I bought a ticket, so this is officially real life

I leave for Manila on November 22, because I am actually moving to a real place for job that I am finally allowed to do.

People keep asking if I have done everything I wanted to do before I leave, and I find that question really difficult to answer. During the 3ish months I’ve been in Dallas, I’ve been to one art show and exactly 0 readings of anything. I haven’t been backpacking at all, and most of the things I saw in theaters were movies made for 6th grade boys.

But then this is home, not a tourist destination, and I can’t quite shift my perspective enough to look at it as a checklist. I spent more time trying to get to know this version of my little brother, the one that is 12 years old, lanky, and probably half a foot shorter than the next one I’ll get to meet, than I did going anywhere or seeing anything. And sure, I could have used this time to figure out how to make money on a blog or something like that, but instead I pretty much just spent time with people I enjoy. I guess that’s the difference between home and vacation.

Manila will start out as the exact opposite, I imagine. I will know no one, nothing will be familiar, and everything will be an adventure. But then I’ll write this same post all over again in a year.

Anyways, this is just a quick post to update anyone who’s interested on the departure date! I promise to consume nothing but Chick-fil-a, Whataburger, and (diet) Dr. Pepper between now and Sunday!

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Ok, Things are Actually Happening Now and It’s Great

Monday was a good day. There’d been a whole weekend of disappointing football, but that was ok because of friends and tailgates and Mic Check. And then on Monday, IJM called.

Y’all. I have a job. It is in Manila in the Philippines, and I leave somewhat soonish.

I could not be more excited. Manila is huge and layered and everything I want in a new city, and I cannot wait to get to know the place.

I’ll be doing all the same communications work that I would have been in that other place too, which mainly consists of “storytelling.” I get to spend a lot of time interviewing survivors and making sure their stories are told. Oh, and isn’t it fun that I get to talk about the specific city and all that this round?

The work in Manila is more focused on sex trafficking of underage girls and sexual violence than forced labor, so it’s got an extra level of gut-wrenching to it. But things are actually happening there, changing there. I can’t wait to join the fight. According to IJM’s website: “We have secured the conviction of more than 100 traffickers, rapists and other criminals in the Philippines, in trials that have lasted as long as nine years.”

I’ll miss this of course. I’ve enjoyed being home and getting to spend so much time with my family, but I am so ready to go. There’s a lot more information on what International Justice Mission does in the Philippines below (not graphic, but also maybe not for sharing with my little cousins *cough* Aunt Christi).

https://www.ijm.org/where-we-work/philippines