i’ve sort of fallen off of the internet planet lately with the semester ending. between exams and friendships and other life things, i’ve just had no time or energy to keep up with writing everything down. instagram is always around, though, so here’s my life lately in pictures.
summer is in full swing. i’m now a senior in college. i’m preparing for a couple of weeks of travel followed by a month of relaxing before my big adventure. friendships are building and waning. changes are happening.
i’m growing up, you know? it’s scary stuff.
i’m here, and that’s a hard fact to deal with.
if you asked me why i was going before the trip, i would tell you i wasn’t sure. in fact, someone did in the airport before we left, and i told him just that. i wasn’t sure. i wanted to go on a mission trip. this one showed up. i said yes.
“nervous” isn’t a strong enough word to describe how i felt before we left. “anxiety-ridden” may be more accurate. after reading up on the dangers of honduras, i was extremely apprehensive about this being my first destination outside of the united states. i’m pretty paranoid anyway, so the pages and pages online were enough to almost scare me off. almost.
we all piled into a van to drive to the atlanta airport at 4:30am. with only three hours of sleep, i was feeling less than spectacular, but my box of whales kept me propelled. everything went smoothly in the airport (minus a couple of pat-downs and a swiss army knife), and we were on our way.
i’ll never forget how i felt landing in honduras and how it looked over the wing of the plane. it’s definitely in the running for the happiest moment of my life so far. to make things even more epic, i was sharing headphones with my friend, listening to the lion king soundtrack. there’s no way that there could ever be better music for that moment. as soon as we reached ground, i started going into culture shock. yes, on the plane full of americans. it hit me that i was in another country, something that i had just accepted would never happen in my life. i was an outsider. i wouldn’t be able to understand what those were saying in passing or read any of the signs around me.
after we got our luggage, we all needed something to eat, so we stopped for our first meal in honduras– wendy’s. festive, right? we had hamburgers and french fries, and though they were sketchy, it felt good to be eating anything at all. the girls who picked us up at the airport were sweet and brought us two boxes of dunkin’ doughnuts as well. our first honduran food wasn’t very honduran.
from the airport, we still had a four hour ride ahead of us by bus. we strapped our luggage onto the top, and took off. i had heard horror stories of people getting incredibly car sick on this ride, so i came prepared with tons of medicine that made it no problem at all. the scenery the whole time was breathtaking. i’m used to scattered mountains here and there in south carolina, but here, every few minutes was an overlook of mountains, valleys, and towns. houses aren’t brown; they’re green, pink, yellow, or blue. there was so much to see and take in that the ride didn’t feel like any inconvenience.
we got to the ministry so late that we only had time to eat dinner with the girls. i felt a huge pang of sadness that night. i was excited to be there, but i had no idea how everything was going to work. how was i going to connect with these girls when i speak no spanish? i prayed a lot that night for God to give me words where i didn’t have any, which, incidentally, happens a lot when you’re in a foreign country.
the next morning, things just worked. it was the very beginning of the biggest lesson that i learned during my entire week there: language doesn’t define love. the girls were excited to see us in the morning, and they took our hands and dragged us around the farm to show us every animal they could find.
we started off the week by playing capture the flag– their favorite game in the entire world, i’m pretty sure. we all dressed up in our matching bandanas, shirts, and face paint, but our team of 11 was no match for 30 girls. we got beat all three games, and all ended up covered in chigger bites and various injuries from pine needles and clotheslines. it was a great way to start bonding with them.
on day three, we got to visit our first local school of the week. other teams had brought rice and toothbrushes that we could take into the community and hand out, and we brought along two soccer balls. they all lined up for them like they probably do many times with teams that come through, but afterwards, we stayed to play with them. the guys started a soccer game with the boys, and the girls stood in a circle to kick around their ball. after a while, the kids all dispersed to do their own thing, and i noticed a couple of girls still playing soccer together. i attempted to say something along the lines of, “can i play?” which got a giggle and a “si.”
we kicked the ball around for a while before they told me they wanted to play with “manos,” so we started throwing it. i started joking around with them, throwing it behind my back and faking them out. before long, they were doing it back, and we were all laughing. it was awesome to see how we could connect, laugh, and have fun together without being able to say more than just a few words. when it was time to go, they both ran up to hug me and tell me “gracias” for spending that little bit of time with them.
when we got back to the farm, we started our lessons with the girls. our main goal of going to honduras was to teach these girls financial literacy and business skills that they probably wouldn’t be able to learn otherwise. we taught things like starting a business to the older girls down to english lessons with the young ones. one of the people who came with us, tracy, brought a sewing machine to donate to the ministry and taught the girls how to make all kinds of awesome things that they could make for themselves or to sell later.
watching everyone do their lessons was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. i love seeing people do what they love to do, and i got to do that a lot while we were there. everyone was beaming when they got to teach their lesson on what they were passionate about, and i’m sure the girls could tell the difference between teaching with eagerness rather than just going through a lesson.
after school, the girls started working with coffee, which they grow on the farm. they showed me how to separate the beans that were ready from the ones that weren’t, so i sat and helped them.
