I stand at the front of a small room with my supervisor. He is giving my presence a context before giving me the mic. I then take it, and slowly introduce myself and tell the group where I’m from. They smile and clap, proof that my 8 hours of language training this week paid off, and they actually understood my two phrases. He takes the mic back and explains that I’ve been here six days and that I’m learning the language… or at least that’s what I think he said. He hands the mic back to me and I turn to my teammate on guitar who smiles and strums the first chord. I’m volunteering to sing special music today.


Six days. SIX DAYS!! Six days since I wrote on this blog (and yes I know it hasn’t been two weeks yet but I just couldn’t wait another week! So bonus for you!!) I haven’t quite been here a week and I have already: sung for a group of people, eaten a ton of new foods, taken local transportation by myself (think rickshaw- but with a motor bike), ridden (not driven yet) ridden a motor bike successfully, ridden a motor bike unsuccessfully, moved into a house, messed up ordering, and gotten local skirts made to fit the dress code at work.

Everywhere I go, I greet people with a smile, a nod, and a ‘hello’ in their language, my palms pressed together and my fingers touching my chin. They usually smile back. I’ve tried ordering a few things and got the money wrong every time so far (1000 and 10000 look waaaaay too similar), but I know how to say ‘I’m sorry!’ So the shop keepers usually laugh and tell me it’s okay.

I’ve walked when I should have gotten a rickshaw. I’ve worn a skirt when I should have worn pants and I’ve worn pants when I should have worn a skirt. I’ve run into the only people that I know in the city while having lunch (#smalltownlife!) and been woken up by cawing roosters and screaming cats.

I’ve met so many new people and forgot half of their names (but remembered the other half). I thought I broke my sink (I didn’t- but it’s kind of a funny story) and then I washed some clothes in my non-broken sink (thank goodness for YouTube).

I’m still transitioning out of my suitcases and I’ve only just started to settle in that I’m here for longer than just a few weeks.

I’m thankful and excited and nervous and still feel a little lost, but I’m here at last in Southeast Asia! It’s overwhelming. It’s humbling. And every hour brings a new adventure. Glad that I can share it with you!

Motor bike = helmet head. Also I think I get extra points for mirror selfie!
My home! It feels massive for just one person. I can’t wait to see how it gets filled up!
On my way to language school. I’m always too early so I stopped to catch a picture!
Enjoying the views. The sun sets at 6:30 everyday which feels early for such summery weather.

I found a soup shop on my street. I didn’t order exactly right but it was so delicious that I didn’t mind eating it outdoors in the heat!

Ya girl with ultra straight hair is getting some curl action in all the humidity!! ….yes I sweat more than the locals. Thanks for the reminder.

Long Days

TODAY IS THE DAY!!!* Can you believe it? It still feels surreal to me-to the point where I keep checking my ticket that I got the time right (literally just went and checked again…whew) and making sure I have my passport and it doesn’t expire for…wait let me check…yeah till 2026. Whew again. I’ve said my goodbyes, and all of them were bittersweet. Goodbyes are hard. Some harder than others though. I’ll list a few on the scale of “Take-it-or-leave-it-but-obviously-leave-because-I’m-leaving” to “WHY-DIDN’T-I-STAY-IN-AMERICA?”

I said goodbye to Good ole’ Chick Fil-a (but they didn’t have nuggets or waffle fries sooo they’re basically dead to me.)

I said goodbye to my hairdryer. (Not that hard, but still. My hair doesn’t dry itself!**)

I said goodbye to my favorite yellow cardigan. (because it had a several holes in it, and I won’t need 4 cardigans that close to the equator.)

I said goodbye to my younger brother…as I dropped him off for basketball practice that will last the entire day.

I said goodbye to my parents this morning…as they left to board a plane for Birmingham.

I said goodbye to my Grandfather yesterday. He was recently in the hospital. He just turned 98.

Crying yet? Me too.

But now after all my goodbyes, (hilariously) I am home alone, waiting for a few hours until my Uncle picks me up to take me to the airport where I will embark on a (roughly) 30 hour travel day to my new home overseas. Talk about time to overthink. I’ve thought about goodbyes and America and family and the Father and time, but I can’t think for too long on any of these subjects because it makes me sad in a weepy kind of way.

