The Beginning- Anastasia
The past week has been a wonderful beginning to the long journey ahead of me. I know that our entire life is a journey, and I have experienced 20 (sometimes wonderful, sometimes not so wonderful) years of that journey, but for some reason I feel like I have just begun to live.
I spend a lot of time being afraid of the things around me. I'm afraid of new experiences. I dwell in old occurrences. I worry about losing friends, about changing relationships, about being on my own, and about never figuring out who I am and what I am supposed to be.
My time in Spain has already been so eye opening for me. Even though I have only been here for a week, it feels like my entire world has changed. I am finally growing into the person I know I can be. I am trying new things like living half way around the world from my family in friends, eating things like FISH and TOMATOES (I know, I know... no big deal, right? Well it is for me!), and traveling by myself.
The people on this trip with me have been so amazing. I really lucked out with the people who came to Spain from Cal Poly. Although I have not had time to get to know the guys very well, the girls have been especially amazing. They have opened my eyes to so many new things and they have showed me so many different ways of thinking.
I have spent most of my time with about seven other girls. It is interesting to me that most of them have boyfriends. Even more fascinating, though, is that all of their relationships have so much ground in God and what He wants for them in their lives. They all truly feel His presence and live their lives for Him; something I have never experienced... ever.
I follow Natalie and Tiffany's blogs. I have been reading Tiffany's, but I just started following Natalie's today. Her ability to talk about her relationship with God is amazing to me! I wish that I was that passionate about something in my life. For me, it doesn't have to be religion. It doesn't have to be spiritual. It just has to be something that makes me feel alive and ready to live to my full potential. Something that makes me want to stand on top of a mountain and say "Look world, I am Rachel and I have something to contribute!" So far, I don't feel that way.
In my conversations with Natalie, Tiffany, and Hanna (not so much the other girls yet, just because I haven't had the chance), it has become apparent to me that I admire their faith so much. Like I said, not just because it is religious, but because they have something to support them in their best moments, but also in their worst. They have somewhere to turn and an amazing bond with God to get them through everything that He hands to them. How do you develop faith like that? How do you find something that makes you so passionate and love life so much?
On our way from Madrid to Valladolid I had a wonderful conversation with Hanna. It started out with her asking me questions about my life, my family, my beliefs... and it turned into us sharing about literally everything that came to mind. The conversation really opened up my mind to different things about my life that I miss, that I want to change, and that I would like to continue working on.
Hanna's first question to me was "Who, in your life, do you look up to most?" I told her, and she said "Why?" It really made me think... and not in the same way that you would if you were writing about that for a class essay or something. Like, I really thought about what she was asking me. She then asked about my family and asked about different things in my parents and my sisters that I admire and look up to. She asked about different things that I would like to take from them, and evolve within myself. I asked her about her faith and about how she became such a strong believer in the Christian God because she was not raised that way. I asked her about her boyfriend and about people she looks up to. She told me about her older sister who seems like a wonderful person.
Hanna, if you're reading this, I absolutely LOVED that talk we had. I loved that you could share with me and tell me things about yourself that I would have never guessed. I loved that I could talk to you and not feel judged, or like you thought less of me after sharing my beliefs. I loved that I could see, hear, and feel your passion about every single thing you said to me. I can tell that you are a wonderful friend and I look forward to getting to know you better and hearing more about your relationship with Kevin, your family, God, your friends, and anything else you want to share with me.
I wish that I could have talks like this with many other people. So far, I have only found a few people in my life who I can really share things with. That conversation with Hanna was one of the most genuine conversations I've had with someone.
I hope that I can continue to have conversations like that with the people I am in Spain with. To all the girls I am becoming friends with, I really do cherish you girls and I can't wait to get to know you guys better. To the boys... I hope we can get to know each other better too. To my friends at home, I miss you guys and I can't wait to come home and share my experiences with you. To my family (sisters, parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), I miss you all as well and I hope you can send me e-mails and keep me updated on college, sports, recitals, and life.
One day, I hope to find something that makes every day worthwhile. I hope to find something, or someone, who makes me feel so passionate about life the way the girls on this trip have.
With that, I will leave with a final thought for you to respond to. And I would truly like to hear what you have to say. This thought (or thoughts) has evolved from my experiences thus far and the people I have encountered.
1. What are your passions? How old were you when they developed? How do you fulfill your passions in every day life?
2. Do you believe in God? If yes, what makes you certain he is watching over you? How do you feel him in your life? If no, has something happened to make you stop believing, or have you never felt Him? Do you believe in something or someone besides God?
3. On your toughest days, what helps you get through?
4. If you had to choose certain characteristics that you admire from each of your immediate family members, what would they be?
5. Who do you admire most? Why? What is something you don't like about the person you admire (simply because, well, nobody is perfect)?
Of course I would love to hear your answers to those questions... if you decide you want to share with me, write me a message, post a comment, whatever. Tell me about all of your answers, tell me about one of your answers, tell me about none of your answers. They are to get you thinking and reflecting the same way I have for the past week or so.
Normally I would apologize for how long this blog is. But I am going to work on not apologizing. This blog is mostly for me. If you want to read it, WONDERFUL! I'm so glad. If you don't, then you won't even get this far in this post, and there is no point in me apologizing anyway. I appreciate being heard, I appreciate your thoughts, but most of all, I appreciate your support and the love that I feel from my friends and family.