It has now been three weeks since I left my office job. There is a lot I miss about my former position, and a LOT that I don't miss.
Tonight I met a friend and former co-worker for drinks. We got caught up on the chisme and devoured chips and queso. It was good times.
And about 45 minutes and 2/3 of a margarita into our happy hour I realized that one of the most exciting things that happened to me today was a big sale on chicken thighs at the local supermarket.
That's what I had to talk about.
The unusually low price of chicken thighs.
It was weird.
Don't get me wrong, I am legitimately excited about tasks like grocery shopping--because I've never done them before! I mean, I've never been the person in our home who regularly did the grocery shopping. It's a whole new skill set!
My previous positions required that I readily access detailed information about many, many study abroad programs/academic degree plans/host communities/host universities. I could take a student's most complicated personal and academic situations and find them the perfect international study opportunity. It was a gift.
I was particularly adept at helping a student who *felt* like he/she was *supposed* to go to one international university connect with an international program across the world that really fit his/her goals. Plans for a summer in Vienna would morph into a semester in Nepal. A planned and predictable internship in London would become a longed-for independent research project in Brazil.
I really, really loved helping my students discover the world. I loved that I knew which university in Barcelona offered the biggest selection of marketing courses taught in English. I loved that I could help a student with high financial need find the perfect scholarship to fund study abroad.
I was a font of information at advising appointments. I was thorough during the application process. I was supportive during pre-departure. I waited eagerly for email updates and those first pictures posted to facebook. I couldn't wait for my students to return to the US and share memories with me.
The look on a student's face when she played me the song that was huge in all the nightclubs in Gulu/Toulouse/San Jose--it made my week.
I'm sad to miss out on much of my last group of advisees' journeys. I hope they know that I am thinking of them.
I am wishing them well as they start new chapters around the globe. I hope they know how brave they are, and how much their decisions today will impact every day of their lives from here on out.