Views from the Train

You get the idea. Roller coaster is one way to describe it, and not a bad way either. Just about every day since September 30 I’ve gone through at least one full cycle from “Damn, I really don’t want to leave: there are people who need us, there’s really good work we can do here, it’s a fascinating and truly beautiful country with tremendous history, and I’m not ready to give up yet” back over to “Oh god, I can’t take any more of this, get me out of here, and oh by the way tortilla chips do not exist in Sri Lanka and how can a Californian live without tortilla chips for longer than a few days???” And then usually back and forth a few more times, all in one day. That means as of today I’ve cycled through it all at least 24 times, and I’d have to say it’s more like 50 times that I’ve made my peace with leaving (“ok, we’ll visit the folks in Bargteheide, see the friends in Rome and Zurich, then eat torilla chips and bagels with jalapeno cream cheese every day for a month in San Francsico, then we’ll be ready to work in Sudan for six months”) then recommitted to staying, doing good work, keeping focused, keeping the national staff focused and energized and not too depressed or worried. I’ve had a few headaches, I gotta admit.

After nine weeks stuck in the office aka house, with never an escape from the city except the two day trips I’ve previously documented, you can imagine I was more than delighted simply to find myself out of the office, on a train that hugs the beautiful coastline very narrowly as it travels south – I traveled third class, which meant an open carriage exactly like the C train cars in NYC except that the doors are open so you get the fresh sea breeze, and vendors pop in and out selling various delectables.

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