Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paradigm Shift

Getting a new assignment changes things. The second you read the email that says "congratulations, you're going to Whereverstan" your entire outlook shifts, and not necessarily for the better.

For me, ever since that fateful day when the word "Dublin" suddenly took on new significance, it's like Conakry has just faded into the background. I don't care anymore. I'm not really following the local news. The city's vivid and bustling street scenes, which I always found fascinating before, can't hold my attention. I have lost interest in finding new restaurants and going on day trips. I don't really feel like doing anything anymore but holing up in my house with a mountain of DVDs and a vat of chocolate chip cookie dough until it's time to go to Ireland.

Things that didn't bother me that much before, things I considered part of the Grand Guinea Adventure, are now strangely upsetting. When the power keeps going out when I'm trying to cook dinner or my radio starts beeping at oh-dark-thirty or the grocery store doesn't have what I want or I can't download a software update or a fender-bender blocks off a main road for an hour, where I used to shrug and take it as part of the West Africa Experience I now turn suddenly peevish and think "this time next year I won't have to deal with this crap." You won't believe how often crap happens in Conakry that I won't have to deal with in Dublin (both figuratively and literally).

I don't LIKE this. I don't like being snappish and irritable all the time. I don't want to waste the next nine months of my life imagining being somewhere else. And I especially don't want this to become a pattern. Once I do get to Dublin I'll be there for a year or so, and then one day I'll get another email - "congratulations, you're going to ________." Will that email ruin my second year in Ireland too? And what about the post after that, and the post after that?

Clearly I am desperately in need of some "living in the moment" lessons. And after a lazy long weekend I'm running out of TV shows, so I'd better figure this out quick.


  1. I always find an end date makes me appreciate the remaining time more. Perhaps you'll swing back the other way in the next few months and really want to make the most of Guinea before you leave. You deserve a little time to imagine what Dublin will be like and perhaps make some arrangements before you mentally come back to Guinea. Living in the moment is pretty darn hard (and something we could all use regular help with, I think).

  2. It is hard not to fall into that trap, especially when you live in a place that's harder than most. I know that's how we felt in Togo... and we were going to India.