It feels weird even typing that title. It’s been a year since hugs and at least a few tears in a Dallas airport when I left to live overseas for two years. Even today it hit me. I was sitting on the floor with a few friends, and even though some of us were American, no one was speaking English. We were digging into a goopy foreign substance with our bare hands, drinking tea, and talking about life. The strangest thing was that it felt so normal. That’s my life now, one year later. And as I reflect on how it’s come to be this way, it’s incredibly difficult to adequately sum it up. As I’ve gotten to see God do some pretty cool things, it’s come in the midst of many difficulties, triumphs, laughs, stressful weeks, peaceful rests, near mental breaking points, and many lessons learned. I know we don’t always do well with lengthy descriptive rhetoric of what an overseas life is like one year later, so if I had to sum it up, here’s a few things that come to mind:
1) Im not nearly as strong or prepared as I thought I was
2) That’s ok, and, in fact, preferable
3) Politics are weird, politics overseas are even weirder
4) Never stop learning
5) It gets easier
6) It gets harder
7) Trying to figure out whats around the bend will drive you crazy, just paddle where you’re at
It’s funny, when I told my Sudanese roommate, who in many ways is a refugee here, that I’d officially reached a year since leaving home, he actually laughed and said “aadi” (normal). So I guess it’s a reminder that everything is relatively speaking. And relatively speaking, a year has felt a lot longer and a lot shorter than I expected. As I sit in the desert wearing multiple layers (because who’d have thought deserts are actually really cold in the winter), trying to find some right words, or heck even one right word, to sum up the past year I guess the cliché, but nonetheless accurate word, is thankful. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn a new language and culture and the opportunities to serve others that that is bringing. I’m thankful for days where I lamented leaving home and how God taught me I could still have joy because my home actually isn’t a place on this earth. I’m thankful for the days my heart was light and I reveled in eating strange food, drinking instant coffee, and speaking a foreign language. I’m thankful that I don’t, and never have, walked this alone. So with that, I feel like I can have a confidence going into this second year. I’m more prepared now, knowing that difficulties and triumphs will both come, and regardless of the specificities of the future Jesus will use it all to teach me more of Him.
Thanks so much for reading, encouraging, and working with me this past year. Let’s do another one while we’re at it!