Thursday, August 13, 2020

Dispatches from Addis Ababa


I spent a week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February of 2020 for work. I did not know at the time that it would be the last business trip of the year one the pandemic hit. This is an excerpt from my diary as I await my flight at the airport.

"I’m sitting here in the terminal awaiting my flight to Addis Ababa. I have been wanting to go on this trip my whole life. Finally I am being paid to go, and yet I am miserable. Shouldn’t I be excited? Shouldn’t I be honored that I have the opportunity to participate on a trip in the way that I always wanted to? And here I am, getting paid to go to a new country, a new continent, on a trip where I am working at my top expertise. And yet I am sad, I am frustrated, I want to return home.
There’s something especially rough about being awake and at an airport in the wee hours of the morning, whether its because I had to leave my bed and ride a Lyft here, or because I had a long layover. I just don’t like missing a night of sleep, or being awake and sitting up when I want to be asleep and sitting down, or having to be in a place where nothing is open. Maybe that’s why I’m bitter now. Because I’m tired and uncomfortable and displeased with this airport and nervous about my very long 13-hour flight. Didn’t I write a blog post once that said, “the journey is definitely not the reward” after a particularly brutal trip to Japan, but that how it was oh-so-worth it once I got to Tokyo and had sushi with my best friend? And didn’t I question, every single time I was on a flight, why on earth I would want to put myself through such misery, and that I am never traveling again? And yet each time I get to my destination I quickly forget the misery of airplane travel and fall in love, once more, with this beautiful earth.
I think I am realizing now, that nothing I do is without sacrifice. A long time ago, when I was young and single, I once longed for nothing more than to escape life on an airplane and arrive somewhere in Asia. But now that I have a husband and a baby, every time I leave without them I leave them behind. I sacrifice time with them for these trips. But if I take them with me, I sacrifice time alone. Nothing I do from here on will be without sacrifice. I will always be giving up one thing for another.

- Diary Excerpt, February 14th, 2020 6:35am

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