Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I’m sitting here in my airplane seat by the window just thinking about the step that I am taking in my life at the moment. I’m starting to realize that nothing in life is by chance and that everything is interconncected. The title to this blog is “Hollikin”. When I was a little girl my mother would take me to George and Louise Sturts house when she went away on vacation or needed some babysitting. I have so many happy memories of their home while I was in their care. George and Louise grew up in South Africa and immigrated to America over 30 years ago. However, they remained their South African roots and with their sweet accents gave me this nick name. I have never been called anything else by them and I blame them entirely for my love for South African people. We just had dinner together last week and I really could listen to them tell stores about Africa for days, they are just the most delightful people. But ok, that’s my childhood background but here is what’s happening now.
I am finally moving to South Africa! As I sit here I am thinking oh wow…it’s actually happening! Recently I finished reading the book The Alchemyst per my Danish friend Sidse’s suggestion. This book validated everything I have felt about my own personal journey in the past few years and also what I have to look forward to. So nice to actually have everything that I feel put into words by someone else! So many people ask me questions like, “How can you just uproot your life and leave home, your family, your friends?” , “Why are you moving to South Africa at this point in your life?” , “Aren’t you scared?”
There is a quote that says, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams”
For me, that happens to be in the southern hemisphere half way across the world.
Now I do realize that it sounds a little strange for a 28 year old woman from Salt Lake City, born and raised in the LDS church and a nanny to just up and move to Zion with not an idea of where that will lead while most of my friends are married, living in Salt Lake with three kids and one on the way, but I will explain now why I feel so passionately about this. I am by nature a passionate person, I care a deeply about my dreams, life and people. In 2004 I stepped off the plane in Johannesburg . I had plans to volunteer in an orphanage for two months. Much like other people that have ambitions of working in an orphanage, I thought to myself that it was going to be a “neat” experience. I in no way expected the change in my life that only began that September. I have not been the same since.
I distinctly remember sitting on the platform of cement, trying to connect with the orphaned children that first day. It was awkward because they didn’t understand my English. They looked at me as if I were a celebrity (which as a third year University student dressed in khaki pants from walmart and sneakers, I most certainly was anything but), and they looked straight into my eyes as if asking, “what is your purpose here?”
One of the children, Mpho was his name walked towards me and held out a card in his hand. I read it and it was the lyrics to National Anthem of South Africa. I still carry this card in my wallet. I asked them to sing. They didn’t understand. So I started to sing America’s anthem shyly, but in effort to create some unity, anything to help me connect with them. Then I motioned for them to sing and as I stood there, I heard something other than the beautiful children’s voices singing the four versus of this anthem (in different languages of South Africa). To me it was clear in that moment that there was no other place in the world that wanted to be. This place, South Africa spoke to my heart and it is never to go away. Obviously because I am on a one way flight back to Johannesburg it still hasn’t.
I again returned with my friends in 2006 for four months. Same experience, more attachment. Now I was really in trouble, South Africa had ignited a fire in me that I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. That’s when I decided, k…I am going to go back to America and take care of my stuff, finish my degree and get back here as fast as I can.
I spent the past two years in Connecticut aching to go back, taking care of the stuff and traveling to some other destinations. In January of this year I again felt that burning desire to go to South Africa, and it almost felt like I was planning my journey to “home”. South Africa somehow in all of this became just like home, with different friends and a different family. Is it possible to have both? I am here to answer that question, absolutely. Somehow over these journeys I have come to the realization that South Africa will never take away the love I have for my family, for my religion, for the people that I associate with all over the world, but this country does offer me the chance to be my best self and share even more with those that I come into contact with. It’s the only way to justify who I am and why I would give up everything in my life to be there.
I have absolutely no idea what living in South Africa will bring about in my life. And yes, I am scared. It’s not a safe country, the president just resigned Sunday Evening, the economy is unstable, HIV/AIDS rates are the highest in the world , and I have unresolved differences to face. But those things are just things, and I would say in most situations, the heart overpowers the mind. It’s the only way to get from where you are now to where you want to be. My mind, of course along with all of my friends (in and out of South Africa) can’t understand why I would just walk into that situation. All I can really say is that for the first time in so long, maybe ever I am being completely true my heart. It’s the most compelling opportunity I have faced, the biggest crossroad, my chance….and I am taking it!
If you’ll note that the tagline to this blog says “The Luckiest Girl in the World” it’s because I am. How many people are given the chance to follow their exact dreams with the support and blessings of their family and friends, a close relationship with Heavenly Father, and let me not forget to mention in a place with the most beautiful sunsets I have seen and elephants? I am so incredibly lucky and grateful.
Stay tuned…I will update often!
Posted by Holly Harris Murray at 8:27 PM
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I'm a born and raised Utahn, but have lived all over in New York and Connecticut and have spent my time traveling the world the past 8 years. Again, I came home to visit for a few weeks and I have to say that I loved every second. I have the most amazing friends in Salt Lake and my equally spectacular family. I so enjoyed the mountains, the LDS Temples and the company. Salt Lake is beautiful in every season (and it's one of the only places that I have seen in the world that has all four: fall, sping, winter, summer). I love that. And I love customer service in Utah, it doesn't exist back east...and I loved all the walks, talks, dinners etc, that I was able to be a part of with friends and family these past few weeks. Really, when I say I am the luckiest girl in the world, I mean it. I really, truely have the most blessed life I could ask for and it's that way because of the amazing, inspiring people that I know. Someone pinch me please! I will miss all of you greatly while I am away, but of course think of you each day and you will be the ones to push me to do what I was meant to do. The apples don't fall far from the tree!
Posted by Holly Harris Murray at 10:54 PM
My little brother Steven and his wife welcomed Kaitlyn Elise Harris into the world on 8.28.08. She is such a delight, a little princess and I've been having so much fun being Aunt Holly and holding her! The best part about being an aunt is that you get all the benefit without the sleepless nights! love having my cake and eating it too!
Posted by Holly Harris Murray at 9:25 PM