“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
The month of December has been a whirlwind. Everything is happening right before my eyes- six months of careful planning unfolding right in front of me. It feels strange to watch everything I’ve been working towards just happen. The notion that everything that is about to occur in my life is real is unfathomable to me. That being said, my work isn’t done yet. In the last 23 days, I have interviewed for Lumos, received my award, rushed the processes of getting all my important documents for international travel (plane tickets, visa, vaccinations, appropriate clothing, traveling supplies) taken five finals, packed up everything I own, moved out of my Nashville apartment for the semester, and landed on my feet at home in Tucson, AZ for winter break.
I like to live my life at a fast pace, which, incidentally, is in stark contrast to one of my main goals of “always just trying to lounge.” Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t love the idea of doing “nothing” with my spare time. The internal drive to be consistently on my toes and trying has lead me to some of the greatest adventures and times of growth in my life.
That said, this Lumos award comes at an amazing time in my journey through college. After spending this summer weighing my options for this school year, I decided that staying at home and working my old job wasn’t something I was interested in doing after this fall semester and before leaving to study abroad in March. Once that option was ruled out, I was on the hunt for a meaningful way to spend my extended three month winter break before journeying to Regensburg, Germany for a semester. And now here I am, four months later- after many hours of research, phone calls, and prayers- about to leave for Ghana, Africa on New Years Day. I’m still pinching myself in disbelief that this is all happening.
Despite my determination to go and see the world, if I’m being honest with myself, I can sum up my feelings about this next year through the quote at the top of this entry. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt sure knew what she was talking about, because I certainly could never imagine for myself that I would receive a scholarship to go to Africa, to pursue a growing passion and learn hands on about microfinance. I also could never imagine myself taking the leap and willingly leaving my comfort zone for eight months, to have my life changed and my horizons broadened by going to Ghana and then Germany back-to-back. As I spend time preparing, both physically and mentally, for the challenges ahead, all I am sure of in these adventures is the necessity to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In preparation for Ghana, I have found myself becoming more and more aware of my daily life and how it will be changing drastically in the next ten days. I’m not so great at imagining what living will actually be like in Akuapem Hills and I certainly can’t grasp the impact that being exposed to abject poverty will have on my heart and my life, so I’m making an effort to be conscious of what I already take for granted. Reliable hot water for showering, the ready availability of everything I want and need, and the ease of which I can get around and communicate with others are some of the privileges I’m becoming more aware of.
As I kick my gears into high speed this next week, getting in as much quality time with people at home and simultaneously making sure I have everything I need for the journey ahead, it is my trust that God has carefully planned for these experiences in my life that will keep thoughts of panic and reconsideration at bay. I am still so amazed that I was chosen by the Lumos foundation and freely given the chance to pursue my dreams, and I’m so excited for all of the learning and growth that I’m about to experience these next two months.