“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”
It’s been about 2 months since I accepted my Peace Corps invitation and then returned from France. What have I been up to? Work. Making doctor/dentist appointments. Seeing family and friends. I really wish I had more time to travel and explore, but I just don’t. It isn’t as possible when your workweeks are 40 hours in 7 days instead of 12 hours in 4 and when you’re not living in close proximity to other countries/vineyards/festivals. I’m sure there is plenty to do nearby—I mean, I live just outside of Chicago!—but it just doesn’t seem as exciting, even with my limited time here. Maybe part of what is holding me back is my past.
This past year was amazing and I am constantly looking for fun exciting things to do. Nothing, however, seems to measure up to my adventures in Europe, such as driving to Germany, New Years on the Champs-Elysees, Camel riding in Marrakech, A half-marathon through the vineyards of Burgundy, seeing the Queen of England… I think subconsciously I am comparing potential exciting things to France. It just seems like they can’t measure up. At least until I go to Mozambique.
Being back in Glenview also brings up memories of high school and college summers. I was talking to my grandma today, and hearing her describe high school me made me realize how much I’ve changed as a person, not just since then, but in the last two or three years as well. Being back here makes me want to revert into the person I was. They say that the culture shock coming home is worse than it is going away, and I definitely agree with that. When I first came back to the states, I wondered why the things people really care about around here seem so important to them, such as how people view others, drinking habits, and cars, to name a few. Now I can see myself feeling the effects of being judged, something I was able to escape from in France. To kind of set myself on track, I’ve decided to blog, six months later, about my New Years Resolutions:
This year I will learn how to drive stick shift: Well, I didn’t have any more lessons in France, but my brother did take me driving once in his car… Hopefully when he gets back from his European adventure I can actually learn!
I will travel to at least 5 new countries: This calendar year, I’ve visited the following countries: France, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, and Monaco. 7 of those are countries I’d never visited before, and in the fall I’m off to yet another new country: Mozambique!
I will run a half-marathon: I did it! I don’t know if I will ever do one again… but I’m doing a sprint triathlon next month.
I will cook more and eat healthier: This was very true in France, but is unfortunately a lot harder with my work schedule here. It is something to try to improve on.
I will not count down, whether that be coming home or going somewhere else. Counting down prevents me from making the most of the present, so I will focus my energy on living in the present: I think I’m doing a pretty good job not counting down. It definitely got hard near the end of France, but back in the states I’m refusing to count down to Mozambique. At least for now, I’m trying to live in the present.
I will try to learn a new language: It’s funny, because I originally planned on learning German or Spanish. Now I’m learning Portuguese! Eu quero falar português!
I will be curious and try to learn other skills and stories from the people I meet, especially when they offer to teach me something
I will seek out new things and have new adventures in order to stay curious and stay inspired: Both of these are ongoing life goals I am constantly trying to do for myself. It’s harder, being back in Glenview, but I am just trying to stay open-minded and take advantage of my time here.
I will keep up with my blog, even after coming home: 2 posts in 2 months, not great, but I will hopefully be able to keep up with it!
I will spend less time on the internet and read more books: At the moment it’s more that I spend more time at work, but I am getting a chance to read more, which is great. Any book recommendations?
I will make an effort to recognize and do what makes ME happy: I think I’m doing an ok job with this, and I hope this is something that anyone reading this (if you’re still out there!) is trying as well. It’s not so much avoiding what makes me unhappy as it is recognizing what I’m doing for myself and what I’m doing for others. I am learning that I am still very much a people-pleaser, but I am getting better at finding out what I truly like.
My final and biggest resolution is to be trusting and nice to those who I meet. I’ve always been a bit of a closed-off, quiet person, but this year I am going to put forth every effort to trust and help others because I would rather have bad experiences with some people than miss out on getting to know a great person: I think this resolution is helping me to come out of my shell and give more people a chance. It’s definitely tough not to judge others, especially when you first meet them. I’m going to put more effort into trying not to be a hateful person, even if I don’t get along with others.
Hopefully I will be able to refocus my thoughts and find some space from the negativity I’m finding in my hometown. In three weeks I’m going to Saint Louis to visit Jaclyn, another assistant from France, and I’m excited for that adventure! Not to mention, Mozambique… 🙂
French word of the day: passé (past)
Portuguese word of the day: pão (bread)