Dear friends and family,
As I approached the end of my senior year of college the questions poured in from every person I spoke with. “What are you doing next year?”, or “Have a job lined up yet?” followed by a look of concern when I said I would be volunteering in Miami for a year. That’s right friends and family, volunteering aka no big salary, no traditional work benefits, and not much extra money to play with. So then came the next question, whether or not it was asked out loud. “Why in the world do you want to do this?”
That is a question that I too have wrestled with, and then I realized, why not? At this point in my life I want to go on fun adventures, learn as much as I can, meet people who are completely opposite from me, eat weird food, make insane art, make real, genuine friends, and be part of something that is so much bigger than myself. If there was ever a time in my life to do this, it’s now! More than anything else though, and as strange as it seems to say it, I want to feel uncomfortable. I want to be put in situations that I’ve never been in. I want to feel awkward. Why in the world would anyone want that, Kelli? Well for starters, what better way to learn and grow than to be thrown into a situation where you have to change and adjust? Through my past experiences, I’ve found that the biggest personal growths for me have occurred when I’ve been surrounded by things that were at first a bit uncomfortable, or a little awkward. There is a reason I am choosing to volunteer in a place like Miami rather than back home in Iowa. Different culture, different traditions, different norms, and different people. All of which I’m hoping I’ll feel a little awkward with at first. I’m seeking this awkwardness to spark change within myself. Change that will make me more culturally aware, happier with myself, and ultimately closer to G*d.
So friends and family, thank you for your concern about my well being this next year as I know this is not the path most commonly taken. I assure you though that the Kelli that comes back from this journey will be stronger, more confident, and ready to take on another beautiful challenge this life has to offer.