Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Cry of my heart

My greatest issue is one that I need grace and patience through. If you are not going to approach my rant with an open mind, stop reAding now.

I came home and felt completely alone. Then I invested in a few friends and all was well until my sweet friends were taken for various reasons-some by distance and some due to life circumstances... It was hard to come home only to say goodbye to my new friends. They are still here for me, but all have families to care for and I'm not a huge priority. Understood and I do not hold any of this against them. 

Suddenly the place that should have been my refuge has become my battleground. I'm talking about church. There was a time-a few weeks after I got home- that church was my favorite place to be. I would be there as much as possible- especially when my new friends were around. Now that life has pulled them away, church is a place I don't want to be. I feel insecure, judged, and like nobody cares where I am, where I've been, where I want to be, or what I've gone through. Several times people have said hurtful things to my face. Several times, people ask how I am, but as I begin expressing it, they smile, say 'okay' and walk away. Several times I have asked to spend time with several people, yet it has yet to happen.

I have given up. I would love to hide for the next few months in my room(ps my new room, roommates and house are fantastic:):):)). Just bear the next months and deal. I'm aware there are seasons of life we are called to be alone... I did a few of those seasons on the ship and looking back they were well worth the times I was surrounded. I wonder if I will look back and be thankful for this. I think it's hardest because I've tasted what it is like to be loved and surrounded here, but it's been snatched with none of us wanting it to but it did...

I have yet to share anything about Africa with my church, which is hard because they loved and supported me while I was gone... I cannot deny the prayers they covered me with and financial support they provided... But suddenly when I am stateside... Nobody cares. No warm welcome just a lot of 'oh! She's home!'  People said if I need anything, let them know... I don't need anything tangible but I need patience and someone to help me through this transition. Nobody is up for that it seems.

Sometimes I blame myself for all of this... Maybe I am doing something f wrong... Then I know that's a lie. I would love to blame the undeniable cliques that I am confronted with in the place I should feel safe in, but I know it is made of people who put up a front and make mistakes too... They are just good at hiding it. I have never 'belonged' to any group or clique... I'm glad but it's exhausting being an outsider seeing all of the Facebook posts about parties I will never be invited to, seeing pictures of people having fun. I should be happy for them that they have that love and support, but I rage with jealousy.

I am also having a hard time fitting in because I'm a single woman. There are very few young adults in my church... All people I hang out with are talking about is marriage and their kids. I am happy they have been blessed in these ways, but in the company of single women who wish more than anything to find 'the one' and have babies but it just is not happening yet because she is waiting for Gods timing and trying to be patient, this is a glaring shot through the heart... It hurts. It's not just annoying... It HURTS!!

I am tempted to leave the church I grew up in, but then how will change occur? Do I give up? Or fight? I wish I knew.

Monday, August 26, 2013


After a 3 month haitus, I think it's time I return to the blogger-verse. I miss it. I miss writing. I miss having a place for people to catch up with me who are across the world... across the country, state, county, street...;) A place that I can write what I please and people will puruse. :)

Many of you are probably thinking, "WHAT IS THIS GIRL UP TO..."

In a nutshell.. I'm going CRAZY! I've been home for 3 months... but I still haven't gotten everything figured out. I'm behind on thank-yous, budgeting, figuring my life out... but I think that all comes with the territory of returning from a 3rd world country. I'm learning I need to start slowing down on enjoying my various vices(coffee to be specific), as it's weighing heavily on my pocket and at this time I am unemployed.I have savings, but would prefer to save them until I NEED them- like if I have to move across the country or something.

This week is probably one of the crazier weeks since I got home... I'm applying to 10 hospitals across the US(most on the east coast) for my Child Life Internship and need to get them done ASAP. I am having surgery(dental implant for that pesky tooth that has been missing forever in the front of my mouth) on Friday and want more than anything to complete my applications by that day so 1)I can be done with the stress of it all and 2) so I can relax post-surgery. Goodness knows I'm a WIMP when it comes to surgery. I know this one isn't a big deal, but any surgery for me turns into a big deal, so I figure better be prepared just in case right?

