“As a kid, did you ever think your life would surmount to this, living and fine dining abroad with very little to worry about other than what country you’d be visiting next?” A friend and I were having a conversation over dinner regarding what our lives had become; deciphering if it met, fell short, or exceeded our expectations. “…like, when did you know that this was the quality of life you wanted?” she asked.
I’d gotten a similar version of this question by a patient of mine earlier in the week in regards to when I determined I wanted to go into Psychology and how I ended up overseas. Both these questions in the span of a week caused me to reflect on, well, everything as it related to my life up until now. In that moment, at dinner, I thought back on my childhood and the 6 years that my family and I were homeless. Surely then I didn’t see a future overseas. I knew I would become a therapist, because that was all I ever wanted to do, but anything more than that seemed unattainable, unfathomable even. Then, somehow I ended up in Spain, this is when I realized that I wanted this life forever. Over breakfast, I remember telling one of my mentors when he came to visit, about the type of international position I wanted, introducing the idea with “well it’s a bit of a stretch but…”
“Londi, everything you have done has been ‘a bit of a stretch’, and you’ve navigated it well” -Chuck Rhodes
The church I attended in Spain was about a 20 minute walk from my house. Sunday mornings, I’d use that time to talk to God about my future and the life I felt purposed for. As my stint in Spain was drawing to a close, I remember telling a friend back home that I wanted a position that would continue to allow me to live overseas, provide therapy, and afford me the ability to travel endlessly. She prefaced her more realistic alternative to my job search with “Yea, don’t we all, but those kind of positions don’t exist.” I eventually brushed off the comment thinking “well God will either have to create a position for me or take the desire He placed in me away.” Either I was fine with, because at the time, I was also being considered for a position with Kaiser back stateside, which was equally as exciting as it had been my dream job since grad school and the only item that I had ever intentionally put on my list of goals to accomplish by 30.
Months later I heard back from the international position. The recruiter apologized for the length of time it took in getting my contract over to me for my review but explained how the position she was offering me really hadn’t existed yet, and how essentially they had to create it Ha!
So, ultimately this is the position I took. The one God had crafted just for me. If you follow me on Facebook, you are aware that there are times I feel ill equipped for the magnitude of my position. I have spoken before regarding being the youngest provider, by far. More times than not it fuels my fire, while other times it leads to feelings of inadequacy comparatively.
“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” Esther 4:14
Nonetheless, I undoubtedly feel purposed for this position and I get this sensation more times than not. Like when a couple of weeks ago a client came in for a session for the first time. Just by eyeing some of the décor I have sprinkled throughout my office they were able to determine that I am a believer allowing our session to take another route and ultimately permitting them the space to decide to rededicate their life back to God during our interaction. Months prior I had a teen who has historically been resistant to treatment with other providers, open up to me, just by strategically intertwining varying therapeutic modalities between conversations of travel and fashion.
I am blessed to say I have a job that I genuinely love even on the worst and toughest of days. And more fortunate to be living a life that I legitimately enjoy both inside and outside of the office. In the 9 months that I have been living here, I have travelled to Italy twice, visiting Florence, Venice, Sirmione, Pisa, Milan and Rome. While in Italy the second time, I journeyed over to Switzerland for a day. I just got back from Corfu, Greece about a month ago. And for my birthday this year I took a trip to the Canary Islands Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to be exact. I spent the days there wandering, journaling, eating tons of paella and seafood, napping on the beach to the sound of the waves, sippin’ sangria and getting dessert wasted. While I spent my time primarily just enjoying life I also used the time to reflect. I mentally perused my 30 years of accomplishments, failures, and experiences then ultimately set new goals for myself.
Of course, for those who know me, know my birthday would not have been complete without a little bit of adventure. Actually the sole purpose for selecting these two islands was for the excursions specifically. I went to Tenerife for the Bob Diving and flew over to Las Palmas to Sea Walk. I enjoyed Tenerife a lot more than I did Las Palmas as I feel it had more to offer. Las Palmas was unbelievably windy making trying to relax on the beach with an ice cream cone, rather unpleasant. Luckily for me, the Airbnb that I was renting was right on the coastline. The entire length of one of my walls in the living room was a sliding glass door that opened up to the beach. Subsequently, I was able to sit in my living room and still hear the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore.
My second day in the Las Palmas , is when I set out for the second of my underwater escapades. I was picked up by a driver who transported me to a resort situated north of the island. Upon arrival, I was taken to my designated villa for the day. I ordered and ate my breakfast then put my head phones in to listen to music while I relaxed and people watched. When my time slot opened, I met at the designated place and got the 30 second crash course on how to survive underwater hahaha. Just kidding it was more like 5 minutes of instruction. Having already gone the Bob diving though, I pretty much knew what to expect. The only “scary” part of the sea trekking was that I was physically unable to look down as my astronaut helmet of an air supply, restricted my neck mobility. They explained how leaning forward or in any direction rather could be detrimental as it would cause water to rush into my oxygen helmet thus eliminating my air supply. So, throughout the entire experience I had to keep my body upright. I didn’t perceive this to be much of a problem, until I got underwater and realized how uneven and rocky the terrain was. I was guided through most of the tour to prevent me from floating off a cliff or slipping into crater. This wasn’t much of a problem back in Tenerife as I was on the underwater scooter the whole time. My biggest concern there was vomiting in my air helmet (sorry for that imagery) because I was feeling a little queasy from the boat ride over to our dive location (signs that I’m getting old I’m sure). All and all, both experiences were like nothing I could have ever imagined.
So here standing before you is 30 year old Londi. Same same, but different. I’m going to be honest, it was hard to conceptualize. I don’t know how many times I subtracted 1987 from 2017 for weeks after my birthday. Unfortunately, my math was right for once hahaha. But to answer my friend’s question, this is the life I’ve dreamed of but not one I ever thought I’d have. I didn’t have any specific goals for my life at 30 so I can’t say I fell short of any expectations. I’m sure I might have thought I’d be married by now but can’t say that I am terribly heartbroken that I am not. I am excited to see what life has in store for me and I must say it feels nice to finally be at a place to just coast. One of these days (soon) I’ll be getting my PhD and someday I’ll write a book about my journey. But for now I’ll just sit and enjoy my story as it unfolds lift my glass and cheers to Chapter 30!