25 May 2012

Reflections Come With Change

*Warning: this is a reflective post written after a long week and particularly emotional day. But I'm determined to see all my time here as one big story. I don't want to simply focus on my library work and instead want to focus on a comprehensive reflection of living in Uganda. Just FYI. :)

Today was graduation at RTC. Students that finished last year returned for the ceremony. Families arrived to support their graduates. I helped wrap 40+ gifts for those graduating and folded tons of programs. The compound was cleaned and the grass 'slashed' (i.e. mowed). It's been a busy week.

I don't know why but this time of year always makes me reflective. As a student I always hated the end of a semester. Weird, I know. You'd think I would be happy to see the end of the work and get to a break. Which I was. But I also hate change, so seeing something end (even a semester) makes me sentimental. [Side note: I can remember only one New Year's Eve where I was actually excited about the coming year...most years I feel sad to see the old year go. Yeah, change is not my thing.]

This semester is no different.

Maybe I'm extra sentimental because this was my last semester at RTC. But I've been thinking a lot about the time I've spent in Uganda and the stories I've heard, the people I've met. I said goodbye to a lot of them today. I don't know if they realize how much they've touched my heart or impacted my life. I don't know if they know how much I'm going to miss them or how sad I am to say goodbye. I know people come and go from our lives but right now it's hard to imagine that all too soon these people will not a part of my every day life.

And I keep thinking about the story of this past semester. Thinking about the library and the students. It's been a busy semester in a lot of ways...for most of the time I was a solo librarian, which meant I was the only one around to answer questions, work on cataloging, field IT issues. I was stressed a lot of the time, to be honest. I lost perspective. Forgetting why I was here and getting caught up in the feelings of being overwhelmed. It's embarrassing, actually.

Because as I looked across the chapel today during graduation, I was reminded that I don't want my life to be about the little stresses I too often get distracted by at work or in life. It's about choosing to pay attention to those around me and to be present in the moment. And to focus on the beautiful stories around me. I came here because of a library. But I chose to engage in the community around me. And that made my library experience so much richer.

I hope I never see a job as simply a job. But rather I hope I can remember the importance of engaging with those around me, listening to their stories, and becoming a part of my community.


Graduates! :)
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