Traveling anywhere in Latin America, I’ve always felt an immediate click with the country and the people. The mountains and scenery, colourful hats, and fried dough dipped in chocolate speak to me. I’m still waiting on that feeling with the the Middle East, and have resigned myself to the fact that it’s probably never going to happen for me. But arriving back in Amman after two months in Baghdad has made me appreciate the city more than I had when I left. The driving may be crazy, but at least I’m allowed to go places!
Spring in Amman is beautiful. The normally bleach-white-and-beige city is awash in green, with lilacs spilling over walls and brilliant wild poppies splattering the road side like wed paint. The weather is perfectly crisp and sunny, and the first of the summertime produce has started to appear on the back of pick-up trucks parked on the highway.
I realized that even though I’m not in love with the city, that’s no reason not to fully live our lives here. Since I’ve been back we’ve started exploring again – the new Thai place, the cool artsy neighbourhood downtown, more ruins. I’ve said fuck it to the hills and the catcalls and started running seriously again; with the view to maybe signing up for something biggish in Europe this fall.
The posting lifestyle is teaching me to make the best of things, instead of waiting until things are perfect. Life lesson: things will never be perfect, so just get going.
Becoming a manager at the same time as I was learning the ropes to my new job was highly intimidating. I’ve had to deal with some pretty serious issues with my staff, but I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with the role. People mostly seem to want the same things I want as an employee – a degree of autonomy, but direction when it’s required; a challenge and the tools to meet it successfully; clients to not be mean to us. I can’t influence the last one but I can do my best to give my staff the first two (and for anyone in the same shoes, I highly recommend the Ask a Manager archives for invaluable managerial advice from a smart lady).
Acknowledging that my sphere of influence is very tiny has also been helpful in managing my stress about my job (the physical manifestations of which, luckily, turned out to be my very first parasite). I love that my job amounts to solving problems, but I’m learning that there are a lot of problems I can’t solve on my own. I can offer advice but I don’t get paid enough to carry the burdens of others.