moving abroad

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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...

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...

How to Survive a depressing Christmas; Provocativejoy.com; life overseas; depression

5 Ways To Survive a Depressing Christmas

There is something special about the Christmas season, even prior to Christmas Day. There is anticipation and excitement. There can also be a building feeling of dread. As Christmas traditions trigger memories of years past, it gets increasingly difficult when you know something is missing, like your family, or the ones you really want to be with, but can’t. The anticipation, magic and wonder of the Advent season is precisely why this time has the potential to be depressing. It...

Risk-Taking Will Earn You A “CRAZY” Label

What did we sign up for?? I’m starting to lose my mind! We’ve made a decision, started down a path that doesn’t have an end in sight, and it’s not something our peers really understand. Most find it odd, or at the very least, poorly thought out. It’s not too late to turn back, but this is something we’ve wanted so bad! The risk is worth it. Let’s go back to the beginning. Our acceptance to work with Mercy Ships...