I know, I know… I’ve only been here a month and already I’m terrible at updating this thing. But in my defense there’s been a lot going on! Since my last post I’ve moved into a new place, furnished that place (mostly thanks to the generosity of some wonderful people we’ve met, Craigslist and Ross), started school, received my car that my wonderful daddy worked so hard to get shipped to me from Georgia, explored a lot more of the island, TURNED 3O YEARS OLD and survived my first two weeks as an 8th grade teacher. It has been a whirlwind to say the least.
There’s obviously a tremendous amount of things that I could post about with all of that going on in the last few weeks, but as I sit here this morning drinking coffee on the couch that we got for free because of an incredibly generous person who told us to just “pay it forward” one day, I feel lead to let you all know how blessed I feel and how thankful I am that all of you are reading this. I’ve had several people tell that they’re following the blog and enjoying hearing about my adventures and my parents have also let me know that several of their friends have said the same things to them (although I have gotten the “we need more pictures” scolding a couple of times – I’m working on it!).
I’m not going to lie… I hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies through this whole experience (come to think of it… I don’t think I’ve seen any butterflies yet… hmh). There have been some difficult times where I feel a little lonely and homesick being so far away from my family and friends. It’s also been a rough start to the school year – some challenging students, an overwhelming amount of new processes to learn, treading water in terms of having to plan for two subjects that are completely new to me, etc. – and I have shed a few tears to my parents and best friends. But through it all I’m learning a lot about myself and am truly starting to gain new perspective.
The beauty of being on this island is that I’m seeing that nowhere is perfect, nothing is easy and life is tough. Where is the beauty in that, you ask? It’s in God’s promise to His children. I see a rainbow here almost every day. And they are beautiful and unique each time. But only now am I really starting to truly appreciate their meaning and understand that I’m seeing them at just the right times. God never promised we wouldn’t experience hardships. He never promised that if you move to an island everything will be perfect all the time. But what He did promise is that He will always be with us through those difficult times (and through the great ones as well!). And that is the most beautiful thing you could ask for. More beautiful than any beach, waterfall or sunset.
Since school started I’ve had long days there and then have had to come home and lesson plan for hours at night. I’ve had students test me, push their limits, and really make me exercise those classroom management muscles. I’ve been discouraged and taken things personally and even questioned if this were the right decision. I could dwell on those things. OR I can choose to focus on the incredible things I’ve experiences here already – the weekends when I’ve canoed and hiked through forests and fields to a hidden waterfall, learned to surf (or at least attempted to – I’ll get there!), watched a meteor shower on the beach with the most kind and beautiful family that has accepted us and taken us in under their wing, gone snorkeling in natural rock pools at a beautiful beach park just 10 minutes from my new home, received birthday presents from a few students who have known me less than two weeks but still thought enough of me to bring me something, hiked into the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” to see a waterfall in the middle of the canyon, enjoyed sunsets on the beach and had the most wonderful 30th birthday dinner with some great new friends. Those are the things I moved here for and those are the things I choose to focus on.
I know the world is in turmoil right now – it breaks my heart to watch the news and see what’s going on in our country and throughout the rest of the world. All I can do is continue to pray, be thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given, and remember God’s covenant. I want you all to know that I am not taking this experience for granted, not even for a second. And I promise I’ll post pictures of all of those things soon, but here is a picture I took one morning at the Air Bnb were staying in right before we moved into our new house – It’s God’s promise and that should be plenty for now: