This morning I devoted to reading everything that the shipping company gave me to read and fill in and then I started to make lists, endless lists. Now that most things to give away have been given away I am left with three lists: to stay for future use in Kabul, to carry with me in suitcases and to ship. The shipper assured me that it will take only 21 days – this stands in sharp contrast to Steve’s stuff’s four month journey. Maybe it is because he had so much stuff.

I have entered the phase of ‘last time this, last time that’ now. I had my last Dari and Pashto class. People are puzzled that I am taking classes till the end, and especially about my Pashto class, why start a new language? Indeed, they are right, I am not sure myself. But today I said goodbye to the guard who has faithfully let me in and checked whether my car had come to pick me up and to my teacher, Axel’s old teacher, who is the most patient person in the world.

I have some illusion that I will keep working on my languages and bought all the books and tapes that the language school had – but I realize that the urgency of learning the language will have gone. Still, I am reading a book about organizational management in Dari now that is providing me, finally, with the professional vocabulary I need. It has taken me more than 6 hours to read one and a half page of the foreword.

All through the day I found myself tense and tight, following a night of constantly waking up. There is turmoil inside me although I cannot put my finger on it. I don’t know whether it is turmoil caused by leaving a phase in my life or entering a new one, or both. Or maybe it is simply the many things to do, on the job and off the job.

On the positive side, the tension does not come from what happens next job wise – Axel may be more nervous about that than I am. I have several weeks of vacation which will see me through the month of September and possibly beyond as I tinker together a series of small assignments by showing up at work and be at the right place at the right time, waiting for something more permanent.

I already have my first assignment lined up, two trips to Japan, one in November and one in February, to work with a professional training organization that prepares Japanese international development officials to prepare for their assignments – it is about leadership and cultural competency. I did a similar training many years ago and look forward to doing the work I have missed so much doing here in Afghanistan.

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