Lessons learned at home and abroad

Did you think I was going to stop at 9? I’ll admit it has taken me a long while to sit down to write, but I’m back now to complete my list of 13 things I’ve learned in 33 years. By now you know that I have a thing for chocolate milk, I prefer to spend the holidays with my friends, and I’m an introvert. Here are 4 more things I’ve learned at home and abroad.

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10. Home isn’t a place.

Having spent over seven years away from my birthplace, I’ve often wondered where my home is. What I’ve figured out is that home is not a place. It’s neither where you grew up nor where you’re living now. Home doesn’t fit inside four walls or come with a welcoming committee. Home is a part of you. It is your memories, your experiences and your choices that make you ‘you’.

Victoria

When you miss home, close your eyes and you are there. 

11. Play outside your comfort zone. 

This must sound like strange advice coming from an introvert, but it’s not. I play outside my comfort zone more than most — I have to. My curiosity drives me to try new things, meet new people, and explore new paths. So far my biggest and best move outside my zone has been Thailand.

Start on a journey

If you want something different, you’ve got to stretch yourself.

12. I’m a feminist.

The other day I was accused of being  “quite an extreme feminist”. I’m not really sure what that means — either you believe women and men should have equal rights or you don’t. In defending myself, I replied with this.

I believe in equality and respect; equal pay for equal work; women being able to have a family and a career; women feeling safe and having the freedom to make choices about their bodies; women and men living their lives free of gender constraints; and feminism having nothing to do with shaving or not shaving your legs. My world view is not of hairy legs; I shave my legs, wear makeup, hold the door open for men and even buy them flowers, and have no problem picking up the bill…..or letting a guy pay my way. 

we-can-do-it

Feminism — it’s so complicated, yet so simple.

13. Waking up your childhood dreams is always a good thing.

When I was a child, I spent my afternoons writing never-ending stories. I’d type away in my own little world for hours on end. It was something I was good at. When I wasn’t dreaming about being a veterinarian, I was dreaming about writing books. Writing made me feel alive. It was a way for me to express my inner world.

Writing this blog is me waking up my childhood dream. I’m connecting the dots and sharing my stories here. And like my childhood writing, I’m not sure where it will lead. Will it be never-ending or culminate into a beautiful book?

snoopy rejection

Childhood dreams are those that are pure and honest. They’re the dreams that come from the heart. 

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In the spirit of following my childhood dream, I’m going to be blogging everyday for the month of February. It’s going to be a challenge filled with moments of clarity and moments of ‘what am I doing?!’. However, if there is anything I’ve learned in my 33 years from my time abroad and at ‘home’, it’s that I stumble gracefully through challenges and in the end they make me stronger. So here’s to stumbling towards better writing!

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