It’s been 5 months since I’ve blogged about my whereabouts and I think I’m long overdue to update everyone. Back in March I explained my goal was to serve where the need is greater in Bradenton, Florida and I’m happy to announce that’s precisely what I’m doing now. Thank you to my family & every single person who encouraged, supported, and helped me attain my goal! So many people from my former English cong and my Chicago ASL cong supported me and I’m forever grateful for them.
Ultimately, none of what I have accomplished in the past few months could have been possible without Jah. He has taught me many things during this move but the most important lesson I learned can be summed up in one word: SACRIFICES
I heard that word a lot as I was preparing for my move and saw it a lot in the goodbye cards friends wrote to me. But I didn’t truly understand what sacrifices meant until I arrived here.
I knew sacrifices meant leaving behind my best friends, close-knit cong, and service buddies that became like my family…
But I didn’t know sacrifices also meant that when I arrived in Bradenton it would be a challenge for me to make new friends. Back home I had grown accustomed to being the friend that introduced everyone to each other and helped my friends meet new people. I had honestly forgotten what it felt like to go somewhere where I barely knew anyone at all. It wasn’t a good feeling. 😦
But thankfully I got to see a friend from my home cong who made me feel more comfortable. So glad Nata was visiting!
Also I prayed that Jehovah could send me the type of friend that I was accustomed to being back home: someone who could introduce me to good people and be a great friend to me.
The very next morning I got a text from my friend, Dom, who offered to sit with me at the convention and introduce me to all of her friends. I met her last year during my trip to Miami and I was so happy to be reunited with her again.
It is nothing like seeing a familiar face to remind you that you’re not alone. 🙂
I knew that moving across the country to a different state would not only mean leaving my friends but also leaving behind some of my favorite hometown highlights in Chicago like:
The beautiful architecture and the Skyline:
Pizza! (Real pizza. Not the cardboard tasting stuff from Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Dominos, etc)
Adler Planetarium: Adler After Dark
Photo ops on Museum Campus
Summer Dance in Grant Park…Garrett’s Popcorn…Millennium Park…ASL tours at The Art Institute…Shedd Aquarium
The list could go on and on but I’m getting homesick just typing all of this lol. Anyways, the point is: I knew it would be a sacrifice to leave the only city that I’ve ever truly known and loved…But I didn’t know that my sacrifice would include having difficulty adjusting to the slower paced, smaller town I currently live in.
Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S. and is full of so many fun things to do. I didn’t realize how valuable that was until I moved to Bradenton, which has a population of about 55,000 with zero skyscrapers in sight and only a fraction of the good eateries I had back home.
My Chicago-based palate has been having a difficult time being satisfied with the food choices here in central Florida. But thankfully I love to cook so I have spent more time in my own kitchen versus eating out since I moved here. When I do crave city food and fun, I can always drive 1 hr to Tampa or take a 4 hr road trip to Miami for a taste of South Florida fun.
Though it has been challenge to find fun things to do and great places to eat, Bradenton does have its perks. The beach views and sunsets are incredible here and unlike anything I had in Chicago.
And turns out that Sarasota (the town I work in) has a beautiful art museum.
I knew that moving here also meant missing out on some big moments back home. I knew that I would miss out on watching my niece, Naomi, grow up but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to only see her little face on Facetime instead of in real life. I also knew I would miss seeing my other niece, Ziah, grow up into becoming an awesome big sister. Those are moments I can only see via pictures and video right now and it’s just not as good as experiencing them for myself.
I also knew that moving would mean missing out on some crucial moments for a few of my friends that are getting married this year. In some cases, I haven’t been able to attend the bridal showers, be a bridesmaid, or attend the wedding at all. I want to be present for all the moments but it just isn’t practical. Realizing that I cannot do everything and be everywhere has been a bummer.
BUT the bright side is that Jehovah has provided me with so many joyful moments in Florida to balance out the moments I am missing out on elsewhere. I have had amazing experiences in the ministry so far. And I have also enjoyed getting to know some very kind-hearted people in my new town.
Every time I start to miss home I remind myself of the reasons I moved in the first place: because I love Jehovah, the ministry, sign language, and of course because I love adventure. I don’t think we were meant to live our whole lives in one area and never venture beyond our comfort zones. I have learned so much about myself from moving to Florida and I’m excited to learn even more.
If you or someone you know is considering moving to another state, city, or country to support the preaching work, please know that you will face challenges but no matter what Jehovah will bless you abundantly for the sacrifices you make. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make, trust me. 🙂
#StayTuned for #2018Travels In the meantime… #BackToTheGrind