Thursday, October 29, 2015

3 Days Left - Lessons I've Learned as an Expat

Amish Country, Michigan

Enjoy Today

After dinner I found myself running through two different grocery stores trying to come up with the ingredients to make some cupcakes for the doc's birthday tomorrow.  Things that seem so basic, like baking coco, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda (Who knew you had to look in the laundry aisle for this  one?  And it only comes in a five pound bag.  Yes, five pounds.  What do you do with five pounds of baking soda?).

I never gave any of these items a second thought before I moved overseas.  One stop at Meijers and there they were, on the shelf--four brands to choose from.  Now, each country seems to have its own, unique cooking challenges.  

When I was home this past summer, I enjoyed food in a different way than before.  I ate slower.  I noticed the flavors.  I savored the moment.  Foods that I love and don't get very often are remembered.  And not only the food, but the time I spent with my sister and her kids eating that Little Caesar's Pizza or that amazing chocolate pancake I had with a girlfriend.  

Food is a little thing, but something that teaches me a lesson almost every single day I am away from home.  We must enjoy today because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

This summer I got to catch up with a friend whose husband died of cancer last spring.  This week I am mourning with a friend who just lost his job.  It's so easy to take life for granted.  To believe that what I have today, I will have tomorrow.

Two weeks ago I had the weirdest thing happen.  I began to see things in double. At first this was just annoying, but it got a bit worse and I started having a really hard time functioning.  I went to see an ophthalmologist and he feels that I have sixth nerve palsy.  Basically, this means that the nerve in my left eye is damaged and could take many months to heal.  In the mean time?  Well, he fitted me for glasses and today I was able to pick them up.  After two weeks of seeing everything in double, squishing up my face to look at people, slapping a hand over one eye in desperation to hold a conversation, I am so happy to have glasses.  I still can't drive a car and things further away are double.  I feel a bit off balance and I'm not able to judge depth or distance well.  One night I went to bed, never thinking to even be thankful for two eyes that worked correctly.  The next day, that normal ability was gone.  I have thought so many times about how thankful I am that up to this point, I've had two eyes that work well.  It's changed my perspective on something I took for granted.

Little things like daily food challenges help me keep perspective that everything in this world is fleeting.  Take time today to be thankful for what you have.  Enjoy each moment, each bite, each flavor.


  1. Yikes. I hope it isn't really washing soda.

    1. Oddly enough, I bought the 5 lb. bag and put some in the laundry room that I've been using in each load of laundry. The rest is in the kitchen, nicely tucked away for baking. Just an experiment to see how it works!

  2. Yikes. I hope it isn't really washing soda.