March-Month 7: Nearing the Last Stretch…

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Did this really happen??!!

 

1. The ‘you’re here by yourself?’ question still has me like ‘and why not!!? lol but I proudly answer yes and move on!

2. I don’t subscribe to bucket lists.  If you do, cool.  I just put enough expectation and pressure on myself to add that to the mix.

3. Dubai doesn’t speak to my spirit.  Lots to do and see, but as far as unique culture… For me-no.

4. Much improved from when I left NY, but I’m simply not a good packer y’all!! Trai, thanks for getting me outta Saudi!! ūüėČ

5. Unexpectedly bartered my English skills (if you call them skills lol) in exchange for an accommodation in Thailand! I know, pretty impressive!  

6. I miss not spending money.  Saudi spoiled me!

7. Food poisoning and flights are never a good combo! Bless the Lord for flight delays tho!!(If you’re REALLY interested I’ll fill you in lol!)

8. Ever sleep with a stranger in an unfamiliar place? Yeah, me too. (Calm down folks, it reads way more exciting than it is!)

9. I miss my Saudi people and church already!

10. Sooo nervous about the intensity of this course I’m about to take, but you can do it A! (*the update is I DID IT!! Praise God! Ps138:8)

11. Biggie was on to something when he said ‘Only make moves when ya heart’s in it’…Tho my caveat would be ‘when God’s in it’.

12. Thailand will force you to take multiple showers a day!! I never sweat like this in Saudi!

13. God’s love transcends language barriers! Hallelujah is the same in every language!

14. Writing this in the local park, feeling like a local!

15. Thailand-one of the few places I’ve experienced where people publicly appreciate my size.

16. Got up close and personal with some elephants-the beauty and sadness in their eyes is captivating. Please reconsider before choosing to ride elephants!!

17. I went to church in Thailand where the Christian population is about 0.5%….Okay God!  

18. This course has me re-evaluating all my sentences.   My blog is a rebellion against grammar rules. Haha!

19. I’m not in the weight class to be experimenting with food everyday! Sometimes I wanna know I’m gonna eat it and enjoy!

20. Before I left Saudi, I was told, “God has gone before you.” And surely He has! 

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February-Month 6- Back in the Discomfort Zone?!?

1. On February 12th, my last day at work in KSA, God reminded me that I am loved and to speak life to people.  Excited to share that story in person!

2. Psalm 104 (as my friend Anita says) is DELICIOUS!! You gotta read it!!!

3. I believe the young women I encountered in the classroom will change KSA for the better!  I see it already!

4. Meaningful, quality, 1-1 convos are so special to me. Quality>quantity fo sho’!

5. Why is this man clipping his nails in church??!! We can hear that!! Yes, I wrote this part in church.

6. Even when you do your part in a timely fashion, it don’t always work like that.¬† This experience has forced me to sit down (uncomfortably:-/) and wait. James 1:4 tho.

7. Mothers are awesome!! Dads too, but mommies of multiples??!! The food source??!! Y’all got a job!! Salute.

8. Buying insurance will remind you of your age!! Why mine gotta be so high doe??! Cuz I’m lightly seasoned ūüėČ But seriously, travel insurance is worth the extra peace for you and your fam.

9. I don’t know how I’ll feel when I leave this place, but right now I’m okay! Busy-ness helps.

10. I’m on the road to home!!! Going to a few more places.¬† First for work, then for play-live while I’m living right?!

11. I will miss the worship experience and fervent desire/expectancy for God at GOC.  I pray I continue to change for the better.

12. S/o to Talijah who said pack light and Angela who said pack early! I didn’t implement those strategies when you told me to, but I’m trying harder this go round!

13. February 25th (as I’m typing) is my Saudiversary!! I’ll leave two days later.

14. I feel like it’s been longer than a year-like I have a totally different life right now, it’s been awesome!!!

15. I loved living with all women, I really did. I lived with a great group of people, which I know helped.¬† I’ll miss them and house mother always making food for the family! Special times ūüôā

16. This one’s for me-write the goals down, prioritize, and if you don’t check them off today, as long as God gives life tomorrow, handle it. It’s okay if you don’t get through the whole list in a day A! #encourageyourself

17. I love that I’ve witnessed the historical/political sides of the countries I’ve visited on this journey, I want that to continue.

18. Words have power.¬† I casually said (albeit a few times) that I want to experience a concert overseas (the crowds just look more excited!) and on 2/27, I’ll be watching John Legend and Esperanza live in Dubai!!

