Sunday, January 1, 2012

Three things I learned in 2011

2011 was a big year for our family and for me in particular (you can read about it here).   I learned many things last year, but three things really stand out and I wanted to share them with you.  

Here they are in no particular order:

1)  I can get by with a little help from my friends.   I know it's a cliche, but sometimes you can really see the truth in those cliches.  It was a busy and sometimes challenging year and there were a couple of key points when friends helped me through.   

My friend Jennifer helped me with the flowers for the wedding and I really couldn't have done them without her. I not only needed the extra set of hands, but I needed her calmness and encouragement to not panic at crucial moments.

And, of course, I couldn't have gone to Bangladesh without my friend Kim.  We were a good team and helped each other through the trials of the heat, teaching, a foreign culture, crazy rickshaw rides, and food challenges.

2)  Sit-ups really do help.  I had always read that you can't do spot exercises to trim the excess from specific areas of your body, so I had always used that as an excuse for not doing sit-ups or any abs exercises.  However for lent of last year I decided that a certain someone's mid-sections needed a little trimming and so I decided to give it a shot.  I began with ten sit-ups and then added one every other day until I was doing forty.   The amazing thing is I have kept it up.  I had to stop doing sit-ups around the time of the wedding because I literally didn't have enough time in the day and I didn't do them in Bangladesh because it was too darn hot.  When I got home, though, I started up again and have added some other exercises to my routine like doing the plank.  And you know what - they really do work!  I don't mind the five minutes I spend doing them every morning and there is a noticeable difference to my abdominal muscles as a result.  Who knew?  Apparently not me.   If you are going to try it, my advice it to start with just a few sit-ups so you can feel successful and gradually build up.

3)  My face is messy/Messi!  I wanted to share this story as it makes me laugh every time I think of it.  One day when I was in the middle of teaching a class in Bangladesh, one of my students called me over and said "Grace, your face looks messy".  Now it was 35C and a bazillion percent humidity and I was sweating like crazy -  so I wasn't looking my best, but I didn't think I looked so bad that someone would tell me my face looks messy.  I was taken aback and asked him if he knew what 'messy' meant.  He said to me - no not messy - Messi - football.  I don't know the first thing about soccer/football so the students had to tell me that Lionel Messi is a famous soccer player.  I was laughing and blushing and dumbfounded that a student had just told me I look like a male football player.   In fact I was laughing so hard it took a few minutes for me to regain my composure and continue the lecture.  

Later that day I Googled Lionel Messi and you know what - he does kind of look like me.   What do you think?

It's not exactly a compliment to be told I look like a male athlete, but there are worse people you could look like?  And it does make a good story!


  1. That is a funny story. You do look like you could be his (much cuter) sister. :)
    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year Grace, these are such great things to recall from your exciting year. And I agree with Suzanne, you are a much cuter version of him!

    Kat :)

  3. I applaud your stick-to-it-iveness with sit ups! Maybe I should add them to my list...:)

  4. If it is a compliment to be told you resemble a male athlete, then I guess I need to consider myself complimented! I was once asked (I was already a grown woman) if I play football. I said no, why? And the man who asked me said I looked like a "sturdy little boy"! That's when I grew out my hair and started wearing more form fitting clothing!

  5. Okay, you have me convinced. I am going to try the sits ups. Happy New Year.

  6. Lovely lessons of the year, I admire your way to be gentle to yourself!

  7. Great words to hold onto in wrapping up 2011! Looks like you have some super sweet forever friends!!! What a huge blessing!!! I LOVE this post...leads me to reflect a little more on what's truly important in life!!!

    XO, Aimee

  8. LOL...I think it is a stretch to say you look Messi!

  9. Hi Grace, just stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year from Northern Ontario. I hope it will be all you want or need it to be. Hugs, Chris

  10. That's a funny story! And you also motivated me to start those sit ups!

  11. LOL! That is a good story. I love your post today and it made me think about my last year. Hmmmm? Kit

  12. I also think you kinda look like his little sister...But, really, you must be clueless ;) In my part of the world, being told that you share
    a n y t h i n g with Lionel Messy is a HUGE compliment. Full stop. Enjoy it.
    PS I also admire your decorating style...