Lessons, week 5

It’s rained for the past five days now, leaving everything damp—our clothes, our shoes, our beds, and our spirits.

The rain also washes away the pretenses, and all of our flaws start to show through.

And here, there’s no escape from constantly being around other people, so as I pick up on annoyances, I wonder what others must be thinking about me.

But I also see my growth. A year ago one of my best friends introduced me to A Complaint Free World, and now this is something I try to always keep in mind. Plus, we are pilgrims—we should have no expectations, only gratitude.

When you are constantly walking somewhere new, every day is filled with first impressions. And it’s so easy to judge: people, food, locations. I want to be someone who looks closer, who is generous with her benefit of the doubt.

And even more than that, I want to live in a world where this is the norm. I know my students are judged every day just because of what they look like and where they live, and I have been given so many more opportunities because I grew up in exactly opposite circumstances.

Europe is strange in that political correctness is not nearly as widespread—their history is different, and in a way, it seems as if they have less to compensate for. But while I just can’t let the snap judgements go, I don’t really know. I can’t change a culture.

“When I first met you, I thought you were childish because you were clingy and very giggly and only talked about unimportant things. But now, after a month, I think you might be the most grown up of our whole group.”

My friend from Liechtenstein tells me this, and I realize that I guess I should just start with myself. I need to work on my first impression, too.

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