The skies have been so clear and bright the past few days. I've always taken clear air and blue skies for granted, especially in overheated Texas, several wind-blown Caribbean isles, the mountains of North Carolina, and in the breezy seaside town of Korea in which I resided. Now, on a clear day, when the clouds transform the sky into a an artful masterpiece, I can see the mountains in the distance, slightly west, and buildings so many kilometers away; I am amazed at clear blue skies. I feel wistful that the fall will come and bring winter and pollution and near-black skies during the day and sickness from lung problems resulting from air pollution.
In the evening, the clouds skirt around the sun, a quick game of hide-and-seek prior to the sun finding its overnight hiding place. Even in shades of greys and whites, pale blues and pinks, the designs of the clouds amidst the rays of sun is spectacular. Every night, it's seems as if I have never witnessed a clear, blue sky or a stunning performance of the sun setting. Wonder-struck, I gaze out at the older apartment "village" below me as the roofs darken and the lights brighten with the contrast from late afternoon yellow to evening blues. Even now, I watch the shadow of my building creep across those same roofs, as the sun rises; the greyness ceding to bright polychromes as the sun rises behind my building, and the rays shine on the oldness of the "Village" buildings, making them shine sparkling like new.
I feel like I'm in the same rut as before I left on my spectacular month-long adventure. Work is stressful, I'm exhausted at the end of the day, I just want a glass of wine, I'm too tired to exercise or cook, I feel down about the work situation. I feel disappointed in for reacting to the situation at work instead of pausing, breathing, thinking, and remaining calm. The struggles are real, with my apartment and language. The stress is real with new co-teacher language barrier and personality differences, leadership mandates that are harmful, and overseas teacher drama. But ultimately, how I react to all of this is what affects my peace of mind and creates the exhaustion, ill-temper, and feeling "down in the dumps".
What will help me most of all is looking for the positives, of which there are still so many--more than negatives! I also need to go to sleep earlier to quell the feeling of exhaustion, and exercise! Earlier to bed means I'm up earlier, feel refreshed, and have time for yoga. In the last two weeks, I have started each day feeling overwhelmingly tired, and then, simply, overwhelmed.
For what is there to be grateful? This one is easy! The lease on my new apartment is finalized, so I can move in by month end. My new place will be a home I can make for years to come! It has a bathtub! I haven't had a bathtub since NC (it was small and fiberglass) or one that I used regularly since living on the east side of ATX in 2010-11! This one is large and set up for weekly spa nights of self-care! It also has an open balcony, with the AC units placed elsewhere outside the building, so I can actually use my balcony! In my current apartment, the ACs are on the patio, making it both ugly and unusable because the exhaust maintains a temperature of about 120F. It also has a larger refrigerator, a dish sanitizer, a microwave, and more appealing kitchen. The master bedroom in this 2 bedroom/2 full bath has a solarium alcove where my happy self is going to design a writing/reading/creativity space (need that specific red Ikea club chair that I have in every house)! The third of my favorite aspects of this new house is the foyer entryway: my door is at the end of the hall away from elevators, the foyer will be a place to keep dirty shoes out of the apartment (yes, I am OCD), and this apartment is out of the damn electric payment room, which means my apartment won't shake day and night as people come and go at all hours to pay recharge their damn utility card (which is directly outside my front door now, so the door is slammed at all hours, which shakes my front door and vibrates all the way back to my bedroom at 4am in the morning--no wonder I don't sleep well)!
My friends at school keep mentioning my Bday, which is next Wednesday, which is wonderful: I have people that care about me and with whom I can celebrate! I still have to figure out the Where and When! I am so grateful for the friendships I have formed so quickly here in Chengdu!
Even though it's been a rough start at school, I am confident that we can create a positive relationship with the new co-teacher and undo some of the damage from the conflict that has arisen nearly every day. I am lucky to have the same teacher from last year, whom I love and with whom I get on so well. This conflict dynamic offers a good opportunity for me to self-reflect and work on my communication skills--as usual. But damn it's painful!
I'm grateful that I am prosperous enough now to enjoy regular vacations, an ayi (cleaning service), and movers, in addition to saving money each month. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to travel to Nepal or Mongolia or wherever I wish during upcoming vacation breaks... that or buy a new motorcycle! I am grateful to be self-reflective and aware. I am grateful for the tools I have to help get me out of this rut, like this gratitude post, The Four Agreements, a wonderful Asst. Principal who actually listens and responds to my concerns and feedback, friends who encourage me, a great school in which to work, and opportunities!
I am grateful!