I’ve been holding this off for too long, so I decided that today is the day. Now’s the time. Now or never. Here we go. Wow, I’m procrastinating with words. This sucks.
This will be my last blog post in South Africa.
To some, you might be thinking, “Who cares?” But to me, this is the biggest deal since…since ever. Okay, maybe not since ever. But definitely since Abbie Livella showed me that Justin Bieber came out with an acoustic album. (Kidding. Kind of.)
Darrell Gascho, the amazingly talented “boss”of Radical Journey sent us all an e-mail which entitled creative ways to challenge us in saying goodbye to our friends and family we’ve made during our time in our immersion locations. He sent that about a month ago. I have not thought of one creative way to say goodbye. Probably because I’m in denial and don’t want to accept the fact that I’m leaving.
It’s a hard thing to come to terms with, you know? You go to a country that is completely foreign to you. You feel uncomfortable, awkward, and unnatural. Months go by, and you realize you’re slowly starting to feel more comfortable here. Things make sense, your mind and heart are being opened, and you deal with the fact that you’ll be taking bucket baths for the next year. Friends become family and nights turn into mornings. You do crazy things, go on crazy adventures, and even get chased by an elephant during a game drive. You drive past certain areas of town that remind you of memories you’ve made, and you dance to awesome music in a kombi. You spend countless hours with children who have now shaped the way you view the world, and you cry with your new friends in the realization that you might never see them again. You’ve made a life for yourself here. And now, after all of that, you’re expected to pick up and leave it all here to return to your home culture; the culture you thoroughly do not understand anymore. I just can’t wrap my mind around it all.
And maybe that’s the point. Maybe I’ll never be able to fully wrap my mind around leaving. I am deeply saddened that this chapter of my life is over, but I am deeply moved by the fact that when I come home, I’ll be attending Eastern Mennonite University to pursue a passion that was developed during the time I spent here. A piece of Africa will always remain with me. This will always be my home.
So, my friends, this is to say thank you, and goodbye. Maybe you’ve been following up on me since the day I left on August 26th, or maybe you’ve recently heard about me and check my Facebook page every once in awhile, or maybe you’re an avid blog follower, or maybe you just happened to stumble across this post in your newsfeed and it’s the first one you’ve ever read. Despite what category you fall under, I want to thank you. Thank you for sending me letters, encouraging me, challenging me, praying for me, supporting me financially throughout the year (thanks a billion, mom and dad.), reading one blog or all 26 of my blogs, for checking my Facebook every so often, for sending me encouraging messages, and for being apart of a movement that changed my life forever. If you’re wondering if what you’ve done impacted my life in any way, I’m here to tell you it has. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Before I close, I would like to end with this: Don’t sit back and watch me do these things. Get out and do them yourself. You can support NGO’s and phenomenal organizations for the rest of your life, but absolutely NOTHING will ever be able to come close to the experience of leaving the comfort of your home, culture, friends, and family, and having the courage to place yourself in an incredibly uncomfortable and awkward position of complete and total surrender. Switchfoot said it well when they spoke the words, I dare you to move.
May the peace of God be with you now and forevermore, and may you strive to find justice in the places where the rich dare not enter.