I feel like my life is in limbo with one half of me being here and the other half already gone. We know where our next posting is going to be and we are very excited about the opportunity to experience living in a different part of Europe and all that will entail. As a planner, I want to learn as much as I can about our new home and start making plans now. However, we don't move for another eight months. That means that I while can look at houses that are available for rent now, I can't commit to anything. I can do the same for schools, volunteer opportunities and even potential jobs but we are just too far out to apply, sign up or make any concrete decisions now. Plus, like I said, we still have another eight months to go in Albania. This means we need to continue what we are doing here, remain engaged in our daily responsibilities and lives, and focus on the present while looking forward to the future. But it is proving to be hard. Really, really hard.
Everything is getting harder. Whether at home or at work, with each event I plan a little voice in the back of my head reminds me that this is the last year I will be doing the organizing for this specific activity. Unlike last year, there won't be opportunities for me to improve on this year's event the next time around because for me, there won't be a next time. Sure I will leave my copious notes and after action reports but someone else will be responsible for their implementation. I know that a year from now none of these events will be my problem but given the amount of time and energy I've invested in what I do, a part of me feels responsible for their continued success. It is also hard to see people who arrived after us preparing to depart post. We were here first so shouldn't we be leaving first as well? It is bittersweet to hear people talking about their countdown clocks in terms of days or perhaps a month or two knowing that once they have left, we will still be sitting right here in Tirana. Departing families are being replaced with new ones who in turn bring with them new opportunities for friendships. However, knowing we will be departing sooner (but not soon enough) rather than later makes me feel a bit less invested in engaging in new friendships that won't have time to really solidify before we move on. I know these feelings will only intensify as we move into summer then fall. And then on a more frivolous front, there are all of the places here in Albania and the region that we want to visit before we leave. When I plot out the weekends we have left and plug in our prior commitments, there just isn't enough time to do and see everything. (Yes, I really have done this and am realizing that we are going to quickly run out of time)! Perhaps we just need to stay longer?????????
Transitions are natural but I'm still feeling unsettled and a bit out of sorts. The next eight months are going to both drag and fly by so I need to enjoy it while still looking ahead to what happens next. My Albanian lessons have been replaced with twice a week French ones. Ironically, my Albanian has never been stronger. We are figuring out where we really (and realistically) want to visit before we leave and have tentatively made plans for most of our remaining long weekends between now and the end of the year. I am still cooking my heart out for our dinners and receptions but I'm also thinking about the smaller, more intimate affairs we will be able to host once we move. The ability to cook with different ingredients that I don't have ready access to here is exciting but I'm also thinking about what local or plentiful foods I will miss. (I am still determined to try my hand at cooking a whole octopus before we leave). I'm researching potential neighborhoods in our new country to see where we might want to live while advocating that improvements be made to our current Albanian house so that the family replacing us does not have to endure the same problems we have had. In researching the "next" I stumbled upon a blog that compares our new home with, you guessed it, Albania. Apparently the writer finds a lot of similarities between the two countries. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not. Only time will tell but between now and then I have lots of cooking, traveling and work to do here before I step head-on into our next adventure.