Snail Mail Making a Comeback

For half a decade I have had a very faithful pen pal. We met in South Korea on August 20, 2009 and lived together for 10 days in a small dorm room as we were acclimated to our new jobs and country of residence. That random room assignment has given me a gift that keeps on giving. Christina has inspired me through her adventurous spirit, and her letters, and her gift of photography, which you can see on her blog. I am grateful for her faithfulness in writing me letters, because sometimes it takes me months to write back, but she never gives up on me.

A week after I received Christina’s letter in the mail I got another letter from a best friend since childhood. April blogged about sending something in the mail to someone you miss. I read the post and loved it and secretly hoped she would write me a letter one day soon, and then guess what showed up in the mail?

Thank you friends. I love my letters.

A few days after I got my letter from April, I received a package. Mail! It’s the best thing ever.

When I left Korea I had a group of beautiful friends form a committee (without my knowledge) to plan my going away party. As part of the party (before, during, and after it I should say)  the committee asked my church community to write me letters of encouragement. They printed out pictures and put together a massive binder of the letters and pictures and verses. You know you have teacher friends when you get a book of encouragement organized to last a whole year. I am not allowed to open the letters as I please, they are set up for me to open 3-4 a week.

Thank you Dyanne (those pictures, yay!), Tammi, Zara, and Delia. Thank you especially to Delia for putting it all together and for mailing it to me instead of making me carry and extra 12 pounds of weight to Australia. Thank you for knowing me so well. I love and miss you all.

10 on 10- February

I have another blog post in drafts. That happens a lot. It’s about my trip to the Philippines and I plan to finish it. But it’s the 10th! And we know what that means. The 10 pictures I am posting this month were taken on a random Saturday (two weeks ago?). My weekends tend to be a bit full because I have so many loves to hang out with and things to do. This particular Saturday started with a shopping trip to Costco alongside my roommies. After which I headed to Seoul to have lunch and tea with the lovely Tinè, and finished the day spending the evening with the Bongiovannis (who hosted!), Egbert and Diana. We ate chili and brownies and I watched my first episode of Fixer Upper. Riveting details, I know. That’s why there are pictures!

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(not my salad…)

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matchy match!

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I really need to get a new lens, this ones getting finicky and I am sad that the pic of the Bongos is blurry 😦

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And that’s how all brownies should be eaten.

Make sure to check out my cousin’s 10 on 10, and April’s (love that you are doing this too). In fact, everyone should do a 10 on 10!

10 on 10- June [Selfie Edition]

Halfway through having dessert with a friend who is visiting Seoul (from the States) I exclaimed, “IT’S THE TENTH!” Both she and my other friend looked at me like I had gone bonkers.

With the end of the school year taking place last week and officially going into summer break and living the international lifestyle of saying goodbye to many friends I had very little time to pull out my DSLR this month for enjoyment purposes. I scanned through my iPhone photos for the month and knew right away that this post was going to be my “Selfie Edition”.

                         

Can’t wait to head to the States for the summer!

Cousin’s 10 on 10 (check it out!)

The Delisio’s in Wiesbaden

I was chatting with my dad on his birthday (SHOUT OUT TO BEING 58 AND BARELY LOOKING 50 DADDY!) earlier this week and he mentioned that he can gauge the busyness of my life by how often I post on my blog. Oops. I have actually been sitting on this post ever since I very belatedly posted my Paris pictures. I just totally forgot to publish it. Haha. My Bad. So, even though I am fasting from facebook (I know y’all miss me) and instragram and t.v. shows and movies… I can still blog! Here are pictures from my first five days in Germany. Sorry it took almost four months to post.

Michelle and I met during college in 2007. We both met Jason through the campus ministry we attended. They fell in love and got married and moved to Germany for a couple of years. Then, they had a baby! Me, being the lover of travel that I am, promised a visit and this summer I was able to make it happen. Jason, Michelle, and I hadn’t spent time together since an epic road trip I took with another group of college friends to visit them in 2011. Which brings me to my next point. Jason and Meesh, pack up the family and visit me already 🙂 Wait… that wasn’t my next point (but it is still a good one). My point is that I can go years without being in person with these two, but it’s the kind of friendship that picks right back up where it left off. You know the kind I mean.

And their baby boy. WHAT A CUTIE.

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After five days with them I headed to Berlin to visit Jenny. And I missed them. After one day. The Delisios are special people, and I likes them a lot.

The Village has Visitors

I am not blogging my summer in order whatsoever. Like, I mean, at all.

OH WELL.

In July my dear friend Jee Young flew from New York to Chicago, met up with another fabulous friend, Jane, and together they drove… to my village.

Arriving around 11:30 at night, the first thing Jee Young says, “It’s so dark here!”

I forgot, the country is dark. There are no streetlights, building lights, and very few car lights… it’s dark. Really dark.

The second thing Jee Young says, “We stood outside looking up at all the stars, there are so many stars!”

It reminded me of the time when I told my 2nd graders in Seoul that I missed seeing stars. They tried arguing with me that you can see a lot of stars in the city. I told them “No, you can’t.” Then one boy said, “Yes, you can! Once, I saw SEVEN.”