So to avoid feeling too weepy, I’ve been trying to prepare for the day ahead. Truthfully I’m a little anxious because today is going to be a very long day. The next few weeks are probably going to be full of very long days. Days that feel like weeks and not all in a bad way! But in a, “there’s a lot to learn and see and do” kind of way. I know, because I’ve had days like this before.

It makes me think about Memphis, where some days seemed far too short. And a lot of days felt unbearably long. There’s a note that I keep in my wallet from my friend Kelly. She worked in my school with me and saw me at some of my best and worst moments. She wrote a note (I think in 2016) near the beginning of the school year, knowing that I was struggling and I read it every now and then to remind myself of truth that I forget when I’m anxious.


The day is long, but the year is short. My mistakes that I made are in the past, and His mercy is new. All I have to do is be obedient and do my best. (That’s it? Are you sure? Yep. Check it.)

This day, and a few others, may be long, but I’d be foolish not to know that two years will fly by. And I have an enormous opportunity to see the world, to understand it better, and to be obedient, which is a far greater opportunity than any thing or event or even person that I will miss while I’m gone. That doesn’t take away my weepy feelings, but it does keep my feet moving in the right direction.

My next post will be in South East Asia! The real reason you wanted to read this blog and live vicariously through me! At last! Goodbye America!

See you soon!***



*Today meaning September 22, 2018

**My hair will dry itself, but it takes forever.

***Soon is relative and depends on where you live. If you’re in South East Asia I will in fact see you soon, if 30-ish hours is “soon”. If you are in America it will most likely be longer but still “soon” if you consider the earlier statement “two years can go by really fast”. Use phrase with caution in the future and be sure to quote me.


Note To Self

One of my favorite song writers, Ben Rector, wrote a song called Note To Self. It’s a great song where he’s singing about all important things in his life he doesn’t want to forget. Training just finished and I am overwhelmed at how many experiences I had, how many amazing people I met, and how much I want to remember. So I thought I’d write down a “note to self” to help me remember everything that’s happened so far, remind me of what I should do when I get overseas-and I thought you’d like to know how training ended up.

1-Time goes fast when you’re having fun. (And it also flies when you’re not.) Good or bad or in between my time in training is over. Now we enter the final weeks before heading overseas. I’ve learned everything I could and wrote down the rest to learn later (with the expectation that I still have tons and tons more to learn once I get there.) I wish I’d written a better log of my days, a better memory of conversations and feelings and observations. Time went fast. And it will only get faster.

2- Go Deeps with your Peeps. Six weeks doesn’t seem like very long because it’s actually not very long. So it may seem strange when I say that I’ve met the most incredible and wonderful friends that I hope to have for the rest of my life. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but I think the main reminder to me is to go deep! Ask the hard questions, be as courageous and as vulnerable as you can, and watch a relationship grow from that! There’s not enough time (see above) for you to waste it being afraid or being lazy!

3. Dance It Up. Don’t get me wrong. I have worked for the past few weeks. I wrote my lists. I called companies and sent emails. I took notes in every session we had and I completed my assignments on time. And when it was time to stop working I stopped working. I went out with people and danced and hung out and played games and laughed until my sides hurt and tears streamed. Life can be stressful. Be sure to enjoy it anyway. And you know what? (3.2) Take friends along with you for the ride.

There are other notes-but you probably already know them. “Call your Mom and Dad.” “Get Some Exercise” “Clean Your Room More”, but if you listened to Ben Rector’s song (and if you didn’t go back and listen. I’ll wait). You’ll hear other great reminders that apply.

There are so many parts of training I could talk about! Nervous beginnings. Long days and sleepless nights. Joyful friendships. Peaceful quiet conversations. Goodbyes at the bus. Hugs before getting in cars. But my favorite was meeting strangers who eventually became old friends.

By the end of September I’ll be in South East Asia! Let’s go!


Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!! I’m glad I get to celebrate Fall before I head off to the land of humidity!
Sometimes we work really hard to get a story to make sense. Sometimes you need sock puppets to do it.
I don’t think they have henna in South East Asia, but if they do I’m prepared!