Was I lost? I don't think "lost" is the feeling I had when I decided to go to that freezing cold job fair in Waterloo, Iowa. But, in hindsight, maybe I was a bit lost - in my soul. Maybe I needed to wander to find some pieces of me that I didn't even realize existed. When people ask me what made me start teaching abroad, my answer is "I was bored with my life." Although let me be clear - "bored" does NOT mean that I didn't have TONS of really awesome friends to do fun things with - because I did. You, my people - my friends, you are NOT boring. But I think I realized I just needed more. Everyone else's lives seemed to be moving forward in other ways - new boyfriends, husbands, kids. My path was leading me forward in a different way. Some soul searching and overhearing a random conversation at our adult Kickball league (one of those 'not boring' activities with friends) led me to that job fair, and ultimately, to Morocco.
Was I lost? I still don't think so. But I do think I was found. I think I rediscovered some things in myself, and discovered some that I never knew were there.
I found more bravery and courage than I knew I had in getting on that plane the very first time. This, after bawling my eyes out in my car after saying goodbye to my softball girls (that I coached) and fellow coaches/friends - knowing that their lives were moving on without me just like mine was going to move on without them; realizing things were never going to be the same.
I found emotions I didn't think I had (see the aforementioned paragraph about me bawling my eyes out). More tears were shed during goodbyes with family and friends than I had probably shed in 5 years prior.
I found new friends. Lifelong friends. Friends who I know were meant to come into my life because I can no longer imagine my life without them in it. Friends who accepted my naivety in the big new world I was discovering and made the small-town gal from Iowa realize she had worldly thoughts and funny quips and stories to contribute as well.
I found different cultures, new ideas, different religions and/or beliefs, different attitudes, new ways of doing things (good and bad), different ways to travel and explore- and many ways to get lost in those travels. :)
Most importantly, I think I found Me again. Or I found a new version of me that I know needs to continue to evolve and experience. Life is all about the experiences, no matter where they are. I cherish them all, whether they be stateside with the friends and family who gave me the support and encouragement to take this all on, or the ones that are yet to come with people I have yet to meet.
Have I been wandering? Definitely. Was I lost? Not entirely. But if I was, then I'm sure happy to have encountered all of the other 'Lost' friends who are out here doing some version of the same thing I am.
A few of my fellow 'wanderers'...
|Abby...currently wandering in Serbia. :)|
|Allen and Jens - I can't keep up with them!|
|Mel, continuing to navigate the waters in Casablanca|
|Papa Jim and Sweet Lu - now back home in Seattle|
|With Jocylene - maybe the biggest Wanderer I know! :)|
|Hopefully visiting Jenny at her German digs soon!|
|One of my all-time favorite spots, Oualidia Morocco. With some pretty fabulous peeps.|
So many photos and memories - not enough time to post them all. I'm blessed.