Sunday, October 24, 2010

Iguazu and Gratitude

I wish I could tell you that I give my due diligence to daily prayers. My mother told me when I was a little girl to say my prayers before I went to sleep. This was excellent advice, and when I was younger, her reminder helped to give my thanks and ask for things that I felt I needed routinely. Now that I'm older, I don't have that evening reminder and I fall short. Oh yeah, I also forget to say thanks before my meals. Disappointing.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful and I'm not wanting to be sarcastic, implying that praying is something for children. I'm really telling you that I'm disappointed in myself. The amount of things I have to be thankful for are innumerable. It would be nice if I could send some positive appreciation back to the Creator.

I'd say that my prayers have been fleeting. A quick "thanks for the opportunities", a request that my family and friends remain healthy and then my mind thinks of something else and I "hang up" on God. I'm usually so wrapped up in myself, I have a difficult time feeling "blessed". I'm just trying to make it through the day.

So...a smack in the face. A literal wet smack in the face from a waterfall in the Northern part of Argentina had me thinking about what I'm lacking when it comes to praise and gratitude. This world holds such beauties that I will never see. What an honor to be able to experience even one of these.

Seeing the Iguazu Falls was a spiritual gift. I will not spend time describing this place, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. I will not describe how it made me feel, because that is just a bit too "touchy-feely" for me. Sit on a bolder about a 1/2 mile from these falls or get on a boat that drives you into Devil's Mouth and you'll understand what I mean.

Life, love, beauty and the time to experience them are all gifts. The transition I'm hoping to make here is one of consistency. I want to see and feel that waterfall everyday in different ways. I want to do more than just religiously say a prayer out of routine. Since I don't have Mom here to tell me to be thankful, I need to regulate myself. I want to really appreciate what I've been given. Even those things that don't necessarily seem like blessings at first. Then, send a "shout out". And, I want to do it everyday.

Henry's Vacation:
Henry had a vacation of his own while I was at the falls. He spent time with our most lovely neighbor, who babied him, snuggled him, bought him organic dog treats and a new super bouncy blue ball. He could not have had a better time. So while I have a new found gratitude for life and beauty, Henry found his blessings on the 8th floor of our apartment building.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

They Say October Equals Depression

So as soon as I got here they (the almighty guides who first help you with your visas, set you up in your apartments, and then take you on tours) warned us that we will go through 3 phases. First is the Honeymoon phase. Please feel free to guess what that means. Then we will have a drastic plunge into a sad, homesick, "I hate it here, you can't get that here like you can in the states" phase. This is supposed to happen in October, funny enough. Then you even out into a place in the middle. They don't give you a month when that phase begins, but they say sometime after the holidays. This is a place of contentment where it doesn't feel like vacation anymore, but it sure does feel exciting most every day. Now, those of you reading my blog will want to know about how I have dealt with these phases, and even more of you will want to know how Henry has faired.

I never had a Honeymoon. Not the kind you get after you walk down the aisle or the one you are supposed to experience when you first move to a new country. Instead, I woke up every morning surprised that I was in South America. I just kept trying to function and stay "real". That sounds silly, but let me clarify. I knew I was in a new country (this from a girl who got her first ever stamp in her passport) and that was enough for me. I didn't have to soak everything in. I didn't have to paint the town. I just wanted to be here. Understanding that I actually had the balls (excuse me if that is crude to you) to do it. So there was no high for me.

Now here comes October. The month that most ex-pats (if you aren't familiar with the term it means ex-patriot ~American who lives fairly permanently in another country) plunge. Here is how I feel.

I miss the Fall in the High Country. Pumpkins, Fall Festivals, leaves changing, apple butter. That makes me sad, and I knew it would! Self fulfilled prophecy I tell you! I love the Kruger Brothers and their song "Carolina in the Fall" and I knew that sometime during the month of October I'd listen to that song and dry a few tears. But do I miss the mammoth supermarkets, driving a car all over town, eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant as much as I'm supposed to? Not yet. I do miss my Sweet Heart of a guy, random visits with my folks and canoe trips down the New River. Those things I miss and October does make it a bit sadder.
Now the last phase approaches for me, maybe a bit early. There was no big high for me, and no big low, so I think the last phase might have been my phase all along with little spikes here and there.

And Henry, you ask, has been in phase 3 since....maybe the second day of our time here. He was really ready to get out of that kennel!