Sunday, November 30, 2014

My City

"Basel is so expensive!"
"There's more to do in Freiburg."
"Basel is so small compared to Zurich."

All of these statements are quite true.

But I didn't move to Freiburg or Zurich when I came over to Europe 12 years ago.

I still remember the first day I ever stepped foot in Basel. I was with Paula,  my house mom (what we au pairs referred to our bosses as), and the three children I would start looking after later that week. It was a Saturday and I was literally right off the plane just a few days. I remember the feeling I got walking across the Rhein River for the first time. I was mesmerized by this city that not many of my friends had even heard of until I told them where I'd be living.

Basel became my retreat. My getaway for when I needed a break from the small little village I lived in. I would meet up with other au pair friends and eventually would come to find a church to attend as well. On Saturdays, I would drive into the city center, get a Cafe Mocha from Starbucks, and sit on the steps of the Rhein and journal. Several times I'd venture into the English bookshop and scour new titles of books that sounded interesting. Of course I visited Luzern and Bern and Zurich, but there was just something about Basel.

Yesterday, I needed a retreat for myself. In the chaos of packing and getting ready for our upcoming Christmas concert and Actor's Showcase, there had hardly been any time for me to have that coveted "me" time. This time was a little different than most. I knew that this would be the last time I'd spend an entire day in the city for a long, long time. I could've taken the tram from the bus stop into the main part of the city, but I chose to walk across the Rhein and soak in the view of the Münster for a little while.

I took my time walking down each familiar street and going into shops that have become a favorite. I walked into the Rathaus courtyard and stood for a little while, remembering that a picture of it had become my desktop background the summer before I moved to Switzerland.

I call Basel "my city" for many reasons. It was the city that I really first navigated on my own. It was where I learned to be independent. I would get lost in it on purpose just so I was able to find my way around and I'm so glad I did. There are many memories with friends there, some of which I'll probably never see again because of time and distance and losing touch. In essence, it was like saying goodbye to a friend I knew I wouldn't see for a long time.

I leave you with this picture. It's my favorite view, the one of the Münster. I know it's expensive and not as fun as Freiburg or what not, but it's still my favorite city and will always and forever hold my heart.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Book I Never Read

“It turns out that playing it safe, at least in matters of the heart, is the most dangerous thing you can do. By that route, you become a butterfly pinned to the wall, with wonderful colors and all kinds of potential but going nowhere. Your wings are clipped. To really fly you must claim the courage to live out of your real self, the one God called into being.” - Paula Rinehart, Strong Women, Soft Hearts

So the above quote comes from a book that I've had on my bookshelf for two years now. Notice I didn't say I read it. It was a gift from my mother right before I left for Germany and it's one of many that I've been "meaning to get to." But when I moved to Kandern I was also taking two seminary courses and acclimating to life at BFA and the books that I meant to get to became decoration for my bookshelf. 

Two weeks ago, I had to clean off the bookshelf so that my friend Dani could buy it for her new baby girl. After sorting through the books, I came across Strong Women, Soft Hearts and put it on my nightstand because just from the title, it intrigued me as it did 2 years ago.

Wanting to know more about the book before I started it (and I haven't because have you noticed my life's been just a bit crazy? ;) ), I googled Paula Rinehart and was met with the above quote. 

To really fly you must claim the courage to live out of your real self, the one God called into being.

My mother has always called me her "butterfly" because unlike the one in the description, I rarely stay pinned down anywhere. I love to explore, I love to travel, I love going and being and doing. I don't doubt at all that I've lived out of my real self, especially since I was 23 and first came to discover what living abroad was like.

There was a reason I wasn't supposed to read that book 2 years ago, at least that's what I think. I think this book will take me on a journey of seeing what adventures God is about to take me on, to once again experience living out of my true self and discovering a new path on this journey.

I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sufficient Grace.

I'm not going to lie. Yesterday was rough.

I woke up not feeling rested at all and immediately began to survey the chaos that is now my bedroom. There are piles placed not so strategically everywhere indicating what is to be sold, what is to be given away, what goes with me to Orlando, and what goes in storage to Jacksonville. Then there’s my furniture consisting of a mattress, a bed frame, two night stands, a very large shrank (German for stand-alone closet), a dresser, a desk, and a desk chair.

