Thursday, March 24, 2016

Preparing (Mentally) to Leave

I wonder if everyone has the same sense of excitement when learning their onward assignment. Since finding out where I'm going next, I've definitely had a shift in my perceptions of work and life in Chennai. I'd like to think I never went completely "FIGMO" (Forget It, Got My Orders), since I see my departure more as a deadline, than an excuse. However, the fact that there's a coined term for that (in the Foreign Service) means that it must be something people regularly struggle with. For me it was a more subtle change. I was more exasperated by the quirks of my office and coworkers, but that happens near the end of most jobs.

The biggest change I've noticed, at least in retrospect, was the lack of desire for Indian food. When we arrived in Chennai, I ate at the canteen (low end South Indian food) every day for two months. Following that, I ate my housekeepers cooking 4-5 nights per week. After R&R... we never really got back to eating Indian food. Sure, we still had Sangeetha Saturdays, but we noticed that we were eating out (at non-Indian restaurants) more often, and having our cook cook less frequently. It seems silly, but I think it was the end of my excitement peak for living in India. As my excitement waned (and my excitement for Buenos Aires waxed), I had less and less interest in integrating with my local environment. It's also a self-defense mechanism. The more I point out (to myself) the negatives of my current life, the easier it will be to uproot and leave.

HOME LEAVE NOTE: I wrote this post during home leave and post-dated it... I can now say that... during my last few months I focused on all the negatives, until I was pretty excited to be leaving. Literally as soon as I left, all I could think about was all the positives that I was now missing. Sorry for those that had to live through my last month in town. I'm sure I was a big ball of pessimism, but it was just the situation.

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