Patience, Jealousy, and the Pavement

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Patience- the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset

If I am anything, patient is not it. Perhaps a product of growing up in an instant culture, I struggle majorly with patience.   And on top of that, I am stubborn. So it takes a really long time for me to realize God is trying to teach me to be patient. I just keep hitting my head against the wall thinking one of these days it will move rather than step back and realize if I walked two steps to my left there would be an open door.

Something else you should know is I am a runner.  It is my escape.  I love to put on my running shoes, crank up  my music, and run. But two years ago, shortly after running a half marathon, I limped home from a 5 mile run.  I attempted several more short runs, only to end up quitting because I was in so much pain.  I have spent the past two years seeing chiropractors and orthopedics only to be left with no answers. It seems as though I am an anomaly.  Then about 7 months ago,  in a moment of frustration, I tried one last chiropractor.  I have no idea why I thought he might be able to help (at this point, I had seen three and one orthopedic only to be told I should just give up running).  But I was determined to find an answer. I was not willing to accept the fact I could never be a runner again.

Fast forward 7 months to last Saturday and I was able to run 3 miles (you should know, I still don’t have an answer, but with a lot of therapy and ice, I can run again!). Granted it was VERY slow, but I ran 3 miles with no pain.  When I got home, I wanted to cry and jump for joy in the same moment.  As I processed my excitement, I realized in the last two years, while I was frustrated and impatient, God has been working on my heart. He has been stripping away the feelings of jealousy and competition as I watched those around me run and I was left sitting on the sidelines. He has been replacing my heart of impatience with one slowly learning to be patient and wait on His timing.  And He has been preparing me to dive into a ministry that must be navigated slowly and a ministry partnership in which jealousy and competition have to be checked at the door.  He is showing me how much I need to depend on Him and how little it matters the race others are running around me.

I have spent a lot of the last two years secretly frustrated I couldn’t run. I was jealous of people I barely knew because they were running marathons and I had to watch my goal of running 26 in year 26 come and go without being completed. I was angry at myself for not being able to run and upset no one had an answer. But in the middle of it all, God was molding me and preparing me. He was teaching me the answer is not as important as the journey,  community is more beautiful than competition, and slow progress is just as beautiful as overnight success.

I have no idea what lies ahead, but I can assure you it will require a lot of patience, slow running, dying to myself, and learning to check jealousy, competition, and results at the door.

“I lived on an island last year”

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“I lived on an island last year. “

 

I find myself saying that a lot when I meet new people. Funny thing is, while I was living in that island and even now, it doesn’t seem that huge. I almost say it nonchalantly. Like, oh yeah, last year I lived on an island. And traveled the world. And rode an elephant. I am not bragging. Honestly, anyone could do it. Sometimes though, when I am talking about it, I step back and realize, “I LIVED ON AN ISLAND LAST YEAR!!”  And swam with a shark. And made some amazing friends. And fell in love with Asian food. And cultures. And trying new things.  Sometimes I step back and wonder why in the world I ever left my island. As the weather starts to turn cold, I increasingly wonder why I left my little piece of paradise.  I don’t always have an answer. Which sometimes scares me. Like maybe I shouldn’t have left. Maybe I should have stayed.  Surely I could have toughed it out and taught a second year.  Other times, I realize that change is woven into who I am. I am always looking for a new adventure, a new challenge, and a new path. Hence why I could fill 8 pages of a resume with jobs I haven’t held longer then a year. (Perhaps I should work on that..) And why perhaps a year on my island was enough. It was enough to give me the ability to believe in myself. To be confident in who I am. To tackle challenges bigger then myself and to realize that at the end, you cherish the experience more than anything. The journey is more important than the destination.

 

But as I sit at my desk in southern Indiana, staring at the traffic outside my office window, I realize that sometimes I talk about my island because its more exciting than what I am doing today. I talk it about and live vicariously through what I did last year. Because let’s be honest, living on an island is a little more exciting than answering the phone.  However, I don’t live on an island. I moved home in search of a new adventure and while to some my current adventure may not sound as exciting as living on an island, it is a new adventure.  And I am determined to live every day of it as such. An adventure. Because most people may tell you southern Indiana is boring. I would argue. I would say location does not determine boredom factor. People determine boredom factor. 

