Lighthouses Get Lonely Too
Hi, it has been a few weeks.
I have many half-written blog posts saved on my computer. I was going to write one about functional fitness then one about body aesthetics then another about ten things I have learned while riding a boda and another about climate change. Some have a few paragraphs, some just a title, but I have realized I am not great at writing when I feel pressured to write. There are many ideas and stories that would make a good blog post especially about things I experience on a daily basis, but there is no way I could force the words onto the paper (or computer screen, just depends on how you choose to write). And maybe there is even a lesson in that, seriously there is a lesson in freaking everything if you dissect it enough. Why force anything? Words, yoga poses, relationships, jobs, the list could go on and on, but you probably get my point. (Also, please know there is a difference between things being forced and things being challenging.)
There is no set theme or structure or story for this blog post... Just words I want to share with you all.
So, how have the past few weeks been? Weird? Fun? Stressful? Lonely? Boring? Yes, to all of the above.
Have I done yoga? Yes.
Have I taught yoga? Oh yeah.
Ran the stairs in my apartment for some cardio? LOL yes.
Cried? Laughed? Danced alone in my apartment? Danced with strangers? Yup, to it all.
I learn something new every day here… Let me share some:
1. Ohmushana means sunshine in Rukiga.
2. If you eat overly ripe jackfruit, you will get sick.
3. Kabale is a very small town, smaller than my university, smaller than my hometown. If you crash a wedding, you will see one of the groomsmen you danced with at the water place and your water will keep being mysteriously turned off. Thus, making you have to repeatedly return to the water place and see said groomsman.
4. Sometimes you will be so horribly lonely surrounded by people and feel the most content by yourself.
5. Blow your nose at least every morning and every time you get off a boda or else you will get a sinus/ear infection and it will not be fun.
6. If you don’t know how to dance, dance anyways.
7. If you are sending emails at a café, tourists will crash your table, but they will always give you snacks.
8. Crickets are good luck, but creepy and annoying.
9. A goat and a small child sound very much alike.
10. Keep a pair of gumboots in the car. Because sometimes it rains during the dry season and you may end up helping push a car out of the mud in a dress and bare feet.
I have had many days lately where I feel more down than up, filled with lots of doubt. And more often than I would like to admit, I think about coming home. I think about my niece and my nephew and how fast they are growing. I think about my whole family and best friends. I dream about iced coffees and salads and unlimited amounts of hot water. I miss spin class and climbing and practicing in a studio almost every day. I think about booking a flight, jumping on a plane, and coming back to the United States because honestly, it is so much easier. But then there is that one day, that one moment that makes me decide against the flight home…
There is a day where I wake up to the sound of roosters and steel drums in the village. I make a French press full of coffee and a plate of pancakes and read messages and emails from home because while I slept they were going about their day. I meet my boda and spend the next 30 minutes talking and laughing about the day before, learning Rukiga, and sitting in silence I as take in the breath taking scenery around me. Side note: I have 2 boda drivers and they are some of my favorite people in Uganda. You need to meet them. I spend the morning digging in the field with the farmers and the afternoon creating some honestly really cool things I cannot even begin to explain in detail in one blog post. (Hint: a really huge database—nerd alert) My evening is filled with podcasts, yoga, writing, finishing my thesis, and reading books by my favorite author until I get sleepy. Oh, and who can forget a nice bucket bath.
It is the days just like this which remind me I am a trailblazer; I have so much to offer. And despite wanting to quit over and over, I don’t because I am reallyyyyyyy living and not many people get to say they are doing so. That’s why I don’t get on a plane back home.
I messaged my mom, who by the way is visiting me in about 20 days, this past weekend. I told her I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. She responded with, “But you will. And it will be big.” She is 100% correct, as per usual. My whole life I have found it difficult to make friends and to feel like I really belonged somewhere. It took me many years in Pittsburgh to find my people, and of course once I did I up and left to another continent. But maybe that’s because I know as long as I am comfortable none of the big, magical things will happen. I am not saying there isn’t big magic in the small things because there is, have you ever played high fives in the middle of a village with a small child and giggled for 2 hours straight? That is magic. But when it comes to where we find our calling, our purpose, our why why why… our comfort zone may not be the best place to live.
And that’s why I don’t get on a plane back home.
Let’s talk about my yoga practice for a few minutes. It has been there… in the quiet hours of the morning and the late hours of the evening. When I have no other choice than to get on my mat and get honest with myself. I start by sitting and breathing. Then I move. Sometimes it’s strong and slow and sometimes it’s fast and messy and really fun. Then I sit, in stillness, in silence. Just me and me and me and the occasional goat or chicken in the background. Some days I crave my mat more than anything, it feels like the most healing place in the world and then somedays I have to drag myself to my mat. But what I have realized is that in the few moments after I finish my practice and I write a few words in my journal, I feel the most me and I think it’s really important for everyone to find where they feel that. In a world so big, with so many opportunities, it is so easy to lose ourselves. Heck, I lose myself on the daily. But as long as you find something that brings you back, that’s what matters.
So, what’s next? I finish my thesis this week (phew!!!), I am going to hike Mt. Muhavara in 2 weeks (remember that picture I posted from one of my communities awhile back, that is it. It is a volcano), my mother lands in Kigali on September 1st and will be here for 2 full weeks, and I will keep on doing the work that challenges and fulfills me. Oh, and yoga!!! Practicing, teaching, showing up.
I hope what I write is a little entertaining, a little inspiring, maybe even just the wake-up call you needed on a Monday morning or Friday evening. If you have questions for me, please feel free to reach out to me whether it is on here in the comment section, on my Instagram, or maybe you ask Janna for my email.
Keep showing up,