YOP – October

31 days of October are now gone. Time to write another YOP post.

As I sit in the staff room to type this, a fellow teacher drags along conversation. I am tired. It has not been a good week – normal tasks have felt off and each conversation is overly emotional. My mind wants to think other thoughts. I just want to be in peace.

Instead, I stop the clapping of my keyboard and try to engage him. Our conversation runs a few topics, some important and some mediocre, and then dies. He goes off to find something else to entertain and I return to the blinking line on this Word document. Those few minutes seem insignificant but I’ve come to realize that each interaction mean something.

This month has come with some of the purest moments of this presence project – singing on top of a mountain with kids, runs up and down the mountains of Lesotho, an afternoon feast at the home of dear village friends, long conversations outside my hut, the sharing of stories and emotions after a night of too many Black Labels, greeting a fresh group, well wishes and love for a new year sent across the ocean and the celebration of a milestone. So much has happened this month that it was hard to not to present, but not that hard.

Another year older and one official year in country, my mind hasn’t stopped this month. I think about how much I miss home. I worry about my relationships here and there. I find comfort in this little simple life and realize that the days don’t take as much effort as they did back home, or even 10 months ago. I am not sad, but I am also not completely happy all the time. I am just present.

As I continue with this project and learn more about who I am, I can read myself better. When I want to do something, I do it, instead of thinking about what I should do or what is expected of me. When my body needs sleep or food, I take care of it. I listen to these wild thoughts and realize when it is time to take a step back.

This wrap-up post has come at the end of tough week. My students, as well as the teachers, are antsy for the summer holidays and it has produced some frustrating classes. I am frustrated with my other work, which feels non-existence. I am on one of my all-too often social kicks, where I doubt nearly ever friendship I have. What I need most is to be around people, shed worry and guilt for a while and turn off my brain. And so I will.

Presence, I am understanding, is not perfection. It is not happiness or even contentment. But it is living each situation as it happens and feeling each emotion as they come. Some moments of this month were amazing, some were not. But that is life and if I can feel them and experience them than I can learn and grow and build a pretty neat life.

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