It has been a while since I’ve blogged, and that’s because of a few reasons. Firstly, as you may have noticed, I DIDN’T end up moving across the world to cook on a boat. ( I’ll explain that in a little bit). Second, I moved from Italy to Kalamazoo. Compared to Italy, Kalamazoo isn’t very “blog-able”. The purpose of this blog was to share culinary and travel experiences, but I’ve been doing lots of reflecting lately, and I’d be honored to just share some things with you.
This summer, I was prepared to leave Michigan, leave the United States, and live on a boat in the waters surrounding the Island of Palau. I had been investing a lot of time and money into getting a work visa, I was trying to get rid of most of my personal belongings so I could leave the country without having an abundance of stuff stored away. I was communicating with the company in Palau, and trying to figure out when I could fly out there. But, throughout this long span of time, a feeling of unease grew. A few specific things caused this feeling of unrest. When I would email the company, they would take days, even weeks to respond. They would give short, uninformative responses. I was never given information on things like what I should bring, how I should prepare for the position, or even when I should expect to fly out, even though I asked all these questions. This made me feel uneasy, and unsure about the huge life decision I was making. I have a friend who works for the same company but on a different ship. I had been communicating with him, and he told me that the chef who trained him for his position was heading out to Palau to cook on that ship. This information made me confused, and uneasy, because the company never told me that someone else was filling the position. I felt completely out of the loop. I spend a lot of time thinking, and evaluating what I was feeling. Was I just nervous for the job? Or am I actually picking up warning signs? I am not the type to miss out on an adventure. I will take any opportunity to travel, and to learn, but this just didn’t feel right. Once I arrived on the island, and signed that contract, I would be bound to the job for 2 years. What if my instincts are right? I would be trapped for 2 years in a bad situation. Finally, I decided. I would trust my instincts, and trust that my God is putting things on my heart for a reason. I spent an hour typing and retyping the email before finally hitting “send” with a shaking hand. And I waited for a response. None ever came.
That confirmed to me that I made the right choice. They weren’t professional enough to even grant an email back to me.
So there I was, sitting in my parents house in Portage Michigan, without a plan, without a destination, without direction anymore. And I felt more than a little heartbroken. Now what?
6 months later, here I am. Im living in a perfect, historical, yellow house in downtown Kalamazoo with my best friend. I am attending a church that I love, and growing more spiritually than I have in a very long time. I am working a rewarding job where I learn a lot, and am given a lot of opportunity to grow and create. I get to see my family, and be a part of their lives. I still have opportunities to travel. Because I decided not to go, I have all of these blessings in my life. Because I decided to stay, I met the person who I never thought I’d find.
You know what? Travel is amazing. A rewarding, impressive career is amazing. But the MOST amazing thing is love. Isn’t it? Love for the people that matter the most. For me, its my parents, my sisters and brother, my whole family, my best friends. It’s the person who I’ve grown to love and care about more that I ever knew was possible. No matter where you go, how far you travel, or what you do, the greatest adventure of all time is LOVE.
I think a lot of society is obsessed with promoting picture perfect, outwardly impressive life. “Adventure” is glorified. Every experience is documented, filtered, posted, and hash tagged. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE taking photos. I love Instagram! Facebook is great! Blogging is great! I love to do these things so I don’t forget the great experience I had. But reality is working 50 hours a week. Waking up early to go to church and eat Sunday dinner with your family. Spending the evening over a cup of tea with your best friend. Working weekends. Spending a Friday night cleaning the house. Deciding not to go out because you don’t make much money, and you have to pay rent. These aren’t glamorous things, but it’s real life. The past 6 months have been life changing for me. I am learning to be happy in simplicity. I am happier now that I have been in a while. No, it’s not about being happy all the time, but knowing you’re right where God wants you to be. Its realizing that your source of happiness isn’t where you live, or what you do (although those things can help). The true source of happiness is the love in your life. The love from your family, the person who you’re in love with and who’s in love with you, your best friends, and ultimately, the love shared with the one who CREATED love.
I’m sure many of you know all this already, and maybe you’re chuckling to yourself because you remember learning all these things too. All I know is that I am grateful to be in the place the I am, surrounded by the people I love. Life isn’t perfect, it never ever will be. All we can do is love, be loved, share love, and press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call!
Thanks for listening friends, I hope the words I speak edify you in some small way. Not for my glory, but for the glory of LOVE.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19