Casey McCarthy has rediscovered America and changed her plan to prioritize love.
  • Casey McCarthy has rediscovered America and changed her plan to prioritize love.

Post Title: California Dreamin’

Post Date: July 10, 2012

I never had the slightest desire to live in the United States. I took pleasure in criticizing Americans for their stupidity in voting for George W. Bush, twice. I enjoyed taking aim at their gun-toting ways; their super-sized everything and increasing levels of obesity; an animal farming industry that only could incur scorn; and, on top of all that, an infantile health-care system that other developed countries looked at with confusion and concern.

Title: With Heart on Sleeve

Address: withheartonsleeve.tumblr.com

Author: Casey McCarthy

From: Queensland, Australia/Cambodia/San Diego

Blogging since: September 2008

Of course, all my “facts” were based on hearsay, Jerry Springer, and Michael Moore films and all my views expressed in the comfort of non–U.S. company.

And so it’s a good thing that I’m living here now — or, more accurately, that I hope to be living here — because my skewed view of the U.S.A. needs to be revisited (or at least based on real facts). The last month has been — and continues to be — an adjustment. I had no desire to move back to the “developed” world.

But I made some pretty amazing American friends while I was in Cambodia, and the thing that strikes me most about Americans is their genuine friendliness. In the few weeks I’ve been in San Diego, I’ve found this the most smile-inducing feature. Combined with the gorgeous weather, beautiful coastline, and general enthusiasm for physical activity and adventure, the people I’ve met are also, broadly speaking, fit and social. Additionally, San Diego seems to be a real cultural melting pot. Certainly the people I’ve met so far — mostly my partner’s friends — are a wonderful, eclectic group of people from countries including Japan, India, Italy, Mexico, and Vietnam. So the point is, there is a lot to like — really like — about the U.S. so far.

Post Title: The Best Decisions

Post Date: April 6, 2012

I handed in my resignation letter this week. In less than three months I will no longer work for the U.N. in Cambodia.  I’m not ready to leave. But I will leave.

Because, with the words of my wonderful Australian supervisor ringing in my head: the best decisions we make in this industry are the ones where we put our families first.

So I might not be 100% ready to leave Cambodia, but I am 100% ready to start the next adventure. Because sometimes, you can’t have it all — work and family. I’ve put work first for a good few years. Now I’m going to put family first…and with any luck, in a few years, I’ll manage to combine them.

It’s always a strange combination of sheer excitement and terrified panic that I begin a new chapter of life. Some people think it’s brave, but I’m not sure I have any other choice.

Post Title: The Colour of Happiness

Post Date: September 26, 2011

“Whoa,” she said. “Moving to America for him? Giving up this job? That’s a big sacrifice to make.”

“Yeah…it is, I guess,” I responded, defeated, unable to muster the enthusiasm to, again, attempt to explain myself.

It isn’t a sacrifice I haven’t thought a lot about. Before I met him, I had a very clear trajectory, a very ambitious career plan. This changes things. Obviously. And that makes me nervous. Of course it does.

But I’ve sacrificed love in the past for my career. And it’s not that now is a better time, for the reverse sacrifice, but, rather, this time it’s for the right person.

This time, there is a man who isn’t unable or unwilling to say, “I want us both to make sacrifices so we can be together because I can’t bear to be apart from you.” This time, I’ll change my plan to prioritize love, but I won’t (I will never) shelve my career ambition.  

And part of the unspoken subtext to the conversations about my planned sacrifice is that we’ve only known each other six months, and that these are big plans to be making after such a short amount of time. People say: when you know, you know. Well, we know.

[Posts edited for length.]

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