Last night, my sister got married! The wedding took place at Sugah Cain, our family property on Johns Island, under a canopy of live oak trees – truly God’s outdoor temple. A week ago, the forecasted 80% chance of thunderstorms was unpromisingly bleak. A lot of prayer warriors were on their knees supplicating for more favorable conditions, and MAN did Jesus come through. The gentle breeze, glow of the setting sun, and just a touch of summer humidity created the perfect ambiance, but the ceremony itself was even more beautiful.
My life of funemployment has continued to be a cycle of trip research, planning, and itinerary spreadsheet writing; packing; jumping on an airplane; adventuring; flying back home; crashing into bed late at night; unpacking; running a load of laundry; meeting up with a few friends; and planning once more before I’m off on another travel escapade. I have to admit…within that physical merry-go-round, I also endure psychological swings of gratitude, utter exhaustion, a “here we go again/just do it” mentality, and excitement.
Through the month of January, I had about fifteen distinct blog topics floating around in my head. Some were life updates, like that Subaru Outback WITH a sunroof that I bought — woot woot! — or weekend trips up to Richmond and Roanoke to visit Abby and Kayla.
Other blog intentions included evaluations on Trump’s first week in office and podcasts I’ve listened to; some entertaining babysitting anecdotes; the decision to move to and teach in Greenville this fall, and the peace and excitement I’ve felt about it.
I flew direct from Auckland to Houston – an overnight flight that made a nonstop 13-hour journey relatively bearable. As I braced my body for the jolty touchdown onto American soil, I also braced my being for reverse culture shock. I didn’t know how I would feel about the materialism of Mt. Pleasant, or the general culture of the Bible Belt. I was giddy, but slightly scared, as my in-flight journal entry attests:
My chest feels light and twisted, because as much as America is home, I’m afraid of waffling between two cultures and not really having a place. It has been a whole year, and I’m nervous about all the differences in my outlook and experiences that up to this point I was not aware of, or had not acknowledged.
Donald Trump is officially the next president of the United States. I just…really don’t understand. Nor does about 95% of my social media feed. Nor any Kiwi who has broached the topic of politics with me for the last year. At the DNC, Obama said, “People outside of the United States do not understand what’s going on in this election. [audience chuckle.] They really don’t.”
My last big trip through New Zealand over spring break ended two weeks ago (I neglected to write about any of it…)
Yesterday I had my final three-way meeting for student teaching and finished my last day of placement at Hornby High. Tonight is my last night as a Waimairi Woman. We have trimmed hedges and mowed the lawn, deep cleaned and packed up, and now I’m sitting at the dinner table in an eerily calm, empty house. Rachel and Jovita are already back home, and after a tramp with some friends this weekend, I’ll be joining Jovita and her family, who have graciously invited me to live with them for my last two months in New Zealand.
Genesis had it right from the beginning – “It is not good for man to be alone.”
And though it’s not exactly the same context, I don’t ever intend on living without other people again.
Last term I lived in Ilam Apartments, a centrally located, convenient student block that houses a lot of study abroad students. It was definitely not the cheapest, but, going through the university, it was the easiest for me to arrange when I was still back in America. Plus, I hoped it would facilitate my scheming to live with Georgia while she was here. Not only did I get to live with my sister, but I also befriended an eclectic group of flatmates: a tough-skin, soft-heart Bostonian; a smart, procrastinating original from Ireland; and a gentle, cheerful spirit from Manchester. Ilam hosted fun events during study weeks for residents, and my room had a personal heater – a perk I would later covet. Anticipating all of my flatmates abandoning me though, I started toying with the idea of other (cheaper) accommodation possibilities.