Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Country, Not The State

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Late last year I did something big.

No, I did not cure cancer. No, I did not conquer Everest. But what I did do was push myself outside of my own comfort zone. So far outside of my comfort zone that I landed straight in the Republic of Georgia.

That’s right, folks. The country of Georgia. By “country” I do not mean envision fields of corn and cotton, southern drawls, and pickup trucks. I mean the legitimate country of Georgia in the city of Tbilisi, population: 1.5 million.

I didn’t end up there on a whim. Not entirely. I ended up there to meet my boyfriend’s family for the first time. A nerve wracking experience in itself that was only amplified by my lack of knowledge of the Georgian language. This accompanied by their lack of knowledge of the English language, and only him to serve as a mediator, was sure to make for interesting events.

To this day, I cannot tell you what I was expecting or if I had any expectations at all. I stepped foot on that plane a blank slate, acknowledging that it would be an adventure, and nothing short of that. Truth be told, I could have listened to a hundred anecdotes and, still, nothing outside of firsthand experience could have answered the questions I didn’t even know I had.

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Our flight landed in the early hours of the morning. Between the sleep deprivation and the jet lag, I was barely coherent when we were greeted by twenty or so of his closest friends and relatives. It didn’t take me long to deduce that I fit in about as well as I fit into that old pair of blue jeans from high school. Hearing conversation yet not being able to decipher the meaning left me smiling at great lengths and, surely, at inappropriate moments.

What the hell do I know? None the wiser. —Cheese.

Without familiarity of the language outside of “hello”, “nice to meet you”, and a few mandatory expletives, it took all of a few hours before my first mishap.

Freshly showered, preparing to get dressed, I hear his mother knock on the bedroom door. Suddenly, it dawns on me that I don’t know the Georgian equivalent for any word that will delay the opening of that door. I silently damn my boyfriend for not being in the vicinity. Where’s my translator when I need him?

I panic.

I fill the silence with a desperate cry of “one moment!” as I make a mad dash for a towel as if I was running for the 50 yard line. Futile. The door opens. I stand there with a look of horror, grasping my towel so tightly that my knuckles have whitened. Between the two of us, I’m not sure whom was more crimson; me or her.

Talk about an icebreaker.

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Tbilisi itself is gorgeous, full of vibrant life and abundant history. Throughout the city an eclectic mix of both archaic and innovative architecture lined the populated streets. Off of cobblestoned roads were tiny shops with hidden treasures and restaurants with food so decadent you did not feel worthy enough to eat it. And outside of the endless lights and sounds was a subdued, mountainous region that rivaled the beauty of the city held within its palm.

The vast landscape was far from empty, though. Atop of mountains sat massive, ancient stone churches. Within their walls, the structures were adorned with rich textures and religious works of art. Even without considering myself a religious person, I could feel the presence of the church. It was as if an aura emanated from each brick and each surface within. Without words, the place spoke of a story.

The beauty of the city and the beauty of the people was unprecedented. And although the language barrier proved challenging, I could feel the warmth of his family and friends. I could see in his family the same gentle soul that he possesses and I could sense the goodness of the hearts of the people themselves. It was fascinating what could be communicated without ever exchanging words.

And when it was time for me to leave the city, I had had an adventure as I expected —only not the adventure I was expecting at all.

✌️ One Love

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Reasons I Don’t Fear 30

Thirty. Dun, dun, dun.

The word itself can cause an uproar in the hearts and minds of even the most collected of women. For some, it can feel like the end of an era. No more long nights of partying. No more casual recklessness. No more twenties. For others, this particular milestone can become a pivotal point where ‘past you’ swore that ‘present you’ would have accomplished (insert here) by this date.

If you promised yourself that you’d be a biochemical engineer or a homeowner by 30 and instead you’re waiting tables and sharing a small apartment with a roommate, it’s easy to feel like you’ve fallen short of your own expectations. All of a sudden your future self is your current self and you still haven’t earned that damned Nobel Peace Prize.

As a whole, we have a tendency to project things onto our future selves and, due to circumstance or choice, we sometimes fail to take the necessary steps to achieve them. It can be daunting when milestones knock on our door and we feel we’ve shown up empty-handed, failing to produce the desired results. We feel this way because it is easier to focus on what we haven’t accomplished because we’ve now reached the point in our lives that we once felt sure we’d have it all figured out. But here’s a secret: As long as you are trying, as long as you are learning and progressing, you are doing just fine. You are exactly where you should be. Just breathe.

However, should the impending doom of 30 cause an epiphany, seize the revelation. Take the steps, make the goals and work for what you desire.

I know that I have personally veered from the path that I once believed I would be on but I feel as if I landed right where I belonged. Each mistake has shaped me. Each decision has had a cause and effect. I’ve lived. I’ve learned. And *gasps* I don’t fear 30. Here’s why:

More Confidence:
Your twenties are a time of self discovery. It is in this decade that you try, fail, and try again. Hard lessons are learned as you create yourself. As a result, your opinions become more developed with each experience and you become more secure in your mental and physical being. With this additional presence, the opinions of others becomes less substantial to your sense of self. You become confident in who you are as a person simply because you know who you are.

More Respect:
The decade of your twenties are spent fumbling through life, trying to grasp the answers to lives complexities. Few look to you for words of wisdom and there are few places this is more prevalent than the workforce. While you are undoubtedly expected to perform, there is a preconceived notion of being a twenty-something year old. Although it is possible, few break this mold. Perhaps you are an old soul? Regardless, the stigma is still present. While 30 is far from old aged, despite what you thought a decade ago, there is now a sense of history. You have experienced a portion of life that you are expected to have developed from. Let’s hope that is the case!

More Knowledge:
Keeping consistent with lessons learned and developing from experience comes the all-encompassing knowledge. You have fought your battles. You have earned your stripes. With each additional experience, your knowledge base has expanded. Partied hard all night during the work week? Decided to incorporate the word “moderation” into your vocabulary. Spent your money carelessly? Stocked up on candles & Ramen and learned the benefit of a well thought out budget. By this point, it has become clear that actions beget consequences and you act accordingly. This growth is essential and paves the way for betterment. It assists you in becoming the best you that you can achieve. That’s all anyone can ask for.

While this compilation barely scratches the surface, there are lessons and optimism to bring forth into your next decade. Do not dread an end of an era but rejoice in the opportunity to have anew. Let yourself embody the growth you have experienced and find assurance in your presence. This life is the only opportunity you have.

Embrace it.

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