19. I’ve received God’s grace, mercy, and favor on another level since I left the US and at times, I feel spoiled and undeserving, but God’s ultimate gift is LOVE, so I’m grateful and pray I use it all for His glory…No good thing will He withhold from those who walk upright (Ps 84:11) I’m trying.

20. Transition and the unknown are scary (I hate scary movies!!lol), but God’s peace and lead help me breathe a lil easier.

Last Days in Saudi!

Last Days in Saudi!

January 2015-Month 5-Game Change

Last year was so beautiful and just like that...2015!

Last year was so beautiful and just like that…2015!

1. Attended my first ever watch night service! Never went to the late service at EBC, so doing it here was really special and fun!

2. Starting 1/1/15 by oversleeping, waking up in a panic from a nightmare, and¬†almost missing the bus to work, is NOT the business!! God, I’m trusting it gets better!!!

3. Hosted my first Kwanzaa gathering on New Year’s Day, real intimate, real significant. ¬†Thankful for good folk who inspire me.

4. Made chocolate chip cookies (from scratch) that I thought were a bust, but my people asked for more!! I still need a do-over, but who knew I could make edible stuff in the kitchen??!! God.

5. For me,¬†2014 was my Illmatic/Miseducation/Good Kid Madd City year (y’all know Ihiphop) ūüėČ So the expectancy for 2015 is crazy, but God keeps reminding me to chill with that…this is a journey.

6. Some know I usually have a fitting hip hop reference for many things, but it would just be awkward to throw that into convos here. ¬†Anyway the good news is I’m getting there with bible verses too! God is working!

7. I’m listening to The Best of Sade as I write this.

8. I got excited for all of US¬†traveling on those cheap flights!!! Let’s normalize this worldwide thing!

9. God willing, in a few months, I’ll be reunited with my hometown! Cheah!!

10. At the same time, this experience has become a journey, not a contract, so I’m in no rush to put dates on this. ¬†I lived methodically before, but in this moment, I’m tryna be present in the newness.

11.¬†I’m thankful I’m still on this journey. ¬†I traveled so much in so many ways last year and God kept me. Traffic out here is dangerous¬†so I don’t take traveling mercies for granted. ¬†Prayers always appreciated!!

12. I LOVE that the sun shines everyday here!!!

13. I’m excited about YOUR 2015! For real!!!

14. Testimony-last month I got to tithe for the first time since I left and really!! I was so grateful to say thank you in the smallest way. Everything I am and have is because of God. I think I’m caught up now ūüėČ

15. God showed me¬†a tangible reminder to live right (wasn’t me this time, whew!!! but I ain’t exempt!) Sin can have a major domino effect. ¬†Lord, I need your help, draw me close to you!

16. I look at myself less in the mirror.  When I do look though, I notice differences (I mean we supposed to age!!!) Not bad, but different, change happens. Accept and move forward.

17. I was blessed to experience a Somali wedding in Saudi, Muslim style!!!

18. Didn’t think saying I’ll be leaving Saudi early would be a conversation I’d have, but thanks to a learning¬†opportunity, I’m out¬†a lil¬†earlier, stay tuned for the next…

19. At certain times/ages, people (self included) have certain expectations for where we should be in life, but who made those rules? Is everyone supposed to live that way?? I’m really trying to listen hard and take my cues from God.

20. Grieving abroad is harder in some ways than being near.  Nneka Fritz, your being blessed my life and still inspires me to keep living, traveling, and making this time meaningful, so I thank God for the life you LIVED (you lived sis!!!) and I feel good knowing that I shared my admiration for you in life! The beads are in my suitcase, I will still bring them back for you.

December-Month 4-Nothing Was The Same

Whew! What a year it's been!!! :-)

Whew! I need to sit down! What a year it’s been!!! ūüôā

Of course I’d throw a¬†rap reference in my title! Anyway, nearing¬†the close¬†of my FIRST¬†everything¬†overseas! ¬†So here’s to¬†December…

1. I miss walking freely, but wonder if I’ll walk slower (those who know…)when I get back home.

2. Re: the items I couldn’t take on the plane in February, Ms. Hill summed it up,¬†‘thought what I wanted was something I needed.’ ¬†I didn’t NEED any of it.

