Introducing a new adventure

Hello friends!

One year ago I was in Sri Lanka, playing in the Indian Ocean.
One week ago I was in South Dakota, finishing one of the most incredible hikes of my life
One month from now I will be in Mexico, sitting on the roof of our family’s new home, breathing in the week

Because of the convergence of all of these events, I thought today would be a good day to update everyone on the upcoming adventures!  If you’ve been reading along, you know that I went to Jamaica a few months ago, for the second time, on a service trip with the YMCA at Virginia Tech.  You also know that I never wrote a follow-up blog about our trip.  That may never happen.

You also know that I was busy with my friends from C21S and trying my best not to let go of what we had during our month abroad last summer.  By the way, we are going our separate ways for now, but we didn’t work that hard for just a little plaque.  We have been reaching out, contacting NGO’s and development partners anywhere and everywhere, and our dream is not done yet.

As I just mentioned, I spent some time out west recently, and it was unlike anywhere I had ever been.  The landscapes, animals, mountains, vegetation, everything, was beautiful.  There might be a post coming about that, but again, who knows.

Also mentioned, I will be traveling to Mexico again in July for the sixth year, to help the ongoing effort to provide housing, love, and support to people in a community who needs it.

What you don’t yet know, is that in just a little over two months, the next big phase of my life will be starting.  I recently graduated from Virginia Tech (worst best day of my life).  I still have not accepted that I am no longer a student there, but I’m coming around.  While I will no longer be attending the best university in the entire world, I am not leaving the college life behind just yet.

In a little over two months, I will be leaving to move to Malta, where I will be participating in a joint Master’s program between the University of Malta and James Madison University.  It’s funny really- I grew up a Dukes fan, switched to Hokies, and never thought I’d be back, and technically I’m not, because I will not attend one single class on campus in Harrisonburg, but it is interesting how everything seems to be coming full circle.

So, a few things about Malta and my life that I have very quickly learned can be difficult for people to understand.

1. Nobody knows where Malta is.  It is near Italy, and when I say that, I mean “It is near Italy.”  Malta is a country.  A VERY TINY country, but an independent, sovereign state that is its own thing and therefore is not part of Italy and no I do not need to learn Italian because I am not moving to Italy.  I am moving to Malta.
2. When I say Malta is tiny, I am not kidding.  It is smaller than Rockingham County and Montgomery County, the only other places I’ve lived.  It is small and I don’t think that you can fully understand how small it is until I tell you that New York City is 304.8 square miles of land and Malta is only 122 square miles.  The entire country.
3. Malta is made up of several islands, located in the middle of the Mediterranean.  If you know me, you know I get cold easily and hate the winter.  This is ideal.
4. I majored in Geography in undergrad at VT.  Please do not get this confused with Geology.  If you start talking to me about rocks, I will have no idea what you’re saying and we will both be uncomfortable.
5. Geography does not mean that I look at landscapes all day.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like landscapes; I do, they’re gorgeous and yes I love looking at the earth, as geography does mean studying the earth, but it is EXTREMELY broad, meaning I can and have studied everythinggggg about the earth.  Land, features, phenomena, weather, inhabitants (people and animals), plants, culture, religion, CIA, conflict, mountains, environment, Appalachia, etc.  As someone who studies geography, I can learn about literally (I’m not one of those people to misuse or overuse that word) anything in the world, and a class titled Geography of North America means the study of everything that has ever happened and is happening in North America, land/people/nature/etc-wise.
6. My program is called Environmental Management and Sustainability and is part of the Integrated Science and Technology program.

I am really looking forward to this exciting adventure.  I plan to travel a lot while I’m abroad because it’s extremely easy to travel throughout Europe once you have a visa.  My classes start September 2 and it is a one-year program, meaning classes end in May and I have the summer to finish up my capstone project.  I don’t know what that project is yet though, but I’m excited to see what I’ll end up choosing.

Please continue looking for new posts if you want to follow my year-long adventure in Europe!  And if you have any suggestions of where I should visit along the way, let me know!

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