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Thứ Ba, 5 tháng 6, 2012

Being too indulged in work is almost like going away on a long journey. Every morning I wake up with new things lining up to get done, just like in a hotel somewhere far away from home, I open my eyes and go through a mental list of places I need to visit. And I work, work, work, in a manner not much different than I would go, go, go. I couldn't stop working because I haven't finished the tasks yet. I couldn't stop moving because I haven't completed the destinations yet. I am not free. I am not home. I force myself to keep on, even as I miss reading and writing so much, just as during the trip, from time to time I miss my blanket, my pillow and my bed. Or just the sense of security both reading and lying on my bed provide me. I don't allow myself to touch a book, like I sometimes don't allow myself to taste something from home, for fear that my courage will crumple. Yet, right now, as I am typing these lines, I feel like being home. At last, I have allowed myself to return to a place I belong to.

Accepting a few jobs at once is like going on a very long journey - I told myself not too long ago. I was missing a slow pace of my unemployed days, when I could lie on my bed reading a book past midnight, sleep in and watch interesting documentaries on various religions. But more than anything, I miss being able to stop. To think. I couldn't think much while all I could care about was meeting deadlines before the next one shows up. While I am on a backpacking trip, one day is not much different from the next, in the sense that I will go to a new place, eat new food, probably meet new people, and move on. While I am doing many things at the same time, one day is exactly the same as the next. I will do a new task, earn new money, probably meet new people, but the next day I will repeat the process. I can't stop, even to absorb a bit of an old destination. And while I was overwhelmed with a heavy workload, I didn't have a moment to reflect in depth about all the stuffs that happening around me.

May was a crazily intense month for me. I worked a few jobs, and traveled to a few provinces at the same time. For two weeks in a row, I constantly set the alarm at 3am to get up and work until 6am, got one more hour of sleep before starting a new day. By 6pm or 7pm, I finished dinner, was done for the day, and tried to work 2 more hours before I couldn't resist the bed anymore and fell asleep the moment my back touched the bed sheet. It was a short-term contract for a Dutch NGO. Long story short, I worked as a research assistant/interpreter for an action research/capacity training in organizational management, specifically in Public Health. My direct boss/co-worker is a Dutch Master student, who is lovely and wonderful to work with. We get along too well probably, always talking and laughing with each other. We even share a great fear/hatred of insect. Then, I had a few big orders of translation from UNDP and CIDA at the same time, which kept me occupied every waking moment possible when I wasn't talking/travelling/interpreting/eating. Yet after a month working with 6 different organizations, among which 5 are Community based organizations, I still prefer knowing people on an individual scale, rather than as a role in an organization. I still love personal stories, and even though organizations have their stories (or dramas) too, I don't find them as attractive.

Moreover, I had to maintain another regular side job, but I wouldn't include it as a main factor contributing to my next-to-nothing free time in May. And I managed to attend some interviews, got 4 job offers, and debated with myself to pick one. I will finish the current contract by the end of June, start my new job this Friday, and already started assisting in a new research a week ago. Probably I won't be able to resume my delayed Chinese class before the end of August. The next job is very much similar to my last official position with Bloom, but different in a few important elements, most important of which are support from local government and experience of the leader. It is also a small social enterprise, so young that it actually hasn't had legal status yet. It has a strong focus on community-tourism, and aims at creating impacts on many different aspects of life in one community, instead of just focusing on one issue, such as health, or gender, or education alone. This choice of mine makes me feel like I am always attracted to a same thing, again and again. Or to be more precise, I can be attracted to many handsome guys (other big NGOs and a corporation who also offer me jobs with amazing benefits) but I keep ending up with the one that is very similar to that guy who I left but with a broken heart not too long ago.

My what-is-my-purpose-in-life, post graduation and post first job resignation crisis seems to be over, which doesn't necessarily mean I have resolved the ultimate question about a ultimate goal in life. But it doesn't matter that much now. I guess now Im in a motion, and as my friend/ex-boss Malte said: "As long as you are going, you will end up somewhere nice". Probably it is a good attitude for me to adopt.

I quit facebook, mostly because those I actually care about don't make themselves heard much on facebook, and those who do update their profiles often are those I don't really want to know if they don't have anyone to talk to at 1am or if it is raining outside. When I was in Canada, facebook was more than a social network for me, it was actually a source of information about a world that I can't be in physically but often longed for. One year after I came back, I no longer have such an urge to update about that distant world, because I am here already. Perhaps I have grown out of it, but I guess mostly it's because I feel satisfied now with about 5-10 people that I make effort to keep in touch and meet in person. Then one day, I deactivated my account and haven't been tempted to reactivate it, even though facebook has tried to lure me many times. It scares me to think how such a passionate lover can grow distant, lose interest and one day cut loose all strings like what I did to facebook, though. The only inconvenience is I have to tell same things to about 6-8 people who actually care about me and are curious to know what I have been doing (you know who you are, and please know that more than once, you warm my heart by making me feel like Im missed). I am tired of doing this, really, especially when I don't have much time or the energy to go into details about my life. But other than that, I think without facebook I live more in the moment, save more time, concentrate better (though I didn't sit by my laptop that much the past month so I can't really testify that). However sometimes I do feel like sharing some short expressions of my feelings, or emotions, or thoughts, whatever, but don't know where to turn to. Then the urge fades. And I am fine again.

I bought a jasmine, a lime, a chili plants last Saturday, and grew a bunch of herbs. I already have lots of jasmine flowers now, chilies flowers are blossoming and little new green chilies are appearing, the lime doesn't look very good, but today my herb seeds have started sprouting and my onions are growing new leaves. That, I think, is pure happiness. I love watching things grow. I guess it makes me feel like I can Create. I can start life. Just thinking how "creative" actually means "full of" the act of creation. A creator, I am.
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