I Chose This


A couple years back, one of my friends from high school, Cassie, spent a year in France. I vividly remember reading her blog and looking at pictures of her romantic life in Besançon, green with envy and aching with wanderlust.

A couple days back, Cassie sent me a Facebook: "I'm totally jealous of your travels!"

Granted, Jordan is a lot less idyllic than France and this program is far from being reminiscent of your typical play-first-study-later semester abroad. But even so, Cassie's words gave me pause. How the tables had turned! If you had told me in 2009 (back when I was an elementary education major--seems like a lifetime ago!) that I would not only get to study abroad, but would do so in the Middle East, my jaw would have dropped to the floor. It sounds so corny to say, but I am literally living my dreams.

I feel alive here. Nothing puts you out of your comfort zone more than language learning. Simple conversations can be terrifying, let alone when a new Palestinian friends asks you why America supports Israel so much. And you want to explain to them how difficult it is for a person in America to get elected President, how money really helps in that endeavor and it just so happens that American Jews tend to have a lot of it, and there's also the issue of the Bible-thumpers in the South and how if you turn your back on Israel you might as well kiss those electoral votes goodbye, and how one time during the Holocaust FDR turned a whole shipful of Jews back to Europe and we still feel really bad about that, not to mention that Israel is our biggest ally and arguably the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, and besides, the Tea Party keeps calling President Obama a Muslim which, sadly, is not becoming of American presidential candidates (don't worry, being a Mormon isn't either) and appearing anti-Israel will only further serve to strengthen that misconception; oh, and then there's the pesky little issue of nuclear proliferation in Iran and how America really wants to support Israel as a regional counterweight to Ahmadinejad, but in reality Netanyahu and his Likud cronies frustrate the heck out of us and no, we don't approve of Jewish settlements . . . 

 But all you can manage to say is ma b'araf (I don't know). 

When really you do know and you've read books on this and could probably write a book on this and now your new Palestinian friend thinks that you've never given the idea a second thought. 

Bye-bye, Comfort Zone. At times like this, it's tempting to scoff at people who say they're jealous of me.

BUT: I chose this. Whether I like it or not, this is my dream. 

Sounds funny to say, huh? "Whether I like it or not." Shouldn't you at least like your dreams? What's the point of dreaming if it's not enjoyable?

But what I'm learning is, maybe, the sweetest dreams are the ones that kick you in the face for a while.


All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." - T.E. Lawrence 

This I am doing.

Thanks for the reminder, Cassie.


  1. Anytime :) It's funny because your post helps me get through the disappointment of the FSO situation and helps me to continue to dream big. Lova ya girl!

  2. There's not one of your posts that I don't adore. What an incredible experience you're partaking in right now!

  3. Love you, Kristi. Hang in there, and I'm glad you have a chance to live your dreams. I'm trying to live mine, but you're right - it's hard. And the best and most rewarding dreams are the ones that kick you in the face for a while.


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