Isn't it funny how one person can say the same thing over and over to you and it means nothing but then someone else comes along and phrases it just slightly differently and all of a sudden this click happens in the brain. I'm no different than the hard headed child that doesn't want to heed mom or dad's advice - except in this case, it was Jason's. It's not that I didn't want to do as he was recommending, it just didn't make sense in my mind; I didn't know how to approach it. There was more to it actually, like the pressure about money and feeling the need to contribute financially, all of that piled on top of the fact that the jobs aren't presenting themselves. Jason has hinted at least a dozen times, that I shouldn't feel pressured, maybe I should find things to fill my time so I'm not so bored. Because let's face it friends, I'm bored to tears a lot of days, especially when there is no ZESA and I've already been reading for 4 hours. My computer battery doesn't last more than half an hour so there is no point in getting started on electronic stuff just to have it poop out on me when I'm feeling warmed and in the middle of something good (like a blog post or a good game of Spider solitaire). Anyway, I didn't want to just fill my time with anything, I wanted (still do actually) a job, one that would fill my hours and pay me for my good services all while learning and being challenged.
We had a new friend of ours over last Friday for dinner - now that we have our new little home, I really want to entertain! She was in PC 10 years ago and now works for an international NGO. She's very sweet and I like her a lot, it's nice to have a girl friend around to talk to (now we just have to work on finding a guy friend for Jason). She is able to get into these in depth conversations with Jason about their work here and that's when I just feel left behind - no fault of their own, it's just the natural course of the conversations that we end up having. This is when I wish I was working with an NGO, doing something, learning about the environment and work situation here in Zimbabwe so I could partake in these types of discussions. Regardless of my not contributing, she was aware of my situation and offered her thoughts about how I could get involved with organizations and I could probably even help her out with a few things. Nothing major was stated but I realized that it's time to change my perspective and approach to finding work.
Saturday morning we drove South to Chiredzi so Jason could do some field work for a few days. On the drive we finally made our budget, which has made a huge difference in relieving some of these anxious feelings. After talking about it and working it out, we realized we're doing fine with just his salary. Yes, it would be nice to be able to save more, but we're not in a dire situation. This is what I needed to figure out in my head because that means I can go out there and find work and it's ok if it's unpaid.
On Sunday we had to drive to the border so we could use the South African Vodacom cell phone network - we didn't have to cross because the network is available on the Zim side. A friend of a friend from Chiredzi needed a lift so he road the 3 hours with us - it was nice to have company and good conversation. At one point we ended up talking about why we, as Americans that can live a relatively more comfortable life back at home, choose to live here and do the work we do. It's a question that I think a lot of people want to ask and don't know how. Jason made a good point and said we're not content to just sit back and lead a mediocre life. Yes, we could live at home, very comfortably but would we really be happy. When we have bad days here, we can still sit together and say hey, we're living outside the box, doing something different, living the life we weren't content just to dream about. And at that moment it really clicked in my head. I needed to know that financially we were ok but then it really struck the right cord inside me to hear him talk about our life like that. I am not ok just sitting around reading all day. Although a nice, guilty pleasure to do every now and again, it's not what I want my time in Zimbabwe to be about. I need to get out there and seek out volunteer positions, internships, whatever I can, regardless of pay, so I can walk away at some point and say that I made the most of my life here. I want to go back to grad school in a few years and know that despite not being able to find paid work, I was able to gain valuable experiences learning about the NGO sector and international aid - it wasn't all about the money and worrying about it.
Finally, a peace and calmness have settled over me and I've taken a new approach this week. Tiny steps have been made, but they'll lead to something.