Sunday, February 11, 2007

Nothing that can't be cured by a hot cup of tea!

My mother was English and one of the things that she taught me was that whenever you are feeling down, there is nothing that can't be improved by a hot cup of tea. I love tea. I drink English Breakfast tea or PG Tibbs tea and occasionally Irish Breakfast tea in the morning with sugar and milk. From time to time, I can be found drinking herbal tea such as licorice root, chamomile, mint, or even unsweetened non-milky "Constant Comment" or "Lemon Lift". But my true favorite is a big mug of English 'workers tea' - the caffeine lift, the burst of sweetness, the comforting warmth.

I had a nice cup of tea ths weekend as I reflected over the week that I had - its been difficult leaving Refugees International. For better or for worse - I have a 'reformer' personality. I want to make things better all the time. I try to curb this behavior but I guess I feel like if I'm not actively trying to make things better, I'm contributing to making them worse. And I'm a 'lame duck' now at the organization - on my way out. Because I have to get a work permit to work in the Netherlands, I've had to give an extrodinarily long notice. And its been an unpleasant feeling. I feel irrelevant at best.

However, upon drinking a good cup of tea, I feel better. Calmer - more accepting of the inevitable change that life brings us. The best way forward for me is to focus on my final projects for them and leave a clean office, organized files, and a kick ass report on gender-based violence in Darfur. I've made some amazing friends at RI and I think they'll be friends for life. I think I've left some concrete accomplishments. I feel good about my three and a half years there and about what I've done to improve the lives of refugees and displaced women around the world.

Change is uncomfortable. It causes me to question everything that I held as true. But with a good cup of tea, I face the future in Amsterdam with Medecins Sans Frontiers and the challenges of finding new friends, proving myself in a new venue.

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