Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ruminating On Words

As my friends here will tell you, I have the hardest time with the fact that strangers don't smile at you when you make eye contact (unless they are creepy old men). I miss that more than anything else. 

The purpose of this post
As I'm sure many people (if not everyone) have experienced when moving to a new country, I have ran into some cultural and language barriers and differences that have made me long for home. Getting closer to the holidays, it has been especially hard. 

But, as I was missing home and looking at photos today, I was reminded of someone and something very important to me.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reading some of my late Aunt Kathy's (my dad's cousin, but so close to being my aunt) journals. Today, I was reminded by some of the words she had said in there. But first, let me tell you a bit about the similarities I share with my Aunt Kathy.

1) She lived in Europe when she was just a bit younger than me, something that most of my American born family members (most of my mom's family was born in Europe) never experience. (Her and her late husband (my dear Uncle Jim) lived in England and my late but so great Uncle Ron lived in Germany. If I'm forgetting anyone else, I'm sorry, I have a lot of family members).

2) She had a great love of books. Although her and I had different taste in literature, it's so rare when you find someone with such an appreciation of the written word. I knew whenever I saw her she would have some new book to talk about (even if it was usually a Nicholas Spark's book).

3) We both love this time of the year. So much! Aunt Kathy had one of the most caring hearts out of everyone I know, she definitely exuded the Christmas spirit that so many people don't have. Plus, her house was always the best decorated with hand painted Christmas villages, a beautiful tree and everything. 

So, like I said, a few months ago, I got to read some of her journals. In her journal from earlier this year (from before she knew she was sick), she had written that she was going to choose a word for the year and live out the meaning of that word. She chose the word trust. Her and I may have different visions of what the word trust means, but, in that moment, I decided that I was going to finish the year out for her and be the example of trust. 

I realized that I've been falling short, so, from here on out, I'm going to be more trusting and more trustful even when times get me down. I trust that I will be okay, that my Spanish will improve and that people will smile at me when I get back to the states. I invite you to do the same and to pick a new word for 2013. Don't be skeptical for the remainder of the year and trust people that you should and trust that things will fall into place. 

Okay, now a work story about trust
Working with kids have made me experience trust firsthand. They are some of the most trusting people. Them trusting me after not really knowing me and not speaking the language that I do should be a sign that I'm doing something right. It should also be a lesson on how I should trust.

One day, when I was still felt like my students were quite skeptical of me, I heard one of my kids say "Brittany! Ayuda! Ayuda!" and come running to me with another one of my kids. The boy he was with was crying and they started rapid firing Spanish at me.

Although I had know idea what they were saying (although it turned out to be something to do with slingshots), they trusted that I would know what to do. They trusted me through language barriers. They knew that even though I had no idea what was happening, I would take care of it.

I need to trust that even though sometimes my poor Spanish skills elude me, I can convey what I am saying.
I need to trust that this experience will better my life.
I need to trust that I will be okay if I don't eat at TBar for a year. 

I just need to trust that everything in the end will be okay, like it ended up being for the boy who got hit in the eye with the slingshot because he trusted me.

I need to trust.

If not for myself, then for my Aunt Kathy.

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