Moving Briskly

It turns out that working three jobs, trying to learn a foreign language, and have a social life is like actually not possible…I spent the entire month of July trying to make it happen. Not out of necessity, but as a way to avoid the anxiety of my upcoming transition.

I have to say, I came very close to my boiling point yesterday as I was faced with decision after decision and reminder after reminder of my impending departure date. But, I am happy to announce that I might be dealing with it effectively (still TBD).

It started last Saturday. I was at the Dollar General with 7-year-old, Madison. While shopping, the topic of birthday parties came up and she was reminded that Auntie Betsy will not be around next year for her or her little sister’s birthdays. My sweet, loving, niece turned to me and said, “you are the worst Auntie ever.” She had a smile on her face but underneath her words was a strain of hurt and anxiety. It was a bit like a kick in the gut. I know it isn’t a big deal, just a birthday party, but to her, that is one of the most important days of the year (next to Christmas) and not being able to be there will be difficult.


Next came the call.

Last Wednesday, I pull into my driveway ready to switch out one job’s paperwork for the next job’s paperwork when I received a call. In a heavy Ukrainian accent the man on the other end said, “Hello Ms. Fawcett, my name is Yevgeniy (pronounced yiv-gen-ee) from the Ukrainian Consulate in Chicago. I am sorry to inform you but, well, the FedEx delivery man left your package with your Visa materials in the street this weekend, and well, it rained, a lot. I am sorry to tell you but your passport needs to be replaced.”

Ha. What?

I took a deep breath. Now, was not the time to spiral into panic. I thanked him, asked him to send me my documents back and hung up. Immediately called my mother who said the sweetest words I have ever heard, it is not a big deal. We will figure it out.

(Update: ordered a new passport today, expedited hopefully it will be here in 2-3 weeks, I should have my visa by the week before I leave…nothing like a close deadline!)

The {almost} final boiling point came when I sat down to finally buy my flight tickets.  Anyone out there who has ever tried to buy flights under the Fly America Standards from the Federal government will understand how debilitating bureaucracy can be! Trying to balance Federal mandates, flight dates, and flight prices was not my idea of a fun night.

So, I found it humorous today when my mom asked me today how I could be stressed out about work when I have a damaged passport, no visa, no plane tickets, let alone an apartment, subpar language skills, and really no conception of what my life will be like in 6 weeks. I laughed it off, gave her a hug and said, “I’ll be okay.”

What I didn’t tell her was that the only way I can handle those things right now is by stressing out about work. By freaking out about the small things, keeping my desk organized, filling in the smallest demographic details on our grant, but mostly by never sitting still. This is how I am dealing with it.

I have been reflecting on how much has changed in my anticipatory coping skills in the four years since I graduated from high school. I am not kidding that four years ago,  to the day, I almost withdrew from Luther because I was so upset about being placed in Ylvisaker after I had PLANNED on living in Brandt. The uncertainty of that situation completely threw me off, and almost paralyzed me (forever to grateful to the people who told me to snap out of that!)

Now, four years later, I have learned to deal with uncertainty in a very different way. Maybe it is better, maybe in four years, I will be writing about how unhealthily dealt with this situation. Who knows, but I do feel that movement is at least a step closer to a healthy way to cope than paralysis.


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