Don’t let the geographic proximity to the US fool you: Ciudad Juarez is most definitely another country. You feel it the moment you clunk-clunk your tires over the rumble strip on the border. And so I feel that potent blend of bewilderment, terror, and exhilaration that comes to every traveler dipping a toe in new waters. I want to know everything instantly and have no patience for my own ignorant fumbling. So far every person I have met has been unfailingly kind and helpful which has made being painfully new much easier. I imagine the local staff in particular are very used to seeing new people come and go — yet still, they find time and energy to be patient and friendly and I for one am very grateful.
One of the sadder parts about the moving process is that right when you need to be saying goodbye to many important people in your life, you are so frazzled by the stress of it all that you end up fumbling the fond farewell. I have the benefit of being able to say I can come back for a visit — Juarez and DC aren’t that far apart. But still. For now, all I can say is that I will miss you all terribly and in a couple of weeks when my brain is once again situated inside my head I’ll be able to more articulately express how grateful I am to all the wonderful people I met during my time here and how much they mean to me.
There’s nothing like packing to move to bring out your inner misanthrope. Staring at piles of your own stuff you begin to hate yourself (why, why, why did I buy these things? Keep these books? Choose this furniture? I am solely responsible for the global consumption epidemic.) Attempting to sell things you don’t want to take with you to other people makes you hate the world. This is always the part in the moving process where I want to set everything I own alight and take to the open road with nothing but a knapsack.
I got the job of my dreams in the U.S. Foreign Service and soon I’ll be headed to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to work, live, and eat many tacos. If you’d told me a year ago that soon enough I’d cheerfully be packing all my worldly possessions and setting out to be a diplomat in Bordertown, USA I would have laughed in your face. But then, life has a way of sneaking up on you.
Who knows what the next couple years hold but I’m pretty freaking excited. Here’s hoping I get a few fun stories out of it. Or a least some tacos.