If you go over to read that post, I’m referring to the first Christmas I spent overseas. The one in The Netherlands.
Like I said before, after the first time I saw Amsterdam, I vowed to go back and live there. So I did.
I found a school called Youth With a Mission, which apparently a lot of people have heard of. I hadn’t but I found out about it through a friend. I did a bit of research and decided it would meet my educational and adventure needs as well as my travel wishes. I had waited four long years to return to Amsterdam. Patiently working at McDonald’s, going to university, saving my money for another trip of a lifetime… a part of me thought it would never happen. But a lot of me still believed.
You know, I just didn’t want to force it. I wanted to go back if it was the right thing to do, not just on an emotional whim. So I waited, and then I went. And I wanted to stay, desperately.
However, part of the school program I attended (called a Discipleship Training School, aka DTS) required an outreach. Mine was to South Africa. Do I dare admit when I heard I was starting my journey in East London I nearly jumped out of my skin because I had wanted to go to England so bad?
Yes. East London is a city in South Africa. And yes. South Africa is a country, not a region.
Things I didn’t know before I went… but I know now!
My months in Amsterdam were amazing. I didn’t want to leave. I even bought a bike from a junkie in the market and rode it around town like I owned the place. And when it was time for me to go to South Africa I tried valiantly to do my outreach in Amsterdam instead. I claimed I didn’t have enough money to go all the way to the bottom of the world (and actually I didn’t) and wouldn’t you know it. Somebody sponsored me, like an answer to prayer.
So I went to South Africa. And I had the TIME of my life. And I vowed to return to South Africa and live there. And I waited six long years, but I did return.
But I didn’t live there. But I sure tried. I had an amazing visit and it confirmed my love for the country and the region of southern Africa. And maybe I will live there one day, but I don’t have the desire as strongly any longer.
After my months in South Africa I returned to Amsterdam for another couple weeks. It felt like home honestly. I thought about staying on with Youth With a Mission, but they only took two year commitments and, well, two years is a long time when you’re 22.
So I went back home and thought long and hard about moving overseas. And then something weird happened. I went to Bible school in Alberta, and then I got distracted and moved to northern B.C. for 18 months. I think I was a bit lost for a while, not really fitting in anywhere and not ready to stay in one place. The early 20s are a funny thing. I think people choose to either settle where they are and embrace adulthood, or they wander, searching for…
At any rate, I continued to restlessly search for the unknown for the rest of my 20s.