 

I finally read Joel Runyon’s Impossible Manifesto.  You should stop reading my post and go read that..but then come back!! See, thing is, life is an adventure and it doesn’t matter where you are. It simply matters if you are going to take today and create adventure. Tackle a fear. Accomplish a goal. Make a new friend. I started swimming. Fear of water kept me out of it for most of my life. Then I decided I wanted to do a triathlon. Which meant I had to get in the water. I took swimming lessons..as a 24-year-old.  And once I did one, I didn’t want to stop. So I am swimming. Because I am not going to let a fear of water determine whether or not I ever do a tri again. I also starting saving my money. And supporting causes I care about. And took on a volunteer position at an organization I love. Oh, and did I mention I am starting a master’s degree. I may not be on my little island anymore, but I am not going to let my location determine how adventurous my life is. Nor am I going to let status quo, what other people think, or the fact that I don’t fit into the mold determine the outcome. 

 

Thus, I am starting an Impossible List for 2012.. watch for it as the new year gets closer. Because I may not live on island, but I am not using that as an excuse to live a boring life!

Just a typical Saturday spent jumping out of a plane

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Yep, that’s right.

 

I jumped out of a plane. At 10,000 feet in the air.

 

This girl who still does not like to ride in an elevator. Who still will not ride a roller coaster that involves standing up. And who still gets scared of the dark sometimes rode in a perfectly good airplane up to 10,000 feet and then jumped out.  Not to worry, I did not jump out alone. The guy strapped to my back had done this oh around 3800 times.  I had nothing to worry about. And quite frankly, I was not really that scared.  There was a moment when I was sitting in the plane that I was thinking, “what did I get myself into???” But then we got to the edge of plane, he said “Ready, Set, God,” and that was it. I was flying through the air.

 

UMMM.. COOLEST THING EVER!

 

60 seconds of free fall which felt like a lot longer and then whoosh.. the parachute went up and it was smooth sailing.  It really felt like you were flying. And I love looking down from an airplane and seeing all the tiny houses and cars-odd I guess, but it is one of my favorite parts of flying. Even cooler to not have a huge plane enveloping you. As we slowly floated back to earth, I was relaxed and enjoying the view, totally not ready for it to end and as I landed safely back to earth, I was instantly envious of the birds. Being able to fly must be the coolest thing.

 

Jumping out of a plane 10,000 feet up in the air also causes you to reflect. Well, ok, most anything I do causes me to reflect because I tend to live a crazy life and jumping out of planes is just not something that everyone does. Nor even wants to do. Kinda like moving to an island or running a half-marathon. But as I landed safely back on the ground, I was reminded once again of the importance of walking by faith. I had to trust that the parachute had been correctly packaged, that the jump instructor knew was he was doing, and that he would land us smoothly so as to avoid a broken leg (ironically my biggest fear as I am currently without insurance)!  And then once I was assured of all those things, I had to actually jump out of the plane.  Sure most people believe that the parachute will deploy and the guy strapped to you probably does know what he is doing. But how many people actually put faith in that and jump of the plane? How many people get past watching videos or saying someday and actually do it? Maybe it is not jumping out of a plane. But what other obstacles in life are you staring at believing that everything is safe, but not putting it to the ultimate test by jumping.  I can live my life as though I have faith, but until I act on that faith. Until I give beyond my means, live beyond what I believe possible, or pray bigger then I can see,  am I truly living by faith? I can trust that God will do what He says, but until I jump, am I really trusting at all? Normally, I just stand there, on the edge, staring over, too scared to jump.   But no more. I jumped out of a perfectly safe, decent plane with another human strapped to my back and I 100% trusted that I would land safely back on earth. How much more should I be able to trust that God has my best interests in mind?

 

What about you? What “planes” do you need to jump off of? What areas do you need to acting on the faith you claim to have?

 

 

 

Skydiving

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It’s official.. in the next month I will get to check two things off my bucket list.

