life overseas

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Moving Home: Why I Loved Intermissionary

I doubt anyone noticed, but I’ve been majorly MIA for TWO whole months! Consistency on the blog during summer is a challenge because my routine is all over the place. Last summer I took an unintended blog hiatus for two months (although I wrote about culture shock and re-entry afterwards), and the same thing happened this summer. Even though I only spent one week at Intermissionary Chamonix, I’ve gotta tell you about it. Partly because I participated in the very...

Thank You Benin

I left Benin 2 months ago. It already feels like an eternity. I’ve already started to forget things. The feeling I hold on to is the one that consumed me as we pulled away from the Cotonou dock, “I have to come back here” and, “Will I ever meet people as amazing as the ones I met here?” Yes, I do… and, yes I will. I do hope to return one day, yet I know I’ll meet beautiful, inspiring people...

Moving Home: Using a Capsule Wardrobe to Simplify

Last week was the first week of the “Moving Home” series because I’m hitting the road and heading back to the U.S. after 3 years on board a hospital ship. I’m sharing all the things I’m learning and doing in the midst of this transition. Keep an eye on my Facebook page where I’m consistently sharing related articles and resources on all things moving home. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter for insiders by clicking HERE. Check out the...

Choosing a New City: Things to Consider; Provocative Joy; Moving Home Series

Moving Home: Choosing a New City

I am thinking about home all the time these days! If you’re new here, you should know that I’ve been living on a ship for the past 3 years. Yes, a real ship with portholes, toilets that make loud sucking noises, and watertight sliding doors (like in Titanic). Three years and this season is coming to an end. Even though I only have two months left, I’ve done barely anything productive to prepare. I’ve spent a lot of time on...

Managing My Depression; Provocative Joy; West Africa Benin; Life Overseas

5 Essentials: Managing My Depression Overseas

Third time’s a charm This third season with Mercy Ships is the best so far. Last year was the perfect storm as lots of factors combined to make a sucky year culminating with a season of depression that lasted too long. I entered this third season back in August optimistically because it could NOT get any worse. Things HAD to improve. After my service in Madagascar came to completion, it was so much easier to see what I could have done differently to...

My Plan After Mercy Ships? Swim Upstream

Airport life these days The man at the front of the queue went up to the airport desk clerk pointing and looking toward the end of the counter. He was describing someone –a woman, red hijab, with black polka dots. Just as the clerk hopped down to look for her, she came running around the corner with two massive suitcases on wheels. At first I thought it was the man’s wife and he had lost her, but as she rejoined her pile...

Enjoy Christmas While Flat Broke; Christmas on a budget and first Christmas home; DIY cheap gifts

I’m Trying to Enjoy Christmas (While Flat Broke)

Pull out the maletas. draft a packing list… we’ll be home for Christmas! The Figueroa’s will enjoy Christmas at home! A bold prayer I’ve been trying to claim for the past 12 months is finally being realized. I’ve missed two Christmases with my sisters and family and I wanted to be home this time and enjoy Christmas with them. In October when we were deciding, we didn’t have very much money in the bank and it seemed foolish to consider flights...

Marriages that inspire; marriages done right; Chaz and Roger Ebert; Kim and Krickitt Carpenter; Jason and Crystal Crawford

Marriages Done Right: 3 Amazing Couples Prove It’s Possible

Crystal was in denial about her relationship with her best friend. “I began chatting with him online constantly, at first only when Jason wasn’t around, but then even when he was, pretending it was only friendship,” she says. Jason was spending more and more time with his colleague from school, and projects turned into relaxation time which turned into going out to clubs together until late at night. Since his wife made him feel worthless, unattractive and irresponsible, all he wanted...

Provocative Joy Ivanna Overseas Volunteering with Mercy Ships in Cotonou, Benin West Africa This is how to drop it all and just do it

Overseas Volunteering: 3 Tempting Reasons to Try It!

overseas volunteering I arrived on this ship full of energy to pour into the lives of others and I was so psyched to live abroad on a ship for a full year (although it turned into 3 years). It wasn’t a huge sacrifice for me; it was something I couldn’t wait to try. I heard so many people say, “I could never do that. I’d never be able to live far from family with no steady source of income.” I...

Venice of Africa Ganvié

The Venice of Africa: Ganvié on Stilts

An Intriguing city A journey away from my steel-box home always overwhelms me more than it should. My lack of a car, a local phone, or a sense of direction make exploring feel like a monumental task. That’s why I’m glad we didn’t wait too long before heading out to Ganvié, the lesser known Venice of Africa. Ganvié was the first Beninois attraction I hoped to visit. I’ve been reading a book called Show Me the Magic (affiliate link) written by...