New years and long journeys are always a time for reflection. Here are some things that I would like to take with me to Colombia and/or find them along the way:
It is impossible to communicate effectively all the time, we all suffer from misunderstandings now and then. With enough patience to ask or answer a couple of questions we can solve this and find out what was really meant. I hope the Colombians all have patience with me misunderstanding/getting lost/missing the point/comparing everything to London! However we also need patience with ourselves - as a teacher I am keenly aware that it is impossible to get everything right the first time. Why then, do I expect to be able to be perfect at something immediately myself? We may get it right the first time, or we may get it right the twenty-first. Whatever it is that we are trying to do will come to us eventually. Why should we feel bad for being incapable of something when we should be proud that we are trying something new and enjoying the process? I hope that I have patience in Spanish/ starting a new job/ cycling halfway up a mountain/everything else that 2012 throws at me.
One of the things I most love about my job is helping people to achieve their dreams and goals. No, I'm not saving lives or rescuing kittens from trees, but I am getting people one step closer to passing the exam they need to extend their visa/ getting accepted on the MA that will push them up the career ladder/ reading an entire book in a foreign language/ understanding what on earth their favourite band has been singing about all these years/ making friends from places that they wouldn't have been able to find on a map. Seeing the connections between people as they use language that I've taught them ("My round" is an excellent phrase to teach other people) or getting messages telling me they've passed their exam is a wonderful feeling that I hope I will be able to experience in Colombia as well. Whether or not I get a 'proper' job I have plans to volunteer - to give something back to the country that has already given me so much, even without setting foot in it yet! Hopefully with the elderly - more likely to drink tea and knit :D This need to do something productive spills over into my free time too - I find it difficult to just sit and do nothing (unless I've had less sleep than I'd like - then it's really easy to zone out in front of the tv!).
Joy and Love
It is incredibly important to find love, and therefore joy, in every day. Love does not have to be from another person - it should come first from yourself and what you do. As Steve Jobs said you must be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what you are going to do that day. If you do not 'feel the love' very often, then you should look for something else to do. He said and proved by example that life is too short to waste it on doing things that do not fulfil you. Personally, I intend to use this as an excuse to get out of hoovering.
Growth and Improvement
Back to teaching again (at least I know my chosen profession ties in well with what I believe in). They say you learn something new every day. No. You should learn something new everyday. You should try to be a little bit wiser (not the same as knowing more facts, although that's not a bad thing either) when you go to bed than when you woke up. Making yourself better physically is also important, but as another blogger said:
"Note: sometimes it’s important to feel like a pretty lady with pretty things.
More Important Note: it’s always important to feel like an intelligent, confident, and capable lady. Don’t get it twisted."
If there are any men reading this feel free to switch out a couple of words ;)
When someone gives you a present or a compliment it is easy to feel grateful to that person. It is also very easy to forget to be grateful to yourself. Why did we get a present? Why did we get a compliment? Because we deserve it! (Or they are sucking up, which still means that at least you're important enough for that :D ) We should not take anything for granted, but must realise when something is granted to us how wonderful it is, be it the ability to run for a gold medal or just a bus, the ability to see the smile of a loved one or just a blog on the internet. We must not forget what we already have.
Looking at this very hippy list, perhaps I should have chosen a monastery in Tibet not the capital of Colombia? :D