Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hard Days

 Written During Training Last Week
An addendum: the day described in detail here took place a month ago.. I wanted to contrast the real life experiences and difficulties that long term travel entails rather than the easy to sell story that travel is awesome ALL THE TIME. Thank you to many of you who wrote me encouraging letters and notes. I'll continue to have hard days. And good ones. 
Love, Dana
My heart is heavy tonight. I find my heart grow wearing towards the mid-end of each week here. Something hangs and I feel the fatigue of being away, that no time in the next month will feel familiar or restful. That all is new around me. That the new things in me are starting to grow, but painfully.
The thing is that travel sounds great on a blog. Social media is designed to share the beautiful things, the happy moments. If we can’t write epic poems or great tomes of literature about true happiness, then at least we can post a picture and status about it.
But travel isn’t that easy or clear. Especially the long term kind. I’m only a month into my long term travel. I have found it to be very difficult.
Tonight, my heart is heavy for one of my Fulbright teammates. (Check out her blog at Imagine the Impossible. In fact, check out all the Fulbrighter blogs. Some pretty amazing people are out there posting their stories.) I will not say why. But I am praying for her as I write this post.
The heavy heart has been growing this week, though. I’ve had moments each of the weeks of been here. The frustrating days where nothing works. My most common culprit is internet failures. I can imagine some astute mentor in my life nodding and making comments about how its good to be free from internet.
No. It’s not.
Its part of being able to stay connected, of staying part of home. Right now, it’s crucial for communication with RF. We’re figuring things out, making it work.
Hard days happen. Communication breaks down. The body malfunctions or is miserable. Fatigue catches up.
One of the hardest days for me so far was during the second week of language camp in July. I had taught the second day. Someone gave me a critical (but well intentioned) suggestion on my teaching method. I felt ill and fatigued due to Femaleness, so tired that I laid in bed the previous two afternoons and was feeling weak and sleepy just then. Someone told me that one of the more difficult kids had told the camp director I was a bad teacher (this was later proved to be a miscommunication and untrue). I hadn’t heard from RF in two days because of internet cutting out. My body was covered in flea bites that I had gotten throughout the previous night, the pinching keeping me awake and angry. I almost missed getting into the van because I didn’t understand Bulgarian for “Time to go soon.” The whole day was a wash.

When I couldn’t get RF on the nonexistent internet for yet another evening, I was done. I skipped dinner and walked to the football field outside of camp, found a corner where the trees hid me, and sobbed. I couldn’t stop.
Even when listed out, I don’t quite know what of the litany of complaints caused the being wracked by sobs. I was crying so hard, I tried desperately to breathe and couldn’t quite manage a breath. My family was far away. My boyfriend was far away. I felt like a failure on every score. I felt alone.
I would be lying to you as a reader if I didn’t tell you about these kinds of days. It’s not fair to you. I give you beautiful moments because I believe in the enduring necessity of beauty. “How it matters” Sara Groves sings. I believe in the benefit of being here, whatever that elusive benefit may be to me or others, because I don’t think I would have chosen nights about once a week where I weep and cry because relationships seem so impossible. Travel is not everything.
Faith is perhaps the better word for what makes it better the next day. Everything is unknown to me right now. I have to trust in something that Knows. I can’t depend on controlling things or how people perceive me or or or… I’m going to spend the whole year finding the end of myself and then having to get up the next day.
It’s okay. IGBOK as the sticker on my journal says. “It’s Gonna Be OK.”

1 comment:

Jade P. said...

Thanks for writing Dana! I'm not in Bulgaria, but having similar feelings. It's good to know you aren't alone and that it WILL be okay. :) We both have embarked on a really great journey.