Turning Over A New Maple Leaf…

I really like How I Met Your Mother. Seriously, good stuff.

Robin, Lilly, Barney, Marshal, Ted- the baby hater, manipulator, womanizer, giant, and hopeless romantic. On a cold rainy evening, there is nothing better than sitting on my green cushions slowly sipping a hot apple cider mixed with mulling spice. My smile warms up as I see Robin nervously laugh as she tries to tell a lie ‘aboot’ anything, realize everything I learned in life I could have learned in Kindergarten with Miss Lilly (I missed out on the whole kindergarten classroom experience being homeschooled for a few of the younger years), see Barney suit up and how his lines could probably even work on me at this point, wish I could have a “you’ve been lawyered” Marshal moment, and empathize with Ted’s up and down rollercoaster of the good and bad in life.

Oh, Ted… I’ve watched your many detrimental moves on ladies, your good intentions that fall apart, falling in love with Robin, Stella, and yet I am still clueless on who your children’s mother is (but at least we know she has a yellow umbrella). During the first season, it was sad that Marshal and Lilly broke off their engagement, but how exciting it was to see you and Robin together! …and then your break up at the end of Season 2. Stella was super sweet and smart, but things just didn’t work out (should have let Stella talk to Robin). Then again, why would you want to be with someone who is still in love with a lover past? After the break up, you’ll get back out there when you are ready… and shave your beard. This week, I’ll start season 5. I know you aren’t supposed to, but I snuck a peak at episode 12 and I am still clueless to how exactly you met your children’s mother.

HIMYM is more than just a witty show about a single man’s journey to finding the love of his life. It deals with the struggles of friendships, how secrets can never be kept, nothing good happens after 2am (it’s true), putting your career before a love life, office woes, and so much more. Getting over excuses to go for that dream job and build up that confidence to talk to someone new.

Although this show is, well, only a show, I like it for it brings a smile on a cold rainy Ugandan day.

See, rainy season came early this year and when it rains, people don’t go outside. You sit there and wait it out. A week ago, I would have been sitting in the office comfy chair trying to take a nap after 5pm when it rains. That all changed with a short email last week. Now when it rains, I sit at home with my newly acquired electricity and watch HIMYM and movies, play guitar, cook lunch, read a book, study some, and stare at walls. Oh, and use the wi-fi for FREE at a secret location I can’t tell you about.

Tuesday. God bless Tuesdays. There is this episode where Ted is hired to create architectural plans for the new Goliath National Bank headquarters. Barney and Marshal were told to fire Ted because of budget cuts and GNB cutting the project but they never told Ted he was fired. He kept working putting his heart and innovative mind into the design of an amazing building. It wasn’t until he had spent an extra month working on the project that Ted found out from some random girl in the elevator that he was doing all that work for a project that went under a month earlier.

Tuesday. Well, this email was from the director of FRO- sent on Sunday but I hadn’t checked my email in a while. Basically, it seemed like a really bad break up from HIMYM with excuses and fluff talk. It was almost as bad as Robin trying to break up with a 5 year old.

So, since you can’t technically be fired from a volunteer job, I think I just got dumped. The closest I’ve ever been to being dumped before was when I was 22 and seeing a guy but not really feeling it. I decided to wait until after the holidays till mid January to have the talk when he brought it up a few days earlier than planned date (the cleanest and most mutual ending which was great). Like Ted and Robin, even though things were good at the time, realizing how having different 5 year plans would bring future conflict made deciding to end things then and there the best for both parties. (That guy is now engaged to a lovely lady back in the states and I’m very happy for him).

 In the 4 seasons that I’ve watched, and maybe in the 5th that Wes just sent me (I love my little giant brother), one lesson learned could be how the once loves of the past make us appreciate the love of now. That time between those two is the tricky part. I may be more of a Robin putting her career in front of her love life and that’s okay. In a different sense, like Ted getting fired or ‘dumped’ in my case just means doing something different. Unlike Ted, I have a security blanket of a $250 salary that takes care of all my monthly needs. After Ted got fired, he decided to take control of his life and job and create his own architectural firm. Sometimes it takes a downer circumstance or little push to get us on the move to something more.

 Most evenings on my 30 minute walk home between thatch roof huts and tall grass, I was really unhappy with certain aspects of work. I loved the students and teachers, all the girls and their babies, my counterpart, and working on projects that were really needed to benefit them. Sometimes, when the reason of being dumped is excuses and cheap talk to cover the deeper reasons, you just have to let it be and walk away. Why stick around when the people who are supposed to be supportive are really self engulfed and apathetic? Time to move on…

So, until I find a new love… ummm, Peace Corps and I agree on another organization… I get to hang out and do a lot of things I didn’t have time to do before. Instead of an arranged marriage, or fixed site placement, I’ve been checking out the choices. Some of these choices include working possibly with an organization that has a boarding school for 130 child mothers, some being former sex slaves for the LRA, where I could possibly work with the girls, the childcare center, or the grandparents who are taking care of children back in the villages. There is an orphanage with roughly 110 children in another town with kids that are deaf, have been maimed from the LRA, that could use some help. There is another organization in town which I view very highly that I’ll talk to as well.

 As in any break up, there are good and frustrating things that come from it. I’ve wanted to work in a children’s home since I was in 6th grade and Bona Vista was a home for the mentally handicapped while Nesting Doves for teen mothers. The one organization in town is like Nesting Doves on crack- lots of girls with very intense backgrounds. The organization out of town seems more like a younger and diverse group. The other organization in town would just be sweet to partner with. These are all good things.

Although the whole situation is slightly frustrating, it’s exciting. God is going to do something even bigger. I’m glad that I was placed with FRO and had an amazing counterpart that I was able to have open conversations with, but now it is time to turn over a new Maple leaf and see where God takes the journey next. It’s gonna be good- no doubt about it. While I wait for things to shape up here in Uganda, I’ll start season 5 while sipping on Raspberry Hot Chocolate and continue to wonder how Ted meets his children’s mother.

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