Thursday, October 11, 2018

40

30 taught me not to be afraid of a new decade

31 taught me to take care of myself

32 taught me you're never too old to go back to school

33 taught me who my friends were

34 taught me there were more layers of life to pull back

35 taught me that travel was my heart's desire

36 taught me that there are still wolves in sheep's clothing

37 taught me to embrace where my roots are

38 taught me to bloom where I'm planted

39 taught me that age is just a number

40....what will you teach me? Is it true I'll start caring less about what people think of me? Is it true you're really the best decade? Is it true you're really the new 30? Why have so many dreaded you in the past? 

I guess I'll find out soon. Here's to 40...and all the joy ahead!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Why Finland?

That was the question I got asked the most before I left and even while I was in the country!

Why Finland?

Well...
Clearly because of how ugly it is. I mean, look at this picture. Just disgusting.


Why Finland?
Because obviously the food sucked and the presentation was just ridiculously over the top. Gross.

Why Finland?
Because who doesn't want to get mauled by dangerous huskies such as the one above trying to attack my face while I so obviously encourage it to stop.

Why Finland?
Cause of these two losers next to me who just had to tag along on the worst trip ever....

Ok, you have to know by now I'm kidding and being extremely sarcastic. Why Finland? WHY NOT?? 

It first started a year or so ago when I wanted to take a trip to Iceland with friends. And then everyone started going to Iceland because of the cheap flights. I read on a blog or Pinterest or somewhere that Finland was going to get to be the next hot tourist destination in a few years. So I thought, "Well, I'm certainly not a hipster by any means but I could totally do a hipster trip to Finland before it gets popular." So that's what I did.

Brie and Caroline were immediately intrigued. I told them I wanted to hit up the northern lights but that it might be impossible because we'd have to take a flight up north. They were like, "Ok, so let's do that." And we bought the tickets from Helsinki to Ivalo (pronounced EEV-ah-low not Iv AH lo). Then I said, "Estonia is a day trip away by ferry." And Caroline said, "Ok, so let's do that."

Check out these gross looking pictures of Tallin, Estonia:



Ugh, disgusting, right? Why Estonia?

(Sarcasm again haha)

So, then we started planning and reading up and before we knew it, we were sitting in our cozy little AirBnB flat in the middle of the Design District of Helsinki. We did everything and saw everything and ate everything. And even despite the evening that we waited and waited for the northern lights to appear and played all sorts of card games and drank hot wine, the wait was worth it. See below the pic a new friend took for us of the northern lights:

So now our trip is done and over. We've been back now for a week and the whole time we've been on our group chat talking about how we wish we were back in Helsinki together because it really was the trip of a lifetime.

So, why Finland? If you're still not convinced by any of what I've said, then I can't help you ;) 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Back in the Motherland

It's interesting to be back in a place where joy and heartache were so prevalent for me, sometimes all at once, sometimes intermittently. Walking around Kandern I'm reminded of the excitement felt when it was time for small group to begin, when I would walk to Rachel's and Amy's house for tea, when I would see Lexi at the grocery store, when I would watch The Bachelor with CB, Erin, Lexi, Lauren, et al and drink wine and laugh about Tommy being the next Bachelor.

I'm reminded of the sweet relationships I had with my students. The random knocks on the door for a chat and hot chocolate. The tears shed on my couch about boys, missing their parents, and just life. The sweet chats with Jen on her couch and drinking her spiced tea while I spilled my guts to her about all I was experiencing.

Then I think about the last 3 months I lived here. The most bittersweet months in my life I think. I was going back for a reason, for a purpose or so I thought. And in the back of my mind I wondered if he was really going to appreciate me once I moved back. And when he didn't and broke my heart, I mourned for my sweet Kandern. For the people I'd left, the country I'd fallen in love with, and the little town that held my heart.

I worried for a long time - up until very recently- if people here were mad at me for leaving the way I did. Because I left them in haste. I thought I was supposed to do it that way. I thought I was leaving for someone who loved me as much as I loved them. And I was supposed to do it that way. And when it didn't happen and when he told me he didn't care that I'd left a whole entire other life behind, I had to pick up the pieces and start to talk about it openly.

Yesterday, Rachel and I went to get coffee and catch up. We talked about the past, about the decision I made to leave when I did and how I wished I could have taken it back and finished the year off. Rachel said something so profound, so real, and something I needed to hear. In so many words "Don't regret something you did with the knowledge you had at the time you did it."

The knowledge I had three years ago was that I had met someone, that someone wanted me back in the States, that someone didn't want to do long distance, that someone wanted to marry me. It made sense. And now looking back at all of it, no, he didn't love me, no, he didn't care where I had to come from to make his life simple, no, he didn't want to marry me. So I gave up everything and he gave up nothing. But again - the knowledge I had then told me to go and do this.

