First there was this

And we did this

Then I went here…

Then we did this!

Still here?

So now in five days, I am moving to Cape Town and doing all of that and more. There are a ton of uncertainties and things that can go wrong but I don’t have any time to think about those things. I have spent the last two weeks singing Farewell to the different groups of meaningful beings in my life.

…that last goodbye was my most recent farewell to my hair.

This year has been jam-packed with “lasts” and truly beautiful moments. In preparation for this journey, I finally learned to drive, I sold almost everything I owned and moved towards a more minimalist livelihood, I started eating better and drinking more water. 2017 brought luck and magic, solidified friendships and cleansed negativity, and was woven together by the truest love I have ever known.

Today I am sitting in Dallas, PA for the last time in a while. It’s absolutely freezing, soup is being prepared, the dryer is singing along to the “That’s Amore” Pandora station, and a combination of Arabic and Klingon is being spoken in the kitchen. I have packed everything that I will bring back with my to Philadelphia, where I will spend three more days before Marc and I depart on Wednesday. There is something beautiful about starting the largest new chapter of my life at the turn of a new year. As an American student and teacher, I am used to a new beginning every August, but in South Africa, everything starts when the new year starts in January. I’m happy to arrive as things just get started again – it will make me feel less behind.

I have been hit with waves of tears with no form of warning at any time of day. Everyone is hugging me just a bit longer now. Some people completely refuse to talk about it, and others look at me like I have cancer and it’s my fault that I will soon die. I don’t mind that everyone deals with this odd feeling differently, and I appreciate the overwhelming willingness to spend time together.  My dad told me when I was born, I participated in 20 hours of labor, thus setting me up with the tools to push forward when things seem tough. That has been helpful to hold onto as only days ago an immigration officer told me “music teacher” is not an occupation for which South Africa is usually willing to award a work visa, and if a miracle did happen, it would take many months. This may mean the worst for the job I have been promised and things may not happen with a pretty tied bow like I had hoped. I’m very thankful for everyone who has been encouraging and empowering to make this frown turn upside-down.

Over then next few days I will have some relaxing (hopefully) days and time to put all of my nervous energy into words. Here’s to new beginnings and the strength to continue them beyond just beginnings.