Sitting in an airport…

…and can’t believe I am almost to Tanzania! Not without tears, I haven’t done much travel so the anticipation of navigating the airports and customs and everything makes me a bit anxious… especially when I don’t do well with escalators or bridges or walkways with glass walls ( I get dizzy)! I will miss my family and friends but as I am sitting in international terminals, I am reminded how many people are separated from their loved ones for many years without all the means of communication I have access to! While this is most definitely the hardest move I have ever made, I am so blessed to have this opportunity and I am confident God has amazing plans more than I could ever imagine!  Just when I start to get nervous or think, why I am doing this? I get a message on Facebook or an email from new friends at HOPAC saying how excited they are for me to come, how much they want me there, or inviting me on adventures after I get there. It is reassuring to know they know how I feel and how I will feel even before I get there. A friend will be picking me up from the airport, staff will have breakfast in my fridge. I love knowing I will be a part of an amazing community that looks out for each other and I can’t wait to be an active part of that community and reciprocate God’s love to everyone I come in contact with.

I am also realizing how many people I have praying for me and supporting me in this journey. The over all peace and excitement I feel right now is because of all the prayers and encouragement. From good good-byes to good travels (so far). Little things like I have been saying for awhile, I feel bad for the person who has to sit next to me on the plane between bawling and snoring, I am going to be a “great” person to sit next to. I only teared up a little on the plane and I don’t think I snored… and even better, I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me!

I had been waiting to write an update after the dinner and auction til I got my flight, then once I got it, it was such a whirlwind! The last few, well 6 weeks… no, six months… have been crazy (and thats an understatement!). I am so pleased with how well the auction went! Over 150 people attended, 109 items were donated for the auction, my equestrian team girls came down from Calvin to help with some kids carnival games, and I was able to raise over 3,000 after expenses! That was enough to put me just over the 90% mark which is what I needed to be allowed to buy my ticket!

I have also found out I will be able to go to a the Counsel of International Schools Forum in Monaco for my job! HOPAC has generously committed to paying half and I will need to pay for the other half (approx. $1500). After talking with some college admissions staff and other academic counselors, I believe this conference will be essential in learning how to do academic counseling in an international setting and developing a good network with admissions counselors at universities as I will be working closely with them. If you feel called to help cover the costs of this conference, you may fill out the information for donations on TeachBeyond’s website: and in comments indicate CIS conference. 10/6/13 UPDATE: I have been informed that HOPAC is able to cover all my expenses!

Since I was running around talking to everyone at the fundraiser, I didn’t get many pictures, but I have attached a few. Also, one of the perks of not leaving in August was that I could attend ArtPrize this year! I have attached a picture of beautiful Grand Rapids!

Well, I had better head to my gate for the last leg of the trip! Next post will be from Tanzania 😀

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