I was amazed by the response I got to my last blog post (about “Used To“s). I am constantly amazed at how often it is posts I think aren’t anything special that get all kinds of feedback! Not only did I get replies here and on facebook, along with emails and facebook messages, but several fellow students at college brought it up and shared their own thoughts on it. It led to a few really nice conversations, and I was asked questions and given chances to share. Writing that post, and talking about it with new friends here, helped me step back and see a little more clearly the magnitude of the transition I’m in the midst of. For example, something I hadn’t concretely thought of before writing it is that in China I was a “go to” person, someone people thought of as a source of local knowledge – with language and experience and all that. Here I know very little, including things that a person my age (and nationality) *should* know.
Anyway – thank you, because the way you all responded to what I wrote was part of the delightful surprise that followed!
Last week was rough. My body was tired, my emotions frayed, my mind fuzzy; I was full of anxiety and very much on edge. But then everything changed. In barely a day I went from feeling probably the worst, to easily the best, I have since I arrived in Australia – and perhaps since leaving China. It wasn’t gradual. It was almost instantaneous. It was weird. But of course lovely and most welcome.
I noticed it pretty soon after I got up Friday morning. I didn’t feel weighed down. I naturally attributed this to being barely awake and about to be late to my first thing of the morning (and therefore not knowing what I was thinking). But a few hours into the day it was abundantly clear that I not only felt different, I was different. I felt like myself. Not fog, no weight, no confusion, no anxiety. Just me. And not just myself, but myself on a good day – a person at peace and quick to smile, who takes joy in small things. A person who wants to connect with and care for others – and enjoys doing so. A person who thinks quickly and learns easily.
Like I said – it was weird, lovely, and most welcome.
Friday was a day that seemed a little unreal – like a daydream, fragile as a bubble and certain to burst sooner or later. But I enjoyed it. I went to a park to study in the afternoon, enjoying the open space, green grass, and Australian trees. Not only was the scenery good, the study was, too! Greek words I had tried to study for two weeks suddenly gelled, made sense, and stuck.
The weekend was quiet but wonderful – a good blend of housework, study and pure recreation; a mix of time with people and time alone. For three days in a row I felt truly refreshed and encouraged. Weird, but lovely and most welcome.
If those three days of loveliness were a surprise, today was mindblowing. Despite keeping myself busy from 8am-6pm (although two of those hours were spent alone studying), and then some time hanging out with housemates, I am finishing today just as “full” as I started it. I got to sing this morning, and while I was still keeping it “reined in” (anyone who’s heard me “let loose” knows what I mean!) I felt free and enjoyed it a lot. I had a quiz in Greek class, but three days of consistent and patient (not frantic) study had me caught up and feeling confident. I was happy with how I did – although I’m curious to find out the right answers for a few things…
Something that almost overwhelmed me with joy was dinner. As I’ve discussed before, I have food intolerances that make eating well a bit tricky – more so when someone else is doing the cooking! Here at college, with meals provided, I had been sort of eating around what was prepared and most of the time it worked okay, but there had been times where several meals in a row were not great for me to be eating. It was stressful, but at the same time it felt like too much of a burden/inconvenience to put on someone else. Thankfully, a housemate recognised the problem (including that I was never going to go and talk to someone who could do something about it) and advocated for me. That got the ball rolling and now I have people working to help me have food to eat, and it is amazing. Tonight there was a meal made just for me – basically a plain version of what others were eating, leaving out all the bad-for-me things. It’s hard to convey what a huge thing this was for me. For YEARS I have spent lots of time every week trying to plan out where I was going to be and what I would be able to eat there or somewhere nearby and whether I would need to bring food with me or eat before going out to a meal and on and on. The main exception is when I visit family, who are all great about working around my restrictions. Still, I am so used to that background stress about food that I don’t think I was fully aware of it until suddenly – someone else started to share the burden. I’m honestly still a little in shock over the whole thing.
I am so thankful for all the people who encouraged me, advocated for me, prayed for me, listened to me, and put up with me. I’m not sure exactly what flipped the switch, but I’m happy to call it both a miracle and a result of being well loved – which are, really, almost the same thing.