3. I’m not with structured prayer time if you¬†ain’t tryna live right outside those times…

4. Big/small, everyone has a role to play. #justice

5. No matter how far you try to go, God will be there, making sure you confront your issues ūüėČ (or maybe just me?)

6. I don’t have anything to prove being on this journey. ¬†So whether it was¬†one day or one year, I succeeded.

7. I couldn’t picture December when I first arrived and here¬†we are.

8. This blog (as late as it is at times) is one thing I have consistently followed through on, big step for me.

9. Nothing like an African baby dedication!! I need that in my life!!!

10. Love church out here, but still wondering why service is 3 hours??!!!

11. Had my first Eritrean wedding experience! Different, cultural, beautiful, grateful.

12. My first (yes, I been a late bloomer) baking experience was banana bread and it was quite edible!

13. I went in traditional Ethiopian dress for the Military Christmas Ball.  I said I was running my own race!

14. Some experiences you can’t put into words, like this Christmas! Unforgettable in a beautiful¬†way!

15. I still need my people from back home.

16. I underestimated how awesome this year was for me, till one day I looked at my pics. ¬†Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty when you’re in it, but we gotta take a moment.

17. ¬†As IMPERFECT as it is, I am so grateful to be born in the USA. ¬†I now recognize there is privilege (and for me, responsibility) that comes with the¬†blue passport. ¬†I don’t want to take that for granted.

18. I pray that I’ll continue to follow God’s lead¬†when I return to familiarity.

19. Witnessing loving, God centered families at church warms and encourages my spirit.

20. Nervous, excited, prayerful, trusting, wondering…about what God, in 2015, will bring!

I made it to December!!!

I made it to December!!!

November-Mind in Transition-Month 3

This thing survived being submerged in a river!

She survived being submerged in a river!

1. Had one page left on my passport (Eph 3:20)!! Handled that! I gotta see¬†y’all at some point!

2. In reference to my travels, was asked ‘where haven’t¬†you been??!’ Crazy because I don’t think I’ve seen a lot, yet people often see you differently than you see yourself.

3. The okeydoke is being invited to Thanksgiving dinner to arrive and find out everyone has to cook it. #wheretheydo… Made for good times tho!

4. He who finds a wife finds a good thing-God ain’t never lie!!!

5. I doubt leaving the house before 6am will ever get fun for me, help me in my unbelief Lord!

6. My church fam out here really check on folk-thankful my EBC foundation set the standard.

7. I feel very connected to the movements back home.  Figuring out my role!!

8. God is teaching me the importance of balance in this season, but the strug has been real.

9. The Princess Souk-aka flea market in Saudi Arabia is quite an experience-great deals, but bring your box cutter.

10. Trouble really don’t last always, but neither does happiness. ¬†For me? It has to be the joy and peace of The Lord!!!! Traveling solo is making me¬†see faith in a new way.

11. Yup! The honeymoon’s definitely over. ¬†Still…would NEVER take this journey back!

12. I was concerned that my students weren’t really getting it/getting me, then the midterm happened and I was pleasantly surprised.

13.¬†Two words that may try your nerves¬†when you’re NEXT¬†in line out here…’After prayer.’ ‘Whaaaaat???!!!! ¬†We still got 10 minutes!!!’ Lol, sorry I digress.

14. Umm Saudi gets cold y’all (not¬†NY cold, but) I’m bout to buy a space heater!

15. Thankful I was raised in a place with proper drainage systems. Rain/flooding out here is super dangerous!!!!

16. In life you will disappoint and be disappointed. Thankful for Jesus tho!

17. Talking to two friends back home recently was like eating a good home cooked meal! A fulfilling¬†place! ¬†Don’t be fooled, I need y’all!

18. I’m in a place where people¬†have never witnessed the 4 seasons of the year. It’s Saudi¬†winter, summer and khalas! ¬†(pron. Ha-Las=finished)

19. The compound life/social scene out here¬†gives me a college vibe-I’ll pass thanks.

20. I don’t think I have a metro card for when I get back home. Am I gon need to ask for a swipe? How much is the fare + card now??!! ¬†I know, tomorrow has enough worries of its own, but typical A! ūüėõ

October-Growing Pains-Month 2

So I was blessed to go to the Mother of Motherlands in Sep/Oct and this happened…

1. On the plane I was asked if I was a boy or girl, feelings hurt much?

2. ¬†At the airport in Addis Ababa, there’s¬†no such thing as orderly lines, push your way through or don’t get served-so push I did.

3. The current weather in Ethiopia is cool and rainy like NY fall, which I’m not really enjoying. I miss that Saudi heat-I’m a warm/hot weather girl for sure!

