I’m finally posting something😅 Now that it’s summer and we have more free time because school’s out. So, you know what that means… TRAVEL! ✈️
We’re going to Europe again. I know right? Three years in a row. 😱 This time around we will be going to Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, and the UK. 🇨🇭🇫🇷🇩🇪🇧🇪🇬🇧
A couple days ago, we flew to London from Seattle, had a 5-hour layover, then took a short flight to Geneva. After two days here, we’ll take a train to Morzine, which is in the French part of the Swiss Alps. We vacation there with our friends for a little over a week then take the train through Munich to Bad Blankenburg!!🚈 If you don’t know what that is, it’s the little town in Germany that the #SeattleBundas visited last year to do volunteer work. I’m excited to go back so I can see some of the friends that I met last time!
After BB (Bad Blankenburg), we are doing more volunteer work in Darby, England. It will be similar to BB but the people will speak english! Between Germany and England, we’ll be visiting our friends in Belgium.
We are already in Geneva, but for some reason I still don’t feel like we’re actually here. It feels like a weird dream or something…💭 Must be the jetlag!
Guess what!?😆 We have been living here in the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Bad Blankenburg, Germany for almost a week now.📍🌍 In this blog, I am going to tell you 6 things about living in close quarters (3 good and 3 not so good). While this is a big building, there are 70 of us living here right now, so it’s pretty busy!
👍 Let’s start with the good news: 👍
Always having friends. You don’t have to go far to find some good people. 👯
Getting to know people really well cause they’re here all the time. 🕰👭
There are people from 26 countries here. It’s a great way to learn about different customs and cultures. 🌍
👎 Now, here are some not so awesome things about living in close quarters: 👎
You can’t ever get a break from people.👨👩👧👦 Your room! Family is there.👫 The shower! It’s a shared bathroom.🚿🚽
The wifi is shared with 70 other people, so its REALLY slow. 📶🌀
If people are having a conversation, even if there are only 2 people, you can hear it. It’s never quiet!! 💬
Of course, this is my perspective of how it is after being here for only a week,📆 so I will probably make an updated version of this in a couple weeks, and then at the end of our stay here.📑
Today, the clothing donations that so many of you provided have reached their final (or almost final) destination, the refugee homes 5,105 miles away in Bad Blankenburg, Germany! K and I spent some of our day in what is called “The Boutique,” helping sort the THREE huge, 20 kilo (40 pound) duffel bags full of clothes that we brought from Seattle.
Today was also the day of the week that the refugees are welcome to “shop” in the boutique. In the first hour, there were five different families that came by. Only one family can shop at a time since the room is small, but there is a larger waiting room outside where there are refreshments like tea, coffee, and biscuits. Mom and Dad tried to talk to some of the visitors, but it was kind of difficult when the only common language was highly-limited German. Thankfully, we’re working hard on our German and getting better every day.
We would like to thank everybody for the donations that helped us fill the bags, as well as say thanks to Grandma Patty for helping us pack them!
If you are friend and/or have been following this blog for a bit, you know by now that we #SeattleBundas are off on yet another adventure. This one in particular has been a long time coming, so please allow me to get you up to speed.
U.S. Re-Entry: Last October, we returned to Seattle with the intention of being home through the Spring. We wanted to be home through the holidays, as well as be around a couple newborns in the family–including our nephew, Anders, and our hanai niece, Katy Rae. Therefore, we agreed not to make any new plans until then.
It’s No Fun Being an (Illegal) Alien – Being back home was bittersweet for me. Despite the many comforts of home (fast/consistent internet access, any kind of food available to me at a moment’s notice, a HUGE and comfortable house by much of the world’s standards) and the company of our dear friends and family (weekly Seahawks/GoT/whatever parties, lunch/coffee appointments, our church), I still felt like an alien that was trying unsuccessfully to “wear” the life that I’d previously lived less than a year earlier. The thought of returning to work in Corporate America and filling up the rest of our lives with the busy-ness that plagues so many made me physically ill at times. Nonetheless, since we knew that we were staying put for at least 6 months, it made sense to suck it up and try to get my head back in the game.
Living an “Uncommon” Life – The experiences we had during our family sabbatical were so rich, so transformational, that they forced us to rethink how we might be called to live our lives moving forward. Could the SAFE framework that we used for the sabbatical (read more here) actually become our new normal, as opposed to something that applied only for a specific season in our life? Could we keep traveling and immersing ourselves in cross-cultural experiences? Could we keep finding opportunities to serve others both locally and abroad? Could we satisfy our thirst for adventure and fun? Could we keep learning? Could we figure out a way for me to work 9 months of the year so that we could devote the other 3 months to SAFE experiences abroad? While I’m still not 100% certain how well or how long this will work, we’ve already taken a number of steps to try and make this concept, this dream, a reality. So far, so thankful.
So here we are now: 10 months after our last BIG adventure, doing our part to help serve one small pocket of the 65.3 million people around the world whom are considered refugees. These people have been forced to flee home countries like Eritrea, Syria, and Afghanistan due to persecution related to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular social group. They have landed in a small German town called Bad Blankenburg–following dreams of a better life, but facing the reality of language barriers, limited job prospects, and cultural persecution from locals who fear those who are so “different.”
