Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the thankful project: an ability

Some moments you just need to BE there in the spirit of Thanksgiving. No updates on social media. No distractions. Just you, the laughter and friends you are surrounded by, and the feeling of being incredibly thankful for those moments. This past weekend was time for me to do just that.

I wanted to continue with the Thankful Project, but when you're surrounded by a place that looks like this, you don't want to spend time on a computer, right?

However, I am back and ready to link up once again with Kenzie from Chasing Happy to spend some time in thanksgiving. 

Today's Prompt:  an ability

Today, I am thankful for the ability to travel. Large trips or small trips-it doesn't matter. Each new culture I've been able to experience has been able to teach me so much..about the world, about myself. 

Cinque Terre




Glacier lake in  Northern Peru.

Dancing in the middle of local parade in the town I lived in.
New York

New Orleans

So often we get caught up in the world surrounding us, not even realizing there's so much more to see. We make excuses. "It's too far." "It's too expensive." "I just don't have the time." Some of these trips were made over a weekend. Some took a little more planning. All were completely worth it. Whether you travel 30 minutes down the road to eat at a new restaurant, or you take a 12 hour flight to immerse yourself in a language that sounds nothing like yours, get out. Go travel. See the world. Experience new things. It's just good for the soul.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Thankful Project: a talent

Today is another day of "The Thankful Project" were I'm linking up with Kenzie to write about some talents I am thankful I have. 

I am an extreme the point of not starting a task if I have one thought that I can not give the proper attention to it. I also start many projects, then quit because I feel as if I'm not giving enough. All this to say I critique everything I do with a critical eye. I think self evaluation is very important, yet I want to make sure that I give proper thanks for things I do well.

Today's prompt focuses on that. Giving thanks for certain talents you have that you may or may not focus on  on a daily basis.

riding a horsecart.
Or driving one. Take your pick. This girl can handle both. Except for that one time I fell off the horsecart and had about 10 African women giving me advice. However, I came back from that incident stronger than ever, and can proudly say I have mastered this. It takes extreme talent!
(kidding, of course. all you really need is a sturdy back end, and you'll be fine)

 On a more serious note, language learning.
I am nowhere near where I would like to be in speaking this language. However, I have to say that I have worked so hard this past year to arrive at the level I am. I have cried over not being able to communicate. I have been frustrated. Yet, I still pushed myself to practice and learn. Now, I'm able to tell stories, joke & laugh with friends, and have good conversations in the local language. Like I said, I definitely need to continue working. But I am happy and sometimes amazed when I'm able to sit across from a sweet woman and fully understand the words coming from her heart.

Monday, November 4, 2013

giving thanks in all circumstances

Too often, when living in an unfamiliar place, we can focus on the negative points of our area. Especially during the Holiday season.
 Family lives too far away. 
Missing out on certain traditions. 
Getting creeped out by your country's version of Santa Claus. (A skin and bones Santa chasing after you just doesn't put me in the Holiday Sprit, y'all)

It's so easy to get wrapped up in these thoughts instead of being thankful for where we are now. I was talking to a friend recently who just moved back to America, and she said something that I've replayed over and over since our conversation. "It's a time of life you never get back, ya know? At times you think you're so ready to get home, but you forget once you leave you can't return to the life you led there."

So, instead of dwelling on thoughts of homesickness during this time, I'm going to really concentrate on being thankful for this country, and where I'm at in life. I'm linking up with Kenzie and writing about an experience that I am truly thankful for.

 Can't even lie, though. This experience started out r.o.u.g.h. For real. I'm not a huge emotional person, so for the first few months I lived here I held my emotions in check pretty well. However, the breakdown was coming. 

In February this past year our internet was sketching out big time. This was kind of normal. Our electricity would go out for a couple of hours, then pop back on, then it would take a day or so for the internet to come back. Except for that one time it didn't return. We went a week without internet..which, I agree, doesn't seem like a big deal. But at that point, I didn't need a big deal to get me worked up. My supervisor sat me down and explained to me that he wanted me to take care of this problem on "my own." I wish you could have seen my face when he told me this. Work out something where I'll have to speak to customer a country where customer service isn't a huge a language where my conversation level was, "Sit here. Eat." I thought he was crazy. 

It was a moment where I only wanted to call someone outside of the situation and vent. But I couldn't. Because we had no internet. See the dilemma? So I traipsed back & forth to the Internet provider. Hearing everything from we didn't pay our bill to "Don't worry. The guy is coming out today to fix it." Who knew that today actually meant never? I felt like an incompetent 23 year old, stumbling over words trying to explain the situation. Finally, somehow, a man from the capital came and ended up working his magic and fixing that little white box that holds all the goodness of connecting with the outside world. 

You see, it wasn't just the internet that I was upset about. I've gone months without solid internet before. The internet represented the fact that I was incompetent in language and life here. I was a child fumbling my way around a new culture trying to fit in, and the internet reminded me of all the ways I hadn't made it yet.

As I look back on this situation I remember how little I felt because I was struggling to fix a simple problem in a language that I did not speak. I remember how I just wanted my supervisor to step in and get the job done for me. I also know now that I am so thankful he made me work it out on my own, all the time ready to jump in if I REALLY needed him. So, even though this problem seems so insignificant now, I am thankful it happened. It showed me that I can take care of problems here. It helped grow my independence, which I didn't realize how much I needed at that point.

And now it's November, and I'm pretty much a pro here. And by pro I mean someone who still can't understand the difference between the local words for sit and cook. Thank the good Lord for context clues.