Recently, there have been many heart breaking stories in the news. The Brock Turner case, the Orlando shooting, the tragic death of Christina Grimmie, and, unfortunately, so many more. And I want to be able to write about these tragedies, but I can’t. Because I don’t really have words, at least not yet. So, instead, for now, I am going to post an update about my Kenya trip, because I have words for that. And in exactly one month from today, I will be leaving. (If you missed the story, I wrote about it earlier here. ) I have been promising updates as I continue on this journey, and I haven’t given any, mostly because I haven’t had anything to update. I am still as terrified as I was last July when I heard about it, and as eager as I was in January when I wrote about it.
As the time to leave approaches, I find myself overcome with emotions, both good and bad. I am terrified. This is a huge step out of my comfort zone, and I have no idea how to handle that. I will be spending two weeks with people who, at this point, I hardly know. And that is terrifying for me, because I am actually socially awkward around people I don’t know. Which is one of the excuses I had given myself for not going to Flower City or Romania with my church- I was afraid I wasn’t comfortable enough with the people. But, that excuse doesn’t work here. Because Quizzers are so nice, regardless of who you are, and we are all a family, regardless of how much we actually know each other. And by the end of the trip, we will know each other a lot more. So, I’m terrified but also eager to get to know them all better, because I know they are all wonderfully amazing and beautiful people. I know I will be truly blessed by their friendship.
I am terrified because there will be a culture change, and a culture shock. I have grown up in a New York town with a population of 26,000. I have lived in the same house my entire life. I have never been out of the country, except to Canada, which, if you ask any New Yorker they will tell you, doesn’t count. The furthest away from home I have been is Seattle, but my whole family was there, and we were pretty much contained to a college campus the entire week. The most culture diversity I have experienced is whatever I can get from a high school with a population of 1,400 students, only 35 percent of whom are minorities. So, I am terrified to experience the new culture. But, I am also excited. Because, one thing that I love most in life is learning. I love learning new things that change me, expand my mind, and challenge me. So, I am excited to experience a new culture that will challenge my views and change my opinions. Because you can only learn so much about different cultures and people by reading and listening to others. You must experience things in order to be changed and challenged.
I am terrified because I have never really spent a lot of time away from home without my parents. I went to camp as a kid, but my parents would write to me, and they were no more than an hour away. I’ve taken weekend trips without my parents, but they were never more than a phone call or text away. In fact, even when I go to Nationals and my dad comes as a coach, I still call my mom every night to check in, tell her how the day went, and tell her I love her. So, I know it will be difficult for me not being able to pick up the phone and call or text my parents. But, I am excited because I need to have this experience. I need to be able to take this huge step out of my comfort zone without my parents by my side, holding my hand. It will help prepare me not only for college, but also for life.
I want to thank everyone who has followed me and supported me on this journey, and who will continue to do so. Thanks for the financial support, but especially thank you for the prayer. I ask that you all continue to pray for me, and for the team. I am eager to find out what God’s plan is for this trip.
I am incredibly glad that I am taking this trip. I am glad God called me to it, and that I answered His call. Quizzing has impacted me so much, (which is something I have written about here many times, but words have always failed me) and I am beyond excited to spread that passion with others on the other side of the world. I am blessed to have this opportunity, and I am looking forward to making the most of it. In light of all the recent tragedies that are taking place not only in the United States, but also all over the world, I am glad that I am able to spread some love, even if it is only a little to a few people. Because we could all use some love. I am preparing to change lives, both the lives of those I interact with and myself, and be a light in the darkness.
Since I first shared about this incredible opportunity, it has become more real to me. It has hit me that, in one month, I will no longer be in the United States. I will be in another country. I have begun to more seriously prepare myself and my heart. I know that this is going to be an unbelievably amazing, terrifying, uncomfortable, wonderful, and unimaginable trip, and I am looking forward to all that God has planned.
Meet the Kenya team. Kenya Newsletter