Monday, September 12, 2011

Moving Forward

In order to get a grasp on my new life, I set some short term goals: setting up my classroom, moving to my new place, finally unpacking my bags, attending yoga classes, and socializing with new friends. 

Well, I accomplished all my goals and then some.

My classroom is organized and decorated.  I also set a schedule and finally began working with students.  Connecting with the kids energizes me, and they are the reason I love my job! If I can love my job, then the rest should fall into place, right?  Although my role as an ESL specialist is still undergoing revision, I am now finding more opportunities to contribute my expertise and feel validated professionally.  School is thankfully on an upswing.

The new flat feels good and meets my needs for now.  I have finally unpacked my suitcases, organized my things, and established daily routines.  Although a bit lacking in windows (I have one), the space is quiet and provides a needed respite from the chaos outside.  I am calling it "cocoon-y."  If I can't control the big things in my life, at least I can create a bit of normalcy and feel safe in my little home.

After a long hiatus, I have come back to yoga.  This is significant on many levels.  Physically, I am rebuilding muscles and flexibility.  Mentally, I am focused on caring for my body inside and out.  Emotionally, I am acknowledging the correlations among poses, feelings they release, and challenges they symbolize in life.  Spiritually, my heart is open and connected to a higher power. And socially, I am spending time with supportive and likeminded people.

The greatest gift of living abroad is the friendships that are built in the absence of family.  Amazingly, I have already found caring, generous and well-grounded people with whom to share my life.  I am slowly filling the empty spaces caused by leaving behind people and places.  However, filling is not replacing, and those people are truly cherished and places deeply missed.  It just means that my heart is a little bigger and the world a little smaller.

The homesickness, the urge to go back to Jordan, and the shock of, “What in the world have I just done with my life?” all come and go in waves. The inverses are moments of amazement that this is truly my life, the thought that I must move forward and never backward, and that my experience in Vietnam is a journey with an end that I cannot anticipate (and will be a better person for regardless of the outcome).