The thing about living in another country is that it’s the best of both worlds. You get the constant feeling of exploration and culture shock that you do when traveling, but at the same time you stay put and live your life the same way you would do anywhere.
As is my custom it seems that my busy-ness, my tendency to pack every minute, has remained while living abroad (as evidenced from the fact that it’s been a month since I’ve written). We’re constantly busy, and keep adding things – more social engagements, more commitments with our volunteering – and unfortunately we let time for ourselves go to the wayside sometimes. It doesn’t help that I have about a million ideas constantly swirling in my head and a few half-written pieces, with no time or energy to write them!
Sometimes productivity is high and things are happening left and right, and sometimes it seems that despite my best efforts nothing gets done. Today was a perfect example of both. I had the day off, and could really check some shit off my list. The morning was great. I planned a lesson, and researched grants for Revi, the volunteer group that I’m a part of. Winning. Then the sink in our new apartment was leaking and I went off to participate in an arts and crafts activity where no children came. Failures.
So what do you do when it seems like nothing’s working or happening?
Right when I’m tired, frustrated, angry and at my bursting point, usually – not always but usually – if I take a breath, stop for a moment, and choose to go with the flow, I find that suddenly, everything works.
Last week I was meeting some friends for a movie night. I got off the wrong metro exit, got lost, and couldn’t find my friends who were late and couldn’t reach me. When I was well and truly pissed off about everything, I just stopped. I went to a cafe nearby, ordered a lemonade, and sat outside. I listened to two guys playing guitar and singing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” in broken English and just enjoyed that very moment. All was right in my world. And I bought myself a nice time, instead of being frustrated.
This is such a perfect example of how one can learn so much from life and travel. When I travel, I’m forced to go with the flow and enjoy each moment. This is why I do this. I become a better, fuller, and more thoughtful person through such experiences.
And I have a lot of experiences to share. Get ready for stories of Turkish culture, house-hunting, volunteering, fun with bureaucracy, and the best hospitality I’ve experienced. Despite being so busy, I’ve begun to think about where I’m going and what kind of person I want to be. Sometimes you’ve got to get well and truly lost to find yourself.
1 thought on “Travel Lessons and Life Abroad”
What an amazing post! Everything you said resonates with me. I just spent a week in New Orleans visiting a cousin. Although I loved living without an itinerany , at the same time I felt stressed not knowing what I would be doing next. I can’t wait for your next post!