Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in a Nutshell

2014 was definitely a year of changes for many reasons.

At the end of February, we took the high schoolers on their annual High School Retreat. It took place in Nürnberg, which has now become one of my favorite places in Europe. I woke up on that Saturday morning and looked out over the city, telling God that I was ready for whatever he had for me. I was willing to stay in Germany with these kids for as long as he wanted me to stay.

Then, two weeks later, I left for staff retreat in the Alps. But not before checking in on eharmony for (what I figured would be) another eye-roll, oh-my-gosh-is-this-guy-serious-no-wonder-he-doesn't-have-a-girlfriend, profile check. I was introduced to John from Orlando. And then I left to spend a weekend here:

It was easy to get distracted with this view all day that Saturday. But I couldn't stop thinking about John from Orlando. Sure enough, when I got back on Sunday, there was an email from him waiting for me. A few days later we were texting, but not before I left for Prague with this group of awesomenesses:

Well, then we started Facetiming after I got back from Prague. But our time was cut short because I left to go to Tanzania on a mission trip with yet another group of amazing kids:

The Facetimes and texts and phone calls continued. But yet again were interrupted, this time by a four day vacay to Croatia with Lexi:

And so we continued this "relationship" and I was more and more beginning to find myself wondering what in the world God was going to do. And I hadn't even met him in person!
Graduation came and went and I cried lots of tears saying goodbye to my sweet kiddos, who were going onto college:

But then the day came. The day that we went on our first, real date that didn't require technology. A lovely dinner at a riverfront restaurant and a walk around San Marco, thus starting off a really fun summer.
God, for whatever reason He saw fit, used this whole relationship to tell me - "It's time. You've done what I called you to do. Now, come back and see what life holds."

So, I came back to Germany for the four months I committed to completing. I directed one of the most fun musicals I've ever had the experience of directing

I traveled to places I hadn't been before - Scotland, Spain, & Ireland - all with dear friends who've walked through a lot with me in the last 2 1/2 years

And how could I forget that I got to spend most of the semester with an incredible Family Group?

A week ago, it came time for me to leave Germany. And the first thing I thought back to was that trip to Nürnberg where I told God I was basically ready for anything He had for me. I guess you can say he answered it in more ways than one. For now, anyway.

                                                              Happy 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Last Day in Germany

I woke up at 7 and walked to the Rathaus to get a copy of my de-registration form to take with me to Lörrach so that I was able to successfully cancel my cell phone plan.

This is the view from the Rathaus back into town. Walking under the covered bridge brought back so many memories of my first few days in Kandern 2 years ago.

I stopped at the "new cafe" in town to get a latte and then went home only to be picked up by Kim McKell a few minutes later. We drove to Lörrach, I canceled my cell phone plan, and then came back to Kandern to finish last minute packing and cleaning at my house. I walked to the Martins and said a tearful goodbye, then went to Rachel's house for lunch and another goodbye, and once more went back to finish laundry. After my goodbye with the McKells, I walked back to my apartment and was met with the most beautiful sunset on the Hauptstrasse and the path by to my place.

 I did one last walk-through, finished cleaning, and Ellen came over to help me organize my carry-on's, and then we said our goodbye. A last goodbye at the Watsons followed and I snapped the picture below of the fountain in the Marktplatz dressed as an Advent candle on my way.

 Joy Watson took me to the Antrims where I'm staying tonight. The goodbyes were not getting easier and I was sobbing by the time I entered the house. However, a lovely meal of homemade sushi was waiting for me when I arrived.
The last three days have been the hardest of the goodbyes. Yet, I'm so thankful that I was able to do them in this way. I feel ready. I feel prepared. And I can't wait to see John tomorrow.

So long, Germany. I will always refer to you as my other home, my other country, and will smile whenever I hear your language, which I've still yet to become remotely fluent in at all.

Auf Wiedersehen