Earlier this week, our program director, Linda, mentioned that the JSB program is like pregnancy in that one will only remember the good parts. At the time, the comment made me chuckle. One of my friends then added, “Well yeah, I am getting fatter so I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement.” But as the week has continued, I have been reflecting more and more on the similarities of JSB in relation to a pregnancy.
Now, personally, I have never been pregnant, but I had a front row seat to my sister’s pregnancy three years ago. I know without a doubt she considers it one of the best experiences of her life, but it was not without pain or hardship. The hardship only grew in her third trimester. But from the pain and struggle, my amazing niece was born. Her pregnancy experience makes me think of the JSB program. This study abroad program is absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life, but it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are bad days. There are days I want to cry and give up. There are days I’m homesick. There are days that are just downright hard, but I know it will be worth it.
Growth comes from pain. One of my favorite verses says “Consider it pure joy, dear brothers, when you face many trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). I’m not going to lie, this week has been hard. We had two long days in Rome back to back filled with many sights, many crowds, and lots of walking. We just returned from our mid-semester break, and we’re on the homestretch. In pregnancy terms, I guess you could say we are in the third trimester. I feel like I’ve almost been in a “honeymoon” phase until this point. Everything was perfect. Nothing was a problem. Yet after seven weeks in a foreign country, I’ve started to miss my home, my friends, and my family. Just like in a pregnancy, there are hard days but the result is abundantly worth the small number of hard days. I know this will be the case with my JSB experience as well. Not every day is a cakewalk, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I came on this trip to grow, and JSB is doing an excellent job of challenging me in all the right areas!
Salute to the next few weeks!