In light of it being a new year, I was thinking about all the different things I did in 2010 and what has changed. Sometimes I start to believe the lie that I really haven't done anything in this last year or grown at all. But then I stop to think about where I was a year ago, versus where I'm at today and I realize that I have grown a lot.
Last year I celebrated New Year's in Nepal with the team of people I was there with. I will never forget the few months we spent together and still miss them almost daily. We lived in tight quarters, with sometimes only three bathrooms between 13 of us. Time alone was extremely rare. We weren't supposed to go out on the street or anywhere alone. Sometimes it was hard to always be surrounded by people, but most of the time I loved that there was always something to do and someone to talk to. I got used to working to find bits of time to be on my own and always having a friend around.
Fast-forward to now, and it is almost the exact opposite. I go most places alone, and no one keeps tabs on me or where I'm at. I do everything by myself. At first this was a huge adjustment. (I did have several months at home in between my trips that was kind of in the middle of these two extremes.) I went from working to find time alone to it being what I wake up and fall asleep to. I went from sharing daily life with 12 others to my daily like looking totally different from anyone else's around me. At first I wondered at why I didn't find all of this freedom exhilarating. Most people my age are at a place where they want complete independence, but I was finding it quite frightening. But looking back at where I was a year ago, I understand. It's a huge adjustment to make.
At the same time, I can also see how these puzzle pieces fit so perfectly together. In my team I really learned how to be myself and what that looked like. Everyone sees every side of you at some point, so there's never any point in hiding it. Being on my own now, I don't have to struggle with finding who I really am or decide if I like myself or not- Been there, done that, so one less thing I have to worry about! This time alone would be really hard if I hadn't gone through all that earlier!
On a lighter note, being on my own is also teaching me how to plan meals, shop, and cook. It's not something I ever really did much of in the States, so I'm still learning. And learning here is certainly not the easiest place to learn. A lot of things that I was used to cooking aren't readily available here, so I've had to get creative. You can't really buy packaged foods or frozen dinners (with the exception of Ramen, which I eat only 1-2 times a week). So pretty much everything I eat is homemade or grown. I even have to mix up my milk for cereal in the morning! But, I'm getting better and expanding my horizons. Next up, making a dish with meat (and hot dogs don't count). I still haven't been brave enough to buy meat, or even walk close to meat at the market-gag!-so it might be awhile...