If Not Now, Then When?

Picacho Peak Arizona

I took this photo of Picacho Peak this weekend on my drive from Phoenix to Tucson. I’ve climbed this mountain with my parents and brother, and eaten ice cream cones at the Dairy Queen in its shadow more than once. It is its prettiest in March when wildflowers make it dazzle in shades of yellow and orange.

I’ve had a good bit of time lately to consider moving. I love Arizona. It is where my grandparents live, my dear friends are raising their families and is the backdrop for nearly all of my memories in the last 26 years. Simply put, Arizona is home.
And yet, in the last year I’ve watched my parents move away, a relationship crumble and my job become increasingly difficult. I try desperately to be someone who complains once about a problem and then works to find a solution. I’m surely “glass half full” to the point of annoyance to those around me. So consider this my official complaint: I am bored.
I need something new and exciting in my life and I’ve got the instinctual feeling that the time to act is now. I know that my last experience living abroad alone was unbearable and I’m more than a touch hesitant to pull out my passport for a major move again. But I couldn’t stop myself, and obviously turned to the Internet to provide me with the treasure trove of information on living and working abroad. I read about moving to the Middle East, their visa and job policies, looked up the documentation required to work in Australia (turns out they need a cleared australian federal police check for some jobs!), and a few other countries. Then I read about some of these international health crises and I ache to be there, to feel like I’m doing something to help. So, don’t tell my father, but today I applied for a job in the Sudan.
Dad, I’m not kidding. Stop reading now.
Sudan! That country with janjaweed and refugee camps overflowing and international health workers being hacked to death. The country where more than 1 million people are dead and my senators aren’t doing a damn thing about it. I’ve been writing them letters now for, oh, say two years. If I get one more canned response from Jon Kyl I am going to throw up. I’d bet the aide who licked the stamp couldn’t find Sudan on a map if his/her life depended on it. The funny thing is, so many lives do depend on a reaction. Silence is acceptance so world hear me now: I am not willing to accept what is happening in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Palestine or North Korea.
I know. I’m insane. But I somehow feel like if I get the job, it’s a sign. It is time for a change. It’s time for adventure. It’s time to get out from behind this desk and use the basic public health knowledge I’ve got rattling about in my brain to use in the field. I’ve even started looking up people who might be able to help me get myself over there, such as Simon conn, although they tend to focus more on mortgages for people who want to permanently move overseas and I don’t think I’m quite ready to set myself up somewhere permanently just yet.
Before I get off of this soap box of high morality and supreme bravado, I’ll be the first to admit being that far away from a knitting shop would suck. And I’m pretty sure my sewing machine or bundt pans couldn’t come along either. (Although strangely enough the job is to teach women how to use solar ovens and other basic tools for microeconomic projects. So technically, maybe there is a need for my rudimentary baking skills.)
The continuing journey to finding balance between my passions remains a struggle.

~K