I’m going to be honest with you guys, I’m really not sure how to start this, so let’s take a journey and see where we end up, shall we?
In August of 2013, part of my heart left the Connecticut Shoreline and relocated to the island of Cyprus in the form of 2 adults (Danielle and Marios), 3 children (Christos, Caleb and Chloe) and a dog (River).
I hate goodbyes so I kept it light and humorous – my defense mechanism.
Kinda like my buddy Chandler Bing
Anyway, when I hugged Danielle that last Sunday, she said “this isn’t goodbye for long, you’re a world traveller, we’ll see you soon.” And she was right. Because 6 months later I bought a plane ticket to go visit them and 2 months after that I was high above the Atlantic Ocean trying my hardest to fall asleep but failing miserably.
I could have gone on the missions trip with the group from our church, but I wanted to be selfish, not share the family with anyone and just go on vacation.
So that’s what I did. Or so I planned. Little did I know, God had so much more in store for me.
Before I left the states, Marios challenged me to not blog or post on social media the entire time I was there. Seriously? Nothing? But I expect to have SO MUCH blog material! Not to mention the fact that twitter is my stream of consciousness! I was encouraged to journal every night though, so at least I had that going for me. His thinking was that instead of getting wrapped up in the moment and trying to put everything into words at the end of the day, that I should process everything that was happening, let it sink in, and THEN write about it in a public place. He felt that there was a lot that was going to go on within me and that I wouldn’t really know the half of it until I left.
I agreed to the challenge and I’m so glad that I did, because that week and a half was part vacation, part ministry, part learning and part networking. AKA: A LOT. In the coming weeks I’ll touch on all of these things and you’ll join me as I relive that whirlwind of a “vacation” – the highs, the lows, everything that delighted me – but tonight I wanted to start at the end.
We’re gonna Tarantino this.
April 19, 2014
Location: Somewhere in the air over the Mediterranean Sea
Not one part of me is ready to go home. I didn’t think it would be this hard! I was totally fine until I sat on the plane and looked out the window, that’s when the tears started to well up in my eyes. I tried to stop them so I didn’t look like that crazy person who everyone is afraid to sit next to unless they’re drugged, but that did no good.
Then I started to get anxious. Really anxious. So anxious that I almost got off the plane right then and there and wasn’t going to look back. How would that work? I have no idea. I couldn’t think of a good reason to bail on all my responsibilities back home so I stayed seated, staring out the window, trying to look sane.
Once the plane started to take off the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. Thank the Lord for window seats! The further away I got from the beautiful mountains and amazing people, the more upset I got. Even now, an hour and a half into the flight, I’m on the verge of tears just thinking about it.
Marios encouraged me to start writing about my time in Cyprus once I was allowed to turn on my electronic devices, but crying myself to sleep seemed like a better idea at the time.
Where are these emotions coming from?
I had no idea I would get such a heart for the people. The second I landed my “family” grew exponentially. Marios, Danielle and the kids have been like family for years now, but the Gateways Beyond people were so welcoming and so incredible, they quickly became like family too. We’re on the same grid, the same team, and I just kinda dipped right in.
Who knew I’d have a community so quickly?
My family is bigger than I ever imagined, and it’s growing by the day. The connections that were made are mind-blowing, and it didn’t stop when I left. It’s like a giant net. I connect to people, then they connect to people, then THEY connect to people and before you know it, we’re all connected. Kinda like the 5 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
I think the most surprising thing about the way I feel is how much I didn’t feel it while I was there. Every day I would go about my business and be like “this is great” and that was it. I didn’t look around from the high point by the sea and think to myself “this is my island!” I thought “this is beautiful!” BECAUSE IT WAS! But there was no defining moment during the time I spent in Cyprus that I can look back and say “that’s when I fell in love with the place” or “that’s when the people won my heart” or even “that was my favorite part”. It’s just not possible.
It was the whole experience.
I’ll be back. No question. Be it on a missions trip or on my own again, I’ll be back. I have to go back. I promised the mountains.