Hindsight is Always Twenty-Twenty

I am so relieved that my plans to return to Russia in January are becoming more and more finalized! And everything is going in the right direction, things are happening as they should be, and on top of it all I’m actually starting to feel very happy that I ended up coming home back in January because it made things happen that left me off in a much better place now – things that I am pretty sure would not have happened had I not come back when I did.

I don’t believe in fate but it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to deny that everything always works out in the end. Historically – in my own history – that is the way it’s always been. Like I said, I don’t believe in fate; what I do believe in is my ability to make good decisions. I am learning to trust myself and my decisions, now more than ever! And as for the old adage, “everything happens for a reason”? Well, yeah, it does. But not because some mysterious force makes it that way. Because when you’re entirely dedicated to a cause, no matter what that cause may be, you find yourself engaged in working toward that cause not only actively, but passively as well. Add up all of the big and all of the most miniscule decisions you make; throw in a good amount of coincidence; add a pinch of things outside of your control; and sprinkle it all with your unyielding efforts to make what you will of it and work around what ever you cannot work with or work through – and there you are, everything happens for a reason.

It’s time we started giving ourselves credit for all of the awesome things we do. I, for one, have learned to expect the best of myself. Well, why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t anyone?

Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.

-John Wooden

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Winter, Summer, Winter

Unbelievable – how a whole 6 months ago I was preparing to return to Russia for another semester, only to have to return home a short while after arriving back in Russia; how much has happened in the last 6 months; how much I’ve learned, and re-learned; and how important the events of these last 6 months have proven to be (and, without a doubt, will continue to serve a significant role in my future). But the real kicker is just how fast the time flew by me, more than ever before! They say that’s a good sign, though.

And I think they’re right. When I returned home I was in bad shape and understandably devastated about it all; somewhere along the way things started to get better, and with the new opportunities popping up and new developments in my plans to return to Russia, it just continued to go up, up, up.

The other day I was in the car with my dad and it hit me all of a sudden that I am really happy, and that I feel really good – I feel healthy, and happy, and most of all tingly with excitement at the instinctual sort of confidence I have in myself and all that I am doing (both currently and that which I will do in the near future)! Don’t ask why my brain chose that random, so-far-seemingly insignificant moment to make it known to me just how great I feel, I have no idea. I’m just glad I realized it at all, because the rush of euphoria that came over me when I announced that out loud to my dad was priceless, and since then I’ve been absolutely beaming with joy  and pride and anticipation at what is still to come!

The evening prior to my little self-epiphany, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting with one of my previous ballet teachers who has shown me and incredible amount of blush-inducing confidence and support on this entire journey from the very beginning, and has proved to be one of only a few that I will always have a special place for in my heart; we’ll call her Ms. J, for the sake of simplicity and anonymity. Ms. J treated me to dinner, and we had such interesting conversations about all kinds of stuff – almost all ballet-related of course! – and I left feeling so refreshed and with a renewed sense of strength to push even harder. It can be very rewarding to hear confirmation that you are on the right path and that you are making someone who matters proud, especially when you know that the congratulations is heartfelt and truthful. There is no need for sugar-coated encouragement that comes from someone’s ‘duty’ to make you feel good when that encouragement is merit-based and comes from a real, honest sense of pride; and that is what made it such an honor to hear all Ms. J had to say that night, and why it left me feeling absolutely more successful in how far I’ve come already (despite the set-backs).

Since my last post, there have of course been more developments in the current agenda, and as I get closer and closer to the start of the new school year, my plans become more and more refined and definite. Nothing is set in stone [only when I’m on the plane to Moscow will I feel justified in saying that it is!], but the current agenda seems to be that I will return to Russia in January, ie. second semester. As much as I would love to return as soon as possible in September (or NOW!), the reality is that I am not yet in the condition I need to be before going back! I am so so so much better, times a million, than I was in January. I’ve recovered almost entirely from what made me ill in January, and every day I see more and more improvements. It really is amazing! Despite the success of my treatment and how wonderful I feel, my doctor felt it would be unwise to return sooner rather than later, and advised me against returning in September and running the risk of not being well enough to stay well. My parents and my ballet teacher agreed that I need to wait a while longer; and, honestly? I agree with them all, too! Quite frankly, I’m relieved that I was not even given the option of returning in September, because I sure do want to, but I know that in the long run I would be much happier if I return when I am truly ready!

