I just cooked a delicious salmon dinner and had two glasses of a white wine made from the only grape indigenous to Lebanon (Obeidy). I coached a successful JV volleyball practice where I realized that the two girls I pegged for setters are true stars and are going to make our team shine. There's a cat on my lap... and I'm lost in my own thoughts about the past year.
This past year has been one of the most challenging I've ever faced. It began with a move to a new school and country (Lebanon), morphed into a wild ride of emotion as my husband voluntarily donated a kidney to his mother (they are both doing well!), and ended with a much better school year starting off. Somewhere in the middle I dealt with all sorts of personal issues, from a career crisis on whether or not I should really be a teacher to difficult relationship decisions which sent Rex and I on our separate paths this summer to individually find ourselves. Thankfully we did... and I am so grateful that our near future seems like it is coming into focus.
What changed? For me, finally finding a bit of a community was a huge, huge one. At the end of last year I started doing things outside of Beirut. I went to the mountains and beach with a friend on several occasions... even camping. I started to appreciate how beautiful of a country I was living in and finally started to appreciate some of its ancient history. Also... volleyball. I haven't played... like really played... since intramurals in college. But I have found some people like me who need that outlet, who love to smash a ball after a long day of herding cats/teenagers. I've watched my body change from the potential to be strong and fit to actually being this. I am not completely where I was in college in terms of my hitting, my consistency, or my stamina, but I am on my way. And I love it. It has literally saved me.
I am an extroverted intravert. I love joining social activities... but only for a little while. I am quickly tired out and ready to go home and go to sleep. But I also don't have the stamina for social events past 10pm, and Lebanese culture dictates that nothing gets going before midnight. This would have been perfect for me in college, but this is my last night of 37... I'm no longer 20 years old. I enjoy my sleep.
As I look back not only over the past year but the past decade, I realize how wonderfully lucky I have been to have the opportunities I've had. To teach and live overseas, to travel to so many places, to meet incredible and like-minded people, to see first-hand the beauty as well as many of the problems with the world. I am in the best shape I've been in since college... or maybe high school. I love my life, I love my husband, and I cannot see myself anywhere other than where I am. Life throws you curve balls, but once you learn how to make contact it makes the game of life that much more enjoyable... and entertaining. Cheers and here's to a great 38!