Monday, November 19, 2012

Phases of transition

Today I biked out to my favorite spot in the fields. The place where I decided to work at Elemenz. My place of rest, of contemplation and serenity where I spent my summer days having this breakfast and journaling.
I have almost been into my job for three months now and was thinking about how I was transitioning, how I am still transitioning. And that is something which takes time. Time we sometimes don't want to take and as we wish to already be at that point of arrival, that fulfilment we often have to fight through some battles until we're there.
In university I learned about cultural shocks and the different stages there are or when a new team is formed we learned about the different stages until that team can fully perform its potential.
I too believe that when starting a new job or a big live change which brings transition with it there are several stages:

The exploration phase
In this phase you just start out, everything is new. You are exploring the new territory, getting to know the place, the people, the routines. It is a fun phase where you pour yourself into it all. You just give, give, give and try to figure it all out as you go. There is no stopping you, no tiredness, no giving up. Just pure adventure and excitement.

The stormy phase
This is probably the most difficult one because you're out on the sea, you have left sight of the shore and you are sailing to new lands. But storms are coming and you start seeing all the problems combined with you insecurities, your lacking knowledge and you have no idea how to get out there. You would like to hide from the storm. You feel like you can't take it anymore. You are tired from fighting against the waves. You are tired from getting water off your ship doing everything for it not to sink. It is cold, dark, stormy and it is easy to lose vision.
In this phase it is of utter importance to endure, to press through and fight through the tiredness, fight against your body and mind telling you to give up. You have to remember the reason why you sailed off in the first place, you have to remind yourself of that first flavour, that first time, the adventures and you have to remind yourself of the vision you have, the reason why you're doing all of this.

The settling phase
The storm is calming down, you start knowing what you're doing and things come easier. You learn to manage your time better and make quicker decisions. Your new position and responsibility start suiting and fitting you more. You are learning and discovering and taking it one step at a time. You see the goal ahead, you see the work and you just start where you are and keep going.

This last phase probably describes best where I am right now and how things are happening. It is a good phase to be in and I cannot wait for all the things which are ahead and the things yet to conquer and I will just keep on going.
It is funny because I used to laugh at my professor in university who said that when you start a new job as a manager you have to cut down everything else for the first three months. I thought he was so radical and didn't agree with him at all. And although to a certain extent I still disagree I can see now where he is coming from and what he meant.

But new lands are ahead. I have a clear vision and a heart beating full of excitement for all that's to come.



Monday, November 5, 2012

A German Thanksgiving in the Woods

In Germany we do not celebrate such a thing as Thanksgiving. At least nothing comparable to an American or Canadian Thanksgiving. What we do have though is Erntedank. It is always on a Sunday in the Fall and it's where the farmers say thanks and all the churches are decorated with grapes, pumpkins, bread etc.
For 3 years now I have done a somewhat German Thanksgiving where I invite my closest friends for a dinner. And whenever I cook for my friends or invite them I go all out. I want to bless them and give them the best time ever.
This year I figured the group of people might be too big for my rather small living room which is why I came up with another plan and rented a little hut up in the woods nearby. There is no electricity, no light, no water up there. Just a fireplace, an oven, some chairs and a table and it is beautiful and amazing and quiet and perfect for the occasion.
I tried to be really simplistic and natural with the decoration. In fact all I bought and brought in were creme-white candles in different sizes. I collected some branches from outside and wrote words like adventure, friendship, vision, dreams, etc. on them so everybody had a different word on their plate. With chalk Melina wrote the menu on the stone wall behind the oven. Everything looked so cozy and warm.
 We enjoyed a beautiful dinner with an apple-walnut Salad, Chicken on the grill, bread, butter, grapes and sage carrots. Every year for dessert I make some apple squares and we cooked Espresso over the fire.
There is little things more beautiful than sitting around a table with your best friends enjoying dinner. It is these moments which feel like vacation. Time disappears, your soul refreshes and life is full of joy. It is these moments where I well up with tears and thank God for amazing friends, for giving me this life and these talents and this season.
And as we sat around that table we talked about our lives and the things we are thankful for. I am extremely thankful to share my life with such amazing friends who I can call family. Friends who I know I can count on. Friends who are always there for me. The last year and a little more have not been easy when it comes to my friendships and things change, seasons change, lives change. And yet, to have it all back. To sit there, to share life with them, to just take it all in filled me with such gladness and joy that I was lost for words. I just soaked it all in. That very moment of friendship. That moment of knowing that our lives will always be intertwined, that our lives will always be shared no matter where we go or if we stay. These are my closest and best friends. And that is reason enough to be thankful.




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