This year I spent Christmas in Eid. I celebrated with my new friends and family that I met there. A few of the days I spent quietly by myself, watching movies, trying to relax and reading a book or two. One afternoon was bright and clear and beautiful, if cold. I went for a walk for a while, did my best to appreciate the moment, and the little things in my life that had brought me there. It was easy to feel full of love with the world around me, taking in the life and the beauty that was in front of me. The views- so gorgeous, like a postcard of a winter wonderland- were amazing.
Since I moved to Europe, there simply haven’t been many opportunities for me to complain or to unload. That simple act of grabbing a bear or a coffee at the end of a long shift and being able to talk about the things that bothered you is not part of my life right now. I spend time with people who I am so humbled to be taken care of by, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to spend any of their time with my moments of frustration. I don’t feel like I’ve been part of the long haul enough to have that luxury. The time difference and my work schedule make it difficult to share my thoughts as easily with my friends and family. The communication is harder. When I do talk with them, I want to be positive. I want to talk about the wonderful things that I have experienced. Because of this, there have been very interesting consequences. One is that I believe that I do need to find a better outlet for the concerns and frustrations of my day to day. Not talking about any of it or unloading in some way can begin to wear on me. I’m hoping that making time for a routine with more creative and physical outlets will help with that. In my travels it hasn’t been easy to be consistent with working out or practicing music. I want to make a better effort to give myself time to reflect, to write, to complete tasks. I think it’s important to make little things consistent, since the more common ones such as having my own place to land, having more than just a suitcase to live out of, etc. are not available to me right now. I want too much to be grateful for the experience that I am having. It doesn’t feel right having thoughts that aren’t all positive. But that’s also unrealistic. It’s unrealistic to imagine that what I’m doing isn’t still hard. It’s wonderful. I’m working in Europe. At some of the best restaurants in the world. I’m traveling and meeting new people and exploring new places. I’m working enough in each place to learn more than I would if I was only visiting for a few days. But I’m also having to leave those people that I have met and made friends with behind. I’m having to be the new person figuring out a new kitchen over and over again. Living frugally can be very freeing, but also effects the way that I have used my income and freedom with my time and money as a means of empowerment. I have to find that feeling of responsibility in other ways that don’t involve that freedom to spend. I have to take care of people, and show my gratitude in ways that don’t involve a purchase. So much of my time here has been an invaluable learning experience in ways I never expected.
The other side of not complaining so much, is that I have been more happy. Very much like changing a mood with a smile. My everyday is more about the good things. I feel like a better friend. I feel like a person that I might want to talk to. I have been concentrating everyday on the things that I am grateful for, humbled by, in awe of. I am so lucky for this experience. I have also been learning about how some of it isn’t just luck, but skill. As well as strength and bravery, and perseverance.
It’s not always perfect, and I’m still trying to find a better balance. I’m trying to find my feet. Trying to learn. Trying to be open and honest with myself about why I feel the way I feel.
This Christmas I gave and received few physical gifts. But I have been learning so much. So very happy with my experience and my time. Above I have posted a few photos from my walk on Christmas Day. I hope you can enjoy them. I loved taking them.
As always, I wish for you More Love. And more lightness of heart.