 

The first, run a half marathon. Training is going great and I will for sure cross the finish line!! (More on this later)

 

The second thing and point of this post is….. SKYDIVING! Yes, you read that right. I am going skydiving.

 

This is a true test to the fact that I am an adrenaline/adventure junkie as I really do not like heights. However, the thought of jumping out of an airplane  12,000 feet up in the air makes me so excited I want to squeal!! It is my early birthday gift to myself. In celebration of living 25 years and because from the looks of it, year 25 will be rang in single, I am embracing life to its fullest and doing something I have always wanted to do.  I mean, I have to keep life exciting as I am no longer planning trips to Bali to ride elephants or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef on my Spring break. Ahh.. the life I have lived!

Life is great and I am so in love with it!! 🙂

The Next Step Is…

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I should know to never get too settled or make too many long term plans. God always seems to keep me in limbo just long enough to doubt Him and then BOOM! There is a plan that happens so fast my head is spinning and my emotions are trying hard to keep up.  Thus the past week of my life. One big whirlwind of emotions. I went from having no plan to having a very defined, long term plan. And the craziest part-its not one iota of what I thought the plan would be.

 

Go back 1o days ago or so. Its a Thursday night. Always on the lookout for the next step and a planner to the core, a friend randomly posted a job opening on his Facebook so I sent him a message. I honestly didn’t think anything would happen with it. Surely I was not qualifed, they had already filled it, or some other excuse would keep me from landing the job. However, within an hour he had sent me a reply and called me the next morning to set up an interview ASAP. Let me tell you something. The job was the exact type of job I was looking for. An administrative assistant. Yes, I realize that most young girls do not grow up dreaming to be admistrative assistants, but after a year as a teacher I knew that one, I was not cut out to work with kids, and two, I love numbers, details, and paperwork. I don’t plan on staying an assistant forever; eventually I want to move up the ranks in administration. But you have to start somewhere. Problem is with little experience working in an office, I was not the top candidate for any job I had thus far applied for. Especially in this market.  After I hung up the phone with him, I danced down the hall, jumping and pumping my hands in the air. When I realized my co-workers were watching, I felt a little silly, but still I had an interview. And that’s all I needed. However, immediately after my victory dance, I realized that I had absolutely nothing to wear to this interview. Teaching on an island did not exactly expand my business professional wardrobe. So that night it was off to the mall I went in search of a business suit. This was Friday. My interview was Wednesday.

 

Tuesday night, business suit in tow, I packed up and drove to the interview. The job is located in Evansville. Not my ideal location, but I figured no harm in interviewing and it was a good excuse to go visit two of my best friends! I got up Wednesday morning, had breakfast with a girlfriend, donned my suit and pearls, and headed off for lunch with my friend and then the interview. I was super nervous. Although I don’t know why because at that point I wasn’t so sure I really wanted the job. See, the job was perfect, moving back to Evansville, on the other hand, was NOT in my plans. When I left there a year ago, it was for good. (or so I thought..) The interview started and about half-way through when I had only answered two questions, my potential boss goes, “Don’t worry, Caleb already talked you up so that’s why I am not asking a lot of questions.” We chatted a few more minutes and before I left the room, he offered me the job! Just like that. I was in shock. I was seriously speechless for a minute. I figured they would interview a few people and get back to me in a few days. To head home with an offer in tow was not what I was prepared for.

 

So now came the deliberation. This was not another short-term prospect. This was a full-time, 8-5, salaried position. And he wanted me to start ASAP. My initial enthusiasm was hampered by the thought that I was going to have to give up my adventurous spirit and settle down. Thank goodness I have some great friends and an awesome family that listened to me and utlimately talked me into the job. Although really, I had already decided I wanted to do it, I just needed a little extra confirmation that is was the right next step. Everything had worked out so perfectly; there is no way this not the hand of God. And I had been praying so hard for direction and peace and a job that I thought I could do for awhile. Ironically, while settling down was my biggest fear, it was also something I was craving. I have moved at least twice a year for the past six years. I am ready to stop doing that. And I not married or getting married or even dating so there was no limit to what I could do with my life.  I could literally go anywhere and do anything, but when it came down it, this was perfect. And ironically, since then the few things that I had been pursuing have since gone cold and I haven’t heard anything from anyone.

