Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.
By now you’re probably wondering when this blog was going to finally dove-tail with my present life given all the musings I’ve been writing about the past. I’ve been wondering the same thing, asking myself every time I hit that “Publish” button why the hell did I just spend all that time waxing on about things I used to do? At first I thought this would be a journal about re-entering the field of humanitarian aid and development work and that blogging would keep me on task researching aid topics and reading about how close or far away Laos is from reaching their Millennium Development Goals, and that I’d find it all worth sharing. Well, that didn’t happen. There’s a lot of aid work and need in Laos but it is a small country with not that high a turnover or demand for expat staff, not enough to require keeping my finger on the pulse everyday. Plus, I feel like I have enough personal contacts in Laos by now to network in earnest once I’m there, face to face, my preferred way. Then when I wrote “Happy 10th Anniversary to My One-Way Ticket to Nairobi” my reasoning for writing about the past was a way of celebrating my personal journey of the past decade, also killing two birds with one stone since the “Honeymoon in Dafur” series helped to shore up my confidence to work again, or at least confident enough to present myself as capable to any prospective employer. And since I can’t yet write travel tales and adventures of life in Laos until July, I thought I’d share smatterings of previous trips as a way to fill the time between now and our next jaunt overseas.
Well today I realized that I have been fooling myself with all the above. I did start writing again as an outlet to release strings of thought that tend to entangle me in a ball of stress close to times of big transitions. To get it out, I write whatever comes to mind on a given day, usually around topics with pictures to go along with my thoughts and recollections because I’m a very visual person. Today while attending a class about what it means to be resilient in a transient life*, one of the exercises made me realize that I was holding on to something by only writing about the past because I’m actually not at all that certain or comfortable about who I am now and who I will be after our next move to Laos.
I’ve been painting a picture of the old me, the me before marriage in “Africa Burning” and “Hot Air Ballooning in Swakopmund – Namibia“, the me before kids in “Honeymoon in Dafur” and “Secluded Beaches of Sumatra“. I dared to touch upon the current me only a little bit in “Two Years in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico” and “Keeping It Real“.
The truth is, I was looking to become that old me once we got to Laos where I was hoping to define myself once again by a career and travel adventures. But my realities have changed tremendously and I’m not that old me now. I don’t say that I’m not that old me anymore because I’m still all those things in addition to becoming a wife supporting my husband with his international career, and a mother enabling my children to thrive in our international life-style. Both those roles have probably changed me in many ways that I’ve yet to explore or reflect upon. Both those roles will still be with me when we get to Laos.
I won’t get to be the old me that I’ve conjured up in my recent posts, and my future travels together with a family certainly won’t be anything like the kind of travel that I used to do. It will all be different. I’m different. I see that now.
I’ll still continue the “Honeymoon in Darfur” series to finish what I’ve started and I’ll still regale you with some of my past trips, but slowly my writing and this blog will try to come to terms with finding and accepting the now me, the me best encapsulated in this photo inside a packing box while wrestling my two kids…still the same Wanderlustress but all together so very very different.
*The class on resilience was given my my husband’s employer. If anyone is interested in knowing more about it, I would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with some of the on-line resources and recommended readings.
Anyone else out there in the process of redefining yourself?