier. The panic I feel now from my looming departure is suffocating.

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