I also am in the process of moving out. A sweet friend of mine offered me a room in their home for a great price, so I am currently working on moving all of my things from my house to the new house, organize it all, and figure out the system of my new place:) It'll be great, as the room is like 1.5 sizes bigger than my room on the ship and it's just me- I'm not sharing with my bunkmate. By some standards it's small, but right now I need simple, and that's just what it is... it's PERFECT for me:)

Many people are confused as to what the difference between a practicum and an internship are and what on earth Child Life is... so let me take a moment to explain.

Child Life- A Child Life Specialist(CLS) works in hospitals with kids and explains in a kid-friendly way what they can expect- of their disease, surgery, procedure, hospital stay, etc. through medical and therapeutic play. They are also essentially the family's advocate- they try to ensure that the well being of the entire family is positive and that all needs are met to keep the family functioning as well as possible in this setting. They provide developmental activities and play to children in order to keep them developmentally on-track. They also provide education to medical staff who might not otherwise understand how to communicate effectively to children, fund raise, and hold events and activities in order to help the kids cope with their situations.

Practicum= 12 hours a week at a hospital not paid(Mine is Children's National in DC- where I grew up going!!:) ) essentially shadowing, receiving training, and understanding the career by observation and trying things out as you go. There are also homework assignments given in order to help facilitate the process.

Internship= 40 hours a week- not paid. You are basically a working CLS under constant supervision of a higher-up certified CLS. You also have TONS of outside work... probably putting me at about 50 hours of work a week EASILLLLY.... it's a lot of work, but necessary.

Exam- Takes place last and is just like sitting for any other high-level exam. They test your knowledge of psychology and the field... yikes...

So that's all of it. I'll start the practicum September 9th, the Internship apps are due the 5th... good times.:)

Well... that's all I'll say for now... but stay tuned for your next episode...;)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

2: infection!!!!!

You know that spill I took yesterday... Now an infection... Africa had one more illness for me... Thankfully I was paying attention to a line growing up my arm and had some awesome accountability and nurses and dr who took care of me at 11:30 :) thanks guys!!!!

All bags are packed, almost everything is back to rightful owners and tomorrow is the day... Yikes!!!

My party got cancelled since me and one of the nieces were the only people there for a good while, but it was actually a huge blessing!!! Instead I got time to process through worship... Cry, laugh, thank God, and snuggle with all 5 of my nieces. Hard day of closure... Saying bye to Lazares kids, realizing this is real... I'll be home in under 48 hours

Now to try and sleep despite the pain in my hand and anxiety about tomorrow.

Friday, May 17, 2013

3: Sleepless

I lay here in bed dreading sleeping... I know I need to to be sane tomorrow, but I don't want to. My body hurts from a wipe out I had while walking back from dinner out with a friend. Thankful no stitches were needed. I'm also sore from dancing my heart out during a goodbye event for dear friends who leave a week after me.

Sleep means tomorrow comes sooner. Tomorrow I have to say bye to my heart... My kids at lazares... I have to let them go and stop dreaming that one day I could take one home. I've known this all along but it didn't stop me from falling in love with my sweet Jean and wish I could take him home. I hope and pray these sweet ones would find their ways into loving homes. Truth is, many of my sweet kids will never have a home except Lazares since they are not adoptable... Mainly due to laws in the US and Guinea itself banning children with HIv from being adopted. They have done nothing wrong... Many we're born with it and many contracted it due to abuse... The deserve homes but they will never get them.

If anyone out there is reading this and remotely interested in adopting, please let me know!!! I know this place personally and each kid that lives there. Lazare has made an excellent home for them, but it would be amazing for those who can be adopted, like Jean, to be adopted. 

