Moving across the World Part 2: Things don't always go as planned.
My first couple of months living in Zambia and being married were tough. In some ways those months were so fun but the enjoyment was accompanied by hardship. It's one thing to be unemployed but busy searching for jobs, updating resumes, going for interviews, and working at a coffee shop or boutique while you wait for career job. Yet to have a job and to have met the staff and seen the school and your very own classroom, but to not be allowed to work or meet the students, that was really disappointing.
After being hired in May with a well known international school in Zambia, I felt like everything was falling into place so perfectly. I had applied to a few different private schools in Ndola, and the one that almost said yes immediately, was the one at the top of my list! I prepared and travelled with the school sharing their excitement for my arrival. Then on the day I arrived in Ndola, Zambia, we got news of immigration denying my work permit. I tried to find productive ways to fill my time, though it was hard after being one of the busiest people ever for the past...well, really always! In high school I was involved in so many different sports, activities, ministries, babysitting and other jobs. Additionally, in college I was in athletics, always overloading credits, and working often up to 3 jobs not to mention spending time with friends and my boyfriend. :) Then as a first year teacher... after just a few months, I decided to pursue my Masters Degree. All this to say, I've always done about a million things at a time and LOVED it! Now I was in a foreign country, with a loving family but a family that was still new to me, and hardly any friends. I had no work and no money to fill my time with any activities.
I spent about 3 months in this limbo while in Ndola. (About 8 months of waiting in total.) The school was so gracious and patient with the system and my absence. David worked hard to make sure we didn't have to move to an affordable apartment, though I know my stress of no work bled into his life greatly. Although at the time we didn't think too much of it, we now see how it was affecting our marriage and livelihood. It was really hard for me to just be at home with nothing to do and it was hard for David to see me like that.
Thankfully I did find ways to fill my time. I read a lot. I caught up on so many movies and TV shows that I had never watched while I was too busy in high school, college, and grad school. I cooked and pretended to just be a chef or a spoiled housewife some days. I blogged a little bit about food and other things. I spent time with the limited friends and acquaintances. I went to aerobics religiously because that was usually my only official activity to do...and I did enjoy my time. I caught up on a lot of sleep and rested more than I can ever remember resting. So maybe it wasn't all bad.
I had the amazing opportunity to travel back to the USA for my cousin's wedding, which then also turned into me being stuck in the United States of America for two full months. Over 60 days without my husband of only a few months. That was even more tough then being stuck at home in Ndola without work. Now I'm stuck across an ocean and many miles of land stranded from the one my soul loves and had already lived without for too long. About one month into this distance my husband said, "You're the only girl who has ever cried about living in America and not being allowed into Africa." (I know, I hate the "Africa" reference, but it did make the statement seem even more vast.) And at least that made me laugh through my blurry eyes drowning in tears.
Another month passed after that moment, and a meeting occurred in which the commanding officer had never seen my paperwork and was baffled by the double denial. He apologized for everything that happened on behalf of Zambian immigration and within a couple days approved my work permit!
Now as I am finishing writing this (I wrote part of this while in the United States) I have been home with my husband in Ndola, Zambia for almost 1 month. I am thoroughly enjoying teaching and I have already made more friends!! God's blessings are truly showing through the few months of hardship. David and I even agree that our marriage is stronger and healthier than before the US-Zed distance. We are in a good place for now and I will update you all a little on my school and life here in Ndola.... soon!
Much love to all my family and friends. Shout out to my parents and Seattle/Portland community for making my 2 month stay quite enjoyable! It could have been way worse. David and I are so appreciative of all the love, support and prayers that have guided and encouraged us along this journey.
XOXO Abby & David Temfwe