Two years ago, I sat with a supervisor at work for a check-in. After we talked for a bit she mentioned a program she used to work for. She thought I’d be a great fit for it and to let her know if I was interested. Next thing I knew I was applying for an international instructor position that would take me to Becket, MA, for a year and then to New Zealand for six months. A couple months after applying I was hired and at the end of the summer I was on a plane, bound for a part of the country that I knew nothing about. In the blink of an eye over a year had passed and it was time for me to leave for my next destination: New Zealand.
I write this post from the Vancouver, BC, airport. I’ve found an unused gate to chill at. It’s 10:45pm and I still have an hour till I board my 15hr 40min flight to Sydney. For some reason they have opened the duty free shop even though there’s hardly anyone at this terminal. The traveling life sure is glamorous, isn’t it?
I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand. First off, I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so that alone could keep me busy for a year. But more than that, the place overflows with outdoor adventure opportunities and world-renowned scenery. You won’t meet many backpackers who don’t have NZ on their list. The prospect of living and working there for 4 1/2 months gave it more substance than I could have imagined. It didn’t quite happen as planned though.
I had family visits scheduled October 6-16 this year before departing the country. Things were setup for me to depart from Portland, OR, on October 16. Unfortunately, though, my mothers health has not been good this year. Since mid summer she has struggled to regain full health. When I arrived in Missoula I started wondering if I should leave the country. By the end of the week the choice became clear: I needed to stay.
Literally overnight my life changed drastically. I went from leaving the country to staying put for an unknown amount of time. I celebrated my birthday on October 16 at a local brewery with my brother, his family, and some good friends. I thought I would be celebrating it in a plane above the Pacific. My life changed so much so quickly, it blew me away. Why do we even make plans? I asked more than once.
I ended up staying in Missoula till just after Thanksgiving to help my mom and family with the situation. It was not easy and certainly wasn’t always clear. For most of the first half of my time there it felt like there was a fog in front of me so thick that I couldn’t see where my next step would land. I actually didn’t know what the next week would hold for me. Yet at the same time I knew I was supposed to be there. I never doubted that what I was doing was the right thing. It was a strange position to be in.
I’m still not totally sure what the purpose of my time in Missoula was. My mom is not completely recovered, I didn’t have a major breakthrough in an area of life (that I’m aware of). Good things definitely came of it, it was just so unexpected! Only time will tell how this season for my family will fit into the grand scheme of things. It’s hard to see right now. Father God’s ways are beyond our understanding, but it brings abundant peace to know His character is good and perfect, and that will never change. It’s these times of life that clarify what’s important to us. It’s in the battles of life that we are made and our character solidifies, one way or the other.
This trip has been about 18 months in coming. For it to finally be here is pretty surreal. It’s one of those moments where your dreams become reality, your ideas turn into life. The overwhelming feeling I have today is gratitude. I’ve been blessed with “dreams come true” experiences in life and I’m thankful for yet another one. I will be in NZ till April 15, 2018. I’ll then return to the US and have some time with family. Between now and then there’s a lot to experience, and I can’t wait for it all!