A year ago yesterday, I had knee surgery to fix my torn ACL.Although the season was already over and I tore it in the middle of the season, it was still the definitive end to my soccer career.Sometimes I look back and still get emotion that my career had to end that way; I still hadn’t ruled out playing professionally in the WPSL when my former coaches were saying my name was generating interest.But, this surgery cemented my decision to hang my goalie gloves up for good.I mean, if you look at my knees pre-surgery you would understand.The surgery scars are only an addition to the many battle wounds I have cumulated over the years.Like my mom says, “You will never be a leg model”—thanks mom, ha
I feel like my life has dramatically changed in a year, if that’s even possible. Thinking back to a day where I was unable to lift my leg off the ground seems like a lifetime ago, to where I sit today writing this. Not only has my location changed, but my passions have shifted. I would have never, ever guessed I would be living a year in Africa, let alone in a country that I didn’t even know existed. I love how much I have changed and matured in a year, and it gives me hope that after my year here is up I will be looking back on my year here with the same mindset. Again, I have no idea where the future will take me in a year. I do not believe that my destiny is already written for me, predetermined; I think that’s an excuse people use when they themselves have made the wrong turn. But instead, I think life is a series of choices, and I feel content in myself as a driver to steer myself in the right direction (as long as it's not a manual).
It is these moments, where I look into my past and wouldn’t change anything. Yes, it was unfair how I ended my soccer career, but how can I ever think just for a second that my life is “unfair” when I’m surrounded by sickness and poverty?THAT is unfair, and it makes me soangry when people (myself included) do not appreciate their lives. It happens to the best of us, but next time it does, try to take a step back, take a deep breath, and let the sun shine on your face even when it's cloudy because there is always light to those who seek it.
Who would have thought: 2 Americans, 2 Canadians, 1 Italian, 1 Irish, and 1 Mexican living together in a compound in Maseru, Lesotho.
So, we decided to embrace our multiculturalism, and share the best thing each culture has to offer…FOOD! (duh) Each weekend will be dedicated to a country, and we will each have to cook a national specialty. (I'm thinking burgers and fries for American)
One (of the many) things I miss about the states is Mexican food, especially Tex-Mex. I don’t like to toot Houston’s horn or anything, but they do have the best tex-mex I’ve ever had in my life. Chuy’s is my #1 fav restaurant EVER (and I miss it dearly). I often think of my usual chips with creamy jalapeño dip, chicken tacos (mmmm, salivating just thinking about it), and of course, a mojito when I'm thinking what to cook for dinner.
So last Sunday was Mexican night!! I mean, if you have a Mexican around, you need to make him cook you Mexican food! He cooked us fajitas and mojitos, just doesn’t get any better than that! They were delish!
Would that be too much to ask? Someone that just follows me around all day and snaps pictures of me? Seriously, I wish someone would pop out of the bushes, paparazzi style, and take pictures of me.
Take yesterday’s run for example. I was running through this neighborhood for the last 15min of my run, and a group of about 6 kids were playing in the street. I was getting pretty tired, but still had enough oxygen to give a smile and say hello. They got so excited as I jogged towards them, and as I passed them, I noticed one of the girls trotting along next to me, until I turned my head completely around and noticed all 6 stopped what they were doing to jog with me and finish my run. Their ability to keep up with me with bare feet and flip-flops amazed me as I kept my pace in top-of-the-line running shoes. This is where a photographer would come in perfectly. I wish I had a picture of running with those kids, but the only thing I take with me is the picture instilled in my memory.
I wish I can capture these memories and put them in scrapbook. For the fear of forgetting simple daily memories like this 40 years down the road, I feel, is inevitable.
Lumela everyone! The weeks seem to go by too fast and I’m starting to get more responsibility, so I’m fall behind in my updates. But, here’s what I’ve been up to over here in Lesotho:
Have you ever met someone that doesn’t like reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?? Absolutely not, it’s simply unheard of. Which is why I made it the first book for us to read in our English Lessons/Reading Group. Roald Dahl is filled is imagery and vocabulary that’s both silly and informative, making it the perfect starting book. There was 5 participants this week, and we each took a turn reading aloud. It’s not too complex, and easy for the participants to relate to Charlie Bucket. And, who doesn’t love hearing about chocolate? Sometimes it’s torture reading about all the deliciousness that Mr. Wonka conjures up, and with that in mind, I came prepared supplying chocolate bars for them to nibble on while we read. A perfect combo if you ask me. It was so awesome seeing the participants get so into it! And, not wanting to wait until next Thursday to continue reading, they wanted to meet again on Monday! These are the moments that I cherish in understanding why I’m here, and honestly, there’s nothing better.
It is so weird that I haven’t played soccer in over a year! It seems like that part of my life is so far past me, but at the same time, the year went by so fast. Sometimes I just need Time to slow down to allow me to simply enjoy the moment, which is often shattered with the future looming overhead. The one, (of many) things that I’ve realized while being here is the path I’m walking right now is the right one for today. Not many people my age can say that, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have had that have brought me to this very moment. So although I’ve only been here for a like 3 months, I know that continuing in this field of work is what I’m most passionate about. I want to take this opportunity and see how far I can go, which means the next step is to further my education. I’m hoping to get my Masters in Global Health to understand more of the policy/management side of things in an organization. Sadly, that means hitting the books and studying for the GRE (a small price to pay). I thought I never wanted to go back to school, but because I will be studying something that I actually care about, it doesn’t seem like a chore and might actually sound enjoyable.
Although I am starting to think about my future, I keep telling myself to live in the moment and soak up everything here. I’m learning so much, and already felt that I’ve grown in the 3 months that I’ve been here. There’s a sense of understand that I can’t explain. A very special friend wrote to me saying this, “Africa destroys you...in the best way possible.”