the ramblings of my mind.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Thanks for listening to the ramblings of my mind."

"They're not ramblings. They're just what you're thinking about. They're still important."

Sometimes you need to hear that. To remind yourself that you're okay. To remind yourself people care about you. That this is normal, that is is fine, that you will be fine, and everything will be alright. And its what I needed to hear last night. 

Everyone goes through those little bouts of weakness, where they fall short to their expectations, and suddenly...everything doesn't seem right anymore. Suddenly, things began to fall out of line, nights grow shorter and days grow longer, tiredness and fatigue sets in, and all you want to do is take a day off and sleep through the struggle. And then one little thing (in my metaphorical mind, the single jenga block that supports the entire fragile struggle), gets pulled and everything collapses. In the midst of smoke rising from the rubble, all you can do is lie there and wonder how you are going to manage to build everything back up again.

I think everyone goes through one of these "OH-MA-GOSH-WHAT-IS-HAPPENING" moments every season. It comes with a rapid change of pace, where you are out of breath from all that is happening, and suddenly, you have to stop. You have to stop, reevaluate, realize you are fine - yes, you are fine - and move forward. Of course it is hard. No one ever said it would be easy. Here's another metaphor for you visual learners: its a trek through thick mud, where you make progress with every step, but every step makes you exhort twice the energy, creating a tiredness and weakness you can't avoid. Stopping isn't an option. You'll sink. 

I'm moving forward. 

In this crazy season of my life, where so much is happening, here in Turkey with my amazing team, and back home with friends I haven't seen since January - in a time of my life when I am growing and learning with every new day, and yet still processing and evaluating things in the past. This weird paradox became the jenga structure I was struggling to keep stable, and when the last block was pulled and the structure crumbled down to it's roots, I had to step back, breathe, and understand I am okay. Of course, I broke down somewhere before that, but that's a necessary step if you want to come out on top again. 

I am thankful for amazing friends.

Friends who know me inside out, who will sit with me on skype while I pour out my heart and my fears and everything else that makes me unsure. Those friends who know exactly what to say to make you feel okay, to encourage you and remind you that you will be okay. And there are friends who I met 3 months ago who sit with me in coffee shops, and hold my hand while I tell them about what I'm struggling with. These friends don't know my backstory, don't know me as well as the other, but know enough to tell me the same thing. You are safe. You are loved. You are fine. 

So, I along with a lot of the other students on this trip, recover from miniature emotional breakdowns, learn how to deal with this paradoxical structure that takes root in our lives when we do something as unique as a semester abroad, and somehow we all manage to come out not just okay, but better than before. And also ready to tackle finals week that begins Tuesday morning with our Turkish Society final.

And now onto more tangible updates on my life.

We head into finals week, with review sessions, late night studying and preparation for the seven, yes SEVEN essays we will write come Tuesday. But I would rather write essays than take a practical exam, so I'm counting my blessings. Then Thursday we take our Islam final, and three of our four classes are DONE. Keeping in mind that is is only March, finishing out a semester's worth of classes feels rather odd. Historical Roots of Early Christianity will continue through our time in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. 

This weekend, we are going on a retreat/learning opportunity to Budgay environmental farms, where we will be spending a long weekend recovering from finals, taking in life away from the big city, no electricity and a quiet atmosphere to process our 11 weeks in Turkey. Then we have 3 final days in the city to do all that we haven't done (which is for me...nothing, so I plan on dropping some major lira at the Grand Bazaar and picking up souvenirs). We fly out on a very, very early flight to Cairo on April 1st - even though we are not staying in Egypt we were unable to reroute all 26 of us of the airport. So I get two hours to say "I was in Egypt!" even if it means we're not leaving the airport.

I can't believe I have to leave Turkey in 2 weeks. It is the last thing I want to do right now...after living in this city for 11 amazing weeks, leaving it and not knowing when I will get to come back pulls at a tender heartstring in my stomach. I love this city so, so, much. Leaving means this amazing semester, this incredible trip, is coming to an end. As much as I am looking forward to being home, eating pancakes and bacon and embarking on another spectacular summer at camp, I don't want to say goodbye to Turkey just yet.

I have two more weeks.
I'm going to soak up as much as I can.

photo credit: Keaton Hudson

Respectfully submitted,

"The One Thing" - Between the Trees
"The House of God, Forever" - Jon Foreman
"Hosanna" - Hillsong
"Pistol Dreams" - The Tallest Man on Earth
"Kiss Me" - New Found Glory
"Samson" - Regina Spektor
"New Soul" - Yael Naim