Before I left for Uganda, I posted the packing list that I used on the blog.
It was very extensive and included a lot of stuff that I just didn’t really use. I mean I was just guessing on a lot of it, I had never spent a year in another country before, so I didn’t really know exactly what I would need or want.
So after spending a year abroad and evaluating my necessities, I recreated the packing list to reflect something a little more accurate. Now, depending on where you are traveling, you might not need some of the things that I needed, or you may need more or different things than I did. I spent a lot of time in skirts and dresses and I didn’t wear a ton of make-up everyday, so that reflected on my packing list. So, just use this as a launching point to create a packing list specific for you.
Download the Packing List and print it out for your own use.
I’d love to know where you are traveling and how you modified the list so that I can be better prepared for my future travels. So leave some love in the comments and let me know what your thoughts and experiences are!
It was a year ago today that I had a conversation that kind of changed things a bit. And by a bit I mean a lot. There was this guy, he was pretty stinkin’ cute and we had been pretty creative of finding ways to hang out for about a month. I was living in Uganda and he and I were working at the same organization together. Part of our jobs revolved around staffing conferences in the different regions of the country. At the end of January we worked a conference together in Mbarara, Uganda, and had quite the time. We were basically stuck on registration for 6 hours and unbelievably never ran out of anything to talk about.
After coming home from the conference we would find ways to hang out and talk to each other more. I was deciphering his quiet personality and he was trying to wrap his brain around mine. We couldn’t be more different. My sweet Paul is kind and gentle, humble in spirit, unceasingly logical, and enduringly content. He values loyalty and family, and is willing to sacrifice anything to serve others; while I am free spirited, bold, constantly searching for some new adventure, and always day dreaming about plans that will most likely never come to pass. Life together has been a continuing compromise.
On this day, 365 days ago, I had no idea how much I would come to love this man. You see, Paul is Ugandan and I am American. I had no idea how long I was going to be in Uganda and Paul had no plans or desire to come to America, and neither of us wanted a long distance relationship. But, we were willing to “see where it goes”. It has really gone to some great places.
The months following before I moved back to America were so fun, but really difficult. He went back to school and we weren’t able to see each other much. But we kept in contact and continued to get to know one another in the best ways that we could. Before I moved back to America we spent time together and said our see you laters with anxiousness and uncertainty. That late, chilly night at the airport was not a fun one.
But, God has been so so gracious to us these last 6 months. We have grown closer and our love for each other has only increased. Paul is such a wonderful part of my life. Our relationship right now is not easy, typical, or convenient, but it is something I would never give away. We are in the process of applying for a visa for him to move to America and finish his school from here. I am giddy with excitement when I think about living in the same country again. I am already making a list of things that we will do together and places I can introduce to him. I am learning so much about patience during this time, knowing that good things come to those who wait….and trust.
I would never wish living so far from your love on anyone, but I am also so so thankful for the time that we have had to grow and learn more about each other. When all you are able to do is talk, you get to explore so many topics with each other. I don’t want to brag, but our communication skills are really becoming top notch. Sometimes I laugh and think about what it’s going to be like for us to work through conflict face to face, we might just have to go to separate rooms and call each other…
There are going to be a lot of changes in the next few months and I hope that the updates can encourage you where you are at in life. I don’t know many people who are in the same situation as Paul and I, but I do know that the lessons he and I are learning can translate into many different situations. Please continue to follow along and pray with us as he transitions here for the time being. Like I said in an earlier post, we are just now getting to the good part.
[UPDATE: We have received our visa approval letter and I am packing my bags for Uganda. Follow up in this post.]
Follow along on Bloglovin’
So I have really been postponing writing since I have been home from Uganda. Part of it has been because I have been so busy since getting back that I haven’t had time, but the real reason is that I have felt like I don’t have anything to say. I’m not in Africa anymore. I’m not living in the village. I’m back at Starbucks making to-do lists and drinking my Thanksgiving blend coffee.
The big question that I have been asked since I have been back circles around my ability to adjust, or what some would call “culture shock”. Maybe I’m weird, but it just hasn’t happened. I have lived in America for 23 of the 24 years of my life, so I feel like being away for 12 months isn’t going to make me forget what it’s like to go through a drive-thru or have 32 cereal options. I think that I have been more aware of the cultural nuances that exist in America since coming back, but I can’t say that they have made me emotional or sent me into a state of shock. America is exactly the way I expected her to be, the way I left her.
And I’m glad to be back.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss Uganda more and more every day that I am away. I miss the people that I left behind, I miss the food that I can’t find here, I miss the walks, I miss the quiet, I miss it. But I can’t lie and say that it doesn’t feel good to have Target at my disposal again. It is so great to be able to get amazing coffee without having to get out of my car. I could cry talking about what it’s been like to see friends again and spend so much time with my family. To be completely comfortable and know that you are surrounded by people that love you and truly care for you.
My year in Uganda was amazing and I learned so much and grew in ways I didn’t expect, but it wasn’t as glamorous as some would think. There is no way that I can flesh everything out in one blog post, nor would I want to, but all I can say is that the journey is not over. Uganda is still a huge part of my life and my future. God is revealing things step by step and I am walking with anticipation to see what’s next. Major things have been laid on my heart and I am exploring areas I never thought I would tap into. But that’s how life works, right? All I know its that I have learned to be a joyful participant and embrace the unexpected.
I want to continue writing even during this time that I am not in Uganda. Just because I am no longer in Africa doesn’t mean that my life doesn’t have meaning or that I am on hold. God is still teaching me and still growing me, and I have found that writing it out and sharing it is such a wonderful way to celebrate all that he does. So I would love it if you continue on this journey with me…..we are just getting to the good part.
Eliminate Your Expectations
Food is for the Stomach…and the Heart
Time is Really Just a Number
You Won’t Be In or Out
You are Always Missing Something
Our second Pastor’s Conference of the year has just come to an end. It was a time of worship and growth for the pastors that were able to attend and also those of us from Sufficiency of Scripture Ministries. The Lord was faithful and gave us great opportunities to love and challenge the pastors to love their churches with the deep love of Christ.