Thoughts from a traveling teacher: 360 days later

Thoughts from a traveling teacher: 360 days later

“I learned my strengths and my weaknesses. I experienced the exhilaration of the ups and the despairs of the lows and most of the feelings in between…I learned courage and I learned it myself.” -Ann Stirk

These past few weeks I’ve kept quite busy and have LOVED every minute of it. Having my parents in town for three weeks was the greatest gift! Spending quality time exploring with them, laughing together, discovering new places has made me feel so happy, loved and blessed. And while I’m very sad to have said goodbye, like all other times in life it wasn’t truly goodbye, but rather see you later. And in this case, I’ll be seeing them much sooner than the goodbyes we’ve shared over the course of the past year.

Mom and Dad left from Frankfurt early on Saturday morning, and are now safely back home in Oregon adjusting their sleep schedules, unpacking and settling back into a routine. I’ll be honest and say that saying goodbye was tough. Saturday morning I spent shedding tears and fighting against a dark loneliness that felt so uncomfortable and unwanted. I knew I’d be back with family and friends in just three short months, but being at home, alone, in an empty apartment just felt so wrong and so permanent. I missed the sound of my parents’ voices; I missed the morning routine of drinking our coffee together that mom and I had settled into over the past three weeks. All weekend long I fought against an instinctive sadness that I just couldn’t shake. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to go outside. It was as if carrying out even the simplest daily tasks reminded me that I was by myself; I was alone, and that wasn’t a feeling I wanted to address.

Still, I couldn’t let myself sink in too deep. Yesterday, while still wrestling with a bit of sadness I forced myself to remember some very important points: I’m a grown adult, I’ve been living alone now for the past year. Hell, my family and friends are an entire world away from me at the moment. And despite allowing myself to really feel the sadness of the end of an incredible adventure with my parents, today it was time to get back on track.

 

As the title of this post highlights, I have been living abroad for almost an entire year. On 29 April 2017 I will celebrate the one year anniversary of my days living and teaching abroad. Exactly three hundred and sixty days ago I set off on the adventure of a lifetime, and I couldn’t let a little sadness and loneliness detract me too long from living out the remaining goals I have set while in Europe.

Truthfully I only have fourteen weeks left until I’m back living on U.S. soil. In the grand scheme of things that’s no time at all! Now that school has started back up after a glorious two-week-long spring break, it’s time to get back into a healthy rhythm, and the time is just going to fly by. Three hundred and sixty days have come and gone and look at all the incredible experiences I’ve had along the way.

I’ve lived in two different countries, on two separate continents, had two different jobs, and done some very different things this past year. I’ve visited countless new countries along the way and had many more incredible opportunities unfold in front of my eyes. I’ve met inspiring people. I’ve had experiences I never dreamed would be possible. I’ve spent time with new people from all around the world, and I’ve even spent time with family too. I’ve said it countless times already and I’ll say it once more: my heart is so full, I am incredibly blessed to be living this life, and above all else I am GRATEFUL for it all.

The personal growth and mindful journey I’ve discovered this past year is priceless. The adventures I’ve taken, trips I’ve been on, and place I’ve seen have made memories that will last lifetimes. The strength, courage, spirit and happiness I’ve uncovered along the way is everything and more, than I ever dreamed of finding when I left home a year ago.

Everything has changed. Everything is evolving. Life is unfolding in the most beautiful way. My happiness has come full-circle. I wake up each and everyday and know that I have the power to make my life great. My commitment and dedication to yoga has been a true blessing. I’ve found peace, acceptance and gratitude at every turn. Even the professional growth that has taken place this past year will surely pay off in the future too. I may not have a job lined up for the fall just yet; and while somewhat discouraging a fact that may be in the present, I have come to truly believe that EVERYTHING in life happens for a reason. Planning and dreaming is only part of the process. Another part, far more important in my opinion, is having the confidence and courage to be patient while life unfolds in front of you.

Ultimately, at the end of this journey, that is the one lesson that I believe is the most important. Not because all the other amazing things that have happened haven’t been wonderful; but rather because it is the lesson I least anticipated to learn in this process. And it is something I will continue to practice each and every day of my life from here on out.

Life is an incredible journey, with surprises, struggles and successes at every turn. Have the courage to jump on the train and ride it wherever it may lead you. I can assure you life will not disappoint in the end.

“If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” -Angelina Jolie

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