Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Fear is winning.
For the past three days straight I've had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like I'm nervous, afraid,  anxious, maybe even a little excited too --like I'm going to throw up. Sort of like the beginning of a rollercoaster when you're headed up, up, up, and when you reach the top --you know it's coming --you DROP. The feeling you get right before you hit it. The feeling of wishing you could "just stop this thing!" That you could get off, jump off, run back... where it's safe. But no such luck, you're stuck. And I'm stuck too. Right in that spot, with that feeling, wishing for a safe place. Wishing to run away. Run backward, 100 mph. RUN RUN RUN. AWAY!
The past few days I've laid in bed unable to sleep --that darn fear is hogging my bed-- so I just lay there. I breathe in the scent. I feel the soft mattress underneath and pull the puffy blankets close to my chin... comfortable. When I do fall asleep, it's filled with a lot of tossing and turning. I feel fear is winning. When I awake in the morning, I lay motionless in my big bed. I soak it all in. The royal red curtains hanging loosely across the windows, the desk next to them cluttered and messy with music, books, pictures, loose paper full of lists and names and numbers, and lots of colorful sticky notes pinned here and there. Then there's the floor... there's clothes on the floor, a giant stack of books, a camera, a laptop, an open suitcase, a backpack, and more clothes... in the midst of all being packed. I look around the room and see the mirror with ribbon and bows around it (and more sticky notes reminding me to do who knows what) and pictures on the walls, and above me, reads my name made of styrofoam wrapped in colorful fabric and ribbons, letting everyone who enters know I've claimed this territory. I grab my blankets closer and just breathe. Comfortable.
Rollercoasters, most definitely not comfortable --especially in the very back (my favorite place to be), because it jostles (more like throws) you around more than if you were closer to the front, pretty reckless and rough --but they sure are fun! I love the butterfly flip feeling in my stomach, and the wind in my hair when we take off and fly down a drop. I love putting my hands up, like I'm wild and free.
My bed is pretty nice. There's no doubt, it's nice to be comfortable. But what about the rest of life? The stuff we'd miss out on if we stayed in bed. You can't lay in bed forever!
It's cold when I pull off the covers this morning, but I'm ready. I'm nervous. SO nervous. I still feel like puking, but it's a choice I've made in my mind a long time ago, and those choices stick. I'm getting dressed and heading out. Today my plane leaves at 1:25. I'll be in L.A. by dinner time. I'll have a chance to spend time with one of my best friends! We're going to do crazy fun things! At midnight Saturday night, I'll board my next plane --headed for a drop off --all the way to Costa Rica. There's no turning back now. I'm out the door, rainboots on and all. Watch out fear, HANDS UP! I'm ready to rechannel you into an energy and excitement so wild and free that nothing can stop it. I'm ready for take off!

I'm putting this blog to rest until I return from my adventures. If you want to keep up with my experiences, follow my new blog for the year, Stretching Limits at And if you feel REALLY ambitious, maybe like sending a package my way, my new address will be:
Centro Educativo Adventista de Monteverde
Monteverde 5655
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taking a dive, a step, a leap, a risk, and following my heart.

