|The photos here are from Livy's graduations announcement|
get our "hands dirty" and see what orphanage life is actually about. I want to help. I want to make a difference. I want to kiss the baby's cheeks and teach the young girls to jump rope. I want to show them that the world is full of love and let them know that someone like me, loves them. Now that I am graduating high school it seems to be a perfect time to dream big, and set goals.
One day about a month ago, just standing in the kitchen after school, my mom looked up and casually asked me, "would you like to go to Vietnam?" I actually thought she was joking! It wasn't till the next day when she asked again, that I started thinking my dream might actually come true!
At first I was so excited but also scared about how much it would cost just to get there. I knew my parents would help me out with the cost, but I knew they couldn't do it all. Nor would I expect them to do that. After all this was my dream, and it just wouldn't be or as meaningful if I didn't put some of my own money towards the trip. My parents and I decided that if I could pay my own airfare (WOW was THAT expensive!) and a few other little things such as some of the donations and my own souvenirs and supplies, they could manage the rest. In each graduation announcement I mailed out I included a note asking if anybody could please help by donating to my trip. I have been so thankful for the wonderful responses and support that I received that made it possible for me to go! I am actually going back to Vietnam, the country that I fell in love with just 5 short years ago.
5 days from now, Mom and I will be getting on the plane and taking a long long long flight, across the world to my dream come true. Okay we're actually going to San Francisco first. Then Tokyo. Than Hanoi. Then collapsing in a hotel room followed by a morning van ride for a couple more hours. Then finally we get to the dream come true part! The long journey will definitely be worth the experience.
The last time I stepped into the orphanage in Vietnam, it was hot and I was sweaty. We were served hot tea, which seemed almost cruel. We stayed about 3 hours, got a quick tour of the place, and walked out with my new brother and sister! This time it's still going to be hot. I will still drink the hot tea, porridge with fish flakes, or foreign mystery food if I am offered. But this time I'm going to be staying there a while longer, over several nights, and getting to know the children and orphanage life and how I can help both right now and in the future. Because this won't be my last trip. I'm definitely going back! This is going to be the beginning of new adventure in my life. No new brother or sister for me this time, but 80 new children with a place in my heart.
The last time I was there, I left Vietnam a changed person.
I wonder what kind of me will be returning home this time.
Livy, the Unstoppable