MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field

Not the Happiest of New Years

Usually New Year's Eve is a celebration of a wonderful year and looking forward to what the next year may bring but this year I find it hard to put on a smile knowing that for some the new year simply brings more struggles. It is becoming more difficult to turn a blind eye and live my daily carefree life. My stomach and heart are filled with deep guilt and sadness for those who have to face such difficulties. I find in this blog I often write about the incredible opportunities I am experiencing and forgetting to share some of the difficulties of living abroad. Contrary to what some may believe it isn't all sunshine and beaches.

For me, it is easy to say my biggest challenge is knowing all that I am missing back home. I have a fear of missing out. That is a fact. For the most part I miss out on things such as the planning of my sisters wedding, or watching NC women's ice hockey beat Manhattanville or Christmas parties with high school friends or Wednesday game night with all those Silver Lakers in Waterloo but this week I am missing out on a different sort of situation. It is not so much that I want to experience this at all but I am struggling on how to process it so far away. I received news that a friend, teammate and housemate from my Junior hockey team, the Boston Shamrocks passed away in a car accident over the holidays. I can't quite figure out how to deal this shocking news normally but for being an ocean away somehow makes it 1000 times worse.

I often look to the future, I try to look at a difference I can make when I am 'grown up' or what kind of job I am going to have or where I am going to live, always trying to plan ahead and look for more but who says I'm guaranteed more time. So many of us know this is the case and yet it seems we don't completely understand it. We spend so much time in life planning for the future, thinking about what we are going to do next, forgetting about the power of now.

Living in a new place let's you experience so much that you could never even imagine but it really seems to hit hard when moments like this happen. You realize that the world that you know and love back home does not go on hold for you. By the time I return home so much will have changed and passed by that I will have to find my place all over again. I read an article recently that claimed, "Once an expat, always an expat!" It exclaimed that once one leaves a place for such a long time they always sort of feel something missing whether it be your home country or the last place you lived, one just never feels quite complete. That is a scary thought. It definitely is a fear of mine but the more time I think of this, the more I begin to feel it is still 100% worth it. As demonstrated way to often, life is short and we cannot take any of it for granted. Even if I never feel completely at home or that I am missing someone I met in Boston or Africa or from home, I know it is because they made an impact on me. I am missing them because they mattered and instead of getting sad or frustrated about that I can take what they taught me and share that with someone else and maybe, just maybe make half the impression on their lives.

The Finale! – Nutrition Education and Food Demonst...
Networking, networking, networking

Related Posts