Twenty-Seven. Thoughts.

As per my previously, accidentally, established pattern, this should be an exchange prep post – but it’s not because basically all the prep is done and there hasn’t been any change since the last time I mentioned apartment hunting really. I’ll mention it briefly later, but in the interim I felt like I’d tell a friend some general thoughts about things.

It’s also been almost a month since my last post and I know some people – though just a few – actually enjoy reading my posts and gaining some insight into my life 😛

Perhaps you are feeling some caffeine withdrawal.

Anyway, July has dragged on for me. It’s been a very slow month and I think it’s mostly because I haven’t been working. Also, nothing exciting has happened so I’ve had no specific inspiration for a new post.

Why haven’t I been working? Well, it’s a long story…

Basically, there was some confusion at work about my shifts because back in June I was told that I couldn’t cover one coworker’s two-month vacation since I would be gone for one of those months also. July was looking pretty bleak at that point because I only had one week booked for the whole month.

Then, I was called into work for the last week of June, and again for the first week of July in the same room. There were rumors that I was actually scheduled for the entire month! But no one from the office had approached me so on Friday I asked if I should come back on Monday. They confirmed that yes, I was indeed booked for the whole month. (This meant I couldn’t work the original one week I had been given back in June though.)

I showed up on Monday to see another supply teacher in the room and I was greeted with confusion in the office. Eventually they sent me home due to accidental over-booking and told me they’d “play it by ear” and call me if I was needed.

I actually called them on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday, then they basically told me to stop calling because they would call me. They never did.

Then, I had to email my boss a request for a separate issue but I thought I’d ask about the week I had before – to see if I could still work there.

She responded that my “heart isn’t in it” so I wouldn’t be receiving any more shifts for my remaining month of availability.

It would have been enough to tell me I wasn’t needed or I simply wouldn’t be getting any shifts – a simple “no, we booked someone else for that week” – but that comment felt like a huge slap in the face, like she’d spit on me or rubbed salt in my wound.

I felt so underappreciated at that moment. I started to cry.

People who know me really couldn’t understand the logic that led to that conclusion at all because no one knows anyone who’s more dedicated and more passionate about work than I am. I’m always excited to go to work, I love to tell stories about my job and I come home with a smile. I definitely put my whole heart into loving those kids and doing my best to help them grow and develop.

Oh well.

It’s been a few weeks since then, I still think it was a silly thing to say, but I was called in three times – twice before the email though – and even though two of those shifts were short ones, I really enjoyed being back at work. I also chose to remain positive and joyful.

On the whole, July has been extremely uneventful. My newfound free-time couldn’t be filled with friends because anyone I like that’s still in Ottawa does have a job so we couldn’t hang out.

There’s also been no improvement on the accommodation issue for when I move to Belgium.

By the way, I’m leaving in about 15 days and I don’t know where I will live. I found an excellent place but they stopped responding to me.

It’s a house owned by a non-profit organization, it’s a 15 minute walk to my school, the rent is actually affordable and there would be six other students living there too! The only “catch” is that I’d have to agree to work together with the other tenants to complete a project for the organization but Arc-en-ciel is an organization that works with children, so it would actually be a perfect fit for me!

But, I’m very hindered in house-hunting since I don’t live anywhere near Brussels and can’t physically meet people. No one seems willing to take up my offer of a Skype date and I’ve been met with quite a bit of inflexibility.

Amazingly enough, I’m very calm.

Growing up with my family, our vacations were always pre-planned and everything was already decided months in advance. The accommodations, the transportation, the entertainment, everything would be planned ahead of time, but here I am, about to go off on a crazy adventure and I don’t know where I’ll be sleeping.

The “old man” (woman) would definitely be crying and ripping her hair out, but somehow, I’m overcome by patience and peace that surpass understanding. That’s from faith in a loving, Heavenly Father who provides everything I need.

I know this trip is from Him and if He wants me there, I’d better go no matter what obstacles are in the way. It might not line-up with the timing I’d prefer, but I know He will provide an amazing place for me to live.

I still want and hope for the house I talked about, but maybe if I keep waiting on Him, He’ll show me something even better I just haven’t found yet.

Hopefully this caffeine-fix has been a good one. Maybe you can be encouraged by my positivity. Faith in God is truly a wonderful gift, and I’m so thankful I responded to God’s call in my life. I can’t imagine where I’d be or what I’d be doing/thinking/feeling if I couldn’t lean on Him.