Tomorrow will come far too soon for me. Please, if you think to, pray for me and the day of goodbyes ahead.  Pray my babies wouldn't feel abandoned by me but blessed that we had 10 months together. My heart has NEVER been so connected and unified with a place as it is with Lazares and my sweet ones there. Seriously- if you have any interest, let me know!!!!!

I love you all. Thanks for your prayers. Goodnight and wish me luck!!!!

5: More Lasts

Today was PACKED with all kinds of activities, work and fun!!!

Most notably I had my last 2-3 grade class which was rather sad to me:(? We had a blast playing games:) Then one of my ship sisters took me out for ice cream and a pastry which was wayyyy fun. We shared fun stories and also talked about the changes coming. She has done the long term transition before so it's nice to get some perspective And a few warnings headed into it from my wise big sister:) 

When I got back I got to have dinner with one if my itherbshipsisters and her family(my sweet niece Hailey and my big brother:)) then I played with Hailey which made me late to my going away bible study party.... It was a surprise but a greAt time!!!

Now I go to bed with a Massive headache as I'm sure I drank way too much coffee and not enough water today... Oh dear.... Bed calls;)

6: party central

Leaving is tough but it sure is a fun excuse to have a party!!! Today I finished up with my 6-8 th graders and my 4-5 th graders. My 6-8 put on a show in order to show me how much they learned in our stage fighting workshop yesterday. Then we had snacks:) 

My 4-5 th  class was smart and chained their class reward party with their end of  the year party!  What they chose was to bring tons of snacks and watch Wreck It Ralph (GREAT movie) and stay after school to finish it. It took some pulling of strings to get it organize but all parents seemed happy for their kid to get a little extra fun out of me before I go.

This evening, 2 of my awesome friends organized a fondue party for me... Proper Swiss cheese and chocolate and all. It was a fun time of friends and fellowship for sure. Thanks Marty and Catherine!!!!!! You guys rock!!!

Then I got to go and celebrate my babies who had surgery on their cleft lips/ palates or will soon!!  Brings joy to my heart!!!!!! N

Thursday, May 16, 2013

4: It Sinks In

As I walk around the shop I am met by sad eyes. Sad eyes of crew I know so well, my kids, my coworkers and most sad of all those who have become my family. Tonight was my last community meeting and throughout it, my closest ship friend and amazing 'big sister' flashed sad eyes at me, and her sweet girls both said how much they'll miss me throughout the service. Dinner and visiting the wArd was much the same. Realizing this is my last puzzle with my puzzle buddy, one of the last meals we will share together.

It seems so unfair that I can't have all of those I love in 1 place. I'm excited to get home and be in Maryland again and have my family back, but that's not home anymore... This is. I'm going to feel like a foreigner in my own land when I get home. I knew this would be hard and I'm surprised it took his long, but wow... It hit me...:( 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8: Sleepover mayhem

Last night I threw a sleepover for my 4 ship nieces. What a blast!!!!! We first went out for dinner, where we played an epic game of Egyptian ratscrew... It got loud;) then we came back, tended an injury of the smallest niece, made slushies and popcorn, played the HA game and sad solemn occasion, then we watched tangled:) afterwards my girls lost their minds and stayed up until crazyyy hours... You know;)

Here are some pictures.

Monday, May 13, 2013

7: the lasts begin

And so it begins... The lasts... Last crepe, last Monday community meeting, last time playing worship for the crew with my dear friend and sister, last staff meeting, last toastmasters meeting... It's staring to hit me that I will be home this time next week and while some things are replaceable, some are not... My kids, my ship family... My patients....:(

Friday, May 10, 2013

9: day off

Today was a ship holiday!! For so long, I either had to work on a ship holiday or I was sick... So I have has very few I got to enjoy. This one was great.

I slept in , which was actually hard to do but I made myself. Then I got up and went to the Riviera to treat myself. I never get days off let alone days off to be alone; so I took advantage of my solitude. Normally on weekends I am doing so many things I don't get time to myself, so today was much needed.

