I don't actually know if I'm anticipating anything, but with the start of a new school year it always seems like anticipation is a proper emotional response. Yes, it's the start of a new school year. This is the first time I've been working in higher education for the start of an academic year, and it's INSANE. My primary role for this week is academic advising...helping students choose classes, calming them down when their stress becomes overwhelming, explaining the liberal arts system of education, and basically talking until my voice is gone (in a pathetic detour from my usual coffee addiction, I'm actually drinking tea with honey to try to maintain my voice). In the past two days I've seen 102 students. And I'm tired. I shouldn't be complaining...the start of the academic year was the first vigorous work we've done in at least a month. During Ramadan (for 4 weeks), we only worked 9-3. Then last week, we had an entire week off work. So really, I can't whine.
Incidentally, I did get to travel during our holiday week. The post-Ramadan celebration is called Eid, so with the scheduling of those days, they decided to give us the entire week off work (yay!). I didn't have the energy or the money to do a huge trip somewhere...and didn't really know anyone interested in doing the big touristy gigs like Jordan or Syria. So I decided to try something totally new: a true solo "vacation" to a beautiful hotel on the beach in Doha (Qatar). As an added bonus, Qatar is a new country on my country list, bringing the total to 36! Anyway, I'm not much for fancy vacations...more like squashing as many people as possible into the cheapest hotel...but this was simply fabulous. It was so good to get away from normal life for a few days, lay by the beach, eat good food, think, read, and sleep. I would definitely give the experience two thumbs up. But now vacation is in the past...Ramadan is over...it's back to the grind. And I'm just not ready. Anticipation? I guess it depends on your definition of the word. There are definitely good moments...starting a new year, plugging into new activities, making new friends. But there are also those persistent moments of panic: the "what am I doing here and how quickly can I drive to the airport??!" moments. God has been incredibly good over the past 6 weeks since returning from the states. There have even been moments when I thought that I might be able to do this whole Kuwait thing for another while. And then reality hits. And my patience runs out. And my frustration grows. And my compassion lessens. And my cynicism leaks out. And I realize that I really can't do this forever. But for now, for this moment, I can take one faltering step after another. And I can enjoy the incredibly sweet things that God brings into my life, and try to enjoy the now without worrying too much about the future. It's not easy though. I'm restless. The global nomad in me whispers that I need to move...that this is not enough...that I need to do more and be more. But for this moment in time I am here and that is enough. So here's to a new (academic) year. Cheers.