So today is Wednesday. It was been exactly one week since I was offered a job, accepted a job, and changed the entire direction I thought my life was going. It has been a very emotional seven days. I am not sure if I am excited, nervous, sad, or happy. In six days, I will be back in Evansville, starting a brand new job, and looking for a place to live! What an adventure right? 🙂 Never a dull moment in my life, and of course, I had just finally gotten my last box unpacked from Saipan!

 

In one week, I will be an administrative assistant with Northwestern Mutual. I will have a desk, a business card, and an e-mail address. Its scary, overwhelming, sad, and exciting all in one breath. Saying good bye to my dear friends at home when I just said hello is certaintly not easy, but I know that this is the next step in life. And plus, I don’t intend on giving up any chance for some extra adventure and will have plenty to learn with my new job!

 

What about you? What’s new in your life? Any exciting changes coming up soon?

Brutal, but Beautiful

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Crash. Burn. Flounder. Flail.

 

That most accurately describes my transition back to life here in America. I don’t say home because well, I am not sure where home is anymore. More appropriately, I am realizing that home is not a place, but an idea and a sense of belonging to wherever you are. And of course, this world is only my temporary home thus it will never truly feel like home. But back to the transition.

 

I have learned a lot about myself over the past six weeks or so. Starting with, no matter how hard I try, I just do not transition well. I was determined after the fiasco of returning from Africa that this time would be different. This time I would come back perfect and normal and smoothly transition back to life. Ha Ha Ha. The only success I can say is that it has only taken me six weeks to get to this place whereas last time it took me six months. The only other previous major transition in my life was a cross-country move and that took me a year to get over so I am making progress. I am growing as a person and each transition has helped to shape me into the person I am today.

 

Unfortuately, the biggest hurdle to transition, I believe, is finding someone, anyone who is willing to let you flounder a little and realize that it is part of the process, and not a direct reflection of your feelings towards them. That my irriating habits are simply an outward expression a deeper inner struggle. That my clinging to random and odd things, my inability to explain myself, and my quiet silence is simply part of the process. It is part of the transition. Not the fun part, not the easy part, but the part that is often biggest. My family was gracious for the most part and I do not fault them for their inability to understand.  In fact I am so very thankful for them and can say that they are one of the few reasons it has only taken me six weeks to finally feel like my feet are back underneath me. They have been there and have forgiven me and loved me despite it all. They are my family.  Outside of my family I am very thankful for my few close girlfriends that listened to me, cried with me, laughed with me, and let me vent when I just needed an ear. Throughout the past six weeks, I have learned a lot about who I am as a person, what is important to me, and the value of forgiveness, love, and grace in relationships.

 

Life changes when you leave. People move forward and make new friends and establish new traditions and memories. And you do the same. I made new friends, experienced new things, made new memories, and spent a lot of time at the beach. Then all of a sudden you come back. And you aren’t the same and no one else is the same and relationships change. I believe it is then that you discover the true meaning of friendship. That you discover the people in your life that are permanement fixtures and the ones who were temporary. You find that some relationships you thought you could count on are the ones that leave you the most broken in your vulnerability and the ones that perhaps faded while you were apart are now back, stronger then ever. That you pick up the phone and it seems like you talked yesterday. Or that you pick up the phone and realize that you no longer have anything to talk about. That life has taken you different directions. In those moments, transition can be the most brutal and can also be the most beautiful. I got both ends of the spectrum. Less then a week after arriving, I lost the one relationship I thought I could count on. The one person that had been there throughout the last few months and who I felt I desperately needed in this time of transition. They, on the other hand, decided that indeed this was the time to break ties and leave me to my own. I was heartbroken, depressed, and felt more alone than I should have. For in the losing of one, I gained far more. I reconnected with several friends that I love more dearly then words can express. I was able to spend more time with my family and I learned that sometimes it is only through brokenness that we are truly made whole. It is often only in our darkest hour that we cry out Abba and we learn the love and tenderness only He can offer. I also learned that only in forgiveness can we ever move forward. I spent a lot of time assessing the relationships in my life and realized that the ones I truly valued were still right there and that I simply needed to forgive them and love them. That while my transition was difficult on myself, it was not easy on those around me either. So I placed all the pieces of a broken heart in the arms of the One who sees me as no one else does and let Him heal me. I forgave those around me who I felt had hurt me and decided to love and trust that God had a plan in all this.  And I can say that today, the plan is starting to take shape. It scares me. Its new and unknown and nothing that I ever thought would happen, but it has all fallen into place so perfectly, I have to trust that it is right. And ironically, I knew that is how it would happen. I would settle in only to be unsettled again. God is teaching me the value of learning to accept and process change rather then fight, run, and argue with its necessity to life.

