The art may speak for itself but I will add a bit of context.
The travel required, mostly of Jon and very occasionally of me, has been one of the unexpected and quite challenging aspects of living and working cross-culturally. I’m not talking about the scheduled home assignments when we uproot and travel together, but the frequent conferences, educational meetings, and government inspections that take Jon out of Addis or, most frequently, out of Ethiopia. If you add to this the fact that Jon has still been expected to be at the hospital immediately prior to and upon return, often taking call the week before or after (yes, in a state of jet lag), this has resulted in 1-3 weeks per month of physical separation. The remaining 1-3 weeks are characterized by exhaustion and emotional separation.
Some families seem to take it in stride. Real? A facade? I’m not sure, but for us it has torn us apart and for Grace, especially, it has been one aspect of life here that has become unbearable.
This is something that is somewhat unique to the medical profession and yet other cross-cultural workers struggle with the same work-life balance. As the art clearly communicates, it’s something we need to work on figuring out better.