Albert Lawundeh, TSE photographer

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Out of the Box

The first time I went to Bo, I wasn't sure how I'd do. Most of my friends and family weren't sure how I'd do. I'm really more of a Hilton or Marriot girl than I am a camping kind of girl. I like my creature comforts. I like them to be nicer than average. I'm a 700 thread count kind of girl.

However, I like to be a little bit off-balance. I'm learned about myself that I learn better if I'm slightly uncomfortable. I like to be pushed a little. So okay - traveling to a third-world country might be a little more than slightly off-balance, and I was pretty nervous about that the first time around. One of the best aspects of that first trip was that I learned something new about myself - and I adjusted to the non-Hilton aspects of the trip a lot quicker than I had expected to. And the truth is, the MTC - the dormitory where missionaries stay when visitng Mercy or the CRC, is hardly roughing it. Tommy and Fudea, the caretaker and cook respectively, take such good care of us that I wind up feeling quite spoiled.

And yet, it's not the difference in how we live when we're at the CRC that pushes me out of my box - not anymore, and it's deeper than just that I'm in a foreign culture (although that is certainly a different box than I'm used to). It's more that every time I've been to Bo, whatever it is I think brought me there turns out to be not the real reason I'm there at all. I have good reasons to go - teach summer school, for example - but both times I've been I've realized fairly quickly that my agenda is extremely minor. Irrelevant even. In Bo, I'm so far out of my box that I don't even know what I'm about to learn - I can't help but just be open to whatever the experience is going to be. I don't live that way normally; not at all. I'm a planner. I love routines and I hate surprises, and in Bo, the only thing you can count on is that your plans will change, nothing will be routine and it's all a surprise. And I can't wait to go back.

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