There've only been a couple of times in my life that I've been completely speechless. The first time was right after I turned 20. I'd been on a mission in Romania for about 6 months. I got out of the shower and my mission companion asked me to sit down, and then told me that my former companion had just died. The second time was about 8 months later. There was an incredible family at church who was struggling financially, and had just got kicked out of the shack they were living in. The Branch President came up to me and asked what we should do to get them out of poverty.

These two experiences had a profound impact on my life because they forced me to think. They made me question my beliefs, why the God I loved and was serving would allow these things to happen. They challenged me to search for answers that I didn't know how to find. They taught me that sometimes life doesn't give us answers, but we have to go out and find them. 

Coming to Italy for grad school has been an amazing experience so far. But it's also given me another question that I don't have an answer to: "What do you want to do after SAIS?" Because just standing there speechless would expose me for the unqualified grad student that I am, I usually manage to spit out something that in my head sounds like "I want to be a business development consultant focusing on Eastern Europe" but really sounds like "uh...I want to do stuff to help solve...problems."

I came here knowing exactly what I want to do. I want to help the Romanians that I love, and countless others like them, to have a better life. Well, it turns out that there's no job with that description.

While trying to find the answer to this seemingly impossible question I've figured out some other things along the way:

  1. There are so many careers out there that I don't know about...yet.
  2. I really really love pumpkin and apple cinnamon gelato. 
  3. People make life worth living. 
  4. It's ok to be sad, confused, and mad sometimes. You don't have to pretend like everything's ok all the time. 
  5. Singing in the car to Queen and Beyonce with 8 other people while driving through Tuscany will make you instantly happy. 
  6. Sometimes the best part of my day is having one of those "ahah" moments in class. And other times it's riding my bike through fall leaves while listening singing to music. 
  7. I need nature in my life. 
  8. My family and friends will always be there to catch me when I fall. 
Panzano, Italy
Lake Bled, Slovenia
San Marino

I still don't know how to respond when I'm put in any of these three situations. But I've learned some awesome things along the way. Probably most importantly, I've learned that although I don't understand why God allows bad and confusing things to happen, I know that He's never left me alone while going through them. Life is filled with things we don't know. Some of them we'll find the answers to, and some of them we won't. And that's okay, because we'll find answers to other things along the way.  


  1. Preston, England has a good way to give you answers. Come visit sometime :D

  2. I love this!! Especially the part about how life doesn't give us ANSWERS but QUESTIONS, and we are to find the answers throughout it. That's so profound!!

    Also, as usual, I've been thinking about these same topics as well, and I've discovered that the things we really want to do in life won't be listed in a job description. I think I used to expect to find a job title like "Life Changer" or "People Lifter" in the classifieds when in reality, those opportunities are embedded in just about ANY job, it's up to us to make them happen when we can.

  3. I love how you said "it's ok to be sad, confused, and mad sometimes. You don't have to pretend like everything's ok all the time." I think that is a perfectly healthy part of life to have those feelings and to be discouraged every once in a while.

    1. Also, Slovenia looks gorgeous.


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