Here in Dhaka, my colleagues and friends keep on asking my if I've solidified any more of my plans for next (academic) year. It's only January (albeit the end of January) so it might seem a bit early for all this questioning- but not here. We (the teachers) had to officially declare our intent stay or leave back in December. I, personally, informed my bosses way back in October. In the international school system, things move fast.
The air is abuzz with who is leaving, who is staying and who is coming- at the school and in the greater international community. Some diplomatic friends are moving to Taiwan, others to Ghana. Even though it's months in advance- many of us already know.
In fact, it's exactly 135 days until June 11- the end of the school year. For many of us moving on, our household belongings will have already been shipped or sold and we'll be living out of suitcases for our final weeks. And on the last day of school- we'll say our good-byes- and then many of us will see each other a few hours later as we scurry to board midnight flights out of Dhaka.
Coming to Dhaka was easy - I was ushered into a perfect little community where all the details- plane flights, shipping, housing, transportation, etc- were already arranged and paid for by my employers. Leaving is going to take a little more effort on my part. In lieu of searching for another job in another international school, I doing a little self-improvement time. I'm taking a huge plunge- and moving to Israel. These past few evenings I've spent figuring out budgets, searching for information, thinking about housing and shipping, etc. Every time I look at my 3-bedroom, 4-full bathroom, 1-bowling ally apartment, I keep on crossing items off of the mental "keep" list. I quizzically look at each object- chair, painting, decorative, memento, kitchen device- and think about what it's worth to me, how much it would cost to replace it once in Israel, how much it weighs (important for international shipping consideration) and what I'm already planning on taking with me. I'm downsizing to either a small shared apartment or even dorm-like living. I don't know.
So, I'm feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. (I use the word 'wee' in honor of my Scottish friends here.) At least I'll have health insurance when I get to Israel. One less thing to worry about. (whew!)
So, 135 days, and counting. I'm re-evaluating everything- it's not just a moment to cut 'stuff'- but this move is also a step for investing in me and re-evaluating what truly matters. I'm looking at a possible year without income- but I year of studying Hebrew and Judaism- Maybe I should say: I'm looking at a year that might have limited financial income but great possibilities for building personal and spiritual capital. 135 days and counting- planning, searching, finding, weighing, selling, purging, calling, talking, building, learning, working, playing, saying goodbyes, preparing for hellos- 135 days until I return to the USA for the first time since July 2007. 135 days until I make my whirlwind summer visits. 135 days to make most- if not all- of my preparations for my new life-
135 days- a little over four months- and counting