As I was writing in my journal this morning I thought it would be fun to read my journal from last spring when I was studying abroad in Costa Rica. Since today is April 3, I flipped open to April 3 2011. At that time I was doing an internship at a small school in rural Costa Rica. I had been living with a Costa Rican family for two weeks already and was the only American our pueblito. [Read more about my internship here.] When I flipped open my journal I found a good reminder:
3 de Abril
This coming week is my last full week in Chahuites, working at the school and living with my host family. I want to remember: To be willing to assist in everything or nothing with a good attitude. To stay engaged with my family even if I'm tired or feeling awkward. To be flexible, do new things, and not get upset if we don't stick to the plan. To be observant, watch, listen, ask questions. To have a gracious heart and be thankful that my hosts are letting me into their world and that they've accepted me like a daughter. To have perseverance through the uncomfortable, difficult, lonely moments and realize that I can learn something from those experiences.
I think my advice to myself is helpful even in my life here in the States, but it seemed to spring up at an especially appropriate time because I just found out that I will be living in Oslo, Norway for a year beginning in August. Joshua received a Fulbright scholarship to study and do a research project in Oslo. This recent news is extremely exciting, but I'm also anxious to figure out what I can do for a whole year in this foreign country. I will certainly try to learn Norwegian and I will try to volunteer somewhere or get a job, although I hear it's nearly impossible to get a job as a foreigner. Since everything is so uncertain, I think it will be helpful to adopt a mentality that is flexible and ready to try new things. I think in August I will be ready for a new adventure. Right now I want to live in the moment and cherish what's left of my life at Greenville College living with my crazy roommates. But I can't deny that I'm looking forward to being married to Josh and experiencing a totally new culture. I'm looking forward to making some new friends (and keeping in touch with my dear friends in the States), speaking a new language, and learning more about myself. Living abroad, away from the comfort of family, friends and the familiar way life seems to open my eyes to new things. I'm thankful for the experiences I've had in different cultures that have taught me new things and I'm equally thankful for this new opportunity that is so full of potential.
Oslo, Norway (from google images):
It looks like a pretty cool place, right?