Friday, December 12, 2014

Following Frustration

This week has provided some introspection on perspective. 

Out for a walk with Jenea when she visited over the weekend
Tuesday morning, I woke up annoyed, frustrated, and grumpy for no apparent reason at all. As an effervescent optimist and morning person, this is pretty unusual for me. The day did not hold anything profoundly different, there was nothing causing stress or uncertainty. Even after a few days thinking about it, the only explanation I could come up with is that I am becoming more introverted and that after a PCV going away party Friday to Saturday and a friend visiting Saturday to Monday, I was overdue for some along time.

My mood continued as I walked to work despite carrying on a great conversation for much of the walk. Three times kids asked me for money-not a profoundly unusual circumstance, but it bothered me far more this day. Instead of being friendly, I found myself snapping at them in Sesotho saying I did not like their question.

The start of a knitting group in the village
At work I met with some women and we made a plan to start knitting lessons on Wednesday.  I hid and read for a while after work, but when I stepped outside of my house, my brother Thabo's face lit up with joy, starting a seed of positivity to finally return to me. Soon, he and his best friend Tsepo came to visit so we could work on Sesotho translations for the Grassroot Soccer intervention we will be doing next month. As we worked, we were joined by another of my brothers for a bit. They finally left well after dark and I happily set about making dinner much later than usual.

Apricots!
From that evening on through right now, my outlook has been even more joyous and grateful than usual. Whether my moments have been filled with teaching half a dozen village women to knit in preparation of starting a business, playing War and ERS with my youngest brother and his friends, celebrating the growth of my zucchinis with my middle brother, talking to the chief or shopkeeper, or nibbling on fresh picked apricots Thabo brought me from him grandmother's house, my outlook has been a complete turnaround from Tuesday morning.

Despite my dissatisfaction with everything, especially myself, on Tuesday morning, I cannot help but appreciate that feeling as overcoming it has apparently reawakened me. As much as I appreciate being positive most of the time, it seems that I need the slumps like Tuesday's to rejuvenate my ability to look around me and celebrate the opportunity I have been given to live and work here.

Back when I was sailing, I remember vividly the first moment I groaned aloud, "Oh darn, I was hoping for thunderstorms so we would not have to do that sail today..." It was jarring to realize that something I loved so much, something so many people envied me for doing, had become exactly what it was: my job. Admittedly a job I loved for many years, but still a job, something I had to do. Tuesday morning felt much the same. All I wanted was to sit in a big comfy chair with a few of my best friends back in America. I do not actually want to come home yet, if forced to for some reason, I would be kicking and screaming the whole twenty plus hour journey. However, at that moment in time, all I wanted was the comfort of familiarity, my mother tongue, and a cozy chair. Living here is still an adventure, but it is definitely life and not a vacation. As such, I should probably learn to forgive myself for a bad morning every few months.

And for the moment at least, I am ecstatic to have rediscovered the perspective to celebrate every moment again. 
My brother Polao and me after looking at ALL of my photos on the walls, camera, and phone!
The most amazing and fragrant short lived flowers I have found in Lesotho thus far.

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You should choose as your life's work whatever feels the most like play.
-Harvey Oxenhorn