Before I Go…
As I prepare to finally leave for my Fulbright Scholarship to Malaysia on January 3rd there were a number of things that I had to do first. Perhaps out of reluctance, creating this blog is one of the last things I will do before departing. There is something about writing about myself that I really disdain and feel uncomfortable doing. On top of that, I know full well the promises made by many and kept by very few about maintaining a blog. I am very aware that I may struggle with this upkeep and embarrass myself horribly during this whole process. Since both of these things are an absolute certainty anyway, I figure this blog just gives me an outlet to make my terrible spelling and poor writing a public display. No use hiding it any more I guess.
That being said, however, I would like to chronicle my time abroad and the experiences while traveling and teaching. That way I will be able to remember those moments fondly, or perhaps not so fondly, in the years to come. All lessons learned in the next year will be important. Also, there is no doubt that I have received pressure (we’ll call it pressure for now) from many of you to keep everyone updated on the coming year. Since this opportunity would not even be a remote option without the upbringing, love and support that I have received over the years; it is only right that all of you share in the experience in which you have already played an immeasurable role. Your support is still needed, I know, and I will thank you right now if you are actually planning on reading this for the duration of the year. It may be more of a struggle for you to read than it will be for me to write. Thank you for your patience!
Now, armed and prepared with the unrelenting support of my family and friends, I must say that I am ready to go. It has been a long time coming, but the time has finally come. I leave January 3rd from Grand Rapids to Newark, NJ and from Newark I fly directly to Hong Kong (16 hours), then to Singapore (4 hours), then to Kuala Lumpur (just 1 hour), a trip of a grand total 36 hours. Though it may sound terrible to some, I am in a position where I welcome the trip openly. I feel as though I have waited long enough and I am incredibly eager to see the day when I do not have to explain my plans for the next year to anyone! It should be fun and I know I will be flying with a number of other Fulbrights so I should make a few friends along the way. From there, the other Fulbrights and I will be greeted in Kuala Lumpur by members of the MACEE (Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange) and taken to the hotel where we will be staying for at least the fist week during our orientation.
I know that the first week, or more accurately the first few hours, will be ripe with surprises as well as many strange and interesting things, and I’m sure I’ll have some feedback to send along as I wade through the new and unknown world I will soon call home. Until then, some sleepless nights may ensue and much worry had, but your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated and will do a lot to give me peace.
“I suppose we all desire the security of the solid tree trunk, but the fruit of life is out on the limb. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The timid soul asks, “What do I stand to lose if I do it?” The fruit-bearing soul asks, “What do I stand to lose if I don’t do it?” Real life is lived on the cutting edge.” — Adapted from Hebrews 11:33