I left for school (slightly later than I wanted to leave because I hit snooze due to the lack of sleep I got) and thankfully God gave me strength for teaching Choir and Acting before heading home and getting someone from BFA Housing to look at my room and tell me what needed to be done before I left.

Please don’t say I have to re-paint my room. Please don’t say I have to repaint my room. I kept repeating this silently over and over in my head.

“It looks like you’re going to have to repaint your room.”


“I hope this doesn’t cause anymore stress.”

Too late.

After debating about whether or not to have students come over and paint or if Christine and I should just knock it out together over Lorenzo’s pizza, we decided on the latter.

Thankfully, I had a re-entry counseling session yesterday and was able to flesh some of my frustration out. I felt a little better upon leaving and enjoyed my usual Monday evening of dinner with Amy and Rachel at the McKells and watching Property Brothers.

When I came home, I sat in the living room and worked on my talk for Friday’s Middle School chapel and that’s when I heard a drip-drop-splat sound coming from the kitchen. Our refrigerator needed to be defrosted, which isn’t a huge deal, but you know after you’ve had a stressful day, it’s just one less thing you need, right?

So Christine came home from dorm subbing and we sat on our kitchen floor and watched as the ice slowly melted in our frig, laughing about the fact that we were, in fact, sitting on our kitchen floor watching ice melt. I have the best roommate. Seriously.

Finally falling asleep last night, I reminded myself that even though five weeks isn’t a long time and even though I feel like none of this will ever get done, I know it will. I will sell the piles of stuff. I will sell my furniture. The German Salvation Army will get a plethora of my clothes. The room will get painted. The refrigerator will defrost. I will say a farewell to one of the most wonderful places in the world and be OK. And five weeks from today I get to hug John. So there’s that, too ;)

Within the chaos of moving internationally once more, I’m constantly reminded that God has always supplied me with what I needed. There are always friends who want to help, who offer that shoulder to cry on, roommates who choose to paint your room with you on a Friday night, and people God puts in my path that remind me his grace is sufficient, even on the rough days.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

In the Alps

Back in August, Amy asked me a few things I'd like to do before I left in December. Among going to Barcelona, Dublin, and Christmas markets, there was also going to see the Alps one last time. So, she set up a whole trip for us at a chalet in the little town of Adelboden, Switzerland. It literally looks like all those postcards and pictures you've probably seen of the Alps before.

There were eight of us total and we all planned meals together and brought plenty of food, drink, and even the entire series of Friends. On Friday night we enjoyed dinner together, then watched the newest Romeo and Juliet. Saturday was filled with a small hike to the waterfalls, hot chocolate in town, and then back to the chalet for lunch, hot tea, and a six-hour Friends marathon. After dinner, we watched The Holiday, which solidified our girly-girl weekend.

I haven't slept in on a Saturday in 2 months. Yesterday I got to sleep in and enjoy breakfast in my pajamas and relax with a cup of coffee in hand while practicing my love language of quality time with those nearest and dearest to my heart. It was truly something of a God thing because everything was just so laid back and relaxed.

Leaving today was very bittersweet. I admit, I've taken the Alps for granted. I've been more times than I can count and each time I'm more amazed and awed than the last. It's something that takes my breath away when I'm in the midst of them. I know I won't be back for a long time and instead of the two hour drive it takes to get there, I'll be a good 9 hour flight away. I'm so thankful to Amy who got this trip going and to the seven friends who surrounded me this weekend with just a bunch of fun and laughing. Lots of laughing.

Four 1/2 weeks left here. Enjoying it to the last drop.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

High School Musical

In the busyness of life in the last 2 weeks, I haven't been able to post anything about how awesome and amazing my cast and crew of High School Musical was last week! 

In going into this production, I didn't want it to stress me out because obviously, I have enough to stress me out as is with moving and saying goodbye and everything. God heard my prayer and even though there were a few stressful moments here and there, the musical went better than I ever could have imagined. Not only that, but I got to direct with my dear friend Dayla leading the pit orchestra! It was fun to look up and nod at her between acts when we were ready to start.

The best part was getting to have my mom here for opening night! She hasn't seen one of my shows since I was in college and we won't talk about how long ago that was now ;)