4. At the first place I stayed, I was greeted with a condom (wrapper not included) on the hallway floor.

5. I’m wondering what this journey will bring; like Asia, I’m going unplanned with hopes of having a full, rich experience, but¬†I don’t know what will be said when I return on October 8th.

6. Got my first international ‘are you Rasta?’¬†today.

7. Was told I’m African but not Ethiopian (oh) , then was told I’m Ethiopian…still on a quest to find my lineage.

8.¬†Ethiopia wasn’t love at first sight for me.

9.¬†I saw many things I wanted to capture in pictures, but didn’t. ¬†I felt convicted to¬†respect¬†the human experience. ¬†When abroad,¬†consider the intent behind¬†what you photograph.

10. Going to Bahir Dir in northern Ethiopia changed my experience for the better.  Sometimes you gotta give time, time.

11. Africans are the strongest people I’ve encountered in my life! I come from a powerful people!

12. I walked barefoot in the mud for the first time EVER and definitely stepped in some mess, but it was great??!!  Thankful my guide pushed me to try new things!

13. God raises people everywhere we go!! I now have FAMILY in Ethiopia!!!!

14. Ethiopian people-man woman, boy, girl are BEAUTIFUL!!

15. Went bike riding in Bahir Dir and again became¬†in awe of my life! ¬†I hope you¬†experience an euphoric excitement from God’s blessings too!

16. Injera-the main dish in Ethiopia isn’t my favorite,¬†but…

17. Witnessing extreme poverty around the world makes me feel helpless.

18. Don’t take hot water and lights for granted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¬†My survivor skills have definitely sharpened since leaving America.

19. I don’t have a BFF. ¬†I have my peoplepeople, but they don’t come with that title. Don’t know why this post is on here.

20. When I got back to Saudi, life was waiting hard for me,¬†playtime was over, and it wasn’t comfortable.

Before I took them off!

The Gestation-Month 1, September-“Regularly” Scheduled Programming

Trying Something New!

Trying Something New!

As I start my first full school year in Saudi which will likely be 9-10 months, I kept thinking about how this gift of time is in preparation for something beautiful just like pregnancy, and¬†each month,¬†many changes are happening. ¬†What will God manifest? ¬†What will He give life to? Let’s watch what happens…

1. When I returned to Saudi, to no fault of mine, I didn’t have a job secured-told y’all this was the year of the discomfort zone!

2. I love where I’m working and what I’m doing right now!!! I’m growing, being challenged¬†and¬†stretched. ¬†Look at God!

3. I feel famous when Travel Noire or an Instagram travel site features me! ha! It’s been a great platform for me to share more info with others.

4. Joined the cleanup crew at church.  I bring my own gloves-typical A move!

5. Making a list of SMART goals is easier than the execution…still on it though!

6. I’m being challenged to grow in the discomfort.

7. Y’all get excited for the Jewish holidays, but I’m hype about Eid-Al-Adha! 11 days off cheah!! Eid Mubarak to the bros and sis’!

8. Grateful and praying for the country I live in right now.  Its opened doors to so much for me! Testimony in progress.

9. My homemade lentil soup is pretty darn good (and not just I said it!! lol)

10. Pre-planning food, clothes, and lessons for the week makes me feel like a responsible adult-weird.

11. I take for granted that I’m a native English speaker, but to people around the world, it’s a huge deal!

12. Yemeni pomegranates yaaaassssss!!! And for about $.050??!!!¬†How much y’all pomegranates cost??!! oh. ūüėõ

13. I’m a BK girl in a Saudi world. ¬†People say its the way I walk, talk, etc. Back home some of my¬†people (side eye!!) would say I’m not from BK¬†(cuz I’m kinda quirky and stuff lol) but here? Notsomuch.

14. It’s like God gave me this gift of¬†pausing time for me to catch up on something! I’m happy being here, right now, in this moment.

15. Shopping trips have to be planned around prayer time and that¬†can¬†try one’s¬†(okay my) patience.

16. I have to be in bed by 9pm to get my full 8 hours, hasn’t happened yet, but God willing, it shall!!!!

17. Change happens.  Get comfortable with it! lol, but how???!!!

18. I love the clarity that comes with being a woman of a certain age ūüėČ I feel it!!!

19. ‘In everything there is a season and a time.’ ¬†God reminded me this as my people back home¬†recently experienced loss and are going through. Praying.

20. By the time this reaches you, God willing I’ll be coming back¬†from Ethiopia (remember, Eid break)!!!…What will I have to share in October??!!