Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thoughts on Leaving Africa

I just did a quick photoshoot of myself packing.

I should be packing. I really should be packing. Or doing something equally beneficial. But I just end up sitting on the floor amidst piles of clothing and other potential necessities staring into space. (Besides, it's almost traditional in this household to leave packing to the last minute.)

I don't really even think about anything, sitting here. It's a daze, like waiting to die, except that I'm not dying. I'm just leaving. Leaving. There must be a small death in that.

 Leaving is a weird feeling. When you finally make the decision, book the flights, you are ecstatic. It is so exciting! But the closer you get to the actual time of departure, the more unsure you become. The conversation topics become narrowed down to questions and statements like "How are you feeling?" "It must be so sad/cool/interesting/bizarre to be leaving" "We're gonna miss you so much!" "Oh, we're just gonna move on with our lives like you never existed." (I hope you were joking, dear person.)

Oh right, for those of you who don't know, after nearly ten years in South Africa, and 17 years living 'overseas', I am moving back to Finland to study.

I went and had a power nap to give you a moment to get through your flummoxed "Nooo" and "whaaat?" and "oh my goodness!" exclamations.
So, I want you to know it was not a spur of the moment decision, even though you may not have heard about it personally. At the moment it looks like I'll be doing the entrance exams for English and Social Psychology for the University of Helsinki, I also applied and have yet to hear back from a movie screenwriting course at Aalto University. Exciting stuff ^_^  For interest (and an attempt to bat further repetitive questions) I present;

The Support Going To Finland List! 

  1. Once you get in, it's free.
  2. If you're a student, you also get other nice discounts on stuff like public transport and housing.
  3. The University of Helsinki is in the top 150 universities of the world, and Helsinki has won the Most Livable City award (hehe, that's not actually a serious pro, just thought it was interesting.)
  4. It's in Europe! Travel for days ^_^ 
  5. I haven't lived in Finland since I was seven, and my language skills as well as general Finland knowledge  will probably die off permanently if I don't go 'back to my roots' soon. Considering pro's 1-4, this sounds like the opportune moment to go over there. 

And then for interest sake,
The Against Going To Finland List (and the reasonings these reasonings are not as good as the previous ones.)

  1. South Africa is Awesome! (Though then again my parents are staying here in Cape Town so coming back to visit will be that bit easier (as soon as they miss me they'll pay for a flight ticket muah hah haa.))
  2. I'm going to miss everyone :'( consider point 1. I'll be back.)
  3. UCT is very legitimate too. (And super expensive. UH and UCT are part of the same university exchange program, so technically, if I get in to UH, I can come to UCT on exchange, paying the Finnish fees... Which if you remember the previous list, is pretty much nothing at all.) 
  4. Fomo.
 Thankfully I've grown out of my hectic FOMO stage, and I know I'm going to be starting a lot of exciting new adventures over there, but I can't help feel a bit sad for what I am leaving behind. Especially at this in between moment of retrospective procrastination I'm realizing how life will carry on without me, how my roles here may be taken over by other people. Once I get to Finland I know I'll be happy and have new roles to take on and life to be a part of, but leaving here, or anywhere for that matter, is always sad.

I don't know what else I want to say about this.

Except that I bought a book of Bible promises and it's reassuring when I feel kind of lost. This verse I read earlier today is from 2 Corinthians 4,18 (NLT)

"We don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

So yeah, deciding and moving by myself to a country I only visit for summer holidays is kind of exhilaratingly jittery. Writing entrance exams in the first weeks after arrival and only hearing about the potential third one once I do arrive is kind of mildly unnerving. Having two days left in South Africa and Life As I Know It is kind of freaking scary.

But I have peace. I know God will never leave me, and crazily enough in the greater scheme of things, it doesn't matter which course I get into or even what continent I am on. And when I say "doesn't matter" I mean it in the sense that I don't have to worry about them, because God is the one who guides me through it all. My new motto is; "I will do my best and let God take care of the rest." (I know, it even rhymes. Yes I came up with it myself.)

Also when I focus on the "unseen things" which never fade away it puts life into perspective. Am I living for God, bringing Him glory in what I do? Am I loving people, serving them like Jesus would? Is my heart right with God, am I walking with him daily? Can others see that in my life? Those are the important life making questions we all need to look at and make decisions on every day. That's what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 6,  when he tells them not to worry. "Seek first my kingdom and all these things will be added to you as well." When we are focusing on him instead of earthly things, we are in the right mindset to take on anything that comes our way.

That is what I find the most amazing thing about having a relationship with God.He doesn't promise life will be easy, but He does say that He is always with me and He is leading me on a good path. Even if it doesn't look like it to me all the time, He works all things out for the good of those who trust in Him. I can stand with confidence, knowing He always has my back and I don't have to be afraid. There is even a verse in the Bible that says we can look ahead and laugh at the days to come!
The Bible is full of promises God makes us. Here's a final really cool one;

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.   (Joshua 1.9)

Being in a relationship with God makes me excited to do scary things, because it means that I have to rely on him even more, and can see his power working in bigger, crazier things. Knowing God is with me makes me excited to go ahead on this new journey in life towards Finland. :)

Whether it is God's plan that I get into screenwriting, or social psychology, or end up doing something totally different once I get there, I will follow Him because I am certain He loves me and I will use whichever opportunity arises to show that I love Him too.

What are your eyes fixed on?