The first day back at school was a roller coaster of emotions (sounds like the story of my life these days). The last thing I wanted to do this morning was get out of bed (which could have been due to the cold, or possibly the uncertainty or what was ahead of me for the day). So, after finally getting out of bed and putting on make up (the current book I'm reading encourages me to go out there and look my best every day... because by looking my best I therefore feel better about myself so I thus have more self-confidence and more self-esteem... who knows if it's true), I ate some breakfast then headed to Maria's for our now not-so-weekly-due-to-the-fact -that-I'm-always-sick Wednesday breakfast. I love being with her and having our conversations, but I honestly cannot tell you what we talked about: I was thinking too much about going back to school.
Once I arrived things weren't as bad as I thought. Most of the kids seemed pretty happy to see me (especially the little ones and a few of the older kiddos), and my partner teachers seemed equally as glad. I'd brought with me my new faces and seasons, so it was a fun start with the 3rd graders.
But then classes ended and I had a few options: stay and tutor the kids (but after almost 3 weeks of being out of school, that wasn't exactly on the top of my list), stay at school and do more arts and crafts because it's fun and it keeps my mind distracted and happy (great, but I'd been doing it all week and the school was getting cold), go home and nap (and possibly not sleep tonight), or go on a photo walk (this sounded like a great idea since I had so much on my mind, I needed to relax, and I saw this little cutie pie on the street and she was just so adorable I had to take her picture... thus beginning the photo walk of the afternoon).
So after I saw the girl and decided it was photo walk time, I thought it would be a good idea to find the beauty in my village especially because of the recent thoughts I'd been having about being here and the fact that it's winter... and things just seem so much more... drab. So I found some color.
Then I unfortunately found a negative thing about our village: all of the trash. It's not so bad in the "center" but if you get off the beaten path (which is basically anywhere you go) you'll see trash everywhere... and it's really sad.
But then I saw this little boy (pictured on the right). He encouraged me to go out on the ice of the river- even though as I was walking out the gate it was the one thing my host mom told me NOT to do. But the boy promised me it was safe... and judging by the other boy and the two men out there, I figured it was ok. Even though I was wearing the wrong shoes. Again. The rest of the photos- until you see text again- are in no particular order and they describe my first ice fishing experience. From the outside. Without participating. Or eating the fish. Or ice skating. Because I didn't have ice skates... and I was also terrified I would find a weak spot in the ice and my host mom would be so mad at me! And I'd feel stupid. Enjoy.
Now I'm at the point where I'd spent an hour or so walking around the area with what I think is the prettiest view around me and thinking so much my head began to hurt (maybe it was because of the cold... I don't know... but I was dressed properly and wearing a super warm fur hat thanks to a friend of mine). After the river I made my way back to the street... and even though I knew where I was, it seemed like "home" was forever away. And then that got me to thinking... the end seems like it is really far away... but really... I can see it. It's just going to take some time (whether that's 20 minutes or 17 months) to get there. And it can be easy and paved, or a little rough and rocky. Right now it's a little rough and rocky... but hopefully soon it will be a smooth ride again.
And then I saw this little tree between two big trees. (I'm feeling really symbolic here). That made me feel like I'm the little tree... and Moldova is one big tree and America is another one. It's not just that the trees represent the country... but my support that comes with the country. My friends, my family, the sun, the shade. Eventually I'll grow to be as big and cool as them (err... you). I also found some color in the berries- which was nice (again, symbolism) to see that even though it's freaking cold outside, there are still berries feeding the birds.
Also, even though I'm in Moldova and it seems like I have nothing at times (I really do realize how much I take for granted EVERYTHING I have in America)... I do still have power and electricity and the internet. Even if it's all above land. It still keeps the grass pretty, though.
And finally... all of that brings me back here. As I turned down the rocky road that leads back to my home, I saw a goose who had somehow found himself on the wrong side of the fence and he was going back and forth and back and forth trying to figure out how to get back on the other side with everyone else. He was even in the spotlight (while I didn't do that with photoshop, I did do it intentionally but it wasn't until just now that I thought of the whole spotlight thing)... which is kind of how I feel. I feel like people are expecting me to make a decision, whether it's to stay here in Moldova or go back to America. I usually like the spotlight, but this spotlight I don't like so much... give me time! Eventually I'll make up my mind with the help of my other home (see picture bottom left corner). It seems to me that whenever I am in a tough situation I do have this extra feeling of support that I can't always place where it's coming from, but I think I have an idea. And it's comforting. Sooner or later I will be out of the spotlight (the goose did finally find his way to the other side... I think), I'll find out where my "home" is really supposed to be, and it will all work itself out. And soon I'll be able to have a real smile instead of a fake one. But the lighting was pretty and I felt kinda pretty so I took pictures of myself... and those are actually the first pictures I've ever liked of myself "not smiling". Just saying.
... and I think if I were to go back to America now, I'd kick myself in July of 2012 for not sticking it through. We'll see where things go, but for now I'm going to try to do it. No matter how much I cry and how much I struggle... it's all part of growing up, I suppose.