Sunday, December 25, 2011

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Thankful for my time abroad!

The last time I wrote a blog it was November 18th--it is now December 25th. How time flies. Over the past month or so I've had major ups and major downs. I tried to make an entry here several times, writing drafts and erasing them over and over again. But then something incredible would happen and I'd have to reconsider. Or something that got me down and I would have to re-consider. When you end up thinking about it too much nothing ever works out. So now I've just come to write down some thoughts and ideas today. Regardless of religion, nearly the whole world is in some kind of celebration this Sunday. What better time is there to reflect? 

So I turned seventeen a week ago. And for a while I was wondering how I felt about it. 

What were other kids who just turned seventeen doing at home? driving past ten, school classes, having a party with friends. And not to put dow the lives of others, but believe me when I say that I really know how special my life is right now. I am living in a different culture roughly 7000 km from the one I left at home.  I am a traveler and I feel good about it everyday. And I know in my life I will continue. And for the first time I really feel my age. It's full of independence and the natural gift of standing on your own. Seventeen is GOOD. for those at fifteen/sixteen who feel like no one listens, that their opinions aren't heard, or maybe that they don't yet understand their own voice, seventeen is great. Like every year it's a new beginning but unlike most others it's very freeing. 

I also wanted to say something about being thankful this Christmas. I am so thankful for Rotary Youth Exchange. I am so thankful to be living overseas, speaking another language, and meeting amazing people almost everyday. It is unlike anything else in the world, because it is your gateway to the world. Peace is understanding, and being able to live abroad with another kind of people with an open mind is taking the first step. Hell, it's every step! I'm so proud of myself and the kids in my outbound group who are ALL over the world! Seriously, we are stationed in Asia, South America, and every corner of Europe. 

And what's even more special to me, is that there is a boundless spread of opportunity for those who wish to travel and discover. At any age (hello!). And maybe it's also interesting that rotary is unique and special...but...there are so many more ways that people are galavanting about the globe, at every age! I just read about a boy who has climbed the highest summit on every continent at at age 15. I read the travel blog of a american who has been living a nomadic lifestyle for twelve years, picking up all kinds of jobs on the road. Who has for the past decade+ been backpacking across all asia and europe spending time with fascinating people, food, and weaving his own experiences. 

So consider me bit by the bug. And I think those who have found what I have found will agree. Once your journey begins, when does it really end? 

I would like to say to everyone HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!! I'm extremely blessed to have many different friends from many different cultures so I will not confine that to just a Merry Christmas. I am so lucky to be surrounded by my new people. I wish everyone a wonderful new year and a safe holiday. Enjoy each other and be thankful and aware of what you have. Lots of love from northern France!