Accepting Transition

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{starting the family goodbyes}

For some reason, I just realized a week ago that me going off to college is called “TRANSITION.” I had yet to label it the big, bad “t-word” because in my mind, transition means moving across an ocean. I said to myself, “It’s just a few states away, no big deal.” Then I realized that I am packing up almost everything I own to move 765 miles away and start my life over. Again. And that is most definitely a transition. So I guess my point is, even if you’re moving a couple of towns over or starting a new school or even if you aren’t transitioning but people close to you are, it is still something you need to allow yourself to adjust to.

I’ve heard most, if not all, of the transition talks in the books and I can’t really think of a piece of advice from those talks that has made a huge difference in my life but one thing that has helped is giving myself time – time to say goodbye to people and places, time to think about what is going to be hard about the transition and what is going to be great, time to slow down and make a few memories before I embark on my journey to the next place or phase of life.

This time, my schedule has been so jam-packed that I have been feeling like I don’t have time to breathe. Between work and doctor appointments and dorm shopping and people who need me to drive them around, I have had to work hard to schedule any amount of free time that I’ve had in the last month.

I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to transition well if something didn’t change, so this last week before I leave I have stayed home. I have gone on bike rides to my favorite ponds, I have walked around the neighborhood I have come to know and love, I have sat on my favorite couch that has followed us to three houses over a period of ten years and I have hugged my family extra tight. I even asked my dad if he would read a Narnia book to me at night because I feel as vulnerable as a little child and I want to store up as much familiarity and security as I can before I enter a sort of desert for those feelings.

I’m not focusing on what I “should” do, I’m focusing on what feels right. If I want to postpone packing once again so I can curl up on the couch with my mom for an episode of Downton Abbey, then that’s what I do. If I want to linger a little longer over dinner in the backyard with my family, so be it. I can pack/organize/prepare all through the night if I have to, but my emotional and mental stability is extremely important if I want to survive this move.

This time, I’m not bringing all the people and things I’ve relied on during previous moves. It’s just me and the Lord. And I fully trust that if He leads me out onto the water, He will keep me from drowning. But I also know that I will be so homesick and so far out of my comfort zone that having these last precious times interacting with what I’ve come to know as “home” is going to help.

I don’t know if this approach is right for everyone, but I’m hoping that a few of you who also don’t really get how to apply all those transition talks will benefit from realizing that you can do it your own way. Do the things that you will regret not doing. Say goodbye well. And give yourself major buffers of time, even if it’s just to breathe.

Bologna Travel Diaries // Arrivederci

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Four months have gone by way too fast.

It’s been an amazing trip, full of memories, beautiful moments, and crazy experiences.  I have been content here. Life is simple when you only see your family every day. There’s no one to impress and I feel simply free.

Some random snippets of my trip have been:

  • People watching out my window

  • Eating pasta every day.

  • Being with my sister.

  • Chemistry tutoring with my Irish chemist.

  • Enjoying gelato.

  • Volleyball practice with my new friends.

  • Bus rides on Sunday mornings to church.

  • Watching my fave show, “That’s So Raven.”

  • Seeing the ancient beautiful buildings.

  • Learning Italian phrases and over saying them

  • Side trips to London, Paris, Switzerland, Malta, Greece.

  • Seeing the winter snow covering the rooftops.

  • Enjoying the beaches.

  • Spending a day in Venice and Florence.

  • Making my smashbook.

  • Learning to cook.

  • Praying that one student may come to know Christ.

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Read the rest of Kelsey’s entries: New Beginnings // Volleyball Memories // Tourists in Our Own Town

Keep up with Kelsey on her personal blog: A Beautiful Purpose . The password is “Kelsey”

Thanks for letting us into your semester in Bologna Kelsey!

Saying Goodbye Well

As TCKs (third culture kids), we have to say goodbyes more often than the average person. People are constantly going and coming and sometimes we even have to say goodbye to family members as they go off to college or move back to the US.

Goodbyes are hard to say. It aches to mutter such final words. It’s a whole lot easier and saves a lot of heart ache to just not say goodbye. Later on, though, when the suitcases are out of sight and the memories flood into your mind, you’ll regret not saying goodbye and your friendship might even suffer from it. In the end, it’s worth saying goodbye and when you say it, make sure it’s well said. Here are three ways to say goodbye well…

1. Forgive and Forget. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  If there’s anything from the past that you need to ask forgiveness for, do it. Also, if there’s anything that you still have against the person that’s leaving, forgive her/him. You don’t want to say goodbye when there are still some cobwebs in your relationship. Even if it’s painful, and even if you have to initiate, bring everything out in the open and forgive.

2. Be intentional. Purposefully ask for a time to say goodbye. Whether that’s just ten minutes together or talking over ice cream or coffee for an hour, make time to talk about all of your past memories and let the person know how much they mean to you. Exchange contact information if you don’t already have it. List things you love about that person. Take a last picture. Use this time to forgive each other for past instances. Pray together. Don’t make your last moments together a teary, achy, miserable experience. Enjoy the company of this person and leave knowing you ended well.

3. Be thankful. Be thankful for the opportunity of getting to know this person. Instead of being gloomy, be joyful about all the wonderful memories you have together and look to the future for all the new memories you’ll make. Sometimes the sweetest friendships develop best at distances. Stay optimistic and continue to pray for your friend. Also, look forward to the new relationships God will bring into your life.

Next time you have to say goodbye to someone you love, remember to end well and confidently say goodbye knowing your relationships is on the right track. Also, remember that if your friend has a personal relationship with Jesus, then one day you will be together again in Heaven and there will be no more goodbyes. And even though sometimes it’s easy to forget, we all do have one friend that we will never ever have to say goodbye to: God. Take your aches and hurts and broken friendships to Him and let Him heal you with His perfect friendship.