Well tonight is my last night in New York state. It just hit the girls in my dorm that I am leaving in the morning and that has made them sad. To be honest, it makes me a little sad as well. I have really started to bond with these girls and I have had the privilege of entering into their worlds and experiencing their personalities. The students here have been very encouraging to me. I have never seen so many students so focused, so hard working, and so loving. I wish I could follow all their journeys and see where they are in a few years.
It’s been an interesting couple of days. I was uneasy at first missing home and having to adjust to environments that I am not typically comfortable in but I can say that God has really helped me adapt to the point where I might actually miss it here a little. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit far but I will definitely look back and remember that this was a wonderful experience.
It’s been interesting to learn more about the lives of these girls I am staying with. Today I asked a couple of them why so many of them wore rings on their marriage finger. They told me that they are purity rings that their fathers gave them at an early age. I think every second girl has one here. I asked them if the ring really helps them to “keep pure” (aka remain a virgin till their married). They said that at first it did remind them and it was their excuse not to have sex but now they said it’s much more than that. They now realize the importance of keeping pure and it has become a personal thing between them and God. I respect that.
I have also been learning a lot about the military. I am pretty sure that every third person you meet has a family member or members in the military. I was speaking with a young girl today whose father is in a dangerous country in northern Africa with the military. As I started talking with her I could sense her uneasiness about it. As strong as she seems, I can see that it takes a toll on her and her family. One of my roommates has 3 of her siblings enlisted in the army. I asked her if she ever worries and she said that she definitely gets worried when they are overseas. About 5 minutes later, a girl walked into our roomed quite upset as one of her friend’s brother died in Afghanistan yesterday. The reality of it really hit me hard. We had 4 soldiers in Canada die a few weeks ago and it definitely hurt my heart even though I didn’t know any of them. So my heart hurts for these students who have family members overseas and they are over here trying to keep their minds off the reality of it.
Do you remember that show that Rick Mercer did called “Talking with Americans”? Well I have experienced a bit of that myself this week and it’s been hilarious. A man asked me the other day if my name being spelt with a ‘k’ is a Canadian thing. I giggled and politely told him no. Yesterday a girl burped then excused herself because she thought that Canadians were extremely offended when people burped. Then I was asked “what is school like in Canada?” I didn’t quite know what to say to that because as far as I know, it is pretty similar to school in America. And finally today I was eating with a new friend and she burst out loud after I spoke and said, “Wow, it’s true! Canadians really do say EH!”
I am ready to leave American soil and land on African soil in just a few short days. Please keep all my flights in your prayers. Pray also for my luggage to arrive all together and intact with me on Thursday night. I AM SO EXCITED!