The days since I moved to Missouri have been a bit of a whirlwind. I'd hoped to blog the whole moving and settling process, but I'm two weeks in, and I've already done so many things and met so many people that that task seems more than a little daunting now. Overall, the last couple of weeks have been amazing. Part of me can't believe I've already been here for two weeks, and part of me can't believe I've only been here for two weeks. Classes start tomorrow, but I finally feel like I'm into the groove of Missouri life, so I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm about to experience another major change.
Here's a brief illustrated overview of my first two weeks in the Show-Me State:
Packed up two cars and headed west. Stopped in Louisville to say goodbye to Jack—on his 24th birthday, no less!
Arrived in Missouri nearly 10 hours later. (We'll do it faster next time!) I was eager to see the J-School.
Spent the first few days unpacking, shopping, assembling, visiting campus and generally dreading saying goodbye to my parents. (Check out my new washing machine! And we tried out the froyo, duh.)
After the horrible goodbye, I headed to my new roomie's house in Sedalia to spend the weekend. Went to the state fair and even hit up Kansas City with Alysa and Bethany. Perfect distraction.
Arrived back in Columbia after the weekend and found that my parents had left surprises all over the house! (I think they're trying to fatten me up.)
Spent the next several days going to orientations, meeting new people, hanging with Alysa, walking all over campus and generally being amused by Alysa's cat. She seems to like my feet a lot.
I've been truly amazed by the warm reception I have gotten from everyone here in Missouri. Coming from a state as friendly as Kentucky and a school as tight as Asbury, I expected that I would have to adjust to interacting with people whose overall dispositions were not as warm as those I was used to. But, seriously. Everyone is so nice. Everyone. (I know this can't possibly be completely true. I'm sure that one day I will meet a mean Missourian, but it hasn't happened yet.) Midwestern politeness is legit.
One highlight of my life in Missouri so far has been finally getting to know my internet-friend Gwen and her lovely roommates in real life. (Wish I had pictures to show you all of the adventures we have already shared.) Gwen, let's take pics next time! I have felt so welcomed by them, and after a 460-mile move, welcomed is just about the best feeling I can think of.
I have to admit that before I moved, I had these visions of myself doing things alone in Columbia. Like if saw movie previews for anything that was due out in mid-August or later, I'd be like, "Oh, I can't wait to see that with...myself." But, guess what, I have been to two movies since last Friday, and I didn't see either one of them by myself.
I'm waking up just about every day now eager to find out how God is going to surprise me next. From the seemingly-chance encounter with Lindsay's friends* and my instant connection with Gwen and her roomies to the fact that the girl who just happened to sit next to me at T.A. orientation yesterday is also a Christian and wanted to check out the same church that I did, I keep getting the overwhelming sense that God is directing my every step. And that is an incredibly reassuring feeling.
I still get sad when I think about the people I love back in Kentucky, but I have not experienced the terrible homesickness and fear that I had braced myself for. I know that so many people have been praying for me here, and I am so, so appreciative of that. God has been answering those prayers in such surprising ways.
My classes start tomorrow, and I am nervous. I'm nervous about getting to all the right places, and I'm nervous about being a T.A. in a huge class (eek!), and I'm nervous about graduate level coursework and about trying to continue to develop these new friendships once the semester really gets underway. But I know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. And that is enough.
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
*I was in Which Wich and wanted a sandwich, but I didn't know how to use the brown bag system, so I asked this girl in front of me in line what I was supposed to do. I started talking to her and her friend, and we went through the usual "Where are you from? What's your major?"-type questions. Anyway, the girls, Elaine and Allie, invited me to sit with them at lunch. And I was thinking, "Man, these Missouri people are nice. I just met them."
So we walked over and started talking to their other friend, Katie, while we waited for our 'wiches. Katie mentioned that she worked at YMCA of the Rockies this summer, and I was like, "Um, that sounds really familiar, but I have no idea why. Like, really familiar. Like, I must have read about it on the internet somewhere." And then they mentioned that it was part of this program called "Leadership Training," and I was like, "Wait, is that connected to The Rock?"
And they were like, "Um, YEAH, how do you know about The Rock?" And I was like, "Funny story, actually. I started talking to this girl on the internet after I found her blog, and she went—" And they were like, "WAIT, what was her name!?" And I was like, "Lindsay Cochrum." And then there was shrieking inside of Which Wich. And they were, "WAIT, ARE YOU!? ARE YOU!?" And I was like, "The Ship?"
And then there was more shrieking inside of Which Wich. Because, yes, I was The Ship, and they were friends with Lindsay. So we ended up calling Lindsay and then just having an all-around delightful lunch during which we basked in the coincidence providential encounter. (Can you bask in an encounter? I don't know, really. But I think we did.) Seriously, though. The odds of this situation were like nil. I don't talk to people in front of me in restaurant lines all that often, and even less often do random people in restaurant lines invite me to sit with them. And 32,000 students go to Mizzou.