Personal Thoughts.

I recently shared our story of the move to Africa. But I also think it is time to share what I personally went through. That time of transition was amazing, adventurous, and something I will never forget, but there was also a lot of hardship. I know I could not have done it without the people I was surrounded with. 

Looking back on these past couple of years, I’ve realized how important it is to have people surrounding you that support and understand you. All at once I became a self-relying adult even though I wasn’t ready. We all don’t want to grow up sometimes and I had to embrace that pretty quickly. I did not realize that along with the move I would also have to handle everything myself plus look after my family still here in the states. 

This experience made me grow up. Although I did not want to, I had to step up and make sure that I was taking care of myself and my brother, who had stayed in Philly to complete his senior year. I look on those years with a mix of good and bad feelings but overall I learned you can only move forward. 

All it took for me to become an adult was for my parents to move to Africa. No big deal right?

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July 23 Outfit

Graduate seminars to Newburyport, MA. Pleated maxi skirt ($16 Marshalls), gray t-shirt ($10 Aerie), sandals ($22 Kohls), white chain bracelet (Lia Sophia), and a Violet Ray handbag ($44 Francescas).

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Ramblings of a 23 Year Old

So I decided it was finally time to commit. I am going to actually post and manage my blog. I cannot count the numerous attempts at journals, diaries, blogs, and websites that I have tried over the years. First it was MySpace, then that old website where you posted all the middle school quizzes and surveys, Tumblr, and finally WordPress where my “blog” has been sitting since February. So 6 months later, I am committing.

 

Although I may not think myself as interesting or exciting we all have a story to tell and this is mine. I figured my family as well as myself have an interesting story and I cannot count how many times it has been told. Yet it seems like I have never personally told my version. It is always my dad or my mom standing before a group of people, sometimes a church, sometimes a gathering, telling of their adventures in Africa while my brothers and I listen along to the same old story, although it never gets old. Well here is my version, the truth of course.

 

My family lives in Africa. It’s hard to believe even sitting here three years later with my childhood belongings in a storage room and having been virtually independent for the past three years. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are so supportive and encouraging and have never failed to guide me and lift me up. I would not be the woman I am today without their guidance and support which ultimately gave me the tools to survive on my own. But looking back on it, it took my parents moving thousands of miles away to make me realize what reality actually was. To start paying my own bills, realize how much things actually cost, and handle crises on my own when they come.

 

The summer of my junior year in college my parents sold everything we own and moved to Africa. Huge, I know. I still don’t believe it. We had all known it was coming for some time but we did not actually think they would do it (we being me and my brothers). But after the huge garage sale and the tearful goodbyes, they were over in a third world country while we were on our own. There are moments in life when you realize it will never be the same, good or bad.

 

Although sometimes I wish we hadn’t moved and that I could just visit home by a trip of 6 hours instead of 36, seeing the good my parents do each and every day is amazing. Take my mom for example. She is Superwoman. I have never seen a woman with so much energy and so much passion. Each and every day she gets up, takes care of my father and little brother, goes to a center and mothers 35 almost 40 children, then comes home, does the laundry, feeds the family, entertains multiple people and guests and friends, then can finally sleep. And she does this all with a joyful heart and strength I wish I hold some day. You truly have to be over there in the dirt to see how much she wholeheartedly cares for those around her. Once, there was a child sick at the center, flies were swarming around him, he was burning up with a fever and shaking. All in one fluid motion, my mother gets down on her knees, covers him with a blanket, rubs his back and prays nonstop over him for at least 20 minutes. I cannot begin to describe the compassion she has each and every day. This story, although simple, is just one of many I have of her.

 

Then there is my dad. When people ask me how he thought of this idea to move to southern Africa and begin this business I just plainly tell them, “It was God.” This man has shown me what it is truly like to hear God and follow his calling obediently and just believe. Before we moved, his office was covered in inspirational sayings and mantras of “believe and obey”, “trust in the Lord”, and statues of eagles (his favorite bird). These sayings are what stick in my mind as I remember the transitional time of moving to Africa and I have even bought some of my own to remind me of him. The lesson that I have learned from my father is that in all things trust in God and He will bring you through. The faith he has even in times of need is one that I hope to gain someday and know I will.

 

All in all, I never believed my family is normal. I don’t think I ever have from our dinner conversations or our unusual vacations. Our story though is one of compassion and faith. One of independence. And it is definitely not done being written.

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5 Things to Pack in Your Carry On.

After taking multiple flights to Africa, some travel times totaling 36 hours one way, I believe that I have made a fool-proof carry on packing list. Here are 5 items that are a MUST HAVE for traveling on a plane:

1. Face Cleansing Wipes- When your face is grimy and oily from traveling and stress, it is so nice to be able to clean it all away with a face wipe. I recommend Fresh Effects (S’Wipe Out!) Refreshing Makeup Removal Cloths [Ulta $3.81].

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2. Reading Material- Although there is in flight entertainment, that doesn’t account for all the waiting time you do in airports. Bring a good read (like A Fault In Our Stars by John Green) or buy a couple magazines in the airports. You do not want to get stuck without something to read when your flight is delayed. 

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3. A cardigan and socks- Airplanes are FREEZING. Even with multiple blankets from stewardesses and the socks they give you in your on flight kits it is absolutely frigid. Bringing a cardigan and an extra pair of socks will be life saving for traveling.

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4. Sleep Medication- For overnight flights, pack some sleep medication especially if it is during irregular sleeping hours. Melatonin is a natural sleep enhancer that easily allows you to fall asleep during tricky situations. When there are people around you and possibly babies crying this will easily allow you to catch up with jet lag.

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5. Electronics Chargers- The worst thing to ever happen is for your cell phone or electronics to die before you’ve gotten off the plane. If someone is coming to pick you up, the last thing you want is for them to not be able to reach you.