Tuesday, September 23, 2008

leap of faith...

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!


Morrena Harris said...

You can say that again-"leap of faith"! Your blog was so well written, your Dad and I will rely on reading your posts. We have thought of you all day long, what ocean are you traveling over now? At 2:00 AM our time you will land in South Africa. Our love goes with you. Love you tons! M&D

Tara said...

Leaps of faith are hard Holly. I admire your drive. Truly!

Chelle and Aaron said...

Wow holls, I can't wait to hear about your new life.

Nicky Yamamoto said...

Heavenly Father really does lead us to the exact place where we need to be in order to grow, serve, and become better and stronger. I am so excited that you followed your dream and look forward to reading all about it! You are amazing and I am so jealous that you get to live and serve in Africa! I'll make it there someday!
Love and luck to you!

Jenny and Josh said...

Inspiring! I am so happy for you. You know what you want and you are going for it. You are leaps and bounds ahead of so many of us who still don't quite know what our dream is and so don't really know what direction to take. Thank you for sharing with us your convection to follow your heart!

Jessica said...

Hey Holly, remember me? My sis Jen directed me to your blog because last summer I spent some time in SA, and after reading your post I have to say I felt a little of what you felt. I spent just a tiny bit of time in the orphanage while I was there and my heart was changed and I often think of what I could possibly do for those sweet spirits. If you happen to encounter ways that we can lend our help to the people you will come in contact with could you please let me know? I would love it if you emailed me @ jbhadfield@hotmail.com.

Good luck to you! You have truely inpired me - you are pretty amazing Holly!

jacey said...

I am so excited to see you so happy. Can't wait to hear more.