Guatemala was awesome-gorgeous-awesome. I should have stayed … you’ll learn why in a minute.
Young Maya girls at the Xetonox school
We darted all about, met some amazing women, got to see some of my favorite people (Hi Mirian! Hi Mirna! Hi Sarah!) and have some good mother-daughter bonding shit. I remembered why I liked working for MayaWorks so much, and regretted, just a little, that I ever left.
I got back to work last Monday and learned that, in their infinite wisdom, the Oklahoma Employent Security Commission had decided to end my program (and … thus … my job). And I understand … we do good work, but it’s hard work to quantify, and it’s hard to get money for things you can’t quantify, these days, and OESC is the red-headed stepchild agency in a seriously cash-strapped state government. No hard feelings at all, OESC does a decent job at what it does, plus I’m going to make sure the staff at my office is trained enough by the time I leave that our clients with disabilities don’t even notice I’m not there. That’s the hope, anyway. Program officially ends Nov. 30.
So I’m faced with making decisions much earlier than I had planned. And the decisions are not nearly as easy to make as I thought they would be.
So, those of you who know me are probably assuming that, to listen to me gripe about how homesick I am and how much I hate being away from Chicago, you’d think I’d for sure use this opportunity to move back to the third most-awesome place in the world … use this two month deadline I have and buckle down looking for jobs and move back, get back into school and finish my M.Div. and go back to being more me … because I feel like I’m less me living in Muskogee. (Of course, we won’t take up the question of whether it’s geography that causes that … Or the thing that Jerry once said to me “You’re always you, no matter what” when I excused some bad behavior by saying “I haven’t been myself”)
And yet I’m sorely tempted to stick around Oklahoma for a little longer. Why?
- Grandma’s still here, still old, still a huge drain on my parents’ (mostly my mom’s) time and energy. I’d feel very bad about bowing out on the pitching in, plus I kind of want to get as much time as possible whilst I still can.
- Just as I find out about this job going away, I find out about two new really exciting opportunities. Both would be something I’d enjoy. Both would be the opportunity to do something innovative. They’re jobs I wouldn’t have much of a shot at in Chicago, because, frankly, the market there is saturated with a gajillion smart, idealistic young professionals looking to work for exciting, innovative nonprofits. It can’t be helped … when you have that many schools churning out thousands upon thousands of MSWs every year … And that’s not to say that Oklahoma doesn’t have those smart, idealistic young professionals, but at least I’m not competing against seventeen thousand of them. In other words, the relatively smaller candidate pool here in Oklahoma works to my advantage.
- The economy scares me. Seriously, seriously.
So, we’ve covered two options. Chicago. Oklahoma. There are more? Sí, pues.<br><br>First off, I just found out via MySpace that Kimya Dawson is starting a community choir in Olympia, Washington. So that puts that in the running … relocating to the northwest so I can sing in Kimya’s choir.
Alternately, I could pull a Marta … I found a four-week TESOL certification course in Oaxaca. I could head there in January and then get a job somewhere … Mexico, Costa Rica, wherever, and knock about overseas for awhile, fill my passport up, feel myself again (because being overseas also feels much more me … even more me than being in Chicago).
So yes, forced into a life change. Grr. Granted, it could be worse. Yes, I’m getting laid off and yes I have to look for a new job … but good grief! I work at the employment office! I look for jobs all day long anyway!
Coming soon, btw, how Google is going to find my next job for me. Well, sort of. Mostly I’m just proud of my kickass iGoogle job-seeking home base extraordinaire.
(Friends and lovers: Cross-posted to MySpace, too, with more colorful language and an extended second part about some pathetic personal issues. For those of you who care. More Guatemala photos also on my MySpace and Facebook pages.)