Lately my mind has been so caught up in the idea of graduating a week from today. For the past few days all I have been able to think has been the following:

-No more classes – praise the Lord!

-I’m moving to a really cool city with a really good friend, how fun!

-I will no longer be defined as “student”

-The idea that I am leaving the place I’ve called home for 4 years isn’t hitting yet

But today that happened. Here I was all excited about no more classes and spending a Saturday with some amazing people. I went to the church to help out with Bound4Freedom and it was there that it happened. In the church community that I have grown to love and really call family over the past year. I was in a small room with about eight beautiful ladies and we were working away at making memory books for a Uganda preschool. Down the hall some amazing men and women were painting away in the kid’s room, and my brothers and sisters were out front making our community garden. The next thing I know all of us were in the coffee room eating some hamburgers and ice cream, thanks to good ol’ Paul, and that’s when I realized it.

This place really has been my home for four years. These people that I am in communtiy with are my family. Some I have known all four years, and others I just met this past summer. We are a young church and last year we had so many dreams of what we would be. Those dreams are starting to take shape and now it’s time for me to pack up my bags and leave.

Although I am super excited for what lays ahead for both the communtiy and myself, I find it hard to say goodbye.

You say I’m a dreamer. Please, let me dream of the places and the faces I’ve never seen. To think too big, to reach too tall; be whisked by the sky like a robin to her fledgling when it’s too young to fly. So dream with me. Let me be, let me dream. To travel and to wander: places I’ve never been. You say it’s a waste of time to imaging soaring in my mind. To drink from fountains by and by or swim across the sea. I’ve swam across the river Nile, crawled through the desert a thousand miles, wrestled with a crocadile when we were young. So dream with me. Let me be, let me dream. To travel and to wander: places I’ve never been.

~Cliff Ritchey

I called a good friend of mine – a former housemate. I hadn’t talked to her in a couple months. After an hour conversation tonight I am reminded of what a beautiful person she is.

Memories of last summer flood my mind. Right now I’m wishing for a cup of hot coffee, a journal, a pen, and a bed on a porch.

But instead I find myself in a messy bedroom with a hundred deadlines staring back at me.

However, I find tranquility within.

The only thing really interesting about my weekend home were the following:

1. Seeing an old youth pastor and his wife randomly for the first time in about three years – weird part, realizing I am the age he was when I met him and looked up to him – other weird part, realizing now our age is not that big of a difference anymore.

2. Discovering that my friend who I haven’t seen in a long time now has a cow – and she lives on the same block as me, which with the exception of her old farmhouse is in your typical 70’s style ranch home neighborhood.

3. Staying an extra day (leaving early this morning) to avoid tornado warnings that stretched our entire three hour drive.

My good friend Matt asked me a question several months ago. At the time I didn’t really know the answer. I had a few ideas of what the answer might be, but I think now I really know. What that means for the future, I don’t know. Current plans are still in progess and will remain soon – of those I find myself so excited!

But something inside me ignites a little more when I think about that answer! There are people who do it, but then they can’t wait until it is over and they have come back to their old place. I never feel that way. Never have.

The answer, btw, is traveling.

I used to tell myself I didn’t want to travel for my job because I thought it would lose some of the joy – and maybe it would – I guess that would depend on what the job itself was and how much free time I had while in whatever place. If I went some where AMAZING but had to spend the whole time in a confrence room, then what’s the point of traveling, you know?

To experience people and cultures and languages and food and to see how different we all are – and still connect with someone – a smile is a smile and a laugh is a laugh. Whether someone says “tortuga” or “shildkroete” or “turtle” doesn’t really make a difference anymore.

What was Matt’s question–

What makes you feel alive?

Carpe Semesto #30 – Tonight I cooked a duck for Stacy and Sara and myself. I had no idea what I was doing! I had to pull out the neck and the liver, heart, etc (they weren’t bagged like they sometimes are with poultry). Yeah then I seasoned it and stuck it in the oven and went to work with no one here to check on it. But… it turned out! It got a LITTLE on the dry side but that was because I took it out of the oven when I got home and Stacy wasn’t here yet. I had expected her to be home around 5:15 and then she could have made sides… so we made sides and the duck sat out for a bit. But still pretty good. Go me.