Monday, February 24, 2014

Gap Year Lookback

Around this time last year, I was running around like a headless chicken trying to meet work deadlines, preparing for a year of travel to four countries, and shutting down life as I knew it, to get ready for the big reboot that was my 40th year.

I was not able to finish everything on my checklist, but I met as much of the people I wanted to say goodbye to as I could. Back then, my friends did not know if I was going back after a year or if I was going to send an email saying I was planting myself on foreign soil for good.

This time, I have a slower pace and more opportunities to ruminate. My social calendar is not overly booked. I have less clothes and shoes to pack. But is it any easier? Who likes goodbyes, please raise their hands? I know I don't. I'm pretty bad at it.

And so I sit with this sadness as part of the process. All good things must come to an end, so this holiday, this vacation, this time with my Sydney family and friends has reached its closing credits.

I am at peace with the decision. I know my future is bright, it is in God's hands, and even now doors and windows are opening for me. If only I could just stop feeling too much.

Yesterday I looked back at what I've written in my two blogs the past year, and came up with this:

1.  I introduced you all to the concept of my Gap Year:

I was going to eat, pray, love, write, travel, cook, babysit, sleep, walk, dream, and write some more.

In terms of travel, I've been to the following wonderful places since then:

Port Stephens, NSW
Sydney CBD
Chatswood, Lane Cove, Willoughby - my neighborhood and neighboring suburbs
Canberra, ACT
Auckland - CBD and Hobbiton in Matamata, NZ
Melbourne, and Flowerdale, Victoria
Hunter Valley, NSW
Fiji Islands 
Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW
Coogee, Bondi, Sydney
Melbourne, Flowerdale, and the Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Auckland, NZ again – Wenderholm, St. Mary’s Bay, North Shore
Terrigal, Central Coast, NSW

2.  As soon as I got here, however, I expected to write more. I did not.

Writing From Down Under:

3. In May, I realized I was living a good life, but found the concept strange.

At times, I felt displaced, but not discouraged. I also wrote about "Experiencing the Mass in Sydney."

4. In June, I went to Canberra and Auckland, and wrote the following about my travels, posted in July:

 5. In August 2013, I had a fantastic trip to Melbourne, stayed at a beach house and then a farm, and visited good friends. 

6.  September came, and I flew to the Fiji Islands. I also experienced spring for the first time and wrote about it. The creative juices started flowing. I planned my 40th  birthday party for 2014.

7. In October, I hatched a big plan, as an outlet of all my dreams: Defying 40, A Showcase of Talents for my friends

8. In November, I hardly posted anything. I was busy with my niece's birthday party and my parents' arrival.

9. December was the  most eventful month of all. I traveled to Auckland again and Melbourne again!

I accepted who I was, and wrote Next to Normal to welcome the new year:

10.  In January, I finally did a lot of Creative Writing:

I asked,

11.  And in February, I saw how I was Connected to the World:

And I kept writing the two storylines that were born in my heart.

This list in no way summarizes the past year. I may have to read them all in order to document my gap year.

I just went through it to be grateful, and to channel the sadness into productivity.

I have been blessed, and I will be again when I go home. I am counting on that.

Going to Bondi Beach

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