Oh, boy. Time waits for no one. Seriously.
Sitting here in a quaint little bakery in Singapore, I can’t help but feel a little sentimental. The sky outside is a deep blue and the palm tress are waving "hello's" at me in the breeze. There are bright colors ahead of me, a brilliant red awning for Union Energy Group with their phone number ending in 5555. This, of course, reminds me of Thailand. Any sequence of multiple 5’s is essentially the Thai LOL; the Thai word for the number five is “haa” and thus, 555 becomes “haa haa haa.” It's great. Shiny cars rush past the window, vibrant green double-deckers bearing the slogan “SG [heart] Bus” thunder by, various people walk to and fro. What a moment to be alive.
As I sit here today, everyone in this city seemingly has somewhere to go, they’re all en route. Yet right now, I have no agenda. Ha. What a new feeling… no immediate expectations hanging over my head. No impending deadlines, no job to report to at a certain time, no class work to accomplish. Is this "freedom" feeling normal in the wake of college graduation?
I’m still processing the past four months, what an adventure it was! The friendships, the fits of laughter, the engaging conversations, the travels, the spiritual and personal growth all as a result of spending my last undergraduate semester at Chiang Mai University. Wow. I just can’t believe it’s already over. I had been planning for this study abroad experience in Thailand for two years and just like that, that box is checked, the bags are packed, the memories are made and it’s on to the next adventure…
In two days, I meet my mom back in Chiang Mai - talk about an adventure! She has never been to East Asia and I cannot wait to share these next few weeks experiencing this beautiful part of the world with her.
But…but right now, I have myself and my thoughts in this warm city. And I can’t stop chuckling to myself at the mere amazement of what constitutes as my reality. Me, a college graduate, hanging out in Singapore basically on vacation. That sounds stupidly fantastical, but it is real life. My real life.
The past four months have honestly felt like I’ve been living in a dream. Maybe I should practice mediation? If anyone has suggestions, please do let me know... My own humble theory is that this is inherently related to the reclamation of my Christian faith; that my current reality is just one of God’s many gifts, blessing me beyond my own belief.
What I’ve come to discover is that you can either fear the unknown and paralyze with hesitancy and settle for comfort; or, you can delight in the mystery of not knowing and embrace the wild adventure, exercising your creativity in response to whatever that might entail. In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge explains how mystery is actually essential to adventure and how without mystery, creativity suffers likewise. Eldredge also concludes that mystery is inherent to our faith and our trust in our Creative God. My understanding of this truth rooted in the importance of mystery, elevated my trust in God to newfound heights. After all, life is a wild adventure, no?
Here, iced americano in reach, I reflect on the past four months stuffed full of adventure: taking concrete steps to mature in my faith, mud-bathing with elephants, trekking through jungles, trying not to get hit by a motorbike when braving to cross busy city streets, learning a new language, traveling solo for weeks at a time, driving a motorbike myself – then, falling off of said motorbike only to muster up the courage to hop back on and yet, many more.
So many lessons and so many blessings.
Still in joyful disbelief that God has been this gracious thus far, He has me sitting here shaking my head and laughing out of pure amazement. OH! God is SO good. Please stay tuned for this Next Chapter of my life afforded by the freedom provided through the goodness of God...
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV Proverbs 3:5-6
Also, God has grace for everyone, including you, friend. How can I pray for you?
Leave me a comment below.
So, typically when I travel, my least favorite part of the trip is all the stress and anxiety that can ensue within the physical journey to the destination. Do I have my passport? Where did I put my boarding pass?! My phone? OhMaGosh, I lost my passport again! Oh wait, I'm holding it, silly me...etc. Unfortunately, that negative energy typically overflows and ends up effecting the overall mood of my first day in said destination. Can anybody else relate?
Thank God that over the past couple years, I have made significant improvements in my organization to help combat the reoccurring Case of the Lost Passport / Every Other Important Item. Regardless, it's something about leaving home and voluntarily facing the Big Bad Unknown that gets me all worked up.
Within the first couple hours of being in the new country, it usually plays out something like this.
Me (shamefully thinking to myself): Now, WHY did I do this?
My heart: "Because you're so brave, girl! You so got this. You totally do!"
My brain: "I have no freakin' clue, but I would like to go home NOW. The next plane is..."
Each time, I genuinely try and follow my heart's affirmations; and always by the second day, the cloud of negativity disperses and that's the end of that. Once I'm past that first day, I'm totally fine!
Today, however, as I arrived in Chiang Mai, I felt so peaceful it was almost eerie. Not kidding. I'm not sure if it's the kind atmosphere here, the heavy rain that poured all morning, the friend from my program that I met in ORD, or maybe...it's me? Am I finally maturing into the seasoned traveler I dream of attaining?
Seeing as the 21 hour trip is my longest to date, I had some serious time to reflect on the possibilities this experience in Thailand could open up for me and for my future. Needless to say, as this was my best first day yet,* I couldn't be more excited to see how the rest of the next five months unfold.
*My best ever "first day" was when I surprised my boyfriend in Ghana, that's a tough one to beat for obvious reasons. However, I don't exactly count it due to the simple fact that I had been to Ghana before.