The short version: I have accepted an amazing job opportunity in Pakistan and should be leaving in early March for Islamabad.

Other than my irrational fear of shots (and the wide array I am supposed to get before departure to guard against things like yellow fever and malaria), there is now nothing standing in the way except for the final signing of the contract between USAID and the contractor who has hired me. The contract is 99% a done deal, but that means there’s still a 1% chance that after all this careful decision-making, I’ll end up in the U.S. after all, jobless and eating tons of cheeseburgers.

But I’m getting mentally prepared for that more likely 99%. I want to say thanks so much for all the wise words, advice and encouragement you have all given me via blog notes, emails, and (only slightly freaked out-sounding) phone calls since I first opened up the floor for comments. I would highly recommend all of you to anyone I know who is currently deciding whether or not to move halfway across the world.

And, as those of you on Facebook who read my “25 Things” note already know (is that thing on fire this week or WHAT), I can’t catch malaria anyway because of a rare red blood cell disorder that I have. So that’s one less shot I have to take. It’s almost like I was destined to move to South Asia to do strategic communications for a USAID consultant as part of the effort to shore up Pakistani infrastructure and thus undermine the instability that nurtures terrorism. No? Well, maybe just the malaria thing then.

Thanks to Linda Rosa for the gorgeous mosque photo above. I can’t wait to start taking pictures of things like that myself. (Not that you didn’t all love my shots of downtown Parma, Ohio. The way I framed that Rotary Club emerging gently out of the suburban haze…)

Oh, and no need to forward me the New York Times article about the abduction of the American in Pakistan yesterday unless you really want to. I’ve already received it about a dozen times. Love to you all and thanks for the concern–I don’t mind it one bit.