Well, that’s about all I have to talk about for now.

As always, thanks for reading! God bless you!

PS. I want to add a prayer request section to my blog. I’m not 100% sure how it’ll work yet (if at all), but I would love to provide you all a way to ask for prayer (anonymously) and I could even post the requests for other readers to pray about too.

PPS. People ask me a lot if I’ve started packing or not yet, and just in case you wanted to know – no I haven’t. I wrote a list of everything I want to bring way back in probably April, but I still have to live in Canada for the next two weeks and living here requires clothing so I can’t pack up 10 months worth of life just yet.

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Twenty-Six. Tears.

This post is long overdue. It’s about something I noticed at work, but the event happened a few weeks ago.

Anyway, for anyone who has, works with, or had ever been around kids, you know they cry for a variety of reasons. Usually (at work anyway) they cry for silly reasons like, “Wait your turn, let your friend play with it for five minutes.” or “Is it nice to hit your friends?” Sometimes they cry because they miss mommy and daddy, which is perhaps more legitimate than those other two (not getting their way or getting in trouble) but since you know they’re safe and all their needs are met, it’s not a cry that truly registers. And sometimes they fall or bump into something and cry from pain or shock.

But a cry from terror – now THAT registers.

We had a fire alarm go off just after nap one day and seeing some of the kids cry because they were scared was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen in a long time. I almost started crying.

It made me think about tears, fears, strength and compassion in ways I’d never really thought of them before.

Particularly tears.

Tears are such strange things. According to Wikipedia there are three categories of tears. There are also different triggers for tears. And there are different interpretations of tears too – like social acceptability dependant on gender/age/situation. I don’t want to get scientific about tears though. The triggers are what I find interesting, as well as the benefits (or consequences) of crying.

A lot of people can tell who is crying by the sound. I found that while I can’t necessarily place a child with a particular sounding cry, the sound and the visual together indicate why the child is crying and elicit different responses – ones I don’t consciously control.

It reminded me of the most common reasons I might start crying (and I happen to do that a lot). Often I laugh too hard. Sometimes it’s because I’m watching some emotional movie or something. And other times I’m remembering something particularly sad, like the death of my grandparents. Rarely, I cry from the pain of my headaches/migraines.

Another reason I cry sometimes is from stress/anxiety. I’ll over-think things sometimes and start freaking myself out with possibilities whether past (could have/would have/should have) or present (what-ifs).

Whatever the reason for crying (though less-so with the positive reasons), crying has always seemed healthy to me because it’s a physical release of something you might be feeling and it can really help you heal or overcome whatever is bothering you.

If I hadn’t cried over my grandparents’ deaths, I might still be shaking on the inside to this day.

There’s a beautiful song by Laura Story called Blessings and some of the lyrics talk about tears:
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
The ‘You’ she is referring to is God.

In the most challenging times I’ve faced in my life I often try to be “strong” and just talk through the problem without crying but alone in my bedroom at night, I can’t sleep, so I pray. I just lay it all out for God – who already knows what I’m going through but listens anyway – and I start crying uncontrollably. Then I feel better.

It’s amazing how quickly letting negative emotion or negative thoughts flow out with my tears can help. Crying can bring peace and calmness in very trying situations.

So I encourage you to cry out to God. Maybe you’re a man and you feel like “real men” don’t cry… Well to God, you’re another child of His and He sees your pain even if you’re not willing to admit it or show it to anyone else.

Time and time again my closest friends remind me that crying is healthy and it can heal. I truly believe that’s true. I also believe tears are more powerful than we give them credit for.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some thoughts I had about tears with you all – I don’t know if that’s something people ever talk about.

This seems like a shorter post than usual. That’s probably not a bad thing.

Remember He loves you and He can deal with your tears so cast all your troubles, worries, fears, problems and emotions at His feet, come to Him as a small child would go to their parent and cry until you feel better.

You can also cry from laughing too hard because joy is beautiful!

Thank God for the emotions He gave us and for the ways in which we can express ourselves.

So, as usual, I hope God Blesses each and every one of you abundantly.

PS: I GOT MY BELGIAN VISA! It came last week, no questions, no problems! I was a little worried – but more about that in my next exchange prep update, which should be my last one because at this point, I only have one step left (finding somewhere to live).