Sometimes I ask God "Why did you have to do it that way?" It was painful and it hurt to leave this lovely little place with the amazing people and the students who taught me more than I ever imagined. God is mysterious. God does things that I'll never be able to explain and this was one of many of them.

Today as I type this out, I'm at peace. I realize that my time here was just that - a time. And nobody is mad or upset. They understood. They know God is unpredictable and uses what He will to get us where we need to be.

It's good to be back in Kandern.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I Didn't Want to Admit it but...

...I'm actually starting to feel at home in South Florida.

I know, I know...I never thought anywhere could feel like home again. Kandern and Basel were as close as it had gotten for me to feel that I belonged anywhere.

"You move around a lot." Yeah, I know. Some of that by choice, some by circumstance, all of it by divine providence.

I've now been in South Florida longer than anywhere else in the last 2 1/2 years since being back in the States. As per usual, I started getting restless 3 months into being here last year and started wondering if I should just go back to Germany, try and find a job back in Jacksonville, anything but try and sprout roots.

Then, somehow it happened that I got more comfortable. I started making friends, renewing friendships from the past here, and found a church home.

Yes, I still miss Kandern and Basel. Yes, I'm still sad I don't get to see my nieces growing up as much as I'd like. Yes, I miss my friends from all over the place. But I think I can admit that I'm here for a reason and that it's more than just seasonal.

It's nice to finally be able to breathe and relax and know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be....and longer than a year and a half ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

#39

The last year of my 30s

I have learned so much in the past 9 years

I grew up

I traveled

I went back to school

I lived in Boston

I lived in Germany (again)

I fell in love

I had my heart broken

I became an aunt

I discovered so much about myself, about others, about life.

39, I hope you are the best of the best of my 30s.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Suck at Blogging

The title says it all. I suck at this. So why do I still do it? I dunno. Maybe in hopes that someone comes across it and is like "OMG this is brilliant! Where is this woman? She's amazing! She should be on Ellen promoting this!" (Have I mentioned I have a fantastic imagination?)

Ok so this is how summer ended up for me -

-I did a five week theatre camp whereupon my little campers aged 8-13 performed Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Overall a fun and exhausting five weeks.

-I went to NYC for a Theatre Workshop and learned choreography from Hamilton. I have no pictures of me personally doing this, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I also saw some awesome shows. It had been a while since I'd been to NYC (because living in Europe kind of limited me) so it was good to be back.

-I spent time with my nieces who are just so much fun. I LOVE BEING AN AUNT!

-I went on a cruise with my dear friend, Anne. We crawled and hiked through a cave. Yes, I did. I can do outdoors when I need to

And then school started back up and life has been just as busy as it was last year. I still suck at blogging but I'm keeping it here because why not?

Anyway, here's to a new school year and more blog posts (I hope).

Monday, June 26, 2017

From the Heart

Singleness is hard.

I say this after having just had a heart to heart conversation with a dear friend of mine from Gordon-Conwell.

Singleness is hard.

Yes, I did repeat that because it's true.

I can count on one hand and a half (so, like seven fingers) friends of mine who are single like me and who, like me, are wondering lately WHAT GIVES?

It's hard when I know my ex has moved on, is probably getting married soon, and here I am - alone.

It's difficult when most all of my friends around me are married, have a growing family, and I'm here still holding onto a dream that I hope God will fulfill.

Singles hear all the time a few of the following things - "....God knows the desires of your heart" or "...when you least expect it" or "Well maybe you are learning a lesson as a single person."

I want to be as blunt but as sweet as possible - please stop saying that to us. Maybe you mean well, but it comes across as flippant, cliche, or that you really just don't know what else to say.

We know God knows our heart, we know it could happen when we least expect it... and talk about lessons learned. We've been able to do a lot of things those married friends might have not gotten to do. But that still does not lessen the blow that we want to be married.

Sometimes I feel like I'll be OK as a single the rest of my life. Like today I carted three heavy bags of groceries up to my apartment and I was sweating like a pig but I immediately thought, "GIRL POWER! I DID THAT ON MY OWN!"

But other times, I wish I didn't have to do it on my own.

Look, I'm not writing this blog to get a pity party thrown. I'm just being honest. And I'm certainly NOT begrudging any of you married friends. I love you. You're my girls (and boys) and I wouldn't be where I am without your presence in my life all these years.

It's just that I'm tired of this empty feeling in my heart that aches from time to time. More often than not as of late.

I have a piece of art on my coffee table that a former student made for me. It simply says, "It will be a good story later." I know that all of this - ALL OF IT - is included in my journey for a purpose and a reason. I don't have to like it right now. I don't have to like it ever, really.

But it will be a good story later on.