Small Miracles

Imagine a morning where all is quiet and the light in your window is made soft by grey clouds and long sheer curtains. Your eyes open to a completely different world. Maybe you quit your job with no back-up plan. Maybe you ended a relationship or began one. Or maybe you traveled thousands of miles away from home. You’ve seized the day, chosen your own destiny, accomplished the impossible! But what if later if becomes apparent that you have grabbed a bull by the horns or a tiger by the tail, what then? Well, what does it matter? In that moment, when all of life with all its possibilities is spread out before your feet, before you decide what to do next, you are the master of your own fate.

And knowing this, you get out of bed and face the day.

Sep 6, 2012

I awoke to a new world filled with that soft light and master of my own fate, although I didn’t quite know it yet.

My first thought was, I’m in Kiev.

I kept repeating it to myself over and over, trying to understand what it meant. I’m in Kiev. It boggled my mind. (In fact, I kept repeating it all month: “I’m in Kiev. I’m in Kiev.” It never became any less surreal.)

The events of the previous night, with all its panic and stress were long gone, along with the jet lag. The night was over. The grey and overcast light was familiar and comforting. This was how I remembered Kiev. I needed that rainy first morning.

I carried a gift from a friend with me. “A small token,” she said. “Something to go with you on your travels.” It was a key chain, a flat metal circle, with the words “carpe diem” engraved on it. It didn’t seem to hold great meaning at the time. In fact, it seemed rather ordinary. But I put it on my set of Ukrainian keys all the same. And every day, every time I left the flat or returned home for 32 days, I was reminded to “seize the day”, to make the most of the time, to never let a second go by unnoticed, until I began to believe that life is precious, that every moment I spent in Ukraine was a small miracle, a gift I thought I would never have. I came to love life as I had never loved it before.

Beware the ordinary things. The simple moments, the quiet mornings, the everyday unimportant things that people say – these are the things that creep under your skin unnoticed. These are the things that change your life while you’re not watching. In the end, it’s the little things that steal your heart.

I still carry that token. It reminds me that every moment is a small miracle.

“…for life is holy and every moment is precious.” – Jack Kerouac


Sep. 4, 2012

I left all my packing until the night before. I held all these high hopes of having everything done and nothing to worry about. I thought, just a nice, restful weekend before my trip. But as always, I spent the weekend throwing things frantically in suitcases and wiggling the zipper closed right at departure time. Never mind how many days in advance I started the packing process. I won’t tell you. A normal, relaxing weekend before my trip – well, it was a good theory. Continue reading

Maybe It’s the Little Things

This morning was grey and icky. I was awake half the night with a cough. I took one look out the window this morning and thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t have changed my ticket after all…” Originally, I was to have left yesterday, but for one reason or another, I pushed my return date back 5 days. Now much more stressed and several hundred dollars poorer, I wondered, “Why exactly did I think that was a good idea?” I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, wrap up in my Ukrainian coat, and brave another moody day in Kiev. I told myself, “I need Wi-Fi. I need Wi-Fi. I need… Oh! Pizza!” Yes, the bakery had pizza again.

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