Tuesday, August 17, 2004

How can you miss me if I won't go away?!

With "the trip" being only about 10 days away, I've begun to take stock of my personal hopes and expectations, worries and concerns. One fear I didn't expect to face is that of getting lonely while abroad. This isn't an entirely unintelligible fear: Being gone for a month makes for a fairly substantial absence from one's social
relationships, especially given that for 90% of the time I will be on territory where I don't know a soul and don't speak the native language (very well). Yet to know me is to know that I am a harcore introvert, one who routinely tests as an 8 out of 10 on the "I" side of the MBPI (... a score surpassed only by the 10 out of 10 I ten-d
[sorry!] to score on the "N" component. I am as of yet unaware of a test that scores one's propensity for stupid punnery and silly wordplay.)

Nor is it terribly surprising that I turned out this way as an adult, having grown up as the daughter of two even more pronounced introverts than myself, both of whom has very socially interactive, inter-personally demanding jobs. My father especially was and is a "closet introvert," a wonderful man whom I love very much, and whose skill with people and real sense of social responsibility completely obscured his wiring to anyone but his family, who ended up on the receiving end of long sessions of silent reading or meditating when he came home. A couple of decades later, I seem to have re-created this scenario effectively in my own private/professional life. Working for
a church is a virtually non-stop contact sport that leaves my social life a little, ahem, dry: When the idea of catching a movie with friends or hanging out on a Saturday night becomes yet another time when I *have* to interact with people (but would rather crawl into a hole with a book or just my brain) one might justly expect me to be more the social caterpillar than the corresponding butterfly.

And yet, being "wired" as I am makes me more appreciative of community and connection with others, and a tiny, neurotic part of myself fully expects to pass from the minds of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances into a Lethe-like sea of oblivion during my month abroad. This blog is part of my endeavor to record my experiences, but also to share them with others -- the gaps between what you see and I see, what "we" hear and "they" hear are overwhelmingly, dishearteningly great so much of the time that it feels like a privilege, or perhaps arrogance, to invite others to see with me, listen with me, hear my thoughts, process together. My desire is for this to be a shared journey, and to invite others into my wanderings as I desire to be invited into theirs. Perhaps together we will be more likely to be "not lost."

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