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last christmas i gave you my heart.

December 16, 2010

A few posts ago I said that I had a blog brewing about my life this time last year.

I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with five other people in Istanbul, Turkey. I have really strong memories from last December, I think because my emotions were running high most of the time. Don’t they say that memories are linked to emotion? I think I heard that before—the stronger the emotion, the stronger the memory. Maybe.

I think the World Race blogs are such a cool idea and do a lot of good, but there’s just no way that they accurately portray what it really feels like to be on the Race. There are always so many memories that I have, and when I close my eyes and think, a million flood back into my mind.

I remember funny things—like the time Anthony woke up in the middle of the night and thought Colby was a demon, or how the boys punched each other every time they saw someone wearing a Burberry scarf. One night Lacey, Halley, and I decided to dye a section of our hair purple. We convinced most of the girls on Team Journey to do it, too. I remember Michelle pretty much instantly regretted it. I remember how Colby made me cry because he ate some of my French fries at McDonald’s.  It wasn’t funny then, but it is now.

There were so many moments were I felt completely suffocated during that month. A lot of days I woke up and just wanted to scream.  I wrote in my journal, “This apartment is like a mold-infested jail.” It’s kind of funny to laugh about now, but still not really. One morning I woke up early, made some sort of instant cappuccino thing, and went up to the roof to read. Let me tell you about this roof. It was absolutely covered in cat poop. Also, it was cold and rainy outside, but at that point anything beat sitting in that tiny space with the same people who I was forced to interact with every day.

December was also the month when our team started doing an hour of prayer each morning. I miss those times. Most of the time we had to drag ourselves out of bed and force ourselves to engage, but it paid off. We grew and continued to lay a foundation that allowed us to build our relationships throughout the rest of the Race.

I wanted to say what earth-shattering lesson I learned that month, but I’m not sure that I can think of one to share at this point.  It was a really tough month. It was hard to be away from family during Christmas. I think everyone could say the same. It was hard to not hate everyone on my team because of their flaws that I so blatantly saw as if I was looking at them under a microscope. Some days I did hate them. God humbled me that month and reminded me over and over that I’m not perfect either.

One thing I can say for sure is that it’s making me really thankful that I’m here now. Life is constantly changing. If you would have asked me one year ago what I would be doing this Christmas, I would have had no idea. And I’m not really sure what life will look like a year from now. I’m enjoying small things lately, like building snow forts in the back yard with Kira (and our puppy, Hermione), making Christmas crafts, or baking Christmas cookie cut outs at my grandma’s house. I think the most joy is found in cherishing and remembering the tiniest moments of life.

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” –Luis Buñuel

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2010 11:03 pm

    dude, it’s crazy because i recently wrote about turkey too (have yet to post it) – i used the word “suffocating” to describe our apartment and i also said we were prisoners of it. damn that apartment!

    and i have really strong memories from that month too – probably because my emotions were strung so high as well.

    basically we’re the same person. basically i love you.

  2. December 16, 2010 11:04 pm

    also, you failed to mention when colby got stuck on the roof and woke us all up to rescue him. bahaha.

    • December 16, 2010 11:09 pm

      lol. oh my gosh. best thing ever. slash worst. haha. he just kept knocking and then geoff would unlock the door downstairs and he was so mad because he thought someone was playing a prank. and colby was so mad because no one would let him in. hahaha.

  3. December 16, 2010 11:31 pm

    great story…i remember how much i wanted to be at that apartment whenever possible. i was jeaous everyone got to hang out all the time….looking back at it i am so thankful that we had our own space and i got to come over….also chels you are awesome and i love you.


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