Every once in a while, I get rough days, and sometimes, those days stretch for a whole week.
Like this week.
It didn’t start very well as I got the flu and had to stay home on Monday, and also for almost the entire Tuesday. Wednesday was a public holiday here, so I effectively only worked 2 days this week. Despite the short(ened) week, I somehow felt worn out. I guess it’s the accumulation of constant exhaustion over the past few months, as I’ve been working for almost 9 months without a proper break, thanks to the rule that doesn’t allow me to take leaves until a year (which, FYI, is quite common here in Indonesia). It’s been affecting my mental and physical well-being for some time, and this week, it took its toll on me.
My closest friends from work dragged me out for an easy evening, and they made it a mission to cheer me up. I went home that day feeling better, and also a bit touched. The fact that they tried already meant so much to me. Two months ago, I left work early because I fainted at the office, and I got home to find a little package was waiting for me. It looked battered, as well it should be, having traveled all the way from… Bratislava! I opened the package, and to my horror, I was crying. Inside the package was bits and bobs that Katka had collected for me, and I swear, every piece is so meaningful to me. There are postcards from her recent travel and her hometown, chosen carefully to suit my likings (with bright colors and beautiful patterns, for instance). There’s a Southampton Uni sticker and a packet of jelly babies (with SUSU’s logo on it!), which she bought when she went there the last time for the graduation. There’s a birthday gift for me, beautiful necklace. There’s stickers from Paperchase, my favorite shop. And then, as she knew how much I loved Christmas, she also put little Christmas paraphernalia. Honestly, that is the most thoughtful gift someone has ever given me, and until now, it’s among my most prized possessions. In my bad days, when I need cheering up or something that can comfort me, I always open that package and read everything she wrote on the cards and postcards. It helps, really.
I’m still struggling to cope with these things, and some days I think I’m very close to giving up. But then there are these little acts of kindness that not only make me feel better, but also give me an assurance that I can hold on. And I am holding on.
So I guess this is also a thank you for people around me who have helped me along the way. My colleagues who take their time for me and prompt me to talk when I badly need it. My old friends, who are always there to listen, despite the distance and time difference. My friends, who go out of their way to show how much they care, with little things and messages they manage to send across the continents.
There are times when I feel that life is hard, and then come these people, reminding me of every good thing in my life, and that a little act of kindness goes a long way.