Apparently, when you move back from another country people ask you the same questions over and over… which makes sense, I guess.
If the other country was in Asia… Boys will ask about how to say something like “I will karate chop your head!” in the language. My answer: “Wo ____ _____ nide tou.” (I have no idea how to say “will karate chop.”) Girls usually ask about food and/or the bathroom situation. My answer: “The food is awesome. They like spicy stuff in my area. The bathroom situation varies. In public, it’s all squatty potties. I’m kind of a fan of them though. I don’t know why people are so afraid.”
Then, usually, people want to know… “WHAT’S NEXT? What are you doing NOW?”
In case you haven’t had a chance to have that conversation with me yet… I’ll just go ahead and write out the conversation. I’ve got the whole thing memorized. And since I’m sometimes overwhelmed by (or just tired of) the topic… This will help us all.
YOU: So, Shanda… What are you doing with your time these days?
ME: [Thinking to myself: I hate this question! It stresses me out. But I know they care… and they’re curious… and if I was them, I would be asking too.] Well, I’m looking for a job…
YOU: Oh. Yeah. How’s that going? Have you heard anything yet?
ME: Yes. I just heard back from one job earlier this week that I was VERY interested in. They let me know that my “impressive credentials were given most serious consideration” and that they have decided to “eliminate [me] from further consideration.” So, that’s awesome. And 7 Starbucks managers have offered to hire me, without me even asking. So far, that’s all. But seriously, I kind of really wanted that job… the one that turned me down… so it really is good to know that it’s not going to happen. Otherwise, if something else came up I would be unsure of whether or not to take it.
YOU: So, where are you looking now?
ME: Well, everywhere? So far, I’ve applied at various non-profits… but I’m not TECHNICALLY very qualified for a lot of the things I’d like to do. So, either someone has to take a risk on me and let me learn as I go… or I’m going to have to get a “just a job” and volunteer doing other things. I’m okay with that. I’m just not sure when to cross over in my job search to that. Ya know? How long do I wait?
YOU: Yeah. That’s hard. You’ll just know, I think.
ME: Yeah. I guess. [Thinking to myself: What does that even mean? “YOU’LL JUST KNOW!” … ??? … I think people have too much faith in me sometimes.]
YOU: So, that’s what your days look like? Job searching. Are you looking online or what?
ME: Yes. Except, I feel like a lot of the time I mostly just stare at the computer screen… A.D.D. really kicks in when I’m sitting at home without structure to my life. I try to get out of the house and work on it from other places but I’m having car issues so sometimes that doesn’t work out… and then I go crazy… It’s all really very fun.
YOU: So wait, what do you actually WANT to do?
ME: Well, there are a lot of ways it could play out but I really just want to work with women and children who have faced (or are facing) various forms of oppression/neglect/abuse/hopelessness… and I want to… love them! And practically provide tools for them to find healing and hope and justice and … to know that they are valued. That could be a job. Or it could just be who I am and what I do when I’m not at my job.
YOU: That’s neat. I definitely can see you doing something like that… It’s who you are.
ME: Yeah. Well, it’s who I want to be at least…
It’s an adventure. And I’ll be glad when the NEXT part of the adventure comes… (The part where I get a job and find MY OWN place to live…)
In the meantime, the following picture (brought to you by Jenny Cummings and Amarillo, TX) perfectly describes my current condition: