Do you ever have moments or days where everything seems to take 10 times as long as it should? Where no one seems to understand you? I seem to have them a lot here. I would say that its all very understandable and normal, but it's frustrating as all hell too! Before I left and even since I have been here, people have learned of what I was about to do (or am doing) and have said, "Wow, that's so cool/adventurous/wild/gutsy/brave/daring/wonderful/crazy." I sometimes feel like I have a lot to live up to. I mostly put many expectations upon myself, but I also know there are expectations (either said or understood) of others. I mentioned in a previous post that part of me thought I'd be heading home by now. And that is true. But a bigger part of me needs to prove to myself (and maybe others) that I have the guts to stick this out.
I am here 100% on my own. Yes, I have met some amazing friends here, so I am not completely alone, but when it comes down to it - I am here on my own. It is scary. It has been frustrating. It's beautiful. It;s been inspiring. It has been indescribable.
I can tell you the day to day activities of my new life here in Prague, but I struggle to tell you anything more than that. How do I feel about living thousands of miles away from the people I care most about? I feel sad. The beauty and excitement of a new place are both wonderful things - but they cannot replace the joy of spending time with good friends and family.
How do I feel that I am actually doing this - living my life in a new country? I feel proud and excited and giddy. Its such a huge range of emotions to be feeling pretty much all the time. Add those emotions to the general feelings of trying to do my best with my work and getting out to see everything, yet taking care of myself and taking the time to myself that I need to rest and rejuvenate. Its a lot to handle.
Compound all of those things with being surrounded by nothing familiar and rarely overhearing a conversation I can understand. Its nice to lose yourself in the ignorance of the written and spoken word around you at times. But its also isolating.
Things are becoming more familiar and less isolating. But the fact of the matter is this - I still don't speak or understand the language here. Going to the grocery store is a stressful adventure because I'm not always sure what I'm buying or what the cashier is going to ask me or yell at me when I check out. She's probably upset that I don't have exact change or that I'm not bagging my groceries fast enough. Who knows, maybe she's not yelling, but because I cannot understand her, I assume she is.
Maybe this frustration and anxiety is similar to what my students experience in my classes. When they try and try to communicate with me, and I cannot understand their simple requests. Sure, we are working through those challenges and finding ways to communicate. I understand their frustration.
And maybe its because of this interesting situation of not understanding much of what's around me that has put me in this mindset and frame of mind that makes it difficult to express what I think and feel. Am I losing this ability or just have such a rare chance to express it that I'm forgetting how to do so?
I'm a pretty emotional person, so I'm certain I'm not losing my ability to be emotional. After all, this blog is simply my way of expressing myself. So the irony of writing here about my challenges with expressing myself is highly humorous and ironic to me!
Life is interesting and strange and wonderful and beautiful. I find myself thinking about frustrating things and then instantly turning them around to find the positive. I'm finding my own self annoying right now with that. Granted, I don't want to spend all day everyday feeling sorry for myself - but why can't I just let myself feel sad/frustrated/whatever? I'm a perpetual optimist it seems. And I'm not saying I want to change that, because I do think its one of my finer strengths. However, it can be exhausting. So, for all the wonderful things that I am experiencing here - and I truly am grateful for each and every moment - today I'm a little sad, a little homesick, and a little frustrated by not understanding most of the world around me. I know in time things will change - but in the spirit of truly trying to live in the moment - it is what it is today. No apologies and no trying to fix it - just experiencing the moment.