What To Focus On Before Leaving

What To Focus On Before Leaving

Thousands of miles are left for us to experience and Jesus will be there with us to experience it
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Today is my last day at work. I write this as I sit at the front desk and have less than an hour remaining in my shift. I think of the hours I spent here; I’ve never watched more CNN in all of my life but I got to drink out of a coffee cup that resembles a ceramic Dalmatian.

Throughout this semester, the office became a place that I came to and easily forgot all of the horrible stress from classes and ROTC. I made friends here and laughed a lot with my coworkers. I always walked out in a good mood, feeling productive, even if I just updated spreadsheets and filed papers. This is my last week at FSU, even though I’ll be back next year, throughout this next year of travel I’ll still miss being here.

I’ll miss going to the gym at six o’clock every morning. I’ll miss my friends in Chinese class; of the seven people remaining, only two will be here next Fall. I’ll miss walking the long way to class just so I can stop at the nicest bathroom on campus and fill my bottle of water with the cool, automatic “refilling station”. I’ll miss it here, but now I have eight months of extensive travel ahead of me and as I prepare to leave, I think of Ruth.

We read Ruth’s story in the Bible. After her husband died, her mother-in-law, Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem. In chapter one of the book of Ruth we read, “When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.” But before they left, Naomi told the two women to return to their homelands. She selflessly said this because they were still young and had a chance of marrying again, “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me’” (Ruth 1:16-7).

I think of her willingness to embark on this new journey despite losing her husband and not knowing what was next. She was determined to continue on, even further from home, because she loved Naomi and they both placed their faith in God. She felt called to stay with Naomi and go to the land of Judah, the land of the Israelites, with other followers of God.

I think of Ruth and then, I think of travel in general. Leaving home and your comfort zone is bittersweet. It’s bittersweet to know when your last shift is your last. It’s bittersweet to realize that you are saying goodbye to people for good. And it’s bittersweet when you finally sit on the plane that in fourteen hours will land on the other side of the world.

It’s sad because you are cutting ties with normalcy and the people you know and love. But, it’s also joyful. Leaving means there is an exciting journey that calls you, it needs to be experienced. And you won’t experience it alone. Because when you place your faith in God, Jesus will be with you wherever you go.

Jesus is the rock that we cling to when nothing is constant. Thousands of miles are left for us to experience and Jesus will be there with us to experience it. Maybe it’s difficult to leave the people and places that we are so comfortable with, but it’s necessary to go where He calls us to go.

I’m going to miss greeting everyone that comes through the office. I'm going to miss my friends here at school. But, I’ll be back soon and I'll come back with all my new memories and stories, and Jesus too. He'll be constant, as always.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Photo Album: A trip Round Europe, From London To Paris

It all started five years ago in the corner of a sea food restaurant.

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It all started five years ago in the corner of a sea food restaurant. I sat around the table with my grandfather and my cousin, looking out onto the marshes of Hilton Head Island.

"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?" my grandfather questioned us.

With no real interest in traveling to a large city or anywhere specific, I replied with my usual answer of "I don't know."

My cousin, on the other hand, almost always knows exactly what he wants. So he quickly rattled off a list of European cities that he wanted to travel to. Then my grandfather struck us a deal. If we could finish high school with a scholarship offer, he would take us to London and Paris. This past week I returned from that trip, and I decided to share some photos of the incredible cities of Europe.

The Tower Bridge from the River Thames

When we took a boat tour on the River Thames, I managed to snap a great picture of the Tower Bridge. The bridge lifts up in the middle in order for larger boats to pass underneath and access ports further in. Our guide mentioned a story about a time when the gate for cars on the bridge was delayed in closing and a tour bus ended up on the bridge as it was being raised. Unable to back up safely, the bus driver accelerated and jumped the gap!

The main entrance to the London Museum of Natural History

Natural History Museums are my favorite because of my interests in science, and the London Museum of Natural History did not disappoint. This museum has everything from a room filled with life size replicas of the largest mammals on earth, to a gallery of rare gems and jewelry collected by English scientists. In my opinion, the greatest the display shown at this museum is the collection of fossils found by Mary Anning. Despite growing up in a poor family and being a woman in a time when science was a predominantly male field, she discovered a number of new aquatic dinosaur fossils!

True Love ring overlooking Tower Bridge

Buckingham Palace

The home of the Queen for most of the year. While it's still incredibly fancy, I figured it would stick out a lot more compared to everything around it. The building itself looked very similar to many other buildings except for a large fence with a lot of security and an extremely elaborate gold fountain in the center of a traffic circle out front.

Pont Alexandre III

While the Pont Alexandre III bridge is extremely beautiful and probably the prettiest bridge in Paris, I wanted to photograph it to recreate a black and white drawing I have hung in my home. I saw the picture fairly often but never knew where it was from. However, when I saw the Pont Alexandre III I knew it was the same bridge! Built for World Fair of 1900, the bridge was constructed to show of the architectural and industrial advancements that the French had undergone.

Eiffel Tower

Of course you cannot have a photo album of Europe and not include the Eiffel Tower. This incredible structure was originally going to be removed after the world fair it was constructed for because most citizens thought it was an eyesore to the city. Little did those people know the Eiffel Tower would come to represent Paris to people all over the world!

Cover Image Credit:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_arc.jpg

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