I remember 5 years ago I was living in a restored barn in a small town north of Seattle working as a Health Educator at a Community Health Clinic. I had just returned a little over a year from serving in the Peace Corps for two years in Ecuador and I started to feel that internal compass. My days were running into each other - my energy was sagging - the question, what now. I had been contemplating whether or not to go to midwifery school and had also applied to water sanitation program with Peace Corps Response in El Salvador. The midwifery school invited me to come do a 24hr shift at the birth center and 2 two weeks later Peace Corps called me to say that the water sanitation program didn't exist anymore but they thought I would be the perfect candidate for a new program in Malawi. Wait, what? Where? I didn't even know where Malawi was, I am a traveler but really I was a Latin American traveler. All my experiences of to that point had been to Latin America. That is where I travel - that is where I want to travel - I speak Spanish. The birth center was in El Paso, Texas just a mile from the border. I know Mexico. I love Mexico. I've been working with moms and babies forever - it's what I do. It seemed like the perfect fit - a longtime goal/dream. I went to the birth center for a 24hr shift. It was small and chaotic - it was Mexico. I loved it. A returned home and within a few weeks a receieve a letter of acceptance to the midwifery program and an offer from Peace Corps to go to Malawi for 9 months. I didn't know what to do. The midwifery program seems like the perfect fit but there was something about Malawi that I just couldn't say no to. I ran all the possible what ifs over and over in my head, made pro and con lists for both and then called my mom. She asked why I wouldn't go to Malawi and I said, "Because I'm scared" and she said, "then you already have your answer." That curiosity - that internal compass sometimes starts out looking/feeling like fear and when I walk thru it I find the most beautiful things. I went Malawi. It broke my heart and healed it. It made me feel rooted and alive in ways I'd never experienced before.
Curiousity is knocking at my door, again. I've been living in Boston for the past almost 3 years. That is the longest time I have spent in any one place since I graduated college (10 years ago!). It has been such an adventure living on the east coast - it's a different world from the west coast in so many ways. I took risks - I learned a new speed of life - I became bolder from the city - I explored New England - I met new people. It was feeling comfortable but I started to feel that internal compass. I started to open doors to see what would come and out of nowhere an opporunity started to unfold from small town, Sun Valley, Idaho in the Sawtooth Mountains. A chance to work in reproductive rights. A chance to feel like I’m investing in what I believe during a time that demands us all to speak up. So I’m moving west again. I’m sad to leave that city I have grown to know and the little community I was apart of - it seems like with all things being questioned and challenged what we really need is community and love and support but I made the decision to live a life that demands risks - that expands and new places seem to be the way that my life unfolds. It seems we don’t always process our learning until we leave and I feel I am just starting to see all the love and support that Boston gave me, a tough love but a love nonetheless. A firmness that allowed me to grow taller. A pace that helped to begin to leave perfection aside for the opportunity to complete the task. I’m grateful for all the teachers I met in Boston. My heart feels sad in a lot of ways but also excited to see what unfolds in a small town in the mountains.