I sunbathed, had pizza, journaled, listened to Gods word, rested and prayed. Awesome. After a while I was tired so I came home, showered and took a nap. Then I had dinner, watched Nims island... So fun!!! Then I had game night with one of my ship sisters and brother and some other great friends:) 

I also got to talk to my grandma who sounds wayyyy better than I thought she would and the doctor said she doesn't need surgery for now, but they will monitor her closely. I also told my mom the surprise I was trying to keep a surprise .. I'm coming home ON her birthday, not the day after. I've missed so many I thought it would be nice:) yayy!!! Sad I couldn't keep the surprise, but its better age knows:)

Here are some great pics from the day.

10: Slam dunk!!!

Who knew today would be so great??? We did a camping kick off with our kids where we had s'mores, told stories, sang songs around a 'camp fire' and read in the tents ( I read to one of my sweet ship nieces;)) awesome!!!!!! It felt like we really went camping!!! And we never left the ship. No real fire was used, don't worry captain!!! I had the joy of leading the songs. Makes me think of my sweet friend Carrie who taught me All of those awesome camp songs. I truly hope she is looking down from heaven and smiling, or leading the same songs up there... No way she would just watch;) Miss you but blessed to carry on your legacy, friend.

Then I had my LAST drill!!!!! At least I hope that was the last of it... ;) a looking one it's over!!! I calculated I had over 60 drills over my years, 1/2 in reception, 1/4 in the galley and 1/4 in sales/ academy;)

Then I had dinner with some awesome ship family members. During dinner I noticed a sweet storm rolling in rapidly, so after sendingvthemboff to their weekend adventure, I ran to deck 8 where I ran, slid, and jumped in the rain after taking in the stunning view.

Then I want to deck 7 where I ran into one of my ship sisters and her sweet girl Hailey, who is hands down one of the cutest and most beautiful babies I have ever met. We had a nice chat and silly time, where Hailey mimicked me by saying 'yo yo  yo'... So funny!!!! We ended just in time for the service. 

I can honestly say there are very few times in my life I have been SO excited over rain... It was like it was snowing!! I haven't seen or felt rain in over 6 months!!!!!! Beautiful joyful present today!!!!! Not to mention the amazing view we got out of it!!!

Worship was awesome tonight and just what I needed to refresh my skim.

I fond out today that my grandma is ill and not well, which was a downer... Prayers are appreciated. I know God has her.

Then was ice cream, hung out with the kids a while, then had an AWESOME phone convo with one of my ship sisters who left 5 months ago for the  first time on the phone!!!! A blessing for sure to talk about everything going on and hearing from her!!!!! 

Going to bed blessed and with a huge smile on my face.

Now for pictures!!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

11: help!!!

Calling any ex long term crew or long term missionaries... I need some insight. What was the hardest thing for you about going home? What surprised you? What is the best advice you would give to someone leaving and trying to re- enter a first world country from a third world country?

I covet your prayers, dear ones... For smooth transitions, great memories this next week and support through it all.

12:The visit

Sorry for the absence but I was a few days ahead of myself;)

This weekend we had the delight of having 8 of the older boys from lazares visit the ship. It was a pure delight to see the joy on their faces as we toured the ship- taking them to play up on deck 8 with special permission, where there's a climbing frame. Funny part is that the boys were terRIFIED of heights and would not go up. If they did we had to go get them down when they freaked out:)

We then got to go on the bridge, go to the engine room, then dinner, which was hilarious. You certainly learn about what cultures eat what when you put salad and spaghetti in front of these kiddos;) They never have fresh veggies so they are afraid of them and they don't really do pasta... Only rice.

When we said bye, there was a cloud of sadness surrounding us. We could sense that they are growing aware of the ships departure. Little do they know I leave 2 weeks before that. This is going to be tough.

Here are some pics of the day!!;)