It’s odd to think that in less than a day I will be well on my way towards this huge adventure. As my emotions have fluttered from one feeling to another in the last few weeks I think I have finally settled on anticipatory. The fear has been quickly wiped away (yes, there are moments of fear, but what is a moment in the grand scheme of a lifetime? It is nothing more than the blink of an eye.) and the excitement is not abounding. I am living in that moment where I just want to be there. I want the plane to land in Kigali at 7pm on Friday night and I want to have my big Osprey backpack on my back as I search for the sign with my name on it held by the hands of the woman who has been sending emails to me that have put my heart at ease. From that point on I feel this adventure shall truly begin. Perhaps it has already begun, though, months ago…maybe even years ago. It’s hard to choose the point where all of this began, but I know it was somewhere between the day my mom hopped on a float plane after going into labor and right now.
Several people have been asking me the same question: What are you most excited about? What are you most nervous about?
They’re hard questions to answer, really. Narrowing down all my excitements and nerves into just one is not an easy feat to accomplish and I’m not going to try very hard to do so. If I’m going to be honest with you, choosing just one would not be the right thing to do. So let me tell you the truth:
I’m excited about where I am staying. I’ll be living in a guest house in Kigali with the World Relief Rwanda country director, his lovely wife and their newly adopted one year old son (whom I have heard, on several accounts I might add, is an excellent drummer). I’ll have my own room, but I will be eating meals around the table “just like a family” the email said. I look forward to the people I will meet and the stories I will hear around that table. To live in a place for ten weeks and watch the people come and go sounds like something I am going to really enjoy. I am also excited to be putting into practice all that I have been studying. The more I spoke with people about what I would be doing in Rwanda, the more I realized this is exactly what I want to be doing with my life. Now when people ask me how I plan on “developing the globe” I will have a legitimate answer. Perhaps I will finally be able to come up with a good working definition of global development! I’m thrilled to be living in a new culture. I am fascinated by the differences in culture around the world and it will be fun to live in the midst of a culture that is different from my own.
On a similar note, I am terrified of my arrival in Rwanda. The sensory overload I will no doubt experience upon my arrival is something that I don’t think I can really mentally prepare for. The sound of a language I’ve never heard before, the sights of a country I’ve just barely seen in photographs, the smells of a new city, the taste of unfamiliar foods and the feeling of the humid equatorial climate. Then there will also be the uncomfortable feeling of fitting in no better than a fish among birds. My platinum blonde hair and my pale white skin will surely stand out. I stood out in Costa Rica more than everyone else on my team and this experience will be that times a thousand. It’s easy for me to blend in in Germany with my Heidi-like braids and cheerful “Hallo!” but this will be an entirely different story. But where will this nervousness get me? Nowhere. I must embrace my uniqueness and try my hardest to learn all I can about the beautiful world that I am about to encounter and pour my heart into.
I look forward to having you all on this journey with me. Through it all I hope to discover the beauty of Rwanda, the power of Christ and the church as development starts to move forward and the significance that a mere ten weeks of learning can have on a person’s soul. Well, here goes!