New beginnings

It wasn’t that long ago I arrived in Pierre on a reasonably warm December day. Nothing beyond that moment matter because we had reuniting to do. In the small regional airport I hugged my family in welcoming.

In 10 days I’ll go back to that airport and hug my family again. This time, it will be goodbye.

I left Lesotho without any plans, a first for me. I didn’t need them, I reassured myself, because God and I made a pact. I wouldn’t worry and He would lead me to nobility. Plus, there were friends to swap stories with, food to eat and family to hold.

The newness of my return weaned and no plan was frightening. I dived into job searching with too much vigor that I was making mistakes and forcing myself to put out applications as if I had to meet a certain number before I would get hired. Day after day, I addictively refreshed my email for hope, a sign that I was going to be OK. One didn’t come.

In Lesotho Thebe used to tell me that when February came I would have a job. We’d laugh and he reassured me something above was working on my behalf. Former volunteers, friends, family, they all guaranteed me that I would land on my feet. That confidence left me as I more often clung on to the “It’s pretty hard out there”s and “It’s going to take a long time”s. It scared me that the space between A and B wasn’t defined and could be a line extending for months.

Peace Corps was such an incredible part of my life but I was reading to end when I did. I had been too long, to great of a pause on my life. One admired staff member told me honestly that it was time for me to leave Peace Corps behind and restart my life.

The transition was wearing. I itched inside of a temporary situation like bugs under my skin and wanted desperately create something of my own, a life that could bring me the things I couldn’t have the last three years.

My job search was methodical. Major U.S. cities. Non-profits. Writing. I scanned sites for days and only casted a net to opportunities that I felt held happiness. My mom wanted a place she could visit. My dad a city with a Major League Baseball team. I just wanted to ignite my passion.

Friends were kind to come to my aid in support and direction. They offered to put me in touch with their connections, speak on my behalf to potential employers and direct me to openings. I looked all over the country, never geographically narrowing God’s web of possibilities. I wasn’t applying to just any companies, though. Only the ones that I knew I could become a cheerleader for and would put me in a place that could sprout the life I want to live.

Then the email from Kate came. It was posted on a list serv that she belonged to and she forwarded it to me. The organization, although different than the others I had been applying to, in DC, was one I knew I could root for, so I sent a cover letter.

A few weeks passed and I had only one small lead on a position that I wasn’t sure I wanted when I got an email for an interview. After a particular rough day of sending unreturned emails, a request for an interview came for the position in DC.

It wasn’t my only opportunity and I was initially unsure how I felt about it but I prepared for those interviews more than the others. I took time to ask people about the organization and read through its entire website. I scanned social media profiles of employees and rehearsed whatever questions I could beforehand.

I know some really incredible people who’ve searched for a long time for work and have had more than necessary fumbles, but this was easy. All fell into place right up till the day I was offered the position. I took the three days to really think about it but I always knew that I would accept.

And I did.

Starting the first week of March, I will be the communications coordinator at NASPA. This incredible non-profit supports student affairs professionals in providing a plethora of opportunities and services to build well-rounded youth. NASPA initially caught my eye because of its role in education – after my work at the Foundation and then teaching in Africa – and I am beginning to realize that education may by my niche in life. Student affairs professions are incredibly vibrant and passionate people and I am so excited to work with them for the betterment of students across the country. One of my references accurately likened student affairs to Peace Corps: you do whatever you can just to make the slightest of differences in one person’s life.

The job, itself, is everything I wanted. A mix of writing, editing, design, social media, and general communications. It’s a new position and the final third leg to, what I know will be, a dynamic marketing team. Everyone I interviewed with at NASPA had such a great energy and I knew that I would fit in at its offices on K Street.

This decision was not easy. I’ve barely been home and I am leaving again. There was a pit in my stomach the day I accepted the job due to flashbacks from Lesotho when I woke up with a hole in my heart because my loved ones were so far away. Now a little boy owns my heart and I am leaving him, unable to watch him grown. Moving to a metropolitan area is a big, big leap for someone who has lived in a rural village for three years. All of the details are not sorted and I feel far from comfortable about the move.

I’ve spent a lot of time mulling this over and wondering if this really is the right decision for me. As Micah tells me, there are no right decisions. You make one and then go with it. If you need to change it, then do. I tried hard to listen to my gut but my head and worry spoke louder and I felt that I was making a decision on blind faith. But I guess that is what faith is.

As my move and start date get closer, my gut speaks louder. This is what I need to do now. This the direction that my life needs to go in. And I will go with it.

Before I can publish this post, I have to thank of all my amazing friends and family for their unending support. It’s an understatement to say that I’ve been crazy the last month, but they have allowed my antics without judgement. They’ve encouraged me with love and they helped me find faith when I couldn’t on my own. They are amazing people and if I am slightly amazing it’s because of them.

So, now it is time for a beginning. I am scared, but the good kind.

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