This week, I'd like to share with you an article I wrote at the end of my course there. It's a little schmaltzy in places, but it tells the story of two amazing women. At the time that I lived with them, I found their stories incredible -- now ten years later, as a mother and wife who is the age they were then, I am profoundly moved by their courage and grace.
The SITSgirls recently asked "What woman (other than your mother) inspires you?" Here's my answer, from May 2000 (retold in five parts, because it's too long for a single blog post):
I have never felt as alone as I did last September. At age 26, I had left my home in North Carolina – my family, my friends, my job, my car – to study for a year at Cardiff University. I was living in a very plain university flat, sharing a bathroom and kitchen with four strangers. For two weeks, I was convinced that my heart would actually stop from homesickness, or that my eyes would become permanently red from crying myself to sleep.
But my perspective changed drastically when I began to talk to two of my flatmates who had come from Africa for a Master’s in Business Administration, a programme comprised almost entirely of overseas students. Carol Muir, 35, and Mwenya Nyirongo, 38, had not only left their friends and their jobs – they had also said good-bye to their husbands and children for the year.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel so homesick anymore.