Here’s the thing about Both/And

Beth Woolsey writes a lot about Both/And. She writes about how people can feel two seemingly contradictory feelings at the same time, how something can be both awesome and awful, and how all of that is totally okay.

By nature I am a very black and white person. You can either be a Harry Potter fan or a Twilight fan, but you can’t be both. You either like a book/movie/TV show/food or you don’t. You are either happy or you’re not. And if you’re not you either suck it up and endure or do something about it. Now I’m starting to realize, mostly because of how God speaks truth in blog posts like Beth’s, that Both/Ands totally exist and are totally okay.

Which is great because when you decide to move to another country, your life becomes chock full of Both/Ands. I both want to be in the Dominican Republic AND I want to be in the United States. I both want to never move again AND find a house with a yard. I both love my new friends AND value my old friends. I both value aspects of American culture AND Dominican culture. I am both really glad to be back in my apartment in the DR AND missing Michigan already. I am both really excited about the new teaching friends I’ll make this year AND totally wishing my old teaching friends would’ve never left. I both want an air conditioner AND realize that it’s probably not the best use of money. I eat both rice and beans AND McDonalds. I both love being single AND want to be married one day. I am both really glad to be back with my dog again AND wish he would just leave me alone for like one second.

Alright, you get it.

So for the past month I was in the United States. I saw a lot of people I really enjoy and I saw a lot of beautiful places. I spent time with family and friends. I sat on a lake. I read books. I watched TV on an actual TV. I went to both a Coney Island restaurant and the actual Coney Island in Brooklyn. I went on a solo road trip, which is one of my favorite ways to pass a week or two, and had some good laughs. I went to the movies a couple of times. I took advantage of my mom making dinner every night. I went to Target and exercised and insane amount of self-control. I had some good times, is what I’m saying. But through it all there was an underlying sadness, a homesickness that I had never really felt before. I was both enjoying myself AND I wanted to be somewhere else.

Now that I am in that somewhere else, it’s awesome, but I also kind of wish I were back in that other place. Sigh.

Both/And.

If we learned anything from this summer’s movie sensation, Inside Out, it’s that emotions need to be felt. So I’ll ride out this awkward Both/And-ness, wanting to be in two places at once… probably for the rest of my life, and I’ll remember what AA Milne said about it:

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Because if the worst thing about my life is that I have two awesome countries filled with beautiful people I love and am loved by, if the worst thing about my life is that there is too much goodness to experience at once, then I think that makes me pretty lucky.

*Psst. Fred (the dog) must’ve totally been reading over my shoulder because he’s totally just laying on the ground not even trying to bite me or anything. If the worst thing about my dog is that he likes me too much, I think I’m in pretty good shape.

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