I'm going on a trip! A very exciting trip, full of promises of adventure and growth. It's also a trip that doesn't fall under traditional categories such as "vacation" or "study abroad," and therefore needs a bit of explaining. And hence the purpose of my first blog post: to explain what in the heck I'm doing for the next few months.
First: Who. Many people are pretty shocked when they find out I'm going all the way to China and Nepal with no one except for myself and my best friend, being that we're both pretty young and definitely female. By best friend I clearly mean Kirsten Rice, a goddess of a woman who has traveled far and wide over this planet. We've been friends for three years now, we met at freshman orientation at Westmont College and have been close ever since. Fun fact of the day: during orientation we were all separated into groups based on our interests. Kirsten and I were both placed into the travel group, and that night was key in solidifying our friendship. If only we had known way back then that we would become best friends and get to travel the world together!!
On our trip, we will also be visiting my sister and her husband. They, being the studs that they are, are currently teaching in Shanghai, China. We're going to meet them in Beijing for the first week in October and see all the exciting things that part of the country has to offer. One thing I'm really looking forward to doing with the four of us is going to see the Olympic Stadium! One of my favorite memories with these people is all climbing in my parent's bed over a school break and watching the Olympics. Even though it wasn't the Olympics that were held in Beijing, I'm stoked to have another Olympic memory with the group :).
After Beijing, the four of us will travel to Xi'an and see the terra-cotta soldiers and go on a panda tour. I have to tell the truth: the panda tour is probably the thing I'm looking forward to most for our China leg of the trip. I mean seriously, we're going to see PANDAS in the WILD in CHINA! (by wild I mean within a wildlife refuge, but the pandas think they're wild so it definitely counts).
Then from Xi'an Kirsten and I will continue on to Kathmandu, Nepal. We'll be there for five weeks, serving in an orphanage and meeting different connections that friends from home have over there. The family we will be staying with is sponsored by my church at home, and I'm so excited to finally get to go visit them and work alongside them on this incredible job they're doing.
After the five weeks we will return to China, this time to visit Em and Steve in their natural habitat. Well, obviously it won't be natural to them, but it's where they're living. We'll spend another week with them in Shanghai, then return home just in time for Thanksgiving :).
Second: Why? Well that's easy. Because we want to and because we can. Kirsten graduated last May, and I'm taking a semester off of school. Don't worry all you crazy academics out there, I'm still going to graduate on time, I'm simply trying to not let my schooling get in the way of my education. When doors started opening up for me to take some time off of school, I knew that I wanted to do something with that time that would be impactful; both in my life and the lives of others. So here I am, Nepal bound and stoked out of my mind!
If you're a fan of great music, then you'll know that the title of my blog is a lyric taken from Mumford and Sons. Please, if you don't listen to them yet (or you're like me and want to put it off just because everyone else is doing it) do yourself a favor and buy their album and REALLY listen to it. I don't think you'll leave unchanged, and (even though I am a very dramatic person) I truly believe that and I'm doing my best not to exaggerate.
Anyway, back to the point. The title is taken from "Awake My Soul" by Mumford and Sons. Here's the full lyric:
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, you invest your life
Awake my soul, awake my soul
Awake my soul
You were made to meet your maker
This is my theme for my trip. I'm going on this journey to invest the time and the love that I have into something that is really important to me, and in the process I hope to awake my soul and meet my maker in ways that I never have before.