Jumping over mi amigos!It’s been a crazy few months, albeit with fun road trips, long cross-cultural adventures, and hard-to-say goodbyes… But with all of this, the reality of my fast-approaching transition has hit full-force – I’m really moving out of the country in less than a week.

I think the last time I wrote, back in May, I had everything planned out in sequential order and listed them out perfectly for you. Well, barely any of that happened exactly as I thought it would. :)

In Italy this summer, our team was invited into an Italian man’s home for an afternoon of rest and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Honestly, it was just what we needed! Ever since we had arrived, certain things were not going correctly and other things were getting cancelled. In his house, though, he had a plaque that read: We Plan, God Laughs, and it really helped to put things in perspective. Let’s just say that it rang true with all of us.

My job at Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Minneapolis ended on schedule and everyone was sad to see me go, but excited for my future plans. On my last day, they threw a going-away party that was more than I ever would’ve expected. About 60 people showed up and went around the room saying what they liked about me and what they were going to miss about me. Our CEO even shared something. Afterward, they gave me a book with beautiful pictures from China that all of them had signed yearbook-style with the nicest things you could imagine. It was very sad to say goodbye to my new Jewish friends. They even said I’d be a “honorary Jewish person for life” and should connect with the Jewish community in China. We shall see!

That night, I left on a road trip with some of my closest friends. We drove through 11 different states, our destination being the grand Grand Canyon where we met up with other friends. On the way back, we drove through Colorado where we camped at a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere and met up with even more friends in Denver. I think this trip was the best decision I’d ever made! The only regret was that it was too short.

That next week, I had my Epic Moving Sale and got to see many different friends come by and buy my old junk. And pretty much everything left over, I brought to the thrift store down the street. It’s so freeing to only have two suitcases of stuff!

For my summer trips with Global Expeditions, I ended up not going to Germany or Czech Republic; instead, I went to Brownsville, TX, at the Mexican border for a couple weeks and then to Genoa, Italy, for one month. Lots of crazy stories happened throughout the summer but you’ll have to see me in person to hear those. :) They’re quite classic.

Since the summertime, I’ve visited many friends and have had to say many goodbyes. Among them, Boston, NYC, Columbus, and Detroit. (I think that’s 19 states so far this year?) Anyways, it’s been a lot harder than I ever thought it would be to cause this kind of change in relationships.

And finally, Sunday night, my faith community, Solomon’s Porch, sent me off with a song called “Maintain” with very poignant words about how ‘we have a blessing to be’ a blessing wherever we go. So so true.

Now to CHINA-

I got a job! After being rejected 5 different times by different organizations, I finally secured employment while I was in Italy this summer. I’ll be working at ACES Center in Tianjin, China. They’ve helped me get my work visa, and will help me find an apartment once I get over there. My job title will be “Relational English Teacher” and the lady I talked to on the phone said that my main responsibility will be to build relationships with Chinese people. Her words. I think I can do that, right? So yeah, ask me in a month what I’ll specifically be doing, for now, I’m just getting over there.

Meanwhile, God keeps laughin’…