In Bordeaux, France, meeting a German student

This last week was a mixed bag of emotions, frustrations, confusion, but also memories I hope never to forget. In my last post I talked about my trip in Sharm As-Sheikh to keep me busy, but I’ve still been very homesick with no way to hear my mother’s voice.

How we all feel after trying for hours to get the internet in our dorm

I finally spoke with her a few days ago and I was so relieved, I cried at the sound of her voice over the phone, thousands of miles away from me.

My beautiful niece in 2008

My best friend since I was 2 years old

Yes, my emotions these days seem to run quite high, I am embarrassed to admit.  But out of it all I spoke with and became closer to people with whom I never expected to have much contact.  I took too many pictures…I don’t know if it really has sunken in that I will be here in Egypt for an entire year.  Time moves so slowly and yet so quickly concurrently.

The newest addition to my heart. Lameese and I are two peas in a pod

My parents. I miss them like crazy

My mom, brother, and newest addition to the family, my niece Rowen

My confidence in my abilities sky-rocketed even after a brief chat with my mother.  I recently realized how important it is to keep good ties with family members and friends back home in order to keep yourself grounded and sane.  No contact with my family until quite recently has made me feel vulnerable and fragile, ready to blow away by the first wind of criticism or disapproval.

Awesome dorm-mates and new friends

One of my sisters in Christ, Kelly!!

Even the sound of my mother’s voice makes me feel so safe, secure in the fact that people are persevering with me in spirit, thousands of miles away from me.  It’s heart-warming, really.  It gives me the courage to continue in my endeavors and increase my motivation for self-sufficiency in a country with which I am completely unfamiliar.

New friends in a new program! Grace and I

Summer domestic flagship, last summer in Austin, TX

I’ve come to the conclusion that new experiences and new friends are always a treasure, and we should never fear stepping out from what is comfortable.  I feel that is rather clear.

My sister in Christ, Xin Zhang, in Archachon, FR

However, this does not by any means imply that through this, we break and lose the ties to those who know us best.  There is value in expanding our horizons, making new–and perhaps lasting–friendships through our adventures.

Arcachon, FR 2011

But perhaps that which is priceless is our closest or oldest ties, those relations that we forget are so valuable because of our close proximity.  I have always loved to travel and jump into the next thing, but that oftentimes causes me to take for granted those whom I love so dearly, cheering me on in my wake.  As wonderful as the future always appears in our dreamy thoughts, the present is a gift in itself and should never be pushed to the side.

Bordeaux, FR 2011

To all of you who I have left behind for these trips and adventures I feel I “need” to take: I am sorry for the times I caused you to feel that I didn’t care or didn’t try.   I am sorry for making you feel like you don’t matter.

Austin, TX at the ESL dinner with lovely Eman

Fayetteville, AR 2012Another fabulous niece, Cassie

Because in truth, I am only here today, living my dreams, because of you.  Your influence over me has been crucial, and will remain a part of me forever.  I love you all, and I thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement, even when you did not understand my intentions or goals.  Thank you for standing with me in spirit.  It is the cornerstone on which I base my life.

Best friend forever, Tiffany, in Cali. I've known her since I was 7

My sister in Christ and partner in crime, Hannah. 🙂


3 Responses to “The Value of Old and New”

  1. Terrie on July 9th, 2012 4:24 pm

    This one made me cry… and prayers always for you my dear…I pray for you daily…love to you…

  2. abugibna on July 9th, 2012 5:06 pm

    what a beautiful post. keep on keepin’ on.. you’re blessed to have such friends and family and we’re blessed to have you in our lives.

  3. Hannah Pastor on July 20th, 2012 6:31 am

    This was so sweet Genny… we all miss you so much and yet are so proud of you. Thank you for the thoughts and perspectives on not taking the present for granted. The present may be in fact the greater gift than the future, but that is up to the discrepancy of each one… I just know that I am thankful for my awesome memories with you, am thankful that we can keep in touch in the here and now, and thankful for the hope and expectation of seeing you again soon:) You are an inspiration to me and I look up to you very much. I am always standing one with you in spirit and praying. Steal many dates with the Lord in your time there in Egypt, for they will be dates that you will never forget, I’m sure;) I love you sweet G!!!

    your sister, Hannah

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