I’m absolutely overwhelmed and amazed at the outpouring of well wishes, encouragement, contacts, and advice after my last blog. Thank you, friends, from the depths – I’m so excited, and its infinitely increased as others are as excited as I am, and I especially love all the comments of wow, that’s perfect for you! I think so too!
So I’ll get in touch with contacts in the coming weeks; however, it’s still a bit early, I’m not starting for another (at least) 6 months, and until then, there’s so much to do, to focus on, to love, and to pour myself in to. So thanks for your patience as I slowly make my way through sorting out Boston details over the next weeks and months; it’s super exciting, but my first priority is to finish well here and then to transition well there and in the midst of that I’ll be writing my thesis and moving my life to a different continent than the one I’ve called home for nearly eight years.
The next four months, until that last time I walk down the gangway, will disappear before I know it; I’m travelling a lot in the next two months, doing checklist follow up trips that I wrote about two blogs ago. I’m so grateful my work priorities have ended up sorting themselves out this way, in that I get to focus on what I love most in my final months as a crew member of the Africa Mercy. I also will spend significant time writing out a handover manual, as in the last four years with medical capacity building I’ve managed to turn ideas into really big amazing things that will soon be someone else’s responsibility, and I want to set them up as well as I possibly can for success.
Beyond the work, I need to squeeze every last drop of joy I can out of this place. I need to spend time with my Benin family and others that I love here. I need to spend time with my ship family and embrace the zillions of ‘last things’ that will come in the months ahead. Admittedly, this doesn’t come naturally; a huge part of me wants to just hole up and start withdrawing myself from community to make that final walk down the gangway a little bit easier. But I would really regret that. So I’m trying to say yes (almost) every invitation that I can.
And after all that? I’m planning to stay in Benin for three to four weeks to complete my research for my thesis. Then I’ll go somewhere in the world to write my thesis, at least get the analysis and first draft done, before I head back to the states. I want to visit family and friends, if possible, and start the new adventure in Boston in late summer. A lot of those details of what that whole time will look like are dependent on my thesis schedule and on money; the former will become clearer after my first discussion with my thesis advisor, the latter is still a walk of faith.
So thank you again, you incredible amazing people, for your support, encouragement, love, money, trust, contacts, and friends. I am a rich woman, indeed, and so deeply grateful.