One of my professors' favorite, or maybe just most used, descriptions of emergency response work is that rather than "get ready, get set, go" it's more like "go, get ready, get set". You're off the starting block before you have any chance to prepare, because that's the essence of an emergency. You can do your best with emergency preparedness, but to a large extent you will always be somewhat unprepared. And so off I go to Indonesia. For those of you who've been asking, I'm working on a project assessing a major NGOs 5 year long tsunami response program, which is in the process of winding up. We're evaluating whether their outcomes match their objectives, whether the money was spent well and whether it was effective at causing change. I'll update more about what I'm doing as I do, but for now I'm working on reviewing program documents starting in 2004 before the tsunami and designing data collection tools, quite the task!
I'm leaving NYC on Thursday morning (and am off to Indonesia on Saturday) and I'm almost surprised by how nostalgic the idea of moving away has made me. Since I moved here in 2006, from living in the Bronx to Washington Heights to Harlem and all the rats and late night reggaeton I've heard in between, I've always know New York wasn't the city for me. I love the range of things to do, places to eat and people to meet, but I'm more of an open spaces person I think. But above all, leaving has reminded me how many great people I've met here and I'm glad I'm going to be able to come back in December to finish out my work and see everyone again, and definitely go ice skating. I went out to dinner with a friend tonight (pupusas!) and he asked me what I regretted not doing here. After I made a list of things like apple picking, ice skating and kayaking, he pointed out that they were all things that could be done other places. So as much as I'll miss it here, I'm at go, here's hoping I'm ready and set.