YOP – January

I am not sure about you, but I am glad January is over.

The first three months of the year always seem to tug on and, no matter where I am in life they tend to be emotionally down points. Even though spring is a ways off, in my case fall then winter, a new month is upon us and that feels good.

As part of my Year of Presence project, I want to recap each month and hone in on a few items that really need my focus.

January was a good to start to the YOP. After a bad class, I would take a breath and remind myself to have more patience, or give people a break. I don’t want my short temper to ruin relationships here, so I constantly am reminding myself to breath and try again. It’s helping, I think. Recently, I was extremely frustrated with one of my classes because I can’t motivate the students and get them to participate. I vowed the next day that I would walk in with a smile and encouraging voice. The class started rocky, but I continued to smile and eventually hands started to rise when I asked questions. I left the class skipping.

Lately, a strong bout of loneliness has set in. I miss my friends and family back home and my relationships here still developing, so I crave life chats, silly antics and just retelling my day to someone besides my journal. The loneliness directs me to Facebook, which I really need to wean myself off of. To battle both issues, I’ve written more letters this month than I did in all of training. If I want to hear from a friend in the U.S. I write a letter instead of a wall post or message. I love the feeling of taking a stack of thick envelopes to the post office and imagining people’s reactions as they open their mailbox and find a letter from Africa.

This month, I’ve also really focused on my health. If I feel strong and happy about how I treat my body, I’ve realized, it impacts how I react to the rest of the world. Before 6 a.m., I am usually out the door, enjoying familiar tunes and a hard run as the sun peaks over the mountains. It’s an amazing start to the day.

Although I’ve made some adjustments, there are still many things I need to do in order to live fully in the present. It’s OK for me to miss home and certain comforts, such as coffee shops and yoga classes, but I need to let go of worries about what will become of me when my service is finished. The next phase will happen when it does, but I can’t let anxiety about it now overshadow the incredibleness of this experience.

The first month of the YOP was a great experiment and am I excited to continue work on it and grow in the second month.

Happy February.



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