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


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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Almost a Year

The school year ends next week and I've done a lot of reflecting on the last school year here at USchool. I fought so hard to stay at Oakleaf and be with those kids who were so special to me. I fought to be their theatre teacher, to build a department, to continue building a Thespian troupe. When it was stripped from me, I was broken once more. I had lost students yet again.

Or so I thought.

This year has been hard but it's been good at the same time. I've been able to utilize a stage that I could have only dreamed about before. I gained a whole new group of Jr. Thespians. We went on to take a One Act to State, score a myriad of Superiors, and bond like a family.

I miss those kids at Oakleaf and they'll always hold a special place in my heart. But I'm so thankful for what happened, even if I wouldn't have chosen to leave on my own.

After almost a year I'm in my own place, Ft. Lauderdale is starting to feel more like home, and I'm getting into a routine. I have "my" grocery store, "my" gym, "my" places that make it more like a city I'm familiar with.

When your rug gets snatched from under you, there's a reason. I promise. You may not see it at first but give it time and watch and see how you flourish.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Today I made a photo album (finally) of my time in Kandern. As I was scrolling through the particular ones I wanted, my heart started to ache and I began to miss my friends and students once again. I think the hardest part for me right now is that I haven't talked to a lot of these friends on a regular basis like I thought I would. Many have gotten married or just simply lost touch, as is what happens when life goes on.

The time I had in Kandern was so sweet and precious. I miss it everyday and it's never far from my mind. I can't believe almost five years have come and gone so quickly. The students I had as sophomores will start their junior year of college in the fall. My little sixth grade babies will be juniors in high school.

Sometimes I feel as though I've been forgotten in the time that's come and gone. I know Kandern isn't the same for everyone because we all had different experiences. But when I look at the pictures of my time there, I am reminded of just how blessed I was to get a taste of what real community looks like.

I miss you, sweet Kandern. You're never far from my heart.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I prefer transient to vagabond.

I guess four months means it's about time I updated this thing.

It's been two years since I moved back to the States. Over two years, I guess. In that time I've moved to three different cities, had five different addresses, and taught at two different schools.

I'm a transient person and I've known that for a long time. Well, since I found out what the word transient meant, anyway.

I've lived on my own since I was 18, when my parents moved from Savannah to Boca Raton and I stayed to finish my senior year of high school. I switched colleges after one year - I wanted to be closer to my parents. So I moved from North Georgia to South Florida and then my parents moved to North Georgia.

I don't regret that decision.

When I moved to Switzerland right after college, I never knew what an impact it would have on me. I didn't know that I would fall in love with a country - I didn't even know that was possible. But I fell and I fell hard. Moving back to Germany in 2006, my heart grew even bigger for a "new" place (I say "new" because it was literally right over the border from Switz).

I didn't want to move back to the States,  but I did and when I went back to Germany in 2012, I just assumed that was it. I would live in Germany for the rest of my life. That lasted for 3 years.

And when I came back to the States in 2015, I thought I was getting married but I didn't and I had to quickly transition from what I thought my life was going to look like to something I never wanted it to look like.

But all of that has brought me to where I am. I'm back in South Florida, back with the sun and the Hurricanes and the Heat (haha). Teaching something I am passionate about to students who are passionate about it.

Yet every night I go to bed and think of Germany and Switzerland. I think of those beautiful trees that line the Black Forest and make Kandern the cozy little place it is. I think about Starbucks in Claraplatz in Basel and how it became a haven for me to go and converse with friends or just to sit and watch the city. I think about day trips to Austria, to the French region of Switz, to little countries like Liechtenstein. I think about how my friends lived down the street from me and where within walking distance to grab a coffee.

Wow. That's a long tangent. Bravo if you're still reading this. All that to say - my life has been transient since I was 18. People ask me if I'm feeling settled in South Florida. "Sort of..." I say with a question mark at the end of that answer because I feel like I've been tossed around the last 2 years so much so that now that I've landed in what I feel will be home for a while, I still don't feel completely settled.

I know every year at a new school is a year of readjustment. It's just that I've had a year of readjustment for 2 years now and it can make one really weary and tired. I pray every night that I can jump ahead and wake up and finally say "Whew. I'm so glad that's over."

Every experience we go through is used for something bigger. The journey created for us was never meant to be easy and carefree. We're given these hardships and transitions to show us something, a lesson to be learned, a moment of "oh that's why I had to do that..."

It still doesn't make it any easier.

So I guess that's what I've been pondering for the last four months. Well, that and I've just been busy with shows and school and life. But...yeah, I think I've been chewing on some stuff and thinking about how often I've had to deal with change and moves and everything.

The transient life is an adventure and one that I was chosen to take when I had no idea what it even was. In the end, I'm glad I've had so many experiences both abroad and back here.

I'm just ready to finally answer "YES!" when someone asks me if I feel settled.