Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random Odds & Ends: Packing

I am completely in a bubble that is less than one week till I leave.It is so surreal I have to keep reminding myself.Of course it will be real when I am on the plane Today I went shopping with my mom for random tidbits that I needed.It is ridiculous how many things we take for granted until it is no longer available.I am normally a very light packer, if it doesn't fit in my duffle bag, it wasn't meant to be taken.Apparently, thought, that isn't a philosophy I can carry on this trip

I have one giant suitcase full of things I am going to leave for the people there.It is full of an innumerable amount of hand-made dresses and draw-string bags from my church, oreos, mustard, and peanut butter.

I'm happy we are giving these to the church and them to the people, otherwise I think I would have marriage proposals running after me (though I'm a fast runner.if you want me you have to catch me).I mean think about it, people who have NEVER eaten God ordained commodities such as Oreos and Peanut Butter, their eyes are bound to fall out of their heads.And as my brother put it, "the interstate to a man's heart is through his stomach."I wonder how many goats I'd be worth

We got a lot down, but we still have A LOT more to go.

Most of it is taken care of, it is only the really weird objects I wonder about.Electrical adapters are more difficult that I expected to find, as well as Bed Bug spray (but after St.Thomas I DEFINITELY want some of that!).This is only the list of things I need to buy.I have a whole packet of the rest.I have one large bag to squish everything else in, a carry on and personal bag.That's exhausting and confusing just to think about.I've never been to Africa, nor on a 14 hour flight, so this will be a learning experience.

It's been tricky juggling work, online classes, and preparation for Ethiopia.I can multitask, but something always suffers because I can't really focus on anything because of everything going on.Work thankfully is relieving pressure on me as our seasonal staff is coming on and just helping us get more prepared with Thanksgiving and Black Friday around the corner (wow time flies).I also heard there's a good chance I'm getting promoted to Supervisor when I return.Think about it, I'll be one of the top four in the company.Fingers crossed, but I am the best qualified and they need one more, so I think there is big possibility (especially since I heard this from the manager).

I can't even start to imagine what is going to happen while I am there.I have no expectation other than to have my mind blown, world rocked, and hopefully it will change me for the better.No pressure there, right? I really do believe something big is going to happen, as does everyone else going on this trip.I honestly REALLY hope it will guide me on what to study and what God wants me doing with my life.I know my heart lies in missions and in africa, so I can't even describe how excited I am.Hopefully the group leader will send me the itinerary before I leave, so I can post it and let you all know what I am going to be doing, from the bits and pieces I heard, it is going to be indescribably amazing.I remember the culture shock of last time, the feeling lost an confused, as if you were in a dream.However, I remember the returning to be far worse.No matter the hard things you see, what's even more difficult is returning to see what a monster the U.S. really is.I don't hate the U.S., however after seeing people starving, lacking clean water and basic necessities, and see them squandered and wasted, it is difficult not to be made at america, and consumerism in general.I remember it was either junior or senior year, when I returned from Guatemala, I was on my way to school and went to fill up my car with gas.At the time I had a gas card that my parents paid for (because I didn't have a job), and as I swiped it I flashed back to how the Pastor we stayed with could only afford to fill up their car with enough gas to make it to church.And here I was just swiping a magic plastic card with no care in the world.I went in the school and took one look at the water fountain (or bubbler as we call it here) and started sobbing.Here we were with clean, life-giving water in excess, and there were people I saw with my own eyes that drank water, that looked like this:

This picture does nowhere near justice of how nasty that water was.And we just have it flowing everywhere, even for decoration!My phrase for that entire trip was "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!"

To walk down the street and see things that weren't "socially acceptable" in the U.S. but perfectly normal there.

To be reminded how our society still bleeds through to theirs

Or the things you never expected to find

Wherever I go, I am reminded that the most beautiful thing I will ever find are the people who open their arms to us, the strange white people.

We leave our impact on them, and they forever leave theirs on us.

I have learned how truly precious a smile is in a place where you would not expect to, and no matter how old you are, it doesn't matter if you make yourself look silly, but as long as you're happy.

I am amazed at the most sparse conditions that hope takes root in, and even if all seems lost, there is hope.Like the green grass that peeks through the snow, it provides a welcome change and warms our hearts.

So despite what we see, I am excited to meet the people, for they are truly what leave the lasting impact.

People that are willing to take you in and give you what little they have, making you feel more important than kings, and more loved that you ever have before.

The women we are going to see are not used to being cared for or loved, so I am ready to embrace my inner southerner and go hug these women like there is no tomorrow.I am ready to hug, laugh, cry, and be changed by all of it.

I am ready.
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