 

I will write more later on the specfics of the changes I have gone through, but for now I am thankful for the process. At times it was brutal, at times it was beautiful. And its not over. It is still a daily process. But each day gets easier and each day I am increasingly overwhelmed at the love and joy that surrounds me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Ya Later

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I HATE saying good-bye and I have done my fair share of it lately.

And I promised I would blog this week so while I am not sure how many people read this, I figured I should follow through.

Sadly this is not the post most were hoping for.

In the past two and a half weeks, my life has changed in almost every way imaginable. Some of those changes were anticipated, but some caught me completely off guard. They have all left me feeling very frustrated, overwhelmed, depressed, lonely, and often like an utter and complete failure. While I realize this is hard to understand, as I have been trying to process through all of it, I just haven’t felt like myself or like writing.

Thus for the time being I am saying see ya. Not good-bye, just see ya later! If you want to be the first to know when I am back at blogging sign up to get my updates or find me on Twitter. Until then best of luck and enjoy your summer. (although I hope to be back at writing long before summer is over!)

The Longest Monday of My Life

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Literally.

Thanks to the world being round, my Monday will officially last 38 hours. That is almost how much people work in a week, but instead of working 5 days, I will spend one very very long day traveling.

Here is how my 38 hour Monday will look:

Wake up 3:30am. Take quick shower and say good-bye to Anna. (probably a very tearful one!)

4:00am. Head to Saipan Airport. It will take me about 5 minutes to check in which leaves me 1 hr and 55 mins to sit in a tiny airport. Dumb airport regulations.

I will then spend the next 30 hours flying/sitting in airports to reach my final destination-Indiana!!

My stops will include Tokyo, San Francisco, and Minneapolis.

It will not be night for the entire 30 hours. Talk about weird. 30 hours of daytime.

Finally arrive home at 10:15 pm Monday. Same day that I left and  by the clock only 16 hours later.

Waiting for me-my amazingly wonderful parents and my super awesome boyfriend 😉

Three words: BRING IT ON!

 

Leaving without a Destination–or How I am Becoming a Risk Taker

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Play it safe. Have a plan. Know what’s next. Stick to it.

 

Those have been my life mantras. I have always known what I am doing next. I have never quit a job without having another one. I have never left without knowing exactly where I was going and what I was going to be doing. I research, plan, and write down every detail about everything I do. I have just never been one for taking risks, for just showing up, or for enjoying the ride. I am always looking forward to what is next.

 

That is all about to change. In 4 days I am leaving Saipan with no destination. No plan. For once in my life I threw caution to the wind and said, “ah..I will figure it out later!” And you know something, its so exciting. Its not stressful (most of the time) and the planner in me is learning to take a break and chill out. The side of me that liked to play it safe is learning that there is excitement in not playing it safe. And you know the best part-I have become really bold in my new decision to leave without a destination. I have started to acknowledge the fact that I have a good bit of experience and I am a hard worker and quick learner and pretty passionate about a lot of issues that would make me an awesome candidate for some of these jobs that I would have previously never even given a second glance. I am starting to develop a confidence in the person God created me to be. Not that I can do it on my own, but that with Him it is all possible.