I have phenomenal friends. But one is exceptionally good. She's smart. She's talented. She's funny. She was my roommate at camp this summer. My partner in crime. We confided in each other through all our counseling stresses, and all other issues that arise in our lives. We’ve seen each other at our worst. I can tell her anything and she doesn’t think differently of me. I can tell her some of the most shameful secrets, and instead of her respect for me plummeting, it skyrockets. She inspires me. She surprises me. She’s teaching  me. I am SO thankful for our friendship. We have dips and curves like every relationship, but one of us is always willing to bend and take the blame, or fess up and apologize. We laugh together –every time we’re together. We "cry" together. She is an encourager, a deep thinker, and a loyal, trustworthy friend. She continues to teach me so much every day. In all honesty, I think she might be the hardest to leave this year.
My last night in Walla Walla this week, Tuesday night, she came over to my Grandma’s to hot tub. We laughed and chatted about lots of things, just catching up on life apart. Somewhere in our mix of jokes and seriousness, I asked her for an honest opinion about all the set backs that have come with planning for this trip to Costa Rica. 
1.       1. The SDA School in Monteverde, Costa Rica told me they would not accept me, because I was not baptized (but being the stubborn person that I am, I did not like this, and I would not take “no” for an answer).
2.       2. The principal speaks only a little English, and there had been some confusion. Before confirming my ticket a few weeks ago, we checked with her to make sure she was ready and expecting me, and she thought I was coming NEXT year.
3.      3. There was an earthquake last week, on the day I was planning on buying my ticket.
4.      4.  After  immediately confirming that no detrimental harm had been done during the earthquake and I could still come, the date I had picked, the 15th, this coming Sunday, was apparently a horrible day to come. No one would be able to pick me up at the airport, everyone in the school would be gone for a field trip they had been planning for quite a while.
5.       5.Flying in on the next day, the 16th would not work because it was Costa Rica’s independence day, and the roads would be blocked. The principal recommended that I come at the end of the month… and I wondered if I should even come at all.
6.       6.The days I asked Lianne if I could come and stay with her in L.A. before taking off to Costa Rica, were the EXACT days her friend from Singapore would be coming to stay at her house for a visit.
7.       7.This morning I found out that all 8 reference forms that Jeanne sent to the principal, Rachel, and Bianca had not gone through, and no one had received them –not one. The principal needed the reference before I came so she could give them to the board to “officially hire” me.
Nothing was working out, and I told Elise all of this. I shared with her my concerns, doubts, fears and frustrations. Is this all just coincidence? What if this is a big sign? What if I’m not suppose to go? What if God is telling me “no” and I’m just too stubborn to listen?  But Elise calmed my raging nerves.
She looked at me and said with sincerity, “Karalee, I can’t tell you what to do. I can’t tell you if this is God trying to keep you from going. I think leaving has been on your heart for a long time, and you know you need to go somewhere. Yeah, a lot of things have been going wrong, and it’s a little weird. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence, but you can choose to look at all the bad things that have been happening, or you can choose to look at the good things. Think about it, there are good things! They’re expecting you at the school, they have a place for you to stay. You just heard from them today, and they have lots of things for you to do, there IS a big need for you. You have so many options once you get there, so many places you can go and help. So maybe it’s not God trying to keep you from going at all. Maybe it’s completely the opposite. Maybe Satan knows something really awesome is going to happen for you. Follow your heart.”
I felt like I could breathe again after she said that. Maybe I am doing the right thing. Maybe she’s right. I hope she’s right. I had never thought about it from that perspective before. How could that have slipped my mind? I really needed that. But how do you distinguish between the two? The “right” and the “wrong” of the supernatural world. That’s the real question. “Follow your heart” so many people have been telling me that lately…
So I bought my ticket today. I’m headed to Costa Rica in a week. I’ve got high expectations but none at all –all at the same time. I’ve got excitement, and anxiety, and uncertainty about it all –all at the same time.  I don’t want to go, but I really do. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, or what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. My clarity is a blur. But I’m heading out into the unknown quickly –taking a dive into deep waters that I hope will be refreshing and revive me back to life. But risks are what life is all about, and I guess this is one big risk I’ve decided to take. So one foot in front of the other, and I'm off, taking one giant step into the unknown. I’m going out on a limb, because after all, that’s where the fruit is produced.

Replace your Fear of the unknown with Curiosity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing Directions

The mountain I was SUPPOSE to be on in a week and a half, had a 7.6 earthquake yesterday morning. Fortunately everyone is safe and sound at the school in Monteverde. In San Jose, which is about an hour away from my destination, an entire hospital had to be evacuated. There was thought to be two deaths caused by the earthquake, but later it was found that  there was only one death, a lady that had died from a heart attack. The shock of the quake was felt as far away as Nicaragua and Panama. It was the largest earthquake to hit Costa Rica, since 1991 with a 7.6 magnitude quake that left 47 dead. I'm bummed I missed it. What a story Rachel and Bianca will have when they return to Walla Walla. Last night I found out about this incident and my plans to buy a ticket went skyrocketing down hill. For the past 2 weeks I've called Jeanne everyday to ask when she can book my ticket. I want to leave. NOW! I finally raised the remaining amount of money, $1000 in a week. I'm all set to go! My bags are packed. I wanted to leave on the 12th! Now the principal of the school wants me to wait until the 26th! My dad wants me to get back before May, and I want to stay until the middle of May to get my full 8 months in! Now it'll only be about 7 months... and if things continue, who knows maybe I won't even get to go at all. I don't know what I'm suppose to do.

Earlier today I was laying out by the pool with Shannon, and I wondered aloud if Costa Rica is the place I'm suppose to be. Maybe Thailand? Maybe not... what about Indonesia! Just get me on a plane out of here! Immediatly after I'd said this, my phone vibrated indicating a new text message. Janet Wilkinson, my mentor and friend. Her text asked me what I thought about Costa Rica with all of this going on. Maybe this wasn't the place for me? There had been so many road blocks getting here. I told her I really didn't know... she recommended "an hour alone to still all the chatter and confusion and listen to your heart." Good advice. I need that.

And now I'm in Yakima, sitting on a bed, in a messy room with my best friend, wondering what in the world I'm going to do now. Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? Do I stay in Yakima a bit longer to be with my friend for the little time we have left in the States, or do I leave for Walla Walla to be with my sister? Do I go to Costa Rica? Or do I find somewhere else? What do I do? When do I go?! I'm tired of not knowing. All my perfect plans have POOF! vanished, just like that, into thin air.

I don't like this. Not one bit. I hope I'm not setting myself up for a disaster. I thought I was stressed before, now it's 10 times worse. Maybe I just won't go at all. Maybe I'll just take a year off from school and be a hermit, and bike across America... homeless, and without any money. But at least I'd know where I was going and what I was doing. My direction in life would be clear... at least for a while, until I hit my destination. But then I would do it all over again and come back home. And maybe I wouldn't get out and see the world, but boy, I'd see America!