I now deem myself able to appreciate the logic of a puppy the moment he/she spots an edible something opposite an invisible fence. Feet cemented to the ground, eyes onward. While it may not yet be tangible, we sense the upshot. Do we jump through the barrier, knowing full well the torture? This conundrum has our gaze wide, staring ahead as if some plea will diffuse the nuisance. On one hand, there is a scrumptious, rewarding treat just a few feet away. On the other hand, well, uh, inevitable pain; But we’re badass, we get what we want, nothing will stop us. Feet pivot against the ground, propel forward.
Okay, okay maybe this is not a precise photocopy of my actions in Moldova, but it’s pretty damn close. There is no effortless task, no tranquil emotion. The climate is murk which causes an absence buoyancy – my mind has offically gone mad. I recently had someone tell me, the honeymoon stage is over. I turned, glared, and spoke; feeling the sarcastic temper come over me: „When the hell was there ever a nuptial celebration?”. Grudgingly allowing them to justify the words, I relized the time has come to shift to the next chapter. While my only priorities in the past weeks have been pulling all-nighters to stream the Ravens playoffs’ games (in route to the Super Bowl, ahem..) in the eeriest of all locations, I must turn my attention to the big picture.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Beautifully spoken by St. Augustine, but misses one fundamental element: adaptation. Some days, I ascertain more in 24 hours of living abroad than in an entire semester of a particular class. If I were here temporarily, that would be all mighty, but the long duration of my stay suggests I need to utilize that information and acclimatize with it. Some days dawn with high expectations and close with fresh hopes, others have inexhaustible struggles and conclude with distress.
I have been taking every measure to trigger my post-vacation motivation, from watching inspiring movies, to making to-do lists, to analyzing success stories. No cigar. I have been bellyaching to friends and family, in hopes of a kick-start. Nah. It wasn’t until the minute I walked back into my first class on Monday morning when I realized what I must do. I have to break up with the United States of America. And we’re talking some Tiger Woods or Bobby Brown shit. I gotta let go, and authorize my heart to invest 100% of itself in my remaining stretch in Moldova. Reached the point where I can teach without my face buried in a script; passed the summit of building a voice. I’ve met some incredible people, relationships I hope last a lifetime, and I have taught my students some things, but just as I always have done, I must go balls to the wall and do something great.
These emotions need to be regularly featured staple in my daily actions, not just a spark of effort here and there. I must keep my foot pressed to the gas pedal, despite the invisible fences I dash through along the way. I realized that while I finally feel comfortable in my school, established even, I know no one outside of that building within the community; I have just breached the surface. The need to be proactive and pushy is at an all time high.
I have visions of an English language night class for adults in my community, a grant proposal to fix some of the broken pavement around my school, and a complete overhaul and renovation of the sports fields and equipment. Next year, I hope to teach a business communications course as well as transfer sustainable technology skills to my colleagues. Of course, all will be in Romanian, all will consist of countless difficult phases, and all will have several setbacks. Except, where in the world am I supposed to uncover the impetus necessary to erect such craft?
I brought in a non-profit, titled Moldova fara discriminare (Moldova without Discrimination) to speak my older students. Being so proud to have many friends that are gay, black, or of varying religions, I decided this would be a fraction of me to leave behind. The information was crucial, the interest was in attendance, and the reception was positive. But a blind survey towards the end struck me some sort of nasty. At least a third revealed they would stop contact with someone they found to be gay, similar numbers wouldn’t attend a lecture led by a professor who is HIV positive. Hurtful, but part of the culture; I must adapt, or these will be my downfall. Combine this with the fact that two days out of this week (its only Thursday) ended in alcohol filled dance parties within school walls, my habits and opinions must convert from open-minded to elastic.
Maybe the happiest day of my life is when my parents allowed me to start ordering off the “adult” menu in restaurants (I know, no surprise as to why I got pretty chubby during my high school years). However, I would stuff myself full and they would always greet me with a “you’re eyes are bigger than your stomach”. Maybe that renders a similarity here, I have so much I want to do but I must recognize the practical, then bulldoze through so much anguish and obstacles to even get the slimmed-down idea off the ground. I have these moments of total utopia, so proud of the direction my life is headed, but usually they’re followed by longer moments of defeat. Baby steps, Brett, baby steps.