In the meantime, I am still working, and working hard! Ballet classes have ended for the year, which makes me sad, but I am able to stay in shape by giving myself classes on my own when the studio is empty, and that is good enough to get me through the summer! I’ve also made one other very big [for me] goal for this summer, that will also help me stay in shape: I want to learn how to run! I have always wanted to, but I let my fear prevent me from ever attacking that goal! That’s unusual for me, because I usually don’t let, well, anything get in the way of what I want to do. But I suppose that the ultimate barrier than can get in anyone’s way is one’s own self! And so I have decided to get over any fears I am and to go for it. I am really excited!

Since I will still be home for first semester, I will be able to take some college classes and earn more credits, the prospect of which delights me! I have finally chosen to major in international business. It should suit me, what with all the languages I speak, and with my goal-oriented mind and personality. My only worry is that I won’t find it interesting; I can’t well know if I like it or not, though, until I try it. Really, I want to study physiology and medicine, because that is what interests me. Unfortunately, I have not yet figured out a way to work medical school into my schedule and merge that with the ballet career, so I have deemed it impractical and – dare I say it – impossible (hate that word). At least for the time being. I wish I could do everything! Clearly, that is not how life works 🙂 So, I am very much hoping that I find international business as ideal as it theoretically should be for me, and that I find a passion for it like I have found for ballet and for physiology and medicine.

When all is said and done, I have to admit that all you folks who told me that “things happen for a reason” and assured me that “you’ll see, in the end it will have been for your own benefit” were absolutely correct. I never did doubt you! It was just difficult to see how any part of that setback could possibly be good for me. Retrospect, of course, makes very clear any blurred lines of vision 😉

I am excited for all of what I am setting out to do in the coming months, and in the months after that, too. And before you know it, another 6 months will have passed, and I will be sitting in the Aeroflot gate at the airport, passing the time by writing about how quickly my time at home flew by and so on and so forth!

A difficult winter has passed and left me with yet another medallion of wisdom on which to reflect and from which to learn. A summer of hard work, rebuilding, and anticipation is upon me. And the winter I am so eagerly awaiting is looming ahead right around the corner.

Patience is the name of the game, and when flowing in tandem with persistence and perseverance, it takes you to places you would otherwise never dream of reaching.

An Unexpected but Important Chapter in my Journey

Last week, I decided to get back in action and start blogging again. The catalyst? A dear reader by the name of Lia who left me the following comment:

Hey, Noa! :) I had been following your Tumblr when I noticed it was gone? I just wanted to make sure all was well. Are you still at Perm? Stay safe! :)
~Lia

The following is my response to her, which I wrote today:

Hi Lia! The Tumblr was deleted when I went back to this WordPress blog because I found WordPress to be more suitable for my purposes. But you are right in that I’ve been quiet, here as well. I unfortunately had a major health problem in January that caused me to have to come home, so I am no longer in Perm. The good news is that I’m back up and running, healthy, happy, and full of energy – and I’ve received confirmation from the Novosibirsk State Ballet School that I can come study there next year!

I realize that there are many gaps to fill, and so this is where the rest of this blog post comes in. I hope that, in writing the following, I was able to provide you all with a clearer picture of what exactly happened, why I have not been blogging, what I am up to now, and so on and so forth. So, without further adieu, here’s the scoop!

Let’s start by expanding on my reply to Lia. Novosibirsk State Choreographic College – I was accepted to that school at the same time I was accepted to Perm, and I chose to go to Perm. Last week, I was informed that the spot I was offered in the school is still available to me should I choose to take it next year. This is a big honor and I am very relieved and thankful for this! I’m sure all of you are wondering why I am even bothering to go through a change in schools at all – why not just go back to Perm? After all, I really loved it there, and I was doing very well. But, as with all things, there is a rhyme and a reason, and going back to Perm, while possibly still an option, is one that is somewhat less appealing to me than continuing my training in Novosibirsk. Due to the uncertainty of how long it would take me to recover, I could not take a temporary leave from Perm, and instead I received my certificate early and left ‘permanently’. When the opportunity came to me [last week!] to return to Russia [albeit in Novosibirsk instead of Perm], I took it with arms open wide! I felt so glad to know I am making big progress on the track back to my ‘normal life’! Novosibirsk is an incredible school, ranking at the top just as Perm does, with quit a lot to offer me – including some things that were not available to me in Perm. I very, very much want to go to Novosibirsk, and get back to the hard-core training and life that is ballet school in Russia! I want to go back so that I can graduate in a couple of years and finally go on to dancing in the theater, with a professional ballet company, as a real ballerina. As difficult as these last few months have been, the prospect of going back to Russia has left me feeling happy and whole again as if to make up for the frustration I felt during this trying period. At this point, I feel I can look back on the last few months as a separate period from now – as if I am clearly aware of that bad period being over and in the past! So, I am more than ready to get up and go back to Russia for this coming school year!

