Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dealing with Transitions

With less than a week to go before I fly home, I've entered transition mode...and it's not going very well.  Just when I finally started settling into life in LA and appreciating the way things work and really getting to know the people I work and interact with on a daily basis, I have to leave.  It's weird because normally, I'm pretty good with transitions.  Actually, I usually really like transitions.  I think I've written about this before (maybe not), but my favorite feeling is the feeling of going somewhere, driving or flying or even walking some place- a destination, because that way I know that there's really something there in my tangible future.  I think that that's also the reason I like transitions, but for whatever reason, I'm really not handling this well.

At this point, I've started feeling some pre-nostalgia about things here that are going to end in the next couple of days.  It's not a pleasant feeling, although nostalgia can be nice.  I've also been having a hard time dealing with the little things that happen during my days that are frustrating.  There are eensy things like an interaction with someone at work that bugged me, or not being able to find parking, or something like that that will totally knock me over the edge and I just think, "Gah!!  Why can't this all just END already?  I'm sick of this!  It sucks!  I'm not going to miss this and it's almost over-- why do I have to keep dealing with it?!"  I actually feel kind of bad because I know that this dilemma has been causing me to be somewhat irritable towards those people I feel more comfortable with.  The other problem is that I'm quite homesick (as happens whenever I'm this close to going home), so everything seems like it's going badly.

Here I am with Marta and her friend while they
played dress-up with me as their doll

I also know, deep down, that I'm even going to miss the bad things about LA, because it's always easier to see the silver lining in things from afar.  That happens to me all the time.  For example, when I was in Panamá, I didn't click very well with my host mom.  Practically from the third week I was there, I was counting the days until I could be done living with her.  I also got really irritated by my host family's dog, Grumpi (pronounced GROOM-pee).  He was adorable, but completely untrained and unrestrained and he tried to eat everything I owned, including my stuffed animal platypus, Platy, and that was just crossing a line.  But now, I find myself wanting to email Marta (host mom) and checking in with her and wishing I could visit her sometime.  So there must have been something good about our relationship when I was there that I wasn't aware of at the time, because now I miss it.  The same thing happened with Grumpi.  I found out a few months after I went back to the U.S. that he had gotten hit by a car and killed.  I was so upset.  I cried and cried.  Now I'd never get to see him again, even if I ever got back to Panamá.  It's really weird how that happens.  I guess absence really does make the heart grow stronger...

Grumpi- see?  He's adorable!  I just couldn't take his insanity...
But my experience in Panamá was the first in many experiences that taught me to make as much of any given situation as I possibly can.  Actually, it's nice that I had already learned that lesson when I started thinking about taking time off.  A lot of what informed my final decision (among many other things) was the idea that if I didn't do it, I would never know if I had missed something (which I know now, I would have).  Now, no matter what happens in the next year, at least I'll know that I gave myself every opportunity to figure it out.

So, is it bad that at this point I'm so homesick that I just want everything to end so that I can miss it?  It might be kind of bad.  But I know I'll appreciate it in retrospect, so why can't we just get on with those positive feelings now?

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