Since the beginning of the semester I've had my mind made up about my summer plans. I found a program that focused on sustainable agriculture, nutrition and HIV/AIDS education in...Tanzania! Umm hello...perfect much?! Ever since I got back from Uganda I've been dying to return to Africa. In what capacity I wasn't sure, I just knew I wanted to return to a life of simplicity and significance.
So far, it's been a battle working with my academic adviser and program director to figure out logistically how this would work. Last night I got the good news- assuming I fill out a billion internship, study abroad and financial aid forms for my school, this trip should go off without a hitch! This is where the panic and dread set in...
This whole time I was half-expecting not to be able to go. So when the reality set in that I might be spending two months away from my beloved, my enthusiasm quickly evaporated. I'll be the first to admit that I tend to romanticize my time in Uganda. Yes, it was life-changing. Yes, it gave me a greater perspective on the world. Yes, it made me realize how incredibly blessed I am.
But the truth is I spent most of my four months being some combination of overwhelmed, sick and/or depressed. Life in sub-Saharan Africa (from my experience) is hard. It is physically demanding, emotionally exhausting, spiritually draining and sometimes, downright scary. The thought of an African adventure doesn't appeal to me the same way it did to naive Kaity circa 2008.
|Exhibit A: Infected mosquito bites & malaria pills.|
I want to travel and see the world; always have, always will. But I'm beginning to realize that the Bohemian gypsy I like to think of myself as has been traded in for a future-Mommy, almost-wife. I always talk about the fact that I never saw myself getting married. I thought sure I was going to pour all of myself into a jet-setting career, maybe adopt some African babies as I matured, but ultimately I had no expectations of falling in love or getting hitched.
Then I met Chuck and things changed. Chuck opened up the possibility of love in my life. He made me see that all the things I never thought I would have weren't due to a lack of desire, but due to a fear of failure. By setting myself up for a loveless life I was eliminating the possibility of a broken heart when it didn't happen. Chuck has given me the greatest gift of all: hope and belief that not only does love exist, but I'm someone who deserves it.
The anxiety that I've been experiencing in light of two months abroad may be an overreaction. Or it may be a realization that my days of flying solo and traveling as a means of feeling significant are behind me. This isn't to say that I'm done with adventure in my life. But I'm beginning to feel much more content with the idea of settling into a life with my one true love, and maybe even popping out some big-headed ginger babies along the way.
I don't need a gypsy spirit to be significant, because Chuck proves my significance every day.
|The boy sure can make me smile...|