However, it still stands to be seen whether I will be able to actually go back. I am supposed to start in September, but the expenses of my health/coming back have left me/my family in a financially difficult position, in that, should I wish to go, I must find a way to provide the funding myself. It’s a lot to ask of myself, but I’m going to try like it’s life or death! In many ways, it feels like it is, for me. I’ve started working full time now 9 hours a day, and I’m looking to squeeze in a second part-time job somewhere in between the full-time job and my ballet training, which I am continuing with my teacher here at home. Even then, I likely will be unable to reach the amount I actually need to provide to cover the total sum of expenses needed in order to finish my studies. I am looking into other options to help supplement my own income, such as scholarships, grants, and sponsorships, but I am quickly finding that they are few and far between and very difficult to come by, and I have not had much luck so far. I suppose the details of this deserve a post of their own, though 🙂

Lia, I want to thank you so very much for leaving your comment. I have been dying to get back on here and blogging – at the very least, I owe it to my readers to update with what’s been going on. It’s been hard for me to find the drive to blog lately because I’ve been so upset about having to leave Russia, and honestly blogging was off the radar completely for a while when I first came home, because my focus was entirely on getting healthy. Believe it or not, I even didn’t/was unable to go to ballet classes for over a month at first. As I got my health and energy back, I slowly started coming back to class and getting back into shape (only recently have I begun to feel like my old in-shape self again)!

Ever since last week, when my world came back at me all at once with the possibility of really getting my life back, I’ve been so excited and I wanted nothing more than to blog about it here and share my good news! But I’ll admit it – I was scared! I feel that I have let you all down by being so quiet these last few months, and I just couldn’t find it in me to get up and over the guilt of sort of leaving you all hanging, and as much as I wanted to just get right back to blogging, something made me feel as if I couldn’t. Like I simply didn’t have it in me! But your comment, Lie, acted like a little spark in me and was a much-needed catalyst to get me back here and writing! So thank you ever so much!

I do hope that you, and all of you other readers, can forgive me for my absence, and can look forward to more frequent posts now. I missed blogging here and I honestly cannot wait to get back into it! As always, a huge thanks to all of you who continue to support me. And, of course, it goes without saying that not even the most eloquent ‘thank you’ could properly relay just how grateful I am to a particularly special group of people very dear and near to me and close to my heart – my parents, my best friends, and my teacher – who have put up with me and helped me through this difficult time and who, every day, continue to inspire me and teach me things without which I would be utterly and totally lost.
I hope that I will be able to return to Russia in September, because – let me tell you – I am just dying to go back!! I will be devastated if I can’t go back. However, I know it’s a possibility I might have to face. If I can’t earn and raise the money, I might have to accept that a professional career in ballet will be something I might no longer be able to strive for. It’s a chilling thought, most depressing, and one that I find difficult to think about – but I know there is a possibility that I will be in that position. Still, I hope very much that I won’t have to face it, and that all will be well. I trust that all will be well, because things always seem to work out for the best, even if it takes some time to really see it.

I will keep you all updated through this unique chapter of my journey, and I am also tinkering around with some fun ideas for non-update type posts that I think you will really enjoy!
Thank you all once again! You are all amazing, and I only wish I could do more than just blog to show how much I appreciate you all (although I’m quite certain you all would agree with me that just blogging would be a good start, at this point!) 😉

In the meantime, I will leave you all with a piece of advice and some words of wisdom. Always look on the bright side of things – it exists even if you haven’t found it yet. And an invaluable lesson my ballet teacher taught me – be patient. It was only in the last few months that I really appreciated the value of knowing how to be patient; it surprised me to realize that patience was something I was horribly lacking! I came to realize that it’s probably my biggest fault. So remember to be patient – with yourself, with others, with our progress. Because time will go at its own pace regardless of how impatient you are! 😉

Yours,
Noa