Change is in the Air

I am making some big changes in my life. It’s time to look for a job.

Things are really coming together in our life here. Jade has made another new friend at school and was invited for a weekend away with her best friend to a resort town three hours away (I really like and trust the mom, but yikes!). Siena has made friends and continues to love horseback riding and tennis. Saige is healthy, growing by the day and very happy with our nanny and her nursery school. Esteban is doing well, as always. And I have come up with a new life plan that feels more balanced.

I have decided that it’s time for me to explore the possibility of getting a part-time job. I love coaching clients and writing but I am a huge extrovert and I need colleagues. Working from my office in our home in a small Colombian town just isn’t providing me with enough opportunities to get out and be a part of society here. Plus, I have wanted to contribute to Colombia ever since I got here. Now that the kids are happily settled into life here, I finally feel like I can focus on getting my life into a more balanced pattern. Ideally I would like to work no more than 20 hours per week so that I still have time to coach and write and spend significant time with my children.

Doing what? I would love to work on a project involving the empowerment of women, ideally in the realms of domestic violence and child abuse. It’s a tough issue but what really strikes me here is cultural ignorance that surrounds this issue. Outside of the upper classes, people, especially the women, seem to accept being beaten by their husbands or partners as a way of life. Hitting children, often quite violently, as a means of discipline also seems to be highly accepted. Education about this issue, as well as alternatives for housing and being able to support oneself financially seem like key ingredients for a woman to be able to break the cycle of violence.

As you can see I have a lot of passion around this issue. I also have a strong desire to use all of my previous experience – project management in fourteen countries at the World Bank, working at a domestic violence shelter, running a program for homeless women in Washington DC, coaching women towards empowerment over the past decade – to make a difference here.
OK, I am pumped up… now it’s time to start networking and see who is doing what here. I will keep you posted…

On a different note, I can’t believe our firstborn, Jade, is going away for the weekend with a friend. She is very excited to go and I know it’s time for her to become more independent from us. But, yikes! She is nine years old and heading off to a resort three hours away with a Colombian family. (My mom is probably in shock as she reads this that we are allowing this to happen.) Don’t worry, Mom, I know Jade’s friend’s family very well and they are extremely over-protective and on top of things. I think she will be in good hands. It’s just hard to let my baby go. (Esteban was contemplating following them and getting his own room at the hotel to keep an eye on Jade all weekend. I talked him out of this idea.) I told Jade that I would be calling frequently all weekend long and she said, “Just don’t be annoying, Mom.” Oh, adolescence here we come. This is just the beginning….

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