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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Years Revelations

A friend recently told me that instead of New Years resolutions she has New Years revelations. She spends December and January waiting for the revelations – as they are hard to predict and don’t come on command. But once a revelation comes to her she immediately knows what it is – and it is always something helpful or insightful – something that helps her reflect on the status of her life as it currently is.

Although skeptical at first, I thought that this approach to New Years might let me off the hook from coming up with a plan that I would just fail at anyway. Since past New Years resolutions have included going on a diet and giving up Diet Coke (although these sound conflicting they happened in different years) – neither of which was successful for more than several months – I decided this year to wait and watch for my revelation.

Lo and behold… during my time in New York (including two 26 hour travel periods) I had a couple of revelations – all but one of which I am happy to share with you here…

Revelation One: Although I can easily switch the side of the road I drive on, I now walk on the opposite (if you are in the US or continental Europe) side.

This revelation should have come to me earlier since I kept running into people on the street in Larchmont (my home town). But alas, it was in the airport in Amsterdam – with Jaden, Rowan and I walking three abreast, that I realized that it was ME who was going against the flow, not them. While this might not seem like a giant revelation to you, to me it meant that I am now acclimated to living in a left-driving country – and that’s just not right.

Revelation Two: Not everyone in the world works in development or health and that makes them intrinsically interesting. This is a corollary to, Most people don’t talk about electricity (or the lack thereof) during every conversation.

Two wonderful evenings in NY I went into the city to have dinner with good friends and THEIR friends. These were two wonderful meals (one Spanish, another Japanese – both of which are hard to come by here) and they were accompanied by really interesting people who do things that don’t involve international development and who didn’t talk about the inability to find blue cheese salad dressing in the supermarket or the fact that Cheerios cost $10 a box. The first meal featured people who work in the media and I learned about different types of production jobs and what they entail. The second dinner featured a gay couple who have been together for 26 years. One was a New York State Representative for a big chunk of NYC, the other is the Special Events Coordinator for the American Ballet Theatre. We talked about interesting and new topics – such as the “three I’s” in NYC politics (Ireland, Italy and Israel), and who is the up and coming male ballet dancer at ABT who prances just like Baryshnikov (Angel someone-or-other – just in case you are interested).

Am I rambling here? Well my point is that these people (and I’m including all the friends who visited me in this) were really interesting and I got to talk about things other than health and development which RARELY happens here in Dar. I didn’t realize how small my world had become – intellectually that is. But guess what? It IS small.

(Before my Dar friends get upset at this – I’m not criticizing the wonderful conversations we have at dinner – but if you think about it – I’m sure you are aching to have dinner with people who know nothing about the 2-7-10 goals.)

Revelation Three: I was burnt out.

You probably already figured that out from the last post I wrote before I left Tanzania for vacation. But I didn’t realize it until I had told friends for the 100th time about the challenges of working in this environment. When I wrote that post I think I started the process of healing from my burnout. Being the in US and not working for more than two weeks has been therapeutic. I’m back in Tanzania now. We’ll see how that goes.


So there you have it. I’ve revealed my New Years revelations to you.

What are yours?
Mahlers on safari in Connecticut - at the Norwalk Aquarium

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