Back in the States

Frankly, I don't want to be home. This whole adventure to Tanzania has really changed the outlook I have on my life. I came home to find in my closet tons and tons of clothes that are not necessary and that I don't wear on a regular basis, a pantry full of food that my family doesn't even touch, four televisions that I used to complain about, and more pairs of shoes than I even remember having. This does not equal a simple life. For the past year I have been longing to simplify my life, but I never knew how or even where to start. Tanzania has changed that. I no longer feel the need to buy the latest clothes to keep up with my friends, or even people who are not my friends that I used to feel like I needed to impress on a regular basis. I can tell you this honestly from the bottom of my heart- I am content with myself and do not care what other people think of me. This used to be one of my biggest struggles, and I am elated that I no longer have this burden. Yesterday I asked my mother what she would say if I told her I wanted to get dreadlocks. Her response, after being speechless for a minute, was, 'America will reject you.' To this I responded with, 'Why should I care what America thinks? Why should I live my life trying to please other people?' Our views on this subject are very different. She doesn't understand, and I cannot blame her because she hasn't experienced what I have, but I am trying to enlighten her that just because I try a different hair style and just because a few people 'reject' me because of it, does not mean it is the end of the world. The people who 'reject' me do not matter and should not care. That is my view on that. The focus of my attention, instead of being constantly on me and what other people think about me, needs to be on people less fortunate than I. I can sit around and mope to my mother (which I used to do with the majority of my time) about how I need to go shopping because the style has changed yet again, or how I need to go out with my friends every night because if I don't I will no longer be accepted. This is not true I have come to find out. I have grown up extremely blessed to be living in a nice house in the Memorial area in Houston. Very few people in the world will ever be able to live in such a nice house, and my house isn't even one of the nicer ones in our area. My family lives modestly compared to the families around us, and we still live better than the majority of people. My dream living situation would be having a house with 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a kitchen/sitting area, made out of brick in the middle of a village in Tanzania. I would own a couple acres of land. I would have 7 pairs of clothes (one for each day of the week), and two pairs of shoes (a pair of tire shoes and a pair of tennis shoes). I would have a closet full of clothes and shoes that I would give away if I saw someone lacking there of. I would have dreadlocks. I would have many kids and I would have even more adopted kids. My goal in life would be to help others who need it. I would build a school for local kids free to use, and teach English to them as well as normal school subjects. As long as I am making someone else's life better, my life will be worthwhile. A couple months out of the year I would love to travel all around the world and experience what God has given us to experience. This is my dream life, and in the words of Pete O’Neal, “As long as we are trying to do something right in the world, a way will make itself known to us. When you think it’s all over, something will happen, a door will open, and a way will be made.”