Decision Just Made

Trip Start May 31, 2005
Trip End Aug 02, 2005

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, April 23, 2005

So after much deliberation I finally decided on Africa. As much as I mulled over the decision, I'm now realizing it was the decision I was thinking about and not Africa! As I look at the less than $400 in my bank account and consider the $4000 for the trip alone, car payments while I'm gone, multiple vaccinations, not to mention expenses for the month before I leave...I wonder what I've gotten myself into. But with two jobs and considerable loans under my belt I realize I'm doing about all I can. I'm incredibly grateful for the generosity of my friends and family who intrust me with their own hard-earned money...but I'm grateful because I know behind that money is hard-earned respect, trust and love. I'm honored that people have faith in what I'm doing and humbled that their faith is faith in only the mighty God that stands behind me.

My thoughts wander to 110 plus degree heat...the rainy season...giant bugs and the necessity to buy a mosquito net before I leave...let's not even consider comparisons with the vegetarian, organic life style I'm surrounded with in California! But in my naive pre-trip idealism I cherish the idea of dust-packed flip-flops, three sweat-stained worn and reworn outfits, unexpected power outages that interrupt my translation of...letters explaining what God's doing in people's hearts, how the church is growing and thanking people in English from the hearts of people who speak French and a tribal language I won't even begin to understand in two months. I'm excited to get to be someone else's voice in a real way for the first time.

In the next two weeks I will take the most stressful exams of my whole life up to this point. I'll sit alone in a booth with three professors listening as I interpret 8 minutes, simultaneously speaking one language while I hear in another. I'll sit alone across the table from three professors while taking notes and then consecutively interpret back the speech I just heard. We'll talk about "the usual"--UNAIDS, UNICEF, poverty, development, child soldiers, the World Health Organization, Africa...and then, as if I'd drifted off in a daydream, I'll suddenly snap to my senses and my real life will be what I've interpreted for the past 9 months.

Before then I have to get Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Malaria, Hepatitis....vaccination after vaccination, a 90-day visa, a smog test for my high-altitute home sick car, a California driver's license and registration...My Jeff will come home from Thailand and I'll spend two weeks soaking up every second of time with him and vicariously living his experience there being God's hands and feet to heal wounds and rebuild after the tsunami. My dad will get married and Phyllis will join the Loyd girls. I'll say good-bye as my roommate Nargiza returns to Uzbekistan to get married and start her career, send Nadia off to her internship in Afghanistan and Daniela to hers in Costa Rica. My classmates will all head to Paris. I'll welcome Samreen to San Franciso as she visits before making the move out to attend Med School--the closest we'll have lived in five years! So many emotions and experiences crammed into mere weeks of my mere 23rd year.

Thanks to my Aunt Marcia for hooking me up with this blog. I feel blessed to know that I'm not writing into a void because there are so many people who love and support me. Thank you, guys. I hope you visit this page from time and time. I pray that you will be encouraged through what I write here. Please feel free to e-mail me or add to this blog...if you can even do that. Can you do that? I think you can somehow...

Technology is not my bag. Seeing as how stress has become my constant, unwelcome companion and I find this extremely therapeutic, I'll probably write a few more preparatory entries before I head out...feel free to skim them, skip them and digest them as the moment takes you. I guess these first ones will mostly be for me. But once I get going they'll be for you all. I love you. Here we go...
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