25 June 2009

Europe....and a plug for a friend

ok. first...go to this site and read! My friend Matt is working for International Justice Missions in Cebu in the Philippines for the next year. His primary goal, as i understand it, is to make contacts and liaise with local business in an attempt to place woman in jobs that they so desperately need. he is doing some neat things over there, and whilst he is just getting his feet wet, i expect many heart wrenching and moving stories in the months to come. go read his blog, keep up with his experiences and there is even a link to support him if you feel like that is something you want to do. if nothing else, prayer support is always welcome.

Oh, and i am writing this without the knowledge of matt (hope you dont mind dude) so dont think this is a shameless plug from him. I just think that what he is doing is great and the word should be out there. when i talked to him yesterday he mentioned that he wasn't sure a lot of people knew what he was doing...so i just want to do my part to spread the word! good luck matt. we'll be praying for you!

ok, that said....i have been thinking lately about how this pregnancy has taken over my mind. I am not really sure what i thought would happen, as being pregnant really does change, well, everything. but the point is that since being pregnant i have forgotten quite a few things that i love and have instead focused on the negative. that is so unlike me. and i hate it.

for example, i used to view living in london as an adventure. i always said i would marry an international and live overseas. literally this is my dream life made into reality. but how have i been looking at it the past few months? As a restraint, as a place that is keeping me from 'necessary' comforts. i am not sure what i thought living overseas would be like, but apparently deep down i thought it would be america with an accent. I really hate to admit that, but i do think that part of me excepted all the normal aspects of life to stay the same, but instead of the oklahoma plains and rolling hills of northwest arkansas, i would have Big Ben, Tower Bridge and all of Europe at my finger tips. But you cant have your cake and eat it too. (don't you just love cliches?)

the thing is, everything about europe is different. and lately instead of viewing those differences as good and exciting things, i have been viewing them as negative and binding things. Which is unfortunate because it has made the last few months pretty difficult. remember the dream house post? i am not saying there is anything wrong with dreaming. heck, i'll be the first to admit that i live in a dream world pretty much 100% of the time. but its the comparative aspect that can become detrimental. All through our 'growing up years' people have told us to not to compare ourselves to one another. don't look at another girl and think she is fatter or thinner than you, more popular, smarter, funnier, more athletic etc... be content with who you are and with the talents that you have. So if i know those things about my person, why do i choose to ignore those things about my life? shouldn't they apply in the same way?

the answer is yes. i am an american, but i am also an ex-pat. (ex-patriot) Both of those descriptions are equally as important because it clearly demonstrates where i am. i am an american NOT living in america. therefore my life, my choices, and my circumstances will not be comparable. why is it just not occurring to me that that is ok? guess i am a pretty slow learner.

starting from about 8 or 9 months ago whenever people would mention how great and exciting it was that i lived overseas my default response was always "it has its ups and downs. not as exciting as you might think" seriously. that is what i said. now, as i sit back and read that sentence out loud, the image that comes to mind is one of misery; one not of joy and pleasure, but of annoyance and dislike. and that is not the picture i want to paint. every place you live has its fair share of ups and downs. no one likes their town 100% of time. people who live in the south complain about the weather being too hot, tornado season, rainy springs. people that live in the north and on the east coast complain about the long, heavy winters. my dear friend Leah who has recently moved to Denver absolutely loves it. Has she ever mentioned negative things about it? sure. has she ever mentioned that it has been difficult? of course. what does she say when someone asks her about living in colorado? she loves it; so glad she moved. that is an appropriate answer for someone who likes their city.

and i like my city. i like london. i don't want to live her forever, but i do want to live her now. and somewhere, in my crazy pregnancy induced freak out about america vs. the uk, i forgot that. but i remember now. no longer will my response be "yeah not as great as you think" but instead "yeah, its quite the adventure, and we love it for now" because that is an appropriate response for the stage of our life at the moment. rhys and i don't want to live in london forever, but we want to take advantage of it whilst we do live here.

in November we are taking little eleri to the Remembrance Sunday military parades and cenotaph in central london. we will tell her all about the World War One and Two veterans who are proudly marching down the street. Granted, my 4 month old may not remember everything we tell her, but she will be there all the same. and for the same price that american families go to texas and florida for holiday, we can take our little family to spain, or germany, or france. disneyland paris is in our future. :) the point is that there is good and bad to both. one side should not be the only focus. if i am going to look at the good of america, then i also need to look at the bad. and visa versa for the uk.

i also need to remember that i am claustrophobic. not in the sense of panicking if locked in a small room, but claustrophobic in the sense that i hate to stay in one place for too long. i start to crave change. i crave adventure. before i moved to europe, i travelled abroad at least twice a year. for several months at a time each go. i just couldn't bear to 'stand still' so to speak. i needed to go, to move, to experience life.

so here i am. experiencing life. and even better than that? I am experiencing life in a new culture, a new place and soon, with a whole new life. i hope that little eleri can grow up not only respecting and understanding different cultures, but having a love of travel, a love of the new and exciting, and a love of adventure. cause after all, europe is an adventure. and i really do love it.


Stefanie said...

sweet thoughts, little tina. one of my friend's mother-in-law says, "comparison is the thief of joy". it's so true.

Saskia said...

What a lovely saying that is (from Stephanie).

It's difficult not to compare... I know I do it too often. I sometimes envy the homes others live in, even though I know I'm lucky to have a home at all, especially aged 26!

There will always be people who are apparantely more -wealthy -pretty -confident -together etc. but are they really? So many celebraties seem to have it all, but then they divorce, abuse alcohol etc.