I just skimmed over my last blog entry from about a month ago…is it possible that was only a month ago? To all of you who know me as ‘Corinna who plans every detail of her life over the next 10 years’…I think we need to get reacquainted. Because that Corinna is on vacation right now. And I am working on keeping my head above water as my world get repeatedly turned upside down. Although I will be the first to say that every single change that has happened over this absolutely crazy last year of my life has ended up being wonderful. Which is why I am still holding on and doing my best to let the current carry me where it will.
In February I went public with the news that I was going to stay in Colombia for another year. I have been in love with Cali since I arrived. And then there is Sergio, who has totally and completely captured my heart. The only thing that didn’t feel perfect about staying was that I have been really missing my role as a nurse. Being a nurse, and now a new nurse practitioner, is so much of my identity and so much of my passion. I really miss my patients. I miss the sense of competency I get from doing something I am good at and that I care about so intensely. I miss the steep learning curve and the challenges I am faced with every day. I am head over heels in love with my life, but I feel this lack of professional identity. I think that if my Colombia world was solely made up of my amazing girlfriends, most of whom are foreigners who are here dancing salsa and teaching english and studying spanish, I might be better at justifying my life of luxury (right now most of my days consist of a dance class, a yoga class, lunch with friends, and reading a book- I am a lady who lunches.) These girls are here, filling their days with dance and yoga and class, because it is a way to be in Colombia. Not because teaching english and studying spanish are their professional goals. But because they have decided to take this time-out, to be in a place that makes their hearts sing. It’s a valuable message- to take that time-out. Life is too short to not take time-outs and let your heart sing. But there is this other part of me that doesn’t quite feel satisfied. That longs for the challenges of my career. And being by Sergio’s side magnifies that. He is so dedicated to his work, to his dreams, to learning, to making the most of his time and his skills. Every night, when he has been immersed in work all day long and all I have to report is another dance class…I feel a little embarrassed, like I am failing at my purpose in this world. I wish he could see me in MY world. Where I am driven and professional and good at what I do. Where I draw energy from the passion I have for nursing. Where I make a difference in people’s lives.
Anyway. Back to the news. About a month ago, Sergio tearfully told me that he had been offered an amazing grant to go do his masters degree in France. In September. And that after much consideration he had decided he needed to go.
I am absolutely heartbroken. Grieving not only the loss of him, but of a city, a culture, and a language that I am completely in love with. I spent this year dreaming about having a life here. A sweet little house with exposed wood beams and adobe walls. My own papaya tree. A little brown baby strapped on my back. My heart always leaps a little when I get to claim Cali as my home. And now I don’t get to do that. Now I have to let her go. And it breaks my heart.
But it is a wonderful opportunity for Sergio. I have been thinking a lot about my break-up with Cameron last year and what a gift it was that he was able to give me his blessing and let me go. It was partly because of this, that I was able to land here in Colombia with such an open heart, to really embrace this year like I have. And now the world has come full circle. It’s my turn to let go of someone I love so that they can have the experiences they deserve in the world.
So my world is a crazy roller coaster of laughter and tears right now. I have never been so happy and so sad at the same time. I am falling more in love every day and simultaneously grieving the loss of that love. I currently have a reputation for bursting into tears at any moment, no matter where I am or who I am with. In 9 days I will be arriving in San Francisco. *sigh* I am working hard to enjoy every moment I have left in Colombia. But everything is slightly tinged with a tear.
There is more. Two days after Sergio told me the news (two exhausting days of emotion) I gave into my need to plan my life and decided to google nurse practitioner jobs in Portland. Having a back up plans makes me feel better- it gives me the illusion that I have some control over what is happening. =) I stumbled immediately upon my dream job. And the application was set to close in 36 hours. I scrambled, and I dragged 4 amazing UCSF professions along with me, all of whom managed to whip out reference letters within 24 hours. (Thank you!!!) And it paid off, because I was selected to be flown out for an in-person interview in June. If this job materializes, it will be my saving grace in this transition because it gives me a real true valid reason to be there instead of here.
The job is a new graduate nurse practitioner residency program at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. Nurse Practitioners don’t get any sort of residency after graduation- we just jump right in and spend a year trying to keep our heads above water. It’s up to each individual to negotiate with the employer as to the support you need for your first year. But it’s rough. As the healthcare systems change in the US, dependance on NPs as providers is rising fast. In order to meet the needs of the population for primary care providers, the system is going to rely very heavily on NPs and Physician Assistants since we have a serious lack of family med doctors in the US (everyone wants to specialize). In the last few years these NP residency programs have started to pop up around the country, but it looks like there are still only a handful of them. They are mostly in Federally Qualified Health Centers and are an attempt to increase the number of primary care providers working in low-resource, high-needs settings. It’s a 12 month, fully salaried position that combines “precepted primary care sessions, specialty rotations, mentored independent clinics and didactic sessions.” It’s basically a fully paid 3rd year of grad school- a residency to get me on my feet. And not only is it the kind of supportive environment I am looking for, but it is in a clinic that provides real primary care to a population of low income and spanish speaking families located just 3 hours from Portland and 2 from Seattle. I couldn’t ask for more (except maybe to bring all of Cali with me in my suitcase..) I will be interviewing in Yakima on June 9th and 10th. Keep your fingers crossed for me! (I’m still kind of amazed that they are flying me out…they even asked me if I wanted a community tour and what was important for me to see. It’s like they are wooing me. I’ve never been wooed for a job before! Especially one I want so much!)
So that is my life right now. I feel like I have my heart on my sleeve all the time. I am so sad that my chest aches. I am so excited that I get giddy. I am so in love that it is written all over my face. So don`t be shocked if I burst into tears when I see you and you give me welcome home hug. They may be tears of joy. They may be tears of sadness. Or I may have no idea what-so-ever where they are coming from. Sometimes I just need to cry for a minute.
See you all soon…Mil abrazos de Colombia.
“Nada hay absoluto, todo se cambia, todo se mueve, todo revoluciona, todo vuela y se va.”
“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
~ Frida Khalo