Thursday, December 9, 2010

Re: My Move to Nepal

There seems to be no finer day to officially start writing this blog, as this morning I submitted my resignation at work.

The preparations started the night before, with note taking, rehearsing, and hand wringing – all for maybe a three minute conversation with my boss. So I should come clean right here and right now before we get any further: despite the premise of this whole adventure to purposely invite some uncertainty into our lives, I am deeply, profoundly, and tirelessly a planner. Always have been. And by going to grad school in urban planning and working in the field for the last two years, now I have gone and made a profession out of it too.

Well, my boss could not have planned for this conversation. His eyes widened when I told him that Brian and I are moving to Nepal to pursue a long-term dream. His eyes widened even more when I told him that I have to leave our firm in two weeks, as I just received the exciting news that I will have the chance to serve as a Kiva Fellow and work with a local microfinance institution in Nepal for three months. “I am getting on a plane for Nepal on January 17,” I told him. I emphasized, as a planner, that for his sake and for mine I wished I had more time to prepare for my departure but regretted that this was not the case with this opportunity.

I then emailed the rest of our small office to share the news. Subject line: My Move to Nepal.

The responses from my co-workers were great. "Coolest subject line ever." "WOW! That is the most exciting departure email I have ever read! Congratulations!" One colleague told me about a friend's transformative experience as a Kiva Fellow in Cameroon, while another colleague shared with me her personal experience as a Kiva lender. Still another told me that his daughter has been a Kiva investor since her 16th birthday, when she asked her friends to contribute to a Kiva lending account instead of giving her presents.

Of course, I expected my co-workers to be happy for me, but I could not have planned for these responses that so overwhelmingly affirm my decision to serve as a Kiva Fellow, and, in the bigger picture, Brian's and my decision to move to Nepal.

As I give up one small piece of my planner side -- my professional calling card, for now -- I hope that I can learn to appreciate, little by little, the great surprises that come our way when we do not plan every detail to the very last drop. After all, that is what we are setting out to do here.

So, welcome to this blog, which is, in and of itself, one big unplanned experiment. Especially now, as we sit writing from Chicago, we do not know how it will unfold in the coming months when we make our way through a new life in Nepal. We think -- we hope! -- that we will discover some good material that will entertain you, or at least ourselves, on these pages.

If all else fails, we have another blog idea in the wings. Did I mention Brian is also a planner? No, not by profession -- he is a lawyer, until his day comes to give his resignation -- but he did save every single date planner from college and graduate school. No, I do not lie. That's a good eight years of blog posts down memory lane.