Life forces on us these moments; they feel a lot like grammatical punctuation, full-stops and commas that naturally bookmark our lives separating one season from another. Today is one such moment.
30th June is a close friend’s birthday. It also marks 365 days since i packed my bags, said my goodbyes and got onto a plane excitedly anticipating my new life in Dakar. A year, one whole year! Where does time go?
Thanking God for nourishing friendships, amazing experiences, surmounted challenges, disappointments, personal failures, unexpected lessons and counted costs. I am grateful, eternally thankful for the way each experience has made me even more ME.
To commemorate this moment, here are some really random, not entirely life-altering lessons learned or (in the NGO jargon I so love to hate) good practices. They are listed in no particular order or priority.
1. Sand-Fly Induced Itching…leads To Piriton-Induced Sleeping (learned this after a day on a boat filming mangroves in the Saloum Delta).
2. God loves me, like truly likes and is interested in my life, how humbling.
3. The truth will set you (me) free!
4. That it may be funny to have tontines (chamas) in the office but, oh, the joy when it’s finally my turn, I feel rich, for a few days at least!
5. Sometimes what we are fretting about is just a fog, here to detract us from the greater things that we could be accomplishing, slowing us down, keeping us concentrated on the overcast cloudy now, instead of focusing on the bright and life-giving experiences just a few steps ahead.
6. Niania Wandjirou Rhuspa or even worse Roufff….grrr! Shall sometimes be an acceptable way of calling my attention in this part of Africa at least! Sigh, What’s-In-A-Name?
7. ‘Wira wa maitho ti wa ruthiomi,’ just because you have watched someone do something doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is easy, some things like learning a language are never easy. (via johnnganga.org)
8. Mango and oatmeal makes an awesome breakfast!
9. That to work with a NGO is to like, or at least accept, that you are going to attend loads of workshops!
10. If I was a language then I would definitely be French, living with more exceptions than the rule! (Pearlsfromafrica, yeah, you can quote me)
11. That I really love full-stops…and exclamation marks!!
12. Sometimes love means letting go…
13. That I am forgiven, the past is behind me, each moment I spend on it is a moment I have lost in the present.
14. That I, who so loathed daily routine could come to appreciate words like consistency, balance and stability.
15. That writing from your life experiences is not easy, sometimes it feels like hanging your oldest underwear out on the balcony to dry and sometimes it’s a warm wonderful feeling when someone else ‘gets me’.
16. That progress often comes in small measures – Like successfully completing not one, but two entire phone conversations in French. Super! Soon to be bilingual.
17. Hearty laughter makes a bad mood go away.
18. Good friends are the best therapists we shall ever find.
19. That procrastination is not my friend.
20. Only a fool says there is no God! I have literally seen him at work soooo many times this past year…
21. Many times it’s my broken disposition that is guiding me and I would be wise not to follow.
22. That I am teachable, and oh what a prized possession that is.
23. That it is very easy to move from ‘is’ to ‘was’. Enjoy the present.
24. That I love to read, and “learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere.” (via beckyjohn.org)
25. It is wisdom to recognize restless searching and hopeful disquiet as a familiar nudging from God to look to him.
26. That I would love to be a mother, a wife, a partner someday in God’s perfect timing. And I better make the most of my space, my time, my unexplored interests….right now.
27. That I need to be saying more ‘I get to’ than ‘I have to’. Attitude change coming right up.
28. And oh the joy of hope’s possibilities, the sometimes unavoidable possibility of hope’s disappointment, still I live for the joy of a fulfilled hope and I continue to hope!
HERE IS TO AN EVEN GREATER YEAR TWO…