Word of the Year: Invest

we are already almost in the third month of the year. i barely feel like this year has started and we are almost a quarter of the way through it.

i say all of this as i see some kind of spider or bug crawl across my screen. ugh. apparently it is not cold enough to make all the creepy crawlies go away. i really dislike all insects. i love snakes and lizards, but i can’t stand bugs.

anyways, back to the topic. i didn’t have a word for this year as the year began. i felt like i could still work on the word that i had last year (that is, trust), but i think that’s how i’ll think about every word that i have. just because a word isn’t my “word of the year” doesn’t mean that i’m not still working on that word. it only means that it is not what i’m focusing on for the year. it’s still important.

well, i racked my brain for a word that would fit this year.

i first thought of the future, one which is full of unknowns. i know that the beginning half of the year i’ll be spending in taiwan. as for the rest of the year, i have no idea of what it is going to look like. of course, do we really know what even the next hour will look like? only God truly knows.

then i thought of the past, was there something that i could see from last year that i could work on this year? last year was full of travels and change and adventures and transitions. from home to australia to the u.s. to four countries in europe to the u.s. to taiwan where i’ve been living since august. so much has happened. it’s been quite the whirlwind of a year.

and that’s where i found it. something that was lacking from my life.

last year i was so focused on what was coming. i was always looking towards the future. and that’s not a bad thing. it’s good to look forward. you can’t always be in the present. then how will you ever prepare or make plans for the future?

in the same way, you can’t be looking towards the future all the time. how will your ever be present if your eyes are turned towards the future? can you truly live if you are unable to focus on the present?

this past year i spent way too much time focused on the future. even when i was home and not traveling or anything, i didn’t really feel “there” most of the time. i spent so much time last year adrift. never present, never home. i felt somewhat lost, always scrambling or looking for the next thing.

and from personal experience, that’s not healthy. i felt out of touch with the world and the people around me.

i want to change that. i want to be present. i want to invest in the people and the community that i’m surrounded by. i want to be someone who is “there” and active in the moment.

instead of always worrying about the future, i want to enjoy the moment that i’m living in right here and now.

so whether i’m in a place for a few weeks or a few months, i want to invest. God has placed me where i am right now for a reason. i want to make the most of my time, wherever i am.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what’s your word of the year? do you struggle with being present? please, share your thoughts!

Love Crosses Barriers

last week i completed my first week of teaching English.

wow.

where to even begin?

i was nervous. afraid. how do i teach kids when i don’t even know their language? will they really listen to me, some stranger from another country? i’m so new. what if i make a mistake? will i be any good at teaching? what if i’m awful at it? what if i hate this?

there were so many nerves going into last week. so many times the thought went through my head: i’m not ready; i’ll never be ready. but just when you want time to slow down and the day to never come, it seems that time only speeds up. monday came.

and with monday came my first class.

i work at a camp. so kids come in from nearby schools on monday morning and stay until friday afternoon. then the next week there’s a new group of kids. not every week do we have camp though, there are a few office weeks here and there.

class went well. it wasn’t as awkward as i thought it was going to be. most of the kids seemed to be very energetic. they looked like they were actually having some fun, even if they were shy.

and as i taught more and more classes throughout the week i found my enjoying it. i even started to look forward to my classes. outside of class, the kids started to warm up to me. during break times, we would play games or sing songs or draw together.

even though i know barely any chinese and they have very limited english, they still were willing to spend time with me. they didn’t care so much about the language barrier. somehow, those “barriers” just…didn’t exist. yes, it was still hard when they would say something and i didn’t have a clue. but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

so i found myself trying to spend every moment that i had with the kids. i knew that each moment was a blessing. time is short, especially here at camp. i wanted to hold tight to every single moment with these precious kids and make it last forever.

but i don’t get forever. nothing is guaranteed.

friday arrived. and i was giving the closing speech, i just started crying. i couldn’t even speak for a minute. even if i wasn’t an emotional person (which i am), seeing so many of the kids crying just took me over the top. i couldn’t take it. i was able to finish my speech, through many tears, but it hurt. it hurt to see them leave.

i miss their smiles. i miss their laughter. i miss hearing “hello teacher gabi!” when i walk by. i miss getting those “high fives.” i miss all the hugs. a few even told me “i love you”. just writing this makes me want to cry all over again.

my point is, you don’t have know the language to be able to love. love requires action. if you show that love, people will know, whether or not they speak the same language. i think those kids know that i love them. and i know that they love me.

maybe if we spend a little more time showing our love, the world might change a bit for the better.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi