This weekend I was called an idiot several times. My judgement was questioned. People asked if I'd lost all my sense.
I was actually the one doing most of the name calling.
This weekend was as close to perfect as a weekend could be. Friday afternoon I played tennis with Amanda on a warm overcast afternoon. Friday night I had a number of people over for dinner. Taco salad with fruit and ice cream for desert. The food was good. The conversations were fun. It was a really great night.
Saturday morning I woke up crazy early and went with a group of people hiking out in the mountains surrounding Freetown. It was the perfect morning for a hike. The weather couldn't have been better. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. I was able to meet new people and have good conversations with old friends. I got to chase some kids who had come with us all over the side of the mountain and pretend to throw them into the pools of water that are all that is left of Whale River. We saw some interesting wildlife in the form of chameleons (which I've recently learned can give you the deadly but not often heard of Chameleon disease if they bite you) and giant frogs.
After the hike a group of us went to Burra beach to celebrate Naomi's birthday and spend the night. Burra beach is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, which is a bold statement but one I will standby for the rest of my life. The emerald mountains fringe the coastline. Flocks of snowy white seabirds call to one another from the sand before taking off to form a dazzling blizzard overhead. The river allows floaters to glide along it's currents or relax in the shallows. The sparkling blue water crashes over the white sand inviting one and all to swim in it's depths or ride it's powerful waves to the shore. A short swim out to Marooned Island with friends yeilded a stunning view of the mainland and gave me the opportunity to have a lesson in floating, which I am horrible at, while listening to the tide scatter the shells upon the sand and watching the cotton-ball clouds lazily pass across a saphire blue sky. Add the pleasant company of friends to this environment and it makes for an amazing weekend.
That's when the names started flying. When my sanity was put into question. When I wondered for the hundreth and certainly not the last time... "Am I really leaving this on my own accord?" The simple answer is, "yes". I'm choosing to leave paradise for the unknown. I'm leaving a life that I LOVE to go off and find a new place for myself in the world.
You see the thing is, there's always a thing, the thing is is that when I made my BIG LIFE GOAL of teaching on every continent in the world, I was coming out of the worst year of my life. I had just survived, yes survived, my first year of teaching. Life was chaotic, I didn't have a place to live. I was constantly nervous, or worried, or frustrated, or... something else negative. And halfway through I threw up my hands and proclaimed to the world that I wanted out. So I started my international search. And I made my BIG LIFE GOAL that I would one day teach on every continent, (excluding Antarctica because penguins are difficult to teach, but adding Space if they ever get this space station up and running and need a kindergarten teacher).
Which has brought me here, to paradise. O.k. not paradise all the time, but a place that I find myself loving. I love the people. I love my students. I love the role that I have found myself filling here. I love the bible studies, the worship services, the weekends at the beach, the football, tennis, and bike rides. I love getting to know new people all the time. I love it here.
And in 48 days I will be leaving. In three months and three days I board a plane for Portugal. A place that everyone assures me I will love. A place who's pictures are breathtaking. A place with 24 hour electricity, paved roads, real restaurants, and countless other ammenities that I can't even think of right now because I've lived without them for so long.
I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am going to love Portugal. I am a person who loves change. I enjoy adventures. I look forward to meeting new people and learning new languages. I will enjoy teaching a new grade and certainly look forward to teaching so much science, (I'll teach science to both third grades while the other teacher will teach both classes social studies). There is a lot to look forward to.
At times though I wonder, and probably will wonder for the next bunch of months, "Am I making the right choice?" It's actually a moot point now as the choice has been made, but I still wonder. I guess the thing to do in this situation is enjoy my time here, make the most of everyday, make sure I figure out how to stay in contact with the people I've met (YAY FACEBOOK!!!) (Liz if you're reading this...JOIN FACEBOOK!!!), and live a life without regrets, which I have always felt are a waste of time.
So while I may be an idiot, while it is probably reasonable to ask whether I've lost my senses, while my judgement should be questioned often, I will stick by my decision and know that whatever comes next is going to be amazing as well.
Life is too short not to take advantage of opportunities that make themselves available. A door has opened for me to go to Portugal. I will stride through it boldly, looking back fondly at the time I have had here in Sierra Leone, but looking forward into the unknown at the marvelous times to come.