“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned as to have the life that is waiting for us”
If you would have told me four years ago that I would be graduating from Belmont, a school that I did not begin my college experience at, and packing up to leave for Africa for the summer, I would have thought you were insane. Yet here we are, several days after my college graduation and exactly one week before I board a plane and travel to a country that I have never been to.
That is the funny thing about life though, it never seems to go the way that we planned. I can tell you that without a doubt in my mind, this was not the plan that I had made for myself. However, I cannot imagine a more perfect plan. In all honesty, I feel like I am living in a dream right now. I am about to embark on a once in a lifetime adventure, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been awarded this grant in order to do it. Tanzania is going to be the most amazing experience, and currently, the only emotion I am really feeling is excited.
With that being said, I think it is important to recognize that I am going to have hard times while I am abroad. Acclimating to a culture nothing like my own is hard. Language barriers are hard. But these are the places that we grow. While I am excited for all the amazing times that are to come in the next several months, I am also excited for the hardships, because I recognize that these are where I am going to learn.
Everything that I have been doing for the past several weeks has led me back to Tanzania. When I am washing my face, I try to be mindful to not get water in my mouth as I can’t do that in Africa. At the grocery store, I think of all of the foods that I have access to that I will not have for my time abroad. In the best way, I feel as though I can’t escape my thoughts about leaving.
When I received the Lumos grant last Spring, May 2019 seemed so far away. I thought that I have plenty of time to get ready. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The last year has flown by and while it is hard to believe that I am done with college, it is even harder to believe that I am days away from going to Africa, something that I have dreamt about doing since I was 13 years old.
Today, I (finally) started packing, and I think it hit me for the first time that this is real. However, in order to get to that point I needed to let go of my expectations for myself, for this trip, and for the way that I thought my life was supposed to go, and honestly, even though my life is changing in ways I never anticipated and although I slammed with final preparations for Tanzania, I have never felt more at peace.
Arusha, I cannot wait to meet you.
Song of the week: Keep Your Eyes Open by NEEDTOBREATHE