The content and opinions expressed in this blog are mine. They do not represent the US Government or US Peace Corps - Jud Dolphin

Saturday, April 25

Moving a Life

It's not easy moving a life...although my niece and her military family do it all the time. She claims they have it down to a system. I'm not sure that's possible for me.

Sure I make lists and then I compile those lists into more lists. I'm working on my third final list now. Progress?

So many details to sort. Duplicate keys for renter. Pick up new glasses. Set up Skype. Pay bills. Stop Medicare. Alert bank of travel. Finalize will and medical directives. And of course sort clothes and decide what art supplies to take. Oh, and don't forget favorite spices. I've gotta have curry.

I'm packing two duffel bags which will hold my life-support for two years. While I'm sorting, my internal I-Pad hums a 60s folk tune – “All my bags are packed. I'm ready to go ….Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane...” 

I'm thinking with a big smile, “the hassle of packing up a life is worth it 'cause I get to go to Macedonia. What an adventure!"

Macedonia seems exotic. Doesn't it? Like many Americans, I know little about it. I know it's in the Balkans, but not much more. I'm learning that when the former Soviet block country of Yugoslavia fractured in 1991, Macedonia re-gathered into its national identity.

Macedonia has deep roots. Archeologists see evidence of human settlements as far back as 7000 BCE. Along the way, notables like King Phillip II and Alexander The Great created the world’s largest Empire stretching from Europe, to North Africa and India.

Since then it's been fought over and conquered by Greeks, Romans, Serbians, Bulgarians, The Byzantine Empire, The Ottoman Empire and more. It's a history of cultural amalgamation and conflict.

Think World War I, Macedonia was in the center of the powder keg that ignited then. And still, It's neighbors especially Greece, Bulgaria and Albania protest its existence. Each thinks the land should be theirs and they can look back and make plausible claims. This time the conflicts have been a war of words mostly. I'm grateful.

The organization I'll be working with wants to include the marginalized in the new Macedonia. They want to alleviate poverty.

It's a big mission that they approach through social policy research and advocacy. Right now they are working on a project that “will produce the first empirical index measuring corruption and clientelism (sic) in media.”

I'm excited to be joining such a group. I hope to contribute to their organizational development drawing upon my 40 years of experience with social change organizations and the contacts I've made along the way. I see my work to be a way of sharing best practices and connecting my Macedonian counterparts with others in America who share a just and inclusive vision for life.

At a farewell party last week, I got talking with a friend who volunteered to contact the staff of DC's street paper. It's like the one in Macedonia. Homeless people sell the weekly paper and make income for their own needs.

We thought that maybe we could arrange a Skype conversation connecting these staff in a direct way. It's social entrepreneurship connecting around the world. Who knows where it might lead.

So here I am with just a few more hours in my apartment. I really am checking off my final, final final list. My physical possessions are down to necessities + curry carried in two duffel bags for the year.

Yet I'm thinking how very fortunate I am. 

 My life experience is about to expand. New friends, new challenges and lots of adventure.  My life is on the move.  I wonder what lies ahead....

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