It is so crazy that Brian and I are coming up on a year of living abroad! Looking back on this past year and who we were a year ago is amazing. Amazing how much we have learned, how much we have seen and how much we have grown. More of all of that than we could have ever imagined. And all of which included times of bliss and times of major growing pains, but such is life!
Growing up, Brian and I were both majorrrr home bodies, like, I couldn’t even have a sleepover at my best friends house cause it was too long of a time from being at home. So it’s actually hilarious that we are the ones who ended up living across the world from our original home. This is the cheesiest thing I have ever said and I cringe while saying it, but our home has gone from being a physical place to being a person. And as absolute cheesy as that is, it is the absolute truth, and really pretty cool for a homebody like myself! As long as I have Bri….I’m home <3 That is NEXT LEVEL cheese, I’m sorry.
So what are these things we have learned that I speak of?? Well geesh I’m so glad you asked. We started a list in the Czech Republic of what we were learning and have continued it as time has gone on. Here’s a snippet of the ever-growing list.
- A smile goes a helluva long way and transcends every single language barrier. Living in Eastern Europe we were desperate for someone to throw us a smile every once in awhile. Now I try and smile at every person I pass. May be a tad aggressive, but ya never know who may be desperate to see a friendly grin.
- Different is in no way synonymous with wrong. We have had our “normal” challenged nearly every single day by encountering different cultures’ and different peoples’ normal. What even is normal anyways??? Man I don’t even know anymore. Maybe that’s the end goal….?
- Feeding people is a fast track to making friends. And as alluring as it is, don’t worry about what your home looks like or how good your food taste. It’s the gesture of inviting people to your home and meeting their basic need of eating that is the takeaway of your guests. Heck, we lived in a dorm room and our guests had to bring their own forks and plates (takes BYO to a whole new level), but at least they got a warm meal and I got a friend out of it!
- Screw what other people think. You know that uncomfortable feeling of walking into a restaurant not knowing what the heck is expected of you- is it seat yourself, or do we wait to be seated, does someone come and take our order or do we order at a counter? That’s basically how I would describe living in a new place and culture, every experience is like that x10. Every time you leave your house you have that feeling of oh danggggg what am I supposed to do here. And who the heck cares if people are looking at you weird, you have no idea what you’re doing, we’re all just trying to figure things out as we go! Whether that is abroad or not.
- Chill. The. Eff. Out. (Verbatim, from my journal) Gosh we spend so much time in the mindset of “what if” or “what’s next” getting so worked up and forgetting to enjoy the here and now, and to chill the eff out. This one is definitelyyyy still a work in progress.
- It’s okay to not know. To not know what’s next or where you’re going to live in five years or what the lady at the cash register in the grocery store is trying to yell at you in Czech. It’s okay not to know.
- Get comfortable asking questions. It’s not a sign of weakness or stupidity, it’s a sign of investment and taking responsibility.
- Complain less. Nuff said.
- You really don’t need a whole lot to be happy. Having each other and 2 suitcases of our belongings (one of those being shoes, that is important to happiness) is just enough to live with joy. Although I dooooo think about my storage unit full of our wedding gifts from time to time……
- And last, but most important, God has always and will always come through. He is the same God in America that he is in the Czech Republic and that He is in Australia- a good good God that has a beautiful plan for your life, regardless of which country you are located.
I’m sure there will be a new one added to the journal tomorrow….I’ll keep ya posted 😉