This has been a week of emotional ups and downs. I had to say good bye to some amazing people at work on Friday and hug all my kids goodbye. The kids didn't really understand that I wouldn't be seeing them next year. For them, it was just another last day of school. It was really bittersweet.
After school though, some of my friends from out of town came to visit for the long weekend. One of them drove all the way from PA! This weekend has been so much fun. We had a picnic with my family and Cody friends, played Monopoly until the wee hours of the morning, and took in a drive-in movie. This is their chance to see me one last time before I leave for Africa this summer. They leave today so they can get back to work tomorrow, but they are leaving me with reminders of our friendship and mementos to take with me to Tanzania. I have been blessed with the best friends in the whole world!
I may not be able to post for a while. This Friday, I leave for Taize, France! I am REALLY looking forward to this trip. I get to help chaperon a group of amazing high school students as they complete their first pilgrimage. We are flying into Paris on Saturday morning and leaving for the Ecumenical Community at Taize for a week of prayer and reflection. We will be returning to Paris the following Saturday and will leave for home in time to arrive on Monday. To find out more about Taize, check out their website at: http://www.taize.fr/
Not only am I excited to be a part of this experience for these young adults, but I am excited for the experience I will have while I am there. Taize has programs designed for each age group and, though I am travelling with a group of young people, the program I experience is tailored to me. I view this trip as the beginning of my YASC experience, even though it is not a part of the program.
I am excited to be able to have a refresher experience in international travel. I am also excited to have this chance to spend some time reflecting on the whirlwind year I have had and the adventure I am about to experience. This is an experience I will most likely never have again and I intend to make the most of it!
I am also getting closer and closer to my fundraising goal. I have collected almost $4,000 and have pledges for more than $3,500 more! I was able to talk at church yesterday for the first time and people were eager to hear more about my trip. My church family has been really supportive. I will miss them, but it's good to know they will be thinking and praying about me during my year abroad.