Thoughts on Staying Put

Something strange happened in October…

It started when I made a friend. Her name is Pip.

Pip and I went to a networking event together one Wednesday evening, schmoozing with high profile NGO workers and bonding over a pitcher of St. Ambroise Apricot Ale. The next day we were at her apartment cooking a poor man’s meal of rice, egg, and tuna and polishing our resumes in hopes that we would land our dream job.

Months later, that still hasn’t happen. But what I’ve found in our friendship far exceeds the satisfaction I could ever find in a “dream job”. (Sidenote: I no longer believe you find your dream job, I believe you make your job whatever you want it to be – with diligence and attitude).

Pip and I hit the one month friendship mark and celebrated with Vietnamese food in China Town. We felt mutually blessed and thankful for our friendship. My emotional breakdowns and longings to go back to Thailand were gradually subsiding. Tearful phone calls to my parents were becoming less frequent.

I sent a silly text to Pip one day in mid November: “Will you be my forever friend?” I asked.

It was meant to be funny, but I was completely sincere.

What happened in October was that I started to think about what life would be like if I decided to stay put. I started to think about how the friends I make here could be my friends for the rest of my life. No more having to write letters or keep in contact via Skype or Facebook (all of which I’m thankful for) but growing and living life with a community of people.

A few weeks after I formed this new friendship with Pip my dad told me about a connection he had to a company in Bangkok, encouraging me to contact the Director for possible employment.

Aside from my bewilderment that my dad would propose such a thing (my parents weren’t supportive of me going back to Thailand without trying to invest in life here first) was the physical pain I felt at the thought of leaving Ottawa.

Are you suggesting that I rip my heart out again?

I knew at that point it was time to stay. I was committed to working through my feelings of purposelessness, the lack of employment opportunities, and my tendency to run away when things become difficult.

It felt risky. But it also felt like an investment.

And here I am – 5 months later – and despite my love for Thailand I am so thankful that I decided to stay put in Ottawa. Sometimes I struggle to pay my bills, I still work in retail, and I only recently obtained a full-time job. But the flip side is this: I live close to my family, I’ve made a handful of forever friends, I have an incredible church that is becoming my community, and I’m so excited to see the results of choosing to invest.

Oh yeah, and I’m in love. A lot.

Pretty good trade off if you ask me…

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