There are a few blogs and bloggers that I follow in my Reader, and I love to read their work.
I love to read. I find it so inspiring. I used to read Chuck Palahniuk; my friend group in Portland was like his book club, every time he published a new book we would all read it and talk about it, without question or other planning. Over the past few years I haven’t really read too much for fun, unfortunately and that is something I have unofficially decided to change in 2014.
While Chuck, as my friend group used to call him, as if we knew him, inspired me to want to write fiction, I never really did. There are enough crappy stories out there, and as I get older I realize that real life is so often more crazy than fiction and those stories are the ones that should probably be told. When I moved to Europe, taking a leap of faith, both in myself and love, I had no idea I would end up here. I also never knew that I would be an absolute work-in-progress at this point in my life.
It is funny I suppose, I think I’ve lived my life as a total and utter work-in-progress, so why shouldn’t this part of my life be any different? Too true, too true. I suppose it is because, at times, I have felt like I’ve been thrown into a circus that is this life abroad, outside of America and as I begin 2014, I’ve thrown another being unbeknownst to him into that circus too. Is this culture and that my husband and I have decided to call home ‘normal’ enough – or rather close enough to our home culture that it doesn’t make our son feel any more isolated and awkward than life and puberty will? It is a constant discussion in our house, what aspects of our home culture will we share with our son and what aspects of our adopted culture will we embrace to make our own, thus creating our own Third Culture Kid, time will tell.
The blogs and bloggers I like to follow, I do so for so many different reasons. Some I follow because they offer practical advice on living in general, others are also parents. Others still offer advice on researching, writing, and anything else around obtaining your Ph.D. Not that I am currently pursuing that trail, but am always toying with the idea. The point is, with the blogs I follow, I want to be inspired and informed. This rambling was actually inspired by another blogger I enjoy following, Cristian Mihai.
He writes in A New Beginning:
A new day, a new year, a new beginning. Each year, on the first of January, we look back on the year that has passed and try to see the good, the bad, to figure out how to make things better. We try to learn form the past, and probably, we also spend a lot of time imagining a better future.
We have 365 days to change what needs changing, to become better, smarter, happier. Our hearts filled up with renewed hope and dreams and expectations, we make plans and lists.
We start pursuing other things. The ones we don’t have, the ones we need. Some see this as a flaw; we never seem to appreciate what we already have.
Since my son’s birth I’ve really tried to be present for him. I’ve tried to think about the future I would like my son to grow up into, to live in a way that he might be able to mimic himself one day. What is wonderful about having our son in our life now, is that most days are an absolute blessing. Each day he does something new and amazing. He also looks at us with unadulterated love and excitement when we walk into the room he is in. That is what has been filling me up with renewed hope and dreams and expectations. I have been trying not to make too many plans with regard to my son or his future. I would like him to write his own story. He makes me want to be a better me, more than anything in my life before we met.
Living in the present, being aware that every second that passes is a second we never get back, is just as important as making lists and plans. Maybe that’s something we should never forget. That our dreams don’t suddenly come true… that our dreams don’t only exist in a distant future.
Our dreams also exist in the here and now and what we choose to do with our time and energy. Small steps… not big leaps, that’s what we should be aiming for. It’s easier, it might also feel like standing still, but every step, no matter how small, can only get us closer to our destination. Even if at times, because of us or the world around us, we might have to go in the opposite direction.
Other times, we lose our way. This happens to the very best of us. We don’t know what we want anymore, what’s important, what’s good.
Maybe that’s why making lists and plans, setting objectives and goals, is a good thing. Because that way we don’t lose track of what we really want most.
I spent the last week reflecting on 2013, reading articles, watching videos and generally reflecting on this past year. While I would love to write more, it takes me out of the present and with my son, my what a present it is. Another blogger I follow, From Casinos to Castles has told me that she writes when her little one is asleep. My problem is that I normally use that time to get ready for when he is awake, to ready myself and the house. I guess it is about priorities, I haven’t really made writing on this site a priority since my son was born.
I plan to make my own list, or at least reflections on the past year and what I hope for the new year that upon us, dare I say I need a little more time to fully reflect and digest it all. I promise I will find the time.
Since I joined the circus, living of being an expat, life has been a little tricky. I feel that before I joined this circus I had a plan and was pretty close to implementing it. In spite of having a work-in-progress type of life, I’ve always had drive and direction. It wasn’t until I graduated with my bachelor degree and began my education training masters program that I really felt like it was not only leading to, but resulting in a pinnacle, or peak wave of sorts that I would ride out in a classroom or classrooms with multiple generations of youth. Then I came to Germany and feel I sort of had to start over from square one. At first it was only for a year, but then it became a full-blown life choice to stay in this circus.
Luckily, most days I do feel satisfied and successful, but other days are definitely hard work to get through. As a fellow expat friend of mine told me the other day, when she has those days, she runs through her pro/con list and in spite of the present moment and how low she might feel, her pro list is so much longer than her con list. Such an excellent point: life isn’t perfect, but when is it really ever. Expats face different challenges than locals and denizens and it is often an uphill battle to become fully settled in a new place, more so than it would be back home, with the language being one of the main and most important hurdles to overcome.
So, with that…my lists are to come along with more blogs this year! I also plan to write more about being a part of the circus and giving more props to other bloggers I am inspired by this year too.
To be inspired yourself and learn more about what it takes to be an expat blogger and a personal expat experience, check out From Casinos to Castle most recent post, which was featured on the Tipsy-Lit blog too.