 

See, I have always struggled with self-esteem. I can always find you someone who is prettier, smarter, or more qualified for the job. And the reality is, that is true. We live in a world of 6 billion people. There is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, or more qualified. But I just made a decision. I decided that I was going to stop worrying about those people and live my life. I have fallen in love with adventure and living life loud. I have developed a huge passion for social justice. I LOVE the idea that we can make this world a better place. I will never give up on that. And because of that, I decided it was time I got off my butt and started doing my part. Because what if no one else does? Thus,

 

How to Become a Risk Taker 101

 

First, Pursue your dreams. For me that has meant that I have started applying to my dream jobs. Dream job #1: TOMS Shoes. I have traveled the world in their shoes and love what they stand for as a company. Plus, living in California wouldn’t be all bad either. I hear the weather is nice:) Dream job #2: Polaris Project Internship. Applying there when I get home. No one is going to give me a chance if I don’t apply and I know if someone would just give me a chance, I could wow them. In addition, I have started looking like crazy for ways to volunteer and get involved with the abolition of human trafficking. This is a huge burden on my heart and something I want to pursue with everything I am. We need modern day Harriet Tubmans-why can’t I fill those shoes?

 

Second, Set high goals. I set a huge goal for my Tread of Trafficking team.  And while I am pretty sure it was too big a goal, it was for me a matter of getting out of that box. I never want to settle for the easy road. I want to be constantly pushing and challenging myself to think bigger! And when you are finished reading, go check out my team. $10 adds up quickly! I re-did my blog to hopefully get my voice out to more people, and whether that happens or not, I am going to keep writing because I LOVE to write. And when you love something, you have to do it whether anyone else pays attention or not!

 

Lastly, Enjoy the moment. I am learning to enjoy each and every minute. I am cherishing every second  I have left in Saipan. I am spending as much time as I can at the beach and hanging with my friends. I am so excited to be home, but I am learning that I miss too many moments by focusing on what is next. I am taking advantage of every opportunity to take risks, gain experiences and adventures, and make new friends. I mean, I spent New Year’s at a concert in Bali..how awesome is that?!? And as I head home, I am going to live it up every single day and not worry so much about what is going to happen next. I can bet you that even if I knew, I wouldn’t believe it anyways.

 

What about you? What are some ways you have found to move from playing it safe to taking risks?

 

The Final Countdown

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Three weeks. 21 days. 504 hours.

 

That is how long I have left in Saipan. And while in some respects that still seems like a long time, I know its going to go by so fast that in a blink I will be sitting on a plane wondering what happened to those three weeks.

 

Time in Saipan is an odd concept. For the past 10 months, I have had basically no concept of time. Aside from the fact that I show up at work on time everyday, the rest of life sorta moves..well, differently. The weather never changes here so where most people mark changes by seasons, in Saipan I often catch myself saying, “Wait that was only a week ago? Seems like its been a month.” You look back and honestly can’t remember when things happened because everything is the same. And I have grown to love that. Life here is about people and experiences, not time. Not to mention that being in a time zone completely opposite from the rest of my friends and family has made time even more odd of a concept. I talk to my mom and she is heading to bed while I am eating lunch the next day. That is still weird to me.

 

And even weirder is that I am actually starting to like it. Yes, the always-on-time and tight-crazy-scheduled me  has begun to enjoy the fact that life is simple, easy, and not run by deadlines and clocks. Instead you base your day on if its nice enough to go to the beach or not. (thankfully, 99% of the time it is a nice beach day) What happens when I say goodbye to Saipan, get on a plane, and land back in a world where deadlines and clocks rule the hour and taking two seconds to be nice to the person behind the counter is all of a sudden an inconvenience. How do I adjust? Or more importantly, how to do I refrain from adjusting?

 

Therefore, the next few weeks are going to be full of lots of reflection and introspection. I am not the person that sat on a plane 10 months ago preparing to fly to a small island in the middle of the Pacific. And although I am convinced that my time here is at an end, most of me is very scared about the prospect of moving back to America. Part of me wants to call it all off and just convince everyone to move here. It really is a nice place to live. And as much as I would rather just put off the process of processing the past year, I know that it will be easier to start while still here and still able to run along the beach when I need to re-focus. Thus, I will be blogging about the past year and the changes I have made  in a sense to clarify and cement who I am and who I want to stay as I head back to life in America.