Hello! Friends, if you are reading this – then you’ve already realised that I have news.giphy

It’s big(ish) news and it makes me very excited. No, no, I have not suddenly stumbled into a relationship, or met the one. Nor have I decided to move back home to Cape Town. (Though, there have been moments…) But it does pertain to the Joburg life that I have chosen and it is a little different to what I thought life would be like when I originally got here.

As most of you know, I moved to Joburg for a couple reasons –1. To get out of my comfort zone and rely on God’s plan for my life, not my own. 2. To have an adventure.  3. To study teaching. Well, none of the reasons have changed, but parts of the roll-out have.

Originally my plan was to study teaching at Wits. Perhaps you didn’t realise, but I was incredibly anxious about this part of the plan. If anyone asked if I was excited about the big move, my answer was usually along the lines of, “Yes, but I’m not sure about the studying.” Or “I’m trying to ignore the fact that it’s four years of studying.” Or “The studying is what I’m least excited about.” When I arrived in Joburg, I was a big ball of anxiety – working past it; it may have been a  mixture of a lot of things, but the idea of being at Wits all day, having to work at a restaurant at night and study in between and on weekends really worried me.

However, Wits was an important part in getting me to Joburg. I believe God needed me to think I was headed for Wits, so that I’d move up here and following his heart for me – realise the rest. I would not have landed up where I am if I had planned it myself, and perhaps would not have moved up to Joburg either.

(It’s important for me to point out here, that I never felt called to Wits. I know that God placed Joburg and teaching on my heart in a big way, but Wits was just the winner of the UJ vs Wits coin toss.)

So, here’s the story. The day after arriving in Johannesburg, I went to Curriculum Planning and was informed that I needed to go to a school for five days of observation before varsity started. So, being the newbie that I am, I simply googled “Primary Schools Northcliff”. I phoned one of the first schools that popped up and sent them my CV, and that was that. I headed there a week later.

What a wonderful school it has turned out to be. I landed up in the Grade 1 classroom and became overwhelmed with such a sense of purpose and excitement. I couldn’t – can’t – bear the idea of having to wait four years to get into a classroom. So, my brain starting working and my hearts eyes were opened to another idea. Maybe, I should stay at the school – observe, learn, grow and do Unisa instead.

The more that I thought about, prayed, read and spoke to the relevant people, the more convinced I was that this was the plan all along. So many reasons point towards me taking this route instead of the conventional university route. Besides the fact that I believe the idea was God-breathed, and blessed. Here are a couple of my favourite reasons:

I learn by doing: I always have. That is why I did well at cooking school– it was a practical course. I slept through almost every class right up until the end of Matric, and also a large number of the lectures at Silwood. I can barely get through a sermon or movie without spacing out or falling asleep – the idea of sitting in lectures all day and still having to motivate myself to learn later, really worried me.

Finances: I  paid for Silwood by taking out a pretty hefty student loan which I am currently paying back. If I went to Wits, I would have had to press pause on the first student loan, and take out another couple to pay for Wits on top of that. By the end of my degree, I’d have accumulated approximately R200 000+ in student loan costs alone. This is not wise. I would also have had to work most nights just to scrape by for food and petrol – which worried me because people, community and social interactions are really, really important to me. With the Unisa option, I will work at the school in the mornings, au pair in the afternoons and study or socialise at night and weekends. By the end of my degree I will not have accumulated any more student loans and will have repaid the original one. (Which is obvs better.)

Flexibility: Unisa gives me the flexibility and freedom to move. Who knows where I will feel led to next? Perhaps Durban, perhaps out to the mission field in Africa or somewhere else. Cape Town, I may move home sooner than 2020. That excites me – this is not a cop out from the Joburg plan. This is where I am until further notice but I now have the ability to be led, as opposed to being tied to the Wits campus for four years.

Life happens: It’s no secret that I feel called to companionship and eventually would like to get married and have children. Perhaps this won’t be an issue, but if the situation arose, part time studying allows one to do both (or to consider both). Studying full time doesn’t leave much room for life happening. {Disclaimer: this is not what I expect or plan to happen. Please don’t mistake this reason for a desperate search for a husband. That is not where my heart is right now, but I do know that in 2 or 3 years time, things could be very different.}

And perhaps one of the most important ones:

My heart is full: I have been praying for God to “Start a fire in my soul. Fan the flames and make it grow.” [Start a Fire, Unspoken] and when I am in the classroom I feel so full of love, that it feels wrong to leave that behind. As Christians, when we pray or sing these things – we have to make sure we are prepared for the changes that have to happen when our prayers are answered. I think realising that Wits wasn’t the final plan and having the courage to go ahead with changing it, was part of my journey.

There are a handful of other reasons, but I’ll save those for another conversation.

As for my comfort zone – this is no more in my comfort zone than Wits may have been. Perhaps it’s less of a comfort zone than Wits would have been – having to break into an already formed body of older teachers; learn to be a coach and student teacher; learn to study the Unisa way; to motivate myself and focus. We’ll see. In the end, after praying, reading the bible and speaking to the right people, I have to make what I think to be the right (or wisest) decision and know that God will be with me anyway.

So, there you have it. One big change, amongst all the rest of the change I have experienced in the past few weeks. I feel that it is a blessed change and I’m excited to see where I am led from here. Aside from this, I do miss home very much but am finding that Joburg is indeed a lovely place to be nevertheless and can see a whole bunch of exciting new friendships starting.

Be seeing you.



2 thoughts on “NEWS. CHANGES. LIFE.

  1. Pingback: #JoburgAdventure Updates & Lessons | robyn lea smith

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