Thursday, December 13, 2012

When the Cheerleader Needs Cheering Up

What happens when the cheerleader-in-chief needs a little boost? One of the many hats I wear in my job as the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) at the Embassy is moral booster.  Keeping the moral up for 130 or so Americans between the ages of 0 and 60  is a much more daunting task than it initially sounds. Many consider the CLO to be a fluff job, the community party planner.  In reality, the office does a whole lot more....but I digress. A large part of keeping morale up is providing recreational, cultural, and social opportunities for the community.  This is a challenging task on many levels.  First, we are in a country that lacks many amenities Americans take for granted and where just getting from point A to point B is often a tedious and time consuming trek.  Additionally, as a community we may be few in numbers but we are a truly diverse group who doesn't necessarily share the same interests, values, or expectations when it comes to morale boosting activities.  I'm not naive enough to think we are going to be one big happy family but I need to at least try to appease the majority of the people here.  And, as if things weren't already difficult enought, we are in the midst of winter which in Albania means overcast and damp on the best of days but more often than not heavy downpours on bone-chilling days.  Even snow, which might give us a semblance of a cheerful winter taunts us; we can see it on the mountains in the distance so it is so close yet so far. 

Then there is the actual logistics involved in planning an event.  As anyone who has ever planned an event knows, it isn't easy. In many respects organizing any event  is like herding cats.  You can never appease everyone.  It is virtually impossible to get all of the people into the same place at the same time.  Whether done intentionally or accidently directions are ignored, and don't even get me started on why it is important to RSVP.  At the end of the day, trying to get all of the details hammered out and people where they need to be is exhausting work.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I could go home at the end of the day and not think about planning or organizing anything. But alas, that is not my situation.  At home I am the chief organizer, planner, online shopper, cook, and toilet paper replacer.  When we host events I handle the logistics of food and service.  When something breaks I make sure it gets fixed.  When we run out of something it is apparently my fault.  As Sidney says, "Mamma must go to the store and buy some more".  Whether it is at work or at home, this apparently is my job.

Its no wonder I'm burned out on all fronts.  I am tired; in fact I am exhausted.  Regardless of how much I get done it seems as though there is always more to do, another event to plan for, and other shopping trip to be made.  There are never enough hours in the day (or night) to get everything done.  Is this just life?  Or is it just my life?  Instead of worrying about cheering others up, I need to be cheered up.  Last week I said all I wanted for Christmas is a bacon cheeseburger.  I now take that back. Maybe I am being greedy but all I want for Christmas now is a true day off.  Just the thought of day without any responsibilities, any cooking, shopping, planning or taking care of anyone other than myself would be a dream come true.  I want to stay in my pajamas, sip endless cups of hot tea (that has been brought to me), and do absolutely nothing.  I don't need computer time, a movie to watch, or even a book to read.  I just want to sit aimlessly without a care in the world.  So Santa, I think I've been good this year; can you please grant me my wish?

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