Cultural Carry On: You can’t take all your new cultural behaviors home with you. Some can be integrated into your home life, but some aren’t appropriate. Think of it like carry on baggage; what do you really want to take and what will just take up space?

What do I want to take home with me?
I really want to take my newfound dependence and trust in Jesus home with me. The experiences I’ve had being abroad and coming to know Jesus as a provider has been life changing. I want to take that dependence and trust with me in the future so that I can continue to worry less.

I will take my confidence and security and comfort in myself home. When I got to Australia, I made it a priority to only be myself – no more and no less. I didn’t try and keep quiet about anything I thought would cause people to dislike me and I didn’t go out of my way to try and impress anyone in any way. I was able to be myself and be open – whereas before, I could be myself but in isolation. I love how I have been able to talk with and meet with so many people and overtime not feel uncomfortable or anxious.

I would love to make sure that I take my relaxation home. I believe that I have become a lot less stressed and anxious overall during my time here. (I think my stress, anxiety, and insecurity decrease is directly related to my increase of faith and trust in Jesus.) I found a calm balance between reaching out to people and being vulnerable without recoiling or overanalyzing if they didn’t or couldn’t get back to me in any type of way.

What can you do to make sure you don’t forget?
It will be important for me to continue to read the bible and know the word and constantly feed my faith. As well, I have to be quick to always remember what has already happened in the past and know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, if I was provided for in the past, I will be provided for in the future. I have learned and will remind myself that if there is anywhere God wants me to go or anything He wants me to do, He will get me there and provide for me.

One of the best things to do is to hold tightly to the proof of impact that being myself has had on me all semester. I was more willing to hang out with friends no matter how I was feeling, because I didn’t feel pressure to pretend. I was more kind and open with people, because I didn’t base my self security and assurance on their approval or disapproval or validation or lack of validation. In order to not forget, I have to keep practicing what I have been doing here: knowing who and whose I am and pushing myself to not only meet people but form connections and hold myself accountable to sharing myself and receiving other people.

What can you leave behind (or put in storage)?
When I arrived in Australia, I was coming from a place of isolation. Before Australia, in school, I went to class and went to my room. I have been glad to leave my isolation (that stemmed from fear, brokenness, and insecurity) at the start of my semester abroad.

I will also leave behind my obsession, compulsion, and dire urge to control everything and everyone. I have learned well in Australia that, truly, I have control over very few things. Accepting that I can only control a few things has really helped me to relax. I like feeling relaxed. It’s good for the heart.

My thoughtless trust must stay in Australia with the con-man. I will continue to trust and help people, because it’s at the heart and truth of who I am. However, I will be leaving the thoughtlessness and lack of common sense here in Australia. I believe it will be better for me and the people I hope to serve in the future for me to be more wise in my trusting.

Finding Closure: An important part of preparing yourself for going home is making sure you finish up your time here feeling content and satisfied. To find closure think of 2-5 achievable ‘must dos’ to help you wrap up your time here with satisfaction.

Read two books (done: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston)

Have lunch at the korean place (White Tomato) (done (:)

Have sleep over with Katy & Nikita (done!)

Eat kangaroo (I did not eat Kangaroo while in Australia. This is the only thing I wanted to do that I didn’t do. Nevertheless, I did go on an incredible and unexpected hike and I saw a few kangaroos – which is a lot kinder than eating them (maybe next time) (an update: I did indeed eat Kangaroo on my last night in Australia – I also ate Emu. The Kangaroo was better than the Emu)

Start poetry book (done. I did indeed start working on my first collection of poetry in this fine month of June in this fine island-continent that is Australia)