Frohe Weinachten: 2016 you were great, 2017 I can’t wait!

Frohe Weinachten: 2016 you were great, 2017 I can’t wait!

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Boxing Day from Deutschland! Today is another mellow holiday spent at home. Hanging out in the living room, kids cartoons playing on the t.v. in the background, trains, cars and tracks scattered across the living room floor, and two cute boys laughing and playing like any other day of their short but substantial existence. The twins sure do make visiting the Lee household interesting. It’s a juxtaposition of opposites here: organized chaos, structures and schedules yet random all the while. Quiet and loud, laughter and cries, whispers and screams. A clear glimpse for me into domesticated, parental bliss. Although something I surely want for myself someday, it makes me appreciate my unscheduled life of a vagabond teacher traveler. Being able to pick up at the drop of a hat, plan a New Year’s trip to Paris, and pssibly even an unscheduled trip to Brussels if I get such an urge-only time will tell. But I’ve come to realize after nearly eight months of travel thats part of the fun in it all, the spontaneity! 

Being solely responsible for myself and nothing more, worried only about what I want, where I’d like to go, what will make me happiest, is absolutely liberating! I’ve come to see the progression of two thousand and sixteen as a reward to myself. Twenty-six years of living my life the way I thought others expected me to; setting goals and racing through life to impress no one in particular, but just to say, “see, look what I can do!” It’s all a hell of a lot of work, but doesn’t leave any time for me to reap the benefits of all my efforts I’ve sewn. Not anymore though.

As this year comes to a close I can close my eyes and reflect on all that I’ve done, all the places I’ve gone, all the people I’ve met along the way, all the new things I’ve tried my hands at-all for ME. Rewards for the efforts I’ve put forth for the past twenty-six years; a celebration of such a wonderful life that I get to lead.

This holiday season has been one for the books, that’s for sure. I’ve had the opportunity to look at the holidays through a new lense. And to be quite honest, I’ve come to realize that all that has mattered to me in the past this time of year has been pretty close to spot on. It’s not about where you are in life, it’s not even about where you are in the world. The thing that matters most above all else in this world are the people you love. I may not have been able to spend this year in the presence of my immediate family and friends, but I’ve never been completely alone. 

First and foremost I have an amazing network of extended family in Germany who make me feel welcome in their home- no matter what time of year. Also, I’ve once again met some great new friends from across the globe at work. We all share a similar passion for adventure, and a dedication to education that has led us, in different ways, to a small international school in southwest Germany. These people have become my friends whom I share my struggles and smiles with on a regular basis. I am so grateful for an international network of likeminded educators. A group of people, whom through it all, despite the dramas of day-to-day life in the world of education, continue to show up to work every day, with one common goal. That is, to share our passion for knowledge and love of learning, with the next generation of the world. 

Far away from daily life in Deutschland though, I also have so much to be happy about. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, I’m able to stay in touch with my loved ones back at home with ease. A simple phone call is all it takes, and I not only get to hear from the ones I love, but I get to see them too. And while I know life at home hasn’t grinded to a halt since I left last May, it doesn’t feel as though I’m missing out on being apart of their lives’, because we communicate so frequently. Some may find it odd that at twenty-six (almost twenty-seven…yikes!) I still like to call home everyday. Honestly though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s almost as if I get to experience the best of two worlds. One world, in Europe, full of adventures, travel and self-reflection. And the other world, miles and miles away in the physical sense, but still on my mind and in my heart everyday.

Yes, it is very true, I have a HELL of a lot to be thankful for as two thousand and sixteen draws to a close: a roof over my head, a place to sleep each night, a backpack to lug all my stuff around with me as I traipse across Europe. Family and friends, near and far, whom I love and appreciate to an endless degree. Furthermore, an incredible career that has allowed me to pursue two passions in life simultaneously. And I just know that every trip I take, each weekend I spend away from my German home in Neustadt, I’m making myself a better social studies teacher in the long run.

There are simply not enough words in the English language to help me describe the incredible and endless amount of gratitude that I have felt these past eight months since moving abroad! I am so blessed to have such a supporting family and network of friends. People who have shown me through actions what it truly means to pursue one’s dreams. And simply put, that’s exactly what I have been doing this entire time that I’ve been away. I have been shooting for the moon, while finding solace, wonder and joy amongst the stars. 

So to all who have helped me get to this point in my life, I’d like to take a moment, once again, to say thank you. You’re all the reasons why I’m here living out my dreams and sharing my stories with you. I write this blog not for vanity, not even for myself. Rather each time I sit down to write, I’m thinking about sharing my wonderful experiences with all of my family and friends across the globe. I want you all, too, to share in my excitement, happiness and joy. Because as I’ve already said, I wouldn’t be the person I am today; I wouldn’t be where I am in life today, if it weren’t for each and every one of you. If you’re taking the time to read this, then please know, you have helped shape me into the person that I am today. And for that-for all my happiness, joy, sadness, fears, adventures, exhilaration and love-I am, without a doubt, forever and eternally grateful. Cheers to you all, warmest wishes this holiday season. I hope you had a very merry Christmas, I wish you a wonderful New Year’s, and I’ll see you all in two thousand and seventeen!

Love always, Em

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