One of the things I was worried about before coming here was the kind of people I would meet. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I had this endless ‘what if’ list. One ‘what if’ was- what if I don’t make any friends? Now I was reassured by my friends that this would not be the case but I certainly had some doubts. Having been here for nearly a month, I can say my friends were right; I’ve met some great friends here. We all meet people on a daily basis and some of these people become our friends but what I find amazing is when I manage to make some connection with someone. On some levels, it’s a little strange, I mean you don’t know this person, they’re from a different country, had different experiences, yet there is something there that puts you on the same wave-length as them.
Now at the same time, it’s not a given that you will always get along with people you meet. I was lucky, where I worked, we did all get along and I valued that greatly because I was aware that it’s not a given. Here, whilst we have all come to volunteer for 2 weeks or a year, we all come with different expectations, ideas and energy. Plus, we are shaped by our experiences, interactions and surroundings. Consequently, we have a different comfort zone and things that don’t bother me as much affects someone else more.
I link connecting with someone to energy because I believe we all bring/have a certain energy which grows in situations. I know I bought my worries but I also bought a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for the unknown. I’m also a hopeful person, so in most situations, I hope for the best and I’m quite optimistic. I find I connect more with people who are chilled out; I’m drawn to this zen-type energy where someone has managed to maintain their inner peace. Not only does it help me stay calm but I also admire how people achieve personal mastery. I’m curious to learn how people come to this balance and interested in measures that work.
I’m also drawn to people who laugh. Life is serious enough, my job is a perfect example, it was not the most uplifting work and the only thing sometimes that got us through the day was a good laugh. Volunteering here in an orphanage, I feel for the children, I don’t pity them or feel sorry for them, I feel for them but I connected with them through making them laugh. I developed a bond by playing games with them, making them feel happy and it’s contagious so I leave feeling happy.
I was aware before I came that people don’t necessarily want to focus on their hardships. With my work for instance, clients didn’t want to hear how hard their life had been and how awful it was for them to have experienced what they did. Rather, clients wanted encouragement, reassurance and above all wanted to be empowered to make decisions in their life. In the same way, volunteering here, children don’t need or want to be reminded that their parents left them or that they maybe in the orphanage until their 18 years old. Instead, they want what any child wants; they want someone to care about them, teach them, play with them and love them.
I know that life isn’t all pink and fluffy. I know that we can’t escape or run from our problems. I love to run, it’s what I do best really because it’s easier then having to confront the issue. I know that whilst I can keep running, my problems/issues will remain. Sometimes, we need a little escapism, a little break from life before we are able to tackle our issues. I don’t know if I will resolve some of the issues I have but I believe I will be in a better place to do so.
From confusion comes clarity – or so I’ve been told but I’ve yet to achieve this. For those of you who know me, I’m pretty confused about most things in my life, should I go? Should I buy this? Should I wait? I’m indecisive and over think situations. I think part of this confusion comes from wanting a range of things. I mean if you know exactly what you want, you go out and try and get it. Some people keep trying until they achieve their goal. I knew I wanted to work for a charity, I managed to do this, I knew I wanted to do voluntary work aboard, I managed to do this too and I have a whole list of other things. I have endless lists of things/places I want to visit and I have tried to prioritise this but it’s bloody hard.
Before I came, my friends joked that now was the perfect time to go because I don’t have a boyfriend, don’t have children or a mortgage to worry about. So, I should make the most of it because I may not get this opportunity again. I agree this is a great opportunity but is it a once in a lifetime opportunity? I don’t think so, I would like to think next year or 2 years from now, ok I may have a boyfriend but we could still volunteer aboard or travel. I appreciate that when making decisions, many things have to be factored in like; money, employment, relationships etc but I also believe that these things don’t tie us down. I think we get so caught up in life that we accept these things as barriers, as things that prevent us from wanting to do the things we want.
It’s not that easy – I agree. Of course, if you’re married you can’t just take off or if you have a mortgage you can’t just quit your job. But I also believe we have a choice in any given moment, whether we choose to continue living life in the same way or getting up and changing it. It’s like when we moan, yes we all moan, about the weather, work, last night, sometimes we moan because we just want to off load. I moaned about work but the moaning didn’t stop and my philosophy is you either shut-up about it or do something about it. I knew I couldn’t shut up so I decided to try and do something about it instead. Now, it’s not a given that something will change or the problem will be resolved in every instance but at least you know you tried. I made a choice to leave, it wasn’t an easy decision and it may not be the right decision but it felt right for me.
I broke free from many things and many people. When I first moved out three years ago, I found this sense of freedom, freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted how I wanted and it was one of the best feelings ever. Coming here, I feel a different kind of freedom, free from my daily routine and day to day problems. I don’t have this weight on my shoulders and whilst I still worry about things back home, there’s not a lot I can do from here. Im not free from responsibility but I’m not tied down here in the same way. I value freedom greatly and want to hold on it.