Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving.  Actually, my Thanksgiving day is almost over.  Perhaps it just started for you?  Probably.  I have to admit, though, I am thankful.  I am thankful for the community automatically created from being an American, living in France.  I am thankful for my family who has not forgotten me, even though I live thousands of miles away.  I am thankful for friends who spend time with me on Skype.  I am thankful for the post office.  I am thankful for the beauty of fall. 

You know what else?  I'm thankful for being lonely.  No, seriously.  Loneliness sucks, and wow, how it shows me things that I would never have seen if I was not lonely.  I'm also thankful for not knowing what I am doing with my life.  I mean, I pray, every day, for God to show me what the plan is, where my life is heading, what-in-the-heck my purpose here on earth is, but what an awesome opportunity.  An awesome opportunity to explore myself, to explore the world, to explore what there is out there in the wide unknown. 

A friend told me recently that I am a free spirit.  I am thankful for that spirit, that God-given freedom to know that I can go and be anything that I want.  One of my current favorite quotes, by George Bernard Shaw, says, "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

As you look at everything you are thankful for today, don't forget to send up a little thanks to the Big Lady Upstairs for the freedom to choose, the freedom to live as you decide, and the freedom to be a force of nature in your own life, instead of complaining and sniveling about the (lie) that you have no control over your own life.  Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!   

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Culture Shock

Yep, it sucks.  I know it sucks because this is my third time around the block of culture shock.  So, my last post was about missing home, and then I didn't write again for nearly a month.  Or was it a month?  I'm not exactly sure anymore.  My days seem to whirl by and at the same time continue to increase the amount of time that has passed since I've been home.  The feeling is unsettling.  What is also unsettling is that the "honey moon" feelings of the first two to three months that you are in a new culture and language are beginning to make their exit.  Or they have already left the building.  Dangit.  I was living off of their don't-worry-this-is-exciting fumes to numb out the I-haven't-been-home-in-nearly-a-year blues.  

Then there is English.  You know, my native tongue.  But even as I attempt to speak it the few times that I can during the day, I recognize that I speak a very weird kind of English.  My writing skills are not much better.  The poor two older kids of my family have me helping them with their English.  Perhaps I am the one who needs a tutor now?  I don't know, but I do know that at times it can be extremely frustrating. 

Culture shock sucks because it's when you realize that you are a child.  A two year old, in a sense.  But, you are actually an adult, so everyone treats you like one in your new culture.  Which, can be extremely nice, and also make you feel like a complete idiot when you are, actually, incapable of acting like an adult in that culture/language.  And you really can't communicate beyond the day to day grind.  Which is all fine and dandy when you haven't been living in the country for 11 months, are single, and spend most of your days just wishing you had more than one true friend to hang out with.  My life is pathetic.  But I live in Paris!  >.<

Okay, thank you for reading my complaining rant about culture shock and feeling lonely and misunderstood.  I know, I know, things will get better, but at the moment, I just feel like time continues to increase and make me miss my family more and yet time should be increasing and making me feel more secure here in France/French.  *sigh*  Oh the complexities of life.