This year has given me as much as it has taken from me and it’s hard to balance the scales sometimes.
Due to safety/security/COVID-19 reasons, we got evacuated from Morocco on March 19. We were supposed to be on Admin Leave for 30-60 days but we got an email on March 20 saying Peace Corps was officially evacuating all volunteers worldwide and shutting down the program indefinitely. I was supposed to be in Morocco till late November, 2021. Yet here I was, in an America I did not recognize, I couldn’t enjoy being home because I had to quarantine for 2 weeks, my favorite restaurants and stores were closed and I was officially unemployed, homeless and car-less in Austin, TX.
Immediately after I saw the email, I called my old boss and asked for my job back. I emailed insurance companies to late them know I was no longer on Sabbatical and was available to start seeing clients. I applied to 3 jobs. Then I broke down in tears. I missed Morocco, my new family and friends, the life I was building, the life I had just lost and wondered how I could manage to rebuild my life on with no notice in an unfamiliar world.
The County was on a hiring freeze but my boss moved mountains to get me back in - and I got a significant raise from what I had just 8 months prior. My insurance reimbursement rates as well as private-practice fees (honest mistake by the front desk that ended up working out) were higher than before and somehow my super part time private practice started thriving more than it had in the last 5 years. I ended up paying off my student loans and becoming debt-free in less than 6 months.
I lost bigoted people I had thought were my friends, gained allies, learned a lot about intersectionality and supporting as many oppressed groups as my emotional bandwidth could handle. My inner circle was even smaller but my relationships had more value than I could have hoped for - people came through for me in ways I never could have imagined and I was blessed with the opportunity to be there for them and others too. An old flame got rekindled and we moved in together but it ended in tears so... yeah, that happened too. I cut my hair and went natural.
This year was a microwaved dumpster fire! However, because of the extremities of COVID-19 and social justice awareness, the quality of my life has improved significantly and I would only trade it if it brought back the lives we’ve lost. I still wish I was in Morocco and cry about that occasionally. I still hurt when I think of the racist, sexist, bigoted things people I thought I knew have said/done to me and other oppressed groups. I’m still not free from the shackles of capitalism. I am however trying, learning, teaching and hoping that this momentum will be maintained in the years to come.
I hope you are well, I love you and wish you the absolute best, write to me if you’re lonely.
P.S: my travel blog has shamefully been “in the works” for almost 2 years so I’m officially sharing it. Excuse the mess Drifting Dosh