Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day One, Fast-forward.

February 12th, 2012.

Exactly one year ago today I stepped off of an airplane and into a new phase of my life. I knew everything would be different, but I failed to fathom the magnitude by which everything would change. Since my return to the states in late June of last year, even more things have changed. I sometimes feel like I am stuck somewhere in the middle now, never quite satisfied with being here, but knowing and remembering how much I missed it when I was gone. As always, I am pushing myself to the limit—that part has not changed and most likely never will, but so many things are different now. I am no longer afraid of the changes that are happening; instead, I watch in awe as my life shapes, and reshapes itself around me and my decisions. Just like the pathway of choices I realized while abroad, I now have the ability to look ahead and see possible, realistic outcomes to my decisions and weigh my options. I have learned much, but yet there is still so much to learn. Of all of the things I learned, I must admit the lesson that changed my life the most is simple: Happiness is on the inside. This lesson is followed closely by: Control your mind and you shall control the world. Both go hand in hand is the shaping of my life and my attitude toward it all. Perspective is everything. By finding happiness within yourself and overcoming negative thoughts it is possible to smile in the bleakest of situations. I have learned to try new things and take risks, chances and also that things are rarely as they seem. I have learned to slow down and that delaying gratification only makes the journey and reaching the goal so much sweeter. Rushing allows room for mistakes and ignores the path as part of the goal, which is also to be enjoyed. Life isn’t about looking for the most direct route to death and running through the nettles for it—it is about carefully selecting where to place your foot in front of the other and strolling along enjoying the warmth of sunshine on your skin and the winking of stars. As my final year of undergraduate looms nigh, this is more important than ever. Taking time out to study and earning an ‘A’ instead of just “winging it” and receiving a ‘B’ to pass the class is still a challenge I am wrestling to master, but 按部就班, step-by-step, I will achieve my goal. Step-by-step I will achieve all of my goals.

Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on Taiwan and my experiences there, referencing them to something that is happening here on the other side of the world. The best part is, if I were to leave again today and return, I would have an entirely different set of experiences and memories. Some of the people that so greatly touched my life will never again look upon my face, and my classmates and I will never again all be together in one place. Some of us will move on to other places and greater things. Some will die, some will marry, some will not. Some will return and hug the faces they remember, but one thing is certain: Even now, none of us are the same. Our paths have already split, refracted into a thousand different rays in a thousand different directions and the moment we all spent together is the diamond that our rays of light shone through. We all cherish that diamond; I shall hold mine in my heart for as long as I live. But the time is now, and like each newly bent ray, we must carry on to our destinations. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life and I look forward to crossing rays with you, as well as many new ones in the upcoming year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Forty.

Forty days have passed now and I am beginning to settle back into things. I started back at work on Monday, and it definitely was a welcome change from sitting around at home and wishing. I have a new roommate to spend time with at home, and things are going well. Forty days at home seems simultaneously like forever and no time at all. So much had happened after forty days in Taiwan and it felt like such a long time. Everyone I see at work now asks me about it. It is always the same two questions, and I always give the same two answers. "How was it?" Beyond anything I ever could have imagined. "Would you do it again?" I'd leave tomorrow if I could.

It feels strange to try and look back on the person I was before I left. While outwardly I appeared to have it all together I was such a mess inside. So much, in fact, that I even did a good job of masking that from myself. I learned a very important lesson: It's not about forgiveness, or giving someone a second chance. It's about letting it go, and continuing on to make something better. Taiwan has give me so much that I feel I didn't give it back enough. Taiwan returned my father to me, my family--it gave me a happiness like I have never felt and erased the heaviness I have been carrying in my heart for so many years. It gave me love, friendship, and hope. Taiwan gave me life. Now I'm going to live it, regardless of where I lay my head at night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day Eighteen.

It's been eighteen days since I left Taiwan...and I must admit I feel like I left a part of myself behind--my heart. I know there are people who would tell me I am lucky to live where I live, but then again, the grass is always greener on the other side.

I won't say the transition has been easy because it hasn't. It has, however, taught me a few more lessons about myself. When I arrived home, I felt very much alone, however when I left a few days later to visit my family, being around people bothered me. I returned to my apartment a week and a half later, a little better, but the silence was deafening--again, I felt alone. The people I loved and missed were halfway around the world and I had very little access to equipment at the time to be able to contact them. Thank goodness for 3G on my Kindle and the emails I received that made everything all better. The silence may be burdensome and the bustle of people too loud, but the lack of people makes you appreciate them just as the presence of the people makes you appreciate the silence. All is One.

Every day things get better, easier to handle. I still feel like something's missing, but here I have things that I did not have there. I have my family, my job, my schooling. That something, I fear, will always be missing, but hopefully I can find things around me here that make me just as content. Of course, as soon as I do, my two years here will be up and I must leave yet again. Life never stops to wait.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty-Two.

My last Thursday.

These last few days have been a little uneventful. I don't know what to do now that I only have a few days left. I spent the day sleeping and watching TV--it is too hot outside to do anything! Still, I'd rather sweat here than cry back in the States.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty-One.

My last Wednesday.

I played ninja with the men's dorm leader today; he may have won the round, but I ultimately won the game.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day One Hundred Thirty.

My last Tuesday.

Goodbye girls. Thank you for all of the shopping and the goodbye birthday cards and gifts. I will never forget you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Nine.

My best friend at home broke his ankle. I wish it didn't take something this extreme to make me want to go back to the states, just for a little while.

Today I learned a very valuable lesson about patience and decision making. While I may not yet be completely comfortable putting it into practice, I will try my best. All we can do is give our best.

More shocking news to make the agenda tonight: Liferan is getting married! Best wishes to my friend and his soon to be bride.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Eight.

This is probably my last night with internet as well as my last night with a roommate. On the plus side, I feel like I have a stress fracture in my left foot and each day I have to climb the stairs to come home or leave, it feels fantastic. Oh wait, that's not a plus side. Somehow, I feel I would rather feel the physical pain than step on the airplane next week. Unfortunately, I have to do both.

I applied for a new job last night. Cross your digits.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Seven.

It looks like I have the privilege of living in my dorm room alone for a week...with no internet.

Sounds like a party.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day One Hundred Twenty-Six.

My roommates packed up almost everything in the room today. The desks look so barren and the beds are empty; things are packed into large bags, ready to leave. I am somewhat doing the same, preparing my things to move downstairs for my remaining days. I have a good start now, just clothes and electronics outside the bags, save for my day to day toiletries which I can carry downstairs separately.

I'm not ready for this...