Well saying that I'm not where I thought I would be would be an understatement. Never would I have thought that I'd be spending my last night of being 28 in a 6th floor apartment in Zagreb, Croatia. But here I am.
These last few weeks have been difficult for many reasons. School has been great in a lot of ways. Smaller class sizes, more freedom, quirky kids, being able to have lunch with Sam every day, free coffee in the lounge. But it's also been a struggle. I came from a school with such strict restrictions on how I could teach, when I would teach it, etc. Whereas here, it's the complete opposite. Almost too much. I feel like I've been given freedom in my classroom and I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It's an adjustment to start brand new in every subject area. And just like any teaching job, no matter where you're at, you're still going to have kids who say, "I don't know anything about rocks," when you're trying to have them activate prior knowledge before launching a new science kit. You'll still have kids who say they never got their homework until you look into the depths of their locker and find it crumpled up at the bottom. You'll still have people telling you that you're not doing things right.
It just is what it is...
But the biggest struggle came on September 6th. I had just had a meeting with a parent when I got a message from my mom asking to call right away. When I called she told my that my grandpa had passed away in his sleep. His death came as a shock. His wife (my grandmother) died seven years ago. But by the time she died, Alzheimer's had already taken the woman I knew and loved. But my grandpa was still so "with it." Thankfully, I saw him last July in Colorado Springs. He was frail and weak, but he was still very much him. I don't know how to put him into words other than to say that he was just simply lovely, one of the best people I knew. Losing him was hard, but losing him and being thousands of miles away was harder. I wanted to be there for my mom during this time. I wanted to cry and laugh with my family as we recalled memories that we shared of him. Through Skype I was able to do some of this, but it wasn't the same.
What has helped me stay together is the fact that I do feel at peace with our decision to be here. I honestly feel like I am where I'm supposed to be, however hard it is at this moment.
So on this last night of being 28, I'm reflecting on where I am right now. I'm thankful for the many blessings God has given me. A rich heritage of people that loved Him and loved each other. The opportunity to experience a new culture and a new life overseas with my very best friend. The distance to miss the life I had. The realization that I need to fully live in the moment I'm in and not constantly wish for the past or the future.
For this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.