Jane and Jee Young had the privilege of getting a full tour (a whopping three hours long, and that included lunch) of the village of Middleville, which even included the log house my dad built and the family lived in for the first ten years of my life.  We ate lunch at the one real restaurant that wasn’t also a bar, and visited my old high school —where I got a library card at the public library— in which I got lost in because there has been so much renovation I didn’t even feel like it was the school I attended.

Oh yes, and we also took a field trip to my sister’s farm, where they saw tractors in real life and cows, very SMELLY cows.

Aaaaahhhh the country.

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Having people you meet on the other side of the world visit your home town is really special. I am so grateful to Jane and Jee Young for making the effort to visit me this summer.

Until my next totally out-of-order post about my summer…

 

 

the lie of loneliness

This past weekend marked my 28th year of life (I can’t believe I am now 28, I have lived 28 years! What?!). I started the beginning of my 29th year surrounded by almost 400 people for three days.

And at one point I felt completely alone. Growing up living with 10 other people in my immediate family, feeling lonely is a very rare occurrence for me. I grew up extroverted, and have never lacked family or friends. This emotion of being lonely was totally foreign, and also a huge fat lie.

For the first time, I felt like I had too many friends. It took me 28 years, but I had this feeling of finally reaching my limit— the capacity cut off.

You know how Jesus had the inner circle of 3 disciples that he kept extra close out of the 12? I would choose 6 people. Instead of 12 disciples, I would choose 24. In fact, right now if I were to pick bridesmaids out of my girlfriends (this is how the female brain works before you get married) the closest of the close, I would probably only be able to narrow the number down to 18. And that is just females; do you know how many amazing guy friends I have? I am blessed.

Friday night I left work and headed to New Philadelphia’s yearly church-wide retreat. I made it just in time for the evening message. Since the retreat had started the day before, I felt like I did a cannon ball jump into the water instead of slowly getting my feet wet, then wading up to my ankles, my knees, my thighs (the water gets so cold at that point!), and so on. It was good, but a little disorienting.

After the message, friends that weren’t too busy serving, or drunk in the spirit, bombarded me with birthday wishes and hugs and love. But then there were so many people I didn’t get to see, it felt like I saw no one at all. We had our small group session time. I told them it was my birthday, why? Why, as humans— do we need to make everything about us? I am seriously so selfish in the flesh sometimes a lot. I want everyone to be my friend, and I want everyone to love me, and I wanted everyone to know that it was my birthday so therefore it is the best day on the calendar and please be happy that I was born on this day almost three decades ago, and love me, and notice me, and give me presents, and love me!

But, if I had seen and talked to all the people who I wanted to… would I have even had a real conversation in such a short amount of time? The next day of the retreat during the free time I wanted to hang out with everyone, but I realized that if I had done that I would have ended up hanging out with no one. I felt burdened and sad. How silly.

I am loved. I have so many people who love me. I am not alone. I am surrounded. I had great conversations with some people and I had fun jokes and quick hugs with others. I met new people and loved it. I don’t have a cut-off, I don’t have a limit, because God’s love and joy that flows through me and from me is never-ending. I just needed to realize that I need to fill myself up by spending time with him, if I want to spend time with other people and not lose that joy. I also realized that I still want to be friends with everyone, I just can’t help it. But I also want to be fully present and invest in the lives of those who invest in me. I will learn a balance. Eventually.

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Our school loves the teachers so much, they buy the employees donuts for the whole staff on every birthday. The birthday winner gets a special heart donut, I was so excited I bit into before I got a picture, hehe.

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Megan surprised me with a cake and the K-2 grade students poured into my room singing during lunch break with a bunch of beautiful home-made cards.

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You can tell that I had a student take the above picture^^ One of my student’s had her mom make me brownie cupcakes because she knew that I prefer them over cake. She was super super super excited to give them to me. I love being a teacher!

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At the retreat! Having dinner with my Emmaus girls. SERIOUSLY LOVE THEM.

I have more pictures of the retreat that I will post later; these are pictures from my phone. My students treated me like a princess all month leading up to my birthday— they were the stinkin’ cutest things ever. Being a teacher when your birthday rolls around is the BEST OCCUPATION to have. Hands down.

When I come home.

I know I am home when three laptops cannot be on the same internet connection at my parent’s house at the same time/even when I am the only one on I have to wait five minutes for a page to load (slight exaggeration, slight).

I can/have to drive everywhere, and end up wishing for the subway after three days.

I am weirded out by “small-town” talk at the grocery store.

I eat a home-cooked meal every single night. sigh… (I may have had steak three times my first week home, whahaha).

I eat Chinese food, American/Chinese food!

The beach is only an hour away, and the pool is in my backyard.

I am in weddings.

I get woken up at 6:55 a.m. by my niece and nephew. I have never loved not sleeping in until now.

I er, Jordan makes pizza.

I listen to the radio.

I miss rice.

I miss walking.

I buy teaching supplies. Can’t WAIT to get my stapler.

I laugh until I cry talking about “No pants Noah” and “No top Travis”.

I create memories to hold me over until next summer with my friends and family (though it never does “hold me over”), and I love every second of it.

I enjoy life to the fullest, just as I do in Korea, when I come home…^^