Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why did we come here?

Now I am engaged in the same activities as last year at this time only in reverse. Like watching a film backwards. February of last year we were getting the kids enrolled at ANS in an amazingly efficient meeting thanks to Jonathan’s organizational skills. Now we are ignoring the repeated reminders to register for ANS and frantically trying to get a hold of the enrollment office in Seattle to make sure that our kids get to seamlessly return to their previous school path.

People do still ask, why did you come to Nicaragua for a year. The answer varies, probably because there is no simple answer. There is the short answer – we came because Jonathan was starting a new business. Or the slightly longer version - we found ourselves a little underemployed and decided to take advantage of the fact that we had a house in a much cheaper part of the world. Or the more philosophical – we had the realization that we were raising monolingual children and our life was very far from the international one imagined when we first met. It was our last chance to make our children live with us in a foreign country. Or the truth – I found myself overcome with a desperate desire to leave; to get out of the life I was living which was perfectly satisfying in so many ways, but filled me with dread and loathing in so many others. Jonathan and I took a good look and were very lucky to discover that we had some real options for the best of both worlds, completely going away for a year and returning to the same, but by then hopefully more rewarding, or at least more lucrative, life we had left.

Our greatest moments of happiness have always been far away from home but snuggly intact with our family; it was a dream we couldn’t defer. We assigned greater meaning to it – exposing our children to the developing world (they now have no patience for poor people) developing real job opportunities for Bottom of the Pyramid families (despite the fact that the powers that be don’t seems to care about real job opportunities) putting a year of work into working out how social entrepreneurship plays out in the real world on a scale that can make a difference (it doesn’t really). But the real reason was pure indulgence. We left because we could. We wanted to leave the gray skies, unhappy jobs, money anxiety we had last year and feel warm and happy and rich again. We just wanted to escape.

The escape wasn’t easy. We had to disentangle ourselves from thousands of things while making sure everything would be set for our return. Then we had to entangle ourselves to a thousand things here. It’s cheap, but our earnings still didn’t support our lifestyle until last month when Jonathan got a paycheck for the first time in a year. But we are living very lavishly.

Would we do it again? In a heart beat.

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