Sunday, 30 September 2012

And now, the end is here...

So, it's officially (the end of) my last day in the Dominican Republic. Whaaaaat? Where did the time go?

I have loved this marvelous, crazy adventure, I really have. I've met some amazing people, and I've seen so much; some of it beautiful, some of it heartbreaking. It's been hard at times. Being 5000 miles away from everyone you know and love can sometimes really suck... but Pauline, and the Project Isobel team, have been amazing throughout at helping me to feel at home and making this experience memorable.

I'm pretty sure I've caught the travel bug. I want to see more of this insane planet.

I'll never forget this time, and I know that it's changed me. Not in a personality-transplant sense, I mean, I'm still me. 

I'm still prone to long bouts of sarcasm in the face of stupidity, and as likely to go off into my own world inside my head as ever. I will still geek out at really random stuff, and I'm pretty likely to paint my nails according to the season, or themed to the last film I loved. There's no doubt that I'll still get lost in books (and films, and TV series) and I'll probably still get scared going into new situations, and be quiet until I feel comfortable.

I still love my God.
I'm still figuring out this life business.
I will still drink too much tea.

I'll be my parent's daughter, and my brother's sister. I'll still be Lauren.

But hopefully this adventure has gifted me with a little more maturity, has taught me to be a bit more courageous in unfamiliar situations.

I'm sure I'll be more independent when I get home, and I know that my perspective on the world has changed -- simply due to the exposure I've had to the way that people in poverty have to live their lives.
It would be nice to think I'll be a bit wiser, and not as naive.

I know that my heart's been opened up to other people more, that I can acknowledge and understand that being 'soft' doesn't make you weak. I have more empathy for people in need.

I'll be starting the next part of my life with a fresh appreciation for exactly how privileged I am, and I can only pray that I'll remain as grateful for everything I have in the future as I am now.

Because seriously, being welcomed into somebody's home, when they have so little but still call themselves blessed -- it's truly humbling. I am so thankful to God for everything that He's given me, and that He's kept me safe, and kept listening, the whole time I've been here.

And I wish I could show you all, for you to experience it too, but I can't, so I'll just tell you and hope you'll listen. And I hope that there'll always be someone there to remind me too.

Instead, I'll insert some pretty pictures of this beautiful island to break up all of the words. I know you guys like that.

There you have 'em.

I know now, even if I'm a little hazy on the details still, that I want to go on and continue making some small difference.

That I want my part in life to be an active role in improving our world; I want to go to University, and gain the knowledge and skills I need to be useful, to have the necessary qualifications to make an impact, to be a voice for those that aren't in a position to speak up for themselves.

I don't quite know the how yet, but I do know the why. And I have a feeling that might be more important.

I'll probably go on for a while to everyone I come across about my time here, and if you happen to be one of those people, and I start to rant -- Well, I apologise in advance. I have a feeling that I'll have to learn how to hold my tongue a little too, not to be too harsh on people that whine about problems that seem petty.

But honestly, if I hear someone complain that their life is unfair because they don't have the latest phone or something, I won't feel any guilt at all in telling them to shut up. And possibly whacking them (gently) across the back of the head. Not. Even. Scared.


So, yeah.

On to the next adventure!
Thank you for coming along with me on it all. I hope you've enjoyed my largely random and rarely coherent ramblings, and that they might have even made you stop and think for a minute or two.

Or, you know, maybe you wanted to share some of the love and donate to
Go for it.

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