Live From The Field

Delaney McKinley - Senegal


April 2, 2017

This year was definitely a year to learn, and boy, did I. These are some of the lessons that I’ve learned, (or maybe I already knew, I was just reminded again), this year. Enjoy! 🙂

1. Try everything. Absolutely everything.

2. It’s completely okay to ask for help. None of us are super-human.

3. You won’t talk to your best friend(s) as much as you used to, this doesn’t mean you don’t love each other just as much, (if not more), as you used to.

4. Discomfort is not a punishment. Actually, it’s a reward. You’re growing. Congratulations!

5. Friends’ families become your own family faster than you would ever imagine. (Much love to you, Yaay Diouma)

6. If you made it 5 months without something, you do not need it for your last month in country.

7. You can’t rush or slow down time. Let it do its thing and ride the wave.

8. It’s okay to spoil yourself every once in a while. That 300 cfa pastry won’t break the bank.

9. It’s nice to remind yourself of why you are where you are. If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, spend time every day thinking of why. Finding your purpose is so important.

10. Having a support system is so beneficial to your well-being.

11. As cliche as it sounds, it’s 100% true that we all smile in the same language.

12. Sometimes it really is better to fake it ’til you make it, which sometimes means faking not knowing how to speak a language. (Unless you really are interested in talking about if you eat rice & fish.)

13. One of the best things you can ever do for yourself is care about something, and for the right reasons.

14. You are your best advocate. Find your voice and use it.

15. It’s okay to cry!! I believe life is meant to be full of emotion- and sometimes INTENSE emotion.

16. If you needed reading glasses in fourth grade, chances are you still need them.

17. One of the worst things you can do for yourself is cheat yourself of all the experiences you could be having. Get up, go to the beach, take a cab to see your friends, attempt to make your favorite dessert, just DO SOMETHING.

18. On a contrary note, having days where you just sit around and watch movies for 8 hours are important, too.

19. I really appreciate having the selection of clothes that I do back home.

20. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, peacefully. If you can’t do this, change the company you keep.

21. Romanticizing the future is a natural part of being human. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking forward to where you’re going, but I think it’s important to recognize when you are doing so, and then take time to appreciate where you are in that very moment.

22. Living abroad isn’t easy. You’ll probably spend all year thinking about what you’re friends back home are doing, what your mom is cooking for dinner, what new movies are coming out that you won’t get to see in theaters, what foods you miss, what clothes you’re going to wear when you get home, and so on. You’re gonna miss home, A LOT. And that’s completely okay. Just because you miss you’re other home doesn’t mean you don’t love the one you’re living in.

23. It is impossible for me to change the world. It is impossible for any one person to change the world. That does not, however, inhibit my ability to make my best effort to make the world a better place.

24. One day you’re gonna wake up and realize that this won’t be you’re life in less than 1 week. Embrace every single moment. the good, the bad, the sad, the ecstatic, the nervous, the awkward, the funny, all of it. This is your life. Own it. Live it. And don’t let anyone, or anything, take this experience away from you.

Delaney McKinley