In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert travels to three countries, in each one finding and developing a part of herself that had been neglected, or damaged or non-existent. It’s a memoir, with supposed questionable veracity, of personal growth. Coincidentally or conveniently, each country Gilbert travels to begins with the letter ‘I’: Italy, India and Indonesia.
Forgive me for drawing this parallel buut…I signed a two-year contract to move and work at the American School of Asuncion in Paraguay for the following school year! This means, as of July, that I will have lived in the following three countries in successive order:
1. Peoples Republic of China
Throwing the ‘Peoples Republic of’ in front of China is a stretch, I know! But it’s one I’m willing to take. And to be honest, both in mind and body (and supposedly metaphors) I have been much more flexible lately.
I lived in China for 2 years; it’s where this blog was birthed. And there I DID eat. Chinese food in China is decidedly more delicious than the Pakistani spiced ‘Chinese’ or the American oiled and deep-fried version that’s housed in greasy aluminum containers for Friday night take out. Between star anise noodled soup, MSG and tender meat ‘char’, I somewhat refined my pallet. I started off my two-year stint eating a Magnum ice cream bar for breakfast and finished it delighting in dragon fruit, winter strawberries, pork stuffed buns and Sunday dim sum. This was where I became very aware of how food affected my body and where my relationship with what I ate became a (mostly) conscious one.
In Pakistan, I do pray. Much more than I ever have in my life before. This is where I’ve been able to touch in with and see more clearly, my spiritual side (we’ve all got them people!). Of course, Pakistan, actually the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is religious in nature, but I’m not referring to any religious overtones. I’m talking about believing in something bigger than yourself, and here, you almost have to. Pakistan is beautiful and tragic; it’s like listening to a song that somehow gifts you with the simultaneous feelings of happy and sad. You may not like it but you can’t help but be moved by it. Lahore is alive in this way and seeing it everyday has let me connect to a part of myself that is connected to everything. This to me is spirituality, and never have I felt it more acutely than here.
I’m hoping Paraguay is the last love piece of the puzzle. I don’t mean meeting the man of my dreams; Check! Already got him…but living a life more full of love in every way. I realize such things aren’t determined by destination but they certainly can be helped by it.
So, stay tuned! In just 6 months ‘Oh, the Places you’ll go!’ is going past the equator to make Paraguay the new home base. The path has shifted and it’s heading South.