“S” is for Service – We’re working with an International non-profit called, Youth With a Mission (YWAM). This is the same group with which Laura and I worked when we first met over 20 years ago. We’ve only been here a few days, but we’re working quickly to figure how to best use our skills and experience to make an impact. Laura has already stepped up to teach English 3x/week. Meanwhile, I am working on documenting the various programs happening here with the aim of helping the teams to streamline, prioritize their efforts, load-balance, then mobilize their limited people and financial resources. Finally, Trey and Kamaile are helping with a local second-hand clothes boutique, as well as children’s outreach programs.
I have feeling we’re just scratching the surface of the “what” and the “why” for our family in this latest adventure. We’ll do our best to keep you all posted. In the meantime, thanks for your prayers and, if nothing else, for supporting us in this ongoing journey.
Holmsted Manor is a place south of London that is run by Youth With A Mission (YWAM), a non-profit service organization that teaches young adults about Jesus and how to love and serve people the way Jesus did. My mom and dad met there 20 years ago, even though my dad is from Hawaii and my mom is from the Seattle area. Holmsted Manor recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as a YWAM base and we were there to experience it.
We were at Holmsted with the staff, this year’s Discipleship Training School (DTS), and some other families who had traveled there for the 40th anniversary. The staff also used the celebration as fundraising for general repairs of the Manor. These repairs included remodeling a bathroom, fixing special rooms, and removing the ivy that’s invading the house.
In preperation for the event, everybody pitched in to help clean up the place. My family helped clean up the dining room by clearing and wiping down the tables and sweeping the floor. Other teams mopped, did dishes, or vacuumed. Designated guides practiced their lines for the tours which were being conducted for guests.
Once people started arriving, we decided to roam the grounds and admire the scenery. Sadly, the cool stream that used to flow around the Manor needs to be fixed and dredged, but they don’t have the funds to do so. There were also really cool trees in the garden. One was even shaped like a chair!
Once we had gone all the way around the gardens, my family and I went to take a house tour around the Manor. As we walked around, my father and mother told my sister and I just as much about the place that the guide did. The funniest part of the tour was seeing how small the boys’ prayer room is. It might have a total of 8 square feet of floor space. We also saw where Mom and Dad’s dormitories were!
At the end of the tour, our guide showed us that we were actually able to buy a tree out of the 40 different trees that were going to be planted around the grounds to celebrate the 40th anniversary. Our family decided to buy tree number 17, which is near a swing set that my parents used to hang out near, and the tree number is also part of the date of their anniversary, August 17.
Once we finished the tour, my parents saw some old friends and started chatting with them. Us kids just stood there for 10-20 minutes, we started playing tag! After a while, it was time for the gathering to start. I must admit that I paid little attention to the actual talk, but did participate in the worship and prayer.
Then our families walked around the gardens together. Once we had finished circling the grounds, they had to leave, so we said goodbye, but we just couldn’t quite say goodbye yet, so we all went to a restaurant for dinner together.
This is an important day for my entire family. For my parents, it meant seeing the place where they met, and seeing old friends. For us kids, it meant seeing a place that is important to our parents, and meeting new people. Overall, we all enjoyed the experience that helped us understand the world a bit more.
Laura and I met in England in the summer of 1995 while volunteering for Youth With A Mission (YWAM)–an international, non-denominational, non-profit Christian organization. It was there where we developed an understanding that the world was much more than our respective hometowns, gained a deeper appreciation for other cultures, and cultivated a desire to both connect with and serve the people we met along the way. We returned to the US later that year, were married the following summer, and have hit the typical milestones that one might expect out of people riding the “Conveyor Belt of Life” (more on this in a future blog) through the years: college, car, house, kids, corporate career, etc.
Laura and I have never lost our desire to experience the world and love it’s people. We’ve spent most of our marriage involved in local churches, local schools/co-ops, and earnestly serving teammates in the workplace (quick shout out to my friends at T-Mobile USA). However, our opportunities to see the world were relatively limited as we raised our young family.It seems like I’ve either heard or uttered the phrase “someday let’s visit [place]” hundreds of times in recent years.
So now what?
Now in early 2015, Trey and Kamaile are now old enough to travel well and appreciate new experiences; yet, young enough to still be excited about sharing those experiences with Mom and Dad. We’ve had the privilege of taking wonderful family vacations in the past couple years–Hawaii, NYC, Disneyworld, and Disneyland. Last year, Laura and I got the chance to take a trip to Iceland. Why? Why not? 🙂
As amazing as those experiences have been, over the past 18 months, wehave been dreaming about spending more time traveling together before the kids got too old.Reality often quickly set in as we considered the time/resources/guts required to take a 6-month Sabbatical, or even a Gap Year. Yet, a series of recent events suddenly make those barriers, those excuses, go away.
We are now ready to embark on a journey to see the world and provide our family opportunities for service, adventure, education, and fun! This journey is our attempt to not let so many “somedays” pass us by. Somedayletsvisit.com is our attempt to chronicle that journey. We’re starting out with very little clue about where we’re headed, when we’re going, or even how to begin. We invite you to join us. Perhaps we’ll entertain you. Perhaps we’ll inspire you. At minimum, perhaps you’ll learn from the mistakes we’re bound to make along the way.