Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In a Funk

I’d be lying to you, all my readers and supporters, if I constantly described this experience as happy rainbows and sunshine. The loneliness and sadness creep up when you’re least expecting it – riding in a car to market, sitting at a desk doing loan notes, at lunch surrounded by a group of people. I cannot lie. I miss home more often than I let on.

I hate saying it because I believe it means I’m not happy here or I’m not enjoying my time. But for every five or ten or fifteen wonderful moments, adventures and thoughts, there is that one ache for comfort and familiarity that creeps in. I miss driving, sitting in coffee shops, baking, being anonymous while grocery shopping or just doing anything, understanding not only the one on one conversations but the ones going on around me. I miss people who just get me. I miss worshipping in a large community. I miss punctuality, calendars, and set schedules. I miss home.

That’s the thought always creeping in – I want to go home.

It all began with the New Year. To me the New Year marks new beginnings and adventures. After a wonderful celebration with new friends on New Year’s Eve and Day, I fell into a funk. There’s no better way to describe it but a funk. I lost my mojo, my inspiration. I didn’t see any exciting adventures on the horizon. Nothing new was beginning. I am staying where I am for another seven months.

For the past couple of weeks, I let this negative energy surround me. Little things began getting under my skin. Minor instances stewed and festered in my brain for longer than they should have. Instead of releasing all the negative mojo, I bottled it up. I distracted myself with books, YouTube videos, playing with Zoe, and movies. I shut everyone out.

Finally, after a couple of weeks I realized I be free of it all. I don’t want can’t allow my last seven months in the Philippines be filled with me counting down the days until I leave.

I’ve shaken off the negative vibes. I’m getting out of my funk. After work, I walk on the dirt road all the way to the end of the compound. In five or ten years, the road will be lined with houses but currently it’s open rice fields. As I reach the end of the road, I escape everything and am opened up to hues of green sprinkled with white cranes flying into the sunset, cows grazing to my left, and a hazy mountain range that extends beyond. I sit down, let the breeze blow through me, find silence, feel peace.

I’ve never been good at meditating. I’m still not good at meditating. I can’t keep my eyes closed long enough. Do I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth or vice versa or completely in and out through my nose? Why can’t I empty my mind? Then I think it’s been at least 15 minutes and it’s only been three. Oh well. The point is it has been centering me after every day. I’m finding balance again.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I’m not ready to leave. I’m still happy. I love the rice fields that provide a gorgeous backdrop. I love the people who’ve opened up and taught me so much along the way. I love the ease of life here. I love the constant jokes and laughter.

I love the Philippines. But I must find balance. I must learn to realize the ache for home is not unwarranted and I’ll be back there soon enough. I can’t just focus on all the positives or all the negatives. Those feelings will be all consuming. The healthy route is to balance it all. Take the good with the bad. Or else I’ll forget how much I truly love this place and this experience.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Ashley~
    I read your posts much more often than I comment on them, but this one is particularly insightful I think. What you are going through and how you have described it is about life as a whole. When we are young (and I was once), we believe that the world is at our feet and is one big adventure to begin. What we don't always see, or choose not to see, is that life is like a huge ball of yarn. It is made up of all different colors, textures and is wound tighter and tighter as it gets bigger. And always there are a few stray pieces sticking wildly out of the smooth ball. Right now you're dealing with one of those stray pieces that will not be tamed completely and will forever "stick out" in your life. It will become part of the "whole ball", but it will always be a spot in your life that you will look back on and remember. You are just beginning to wind your life into the ball it is to become. Some of your experiences will be brightly colored, others will be darker shades. But all of the pieces work together to make the final product. As long as you have a good start and keep at it, your "ball of yarn" life will twist and turn, but it will become the wonderful, round ball it is suppose to be. You are a very brave, strong and wonderfully intelligent young woman. This experience and how you are dealing with it by knowing that you need balance in your life is a tool that you will use your entire life. A good life is in the winding of the yarn. Keep at it, add new colors and textures and keep moving. I, for one, am very proud of what you are doing and who you have become.


    1. Thanks Marlene, your kind words me a lot to me! I love the metaphor and it's so true life is about the experiences which are brightly colored and darker shades. Hopefully, I can come talk to the CCC about my year abroad and inspire others when I return.