Finding Home: Paia, Part 2
Continued from Part 1 here.
On my fourth morning in Maui, I woke up to a flurry of emails and phone calls. I’d applied for a fellowship with a growing non-profit called Vittana months previously, but it wasn’t looking like any opportunities would come together for the fall. Instead, I had planned to return to Kenya (I’d lived their from 2008 to 2010 working on a M.A. in International Development) to work on finishing my thesis before launching a full-scale job search at the end of the year. Turns out a program opportunity with Vittana opened up in Ghana – a country I have always wanted to visit (mostly because so many African arts and crafts originate from that region). Once again, a time of transition was taking me in a new direction, and I was excited to figure out how to move forward. Still, I had been feeling more and more at home here in the U.S., and the prospect of a longer stint abroad felt quite daunting.
As I wandered around Paia that afternoon, I stumbled into a yoga shop where a woman was admiring some jewellery that immediately caught my eye. Small talk ensued, and suddenly she asked me, “Do you sing?” Startled by the pointed question I quickly responded, “I used to,” as I grew up singing in choirs (in fact much of my world travel traces back to the children’s and college choirs I sang in).
“You need to start singing again,” the woman responded, before going on to tell me that I was at a crossroads and I needed to trust the opportunities God was putting before me. On another day I probably would have laughed off such talk from a total stranger, but on this day when an amazing opportunity had been placed before me, I couldn’t help but sense the divine in this simple interaction.
Later in the week a friend of my host’s invited me to coffee when she heard I’d been living in Kenya and was interested in education initiatives in the developing world. A casual morning coffee resulted in my attending the board meeting for Aloha in Action at the vista-laden home of its founders, Lei’ohu and Maydeen. Yet again, I found myself welcomed in and encouraged by an incredible group of visionaries and spiritual leaders. I had the opportunity to share with this non-profit all about my time in Kenya and the best practices I’d learned for non-profits as they sought to empower their international partners, including a rural village in Kenya. I left the meeting (after a delicious communal dinner) with the certainty that my path, transition and all, was (IS!) unfolding just as it should.
Beth from Go Girl shared this Maya Angelou quote with me when I told her I wanted to write about how to reconcile finding home with a traveller’s heart:
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.“
In these two weeks amidst a larger time of transition, I must admit I did find a new home. It’s not necessarily the kind that requires an address, but the kind that fills my soul with peace, encouragement and a sense of belonging. It’s the reminder that in bringing all of who I am to whatever experience or place I find myself, I will find myself at home thanks to the generosity and openness of fellow world wanderers (perhaps at more settled places on their own path).
I’ll check in next month from Kenya – travel well until then!