So I figured it’s time for some real life updates. Actually, it was time about a month ago, but I have not made this blog as much of a priority as I should have. I am writing from one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Paris. There is no fear felt in the city, simply mourning. I am completely safe from inside of my Airbnb; no better time to catch up on the blog. I apologize for the lack of firepower (Garrett). Hopefully this will be the most flaming post yet.
Surprisingly, I am doing more than just traveling and studying. Greater, I am growing and learning. Here is my attempt to articulate this growth:
- I have a beard. It’s getting thick and should only get thicker. It has been about 3 weeks, the goal is 3 months. This may be the last time in my life where I will not have a boss, interviewer, or girl to impress. Also, I think a beard makes the most sense in the context of traveling.
- I could really see myself living abroad. I don’t know where or doing what, but I’m happy overseas. I don’t think it’s a travel bug, necessarily. Instead, I think I am a lot happier when I’m living uncomfortably (materially, socially). It’s way too easy to get comfortable in the U.S.
- Homelessness has been on my heart in a big way. Before I left WM, my best friend and I started a homeless ministry on campus. Leaving that was hard. However, I have encountered homelessness in a new way since coming abroad. The streets of Sevilla are lined with homelessness in the traditional sense. Moreover, Syrian refugees have a political presence in Europe that is not felt in the states. I could commit my life something along the lines of refugee ministry. I believe Jesus was not joking when he said that everything we do unto the least of our brothers we do unto Him.
- I am part of a Christian ministry group called “Veritas” and am the only guy in the entire group. I thought that growing up with 3 sisters would prepare me to handle any amount of woman-power. However, the ratio here is unreal. Of my 5 classes, I am the only guy in 4 of them. Further, our ISA group has approximately 45 girls to 9 guys. It’s actually insane.
- That said, Veritas has given me the opportunity to do some pretty unbelievable things. Notably, we threw a Mother’s Day party for all of the program’s host Mom’s, had a Fall Festival for the little kids in a community right outside of the city, and I will have the chance to share my testimony in Spanish at a local church next week.
- Nothing makes you cherish friends and family like removing yourself from them for a while. It’s also funny how specific people are highlighted in your mind. There are a certain one or two individuals who can make your entire week just by Skyping with them once (cough cough Ben Constable). I have the greatest friends, sisters, and parents in the world, and love every moment on Skype with each and every one of you. I also can’t wait to continue living life with you guys on the other side of things.
- Relationships are such a cool thing. In such a short time you can make friends for life. I know for a fact that many people here are going to be present in my future. There are 4 or 5 guys here who have impacted me in ways far greater than I will ever be able to express to any of them.
- I have a newfound confidence in front of people in two particular contexts: leading worship and teaching. I still do not particularly like attention, but find I’m in my element with a guitar in my hands or group of kids in front of me.
- Vietnam is approaching We are preparing to launch the Virtual Playground, a new website interface that interacts with students and teachers around the world – actually facilitating cross cultural dialogues. Relatedly, it’s incredible how perfectly everything that I am doing in Spain has lined up for my time in Vietnam – even in ways I could never have anticipated. I am able to spend time in a classroom teaching English, am taking multiple multiculturalism and education courses, and have a mentor in the city who is a fulltime ESL teacher.
- Things are shaping up for next year at William and Mary. I have dropped a major, decided to take Arabic and dance classes, and have committed to living with some really good dudes (Betas) off campus; two of whom I have never met.
- Life moves so quickly. It is unbelievable that it is already November. This trip has taught the power in slowing down. Also, life changes so quickly. I was at camp and now I am here and soon I am onward. Even my December plans seem to change every day. I am finally locked in – flying to Dublin on the 11th, to the French Alps on the 17th, and to Paris on the 23rd. I am confident that God will continue to work things out in front of me.
I certainly missed a lot, but will be back with another update in a jiffy. Also, stay tuned for the Morocco and Paris updates to follow shortly.
For my Christian friends, please be praying that I would be overflowed with His love for other people. Without a male community here, times can be spiritually exhausting. Please pray that I would be coming to The Gospel for inspiration instead of relying on self-righteousness.
“It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God” – Oswald Chambers
Please pray that I would continue to be committed to God instead of to my religious conviction.