while i was doing that, one of the older girls that i hadn’t seen very much came up and introduced herself. she wasn’t in school with everyone else because she took a bus to town every day to a cosmetology school. she told me about all she was learning about, and then we started talking about the ministry. she told me how long she had been there so far (8 years, i believe) and about girls that had been there for 10 or 12 years. she started telling me how much the ministry means to her– how it gave her sisters and a mom. i think that was the first time that it truly hit me how important everything that they’re doing there is. when you’re getting to play and hang out with awesome girls all day, you quickly forget how much they’ve been through. they’ve all been through so much, and this ministry has given them a true home.
that night, i got to hammock with a few others on the team. our team isn’t something that i’ve mentioned very much yet, but it’s something that made the trip what it was. i don’t think that there could have been any way that our team could have been any better. we all worked together so well, while also becoming amazing friends. i don’t think there was a single night when i didn’t stay up late into the night talking and laughing with either the entire team or just a few people. the nights where we got to hammock were my favorite.
well, i’ve managed to write 1,400 words about the first three days. to be continued.
i’m back from my trip to honduras. i have so much to say about it, but i have no idea how to begin to talk about all that happened. hopefully i’ll be able to process it all soon. it was truly the best week of my life.
when i first came to college a few years ago, i had no idea what to bring for my dorm room. how do you conceptualize living a life somewhere completely new that you’ve never even seen? i was lost, and i didn’t know my future roommates very well at all. when we got there and moved in, we quickly realized that the white walls and huge blank floor spaces weren’t going to work out for us. so, that year, we ended up with a crazy bed arrangement (two beds pushed together with the third person sleeping on a mattress on the floor under the other two.. don’t ask.) and magazine page covered walls. we couldn’t believe the change that it made in our attitudes and how it felt to be in there even with two small changes.
so, over the summer of the next year, we decided we were going to make our next room as homey as possible.. and we did. our room is a place that i love and enjoy being in, so i thought i would share some of the things we did to make our dorm our home rather than a blank space.
1. brighten it up.
i really like pastel colors. one of my favorite colors is gray. when it comes to the dorm, though, i have to put aside my love for softer colors. when the whole building is already gray and pastel blue, you have to brighten it up. pick bright colors, but don’t go crazy! try to coordinate them so it all comes together. in our room, we have a lot of yellows and purples.
2. cover those walls.
i sign up for a bunch of free magazine subscriptions throughout the year just so we have materials for our yearly collage. at the beginning of every year, me and my roommate sit down with a stack of magazines, scissors, and tape to decorate our walls. it’s an extremely cheap way to not only cover up the walls, but to make a wall that inspires you.
we also purchased this tapestry from urban outfitters a couple of years ago. it does wonders in pulling our room together.
we both got instagrams printed for relatively cheap, and it adds another touch to our room.
read more of “five ways to make your dorm room a home.” →
i love college. i really do. this has, without a doubt, been the best part of my life so far. i love living with all of my friends. i love late night trips to quiktrip or taco bell just because we want a snack. i love spontaneous movie nights, deep frying random foods, and talking with my roommate into the late hours of the night when we can’t sleep. there’s a lot of things that i love about living in a dorm, but at the same time, i’m starting to feel discontent.
lately, every time i walk into this building of tile floors and cinder block walls, i feel like there’s no possible way that i can continue living in a dorm even until the end of this semester. my school doesn’t have a lot of strict rules, and the dorms definitely aren’t bad. it’s just getting to the point where i’ve been here for almost three years, and i think i’m beginning to go into the stage where i’m preparing to move onto the next one.
i’m just ready to have a place of my own– one with carpets, a bed that isn’t five feet off the ground, and a kitchen where i can cook until my heart’s content. there’s a lot of great things about living in a dorm, but i’m just growing out of it.
a while ago, before i started this blog, google friend connect was restricted to those who were using the blogger platform. so, basically, no google friend connect for wordpress users. i’m a huge fan of wordpress; i have tried blogger before, and it just wasn’t for me. wordpress is what i’ve been using since i quit using livejournal (oh, livejournal), so i just couldn’t see myself moving over to blogspot just to use a widget. as i’ve tried to connect with more people, though, i have definitely wished that i had it.
fortunately, someone has finally figured out how to get around this limit! it takes a little bit of finagling, but it works perfectly once you get it going. so, if you’re a wordpress user like me, check it out.
for everyone else, follow me on google friend connect now! i’ve put it in my sidebar.
now, back to studying for my 57 tests coming up this week.
before college, i was never a traveler. until i was about 13, i hadn’t been many places.. i had been no more north than washington, d.c. and no more west than tennessee. i could count the states that i had visited on one hand. georgia is the next state over, and the first time that i had ever been was last year. traveling was not something that i ever thought i would really love.
over break, me and matt flew to portland, oregon to visit my brother for a week. this was this first time that i had been plopped down in a new, huge city and could just wander around for a week. we tried numerous food trucks, walked about ten miles a day, and fell in love with everything around us. this is when i decided that i love traveling. i love going somewhere new and just going at it, even without an itinerary or any clue how to use the bus system. i really don’t think i had ever rode a public bus before this trip. the south, man.
so, i’m ready to go new places, and new opportunities have showed up. in two weeks, i’m leaving for honduras for spring break with my enactus team. 10 other people and i will be there teaching girls in an orphanage financial literacy, business skills, and public speaking. we’ll also be taking them into their community to help those around them with the skills that they’ve learning. we’ve been working extremely hard on lessons for a while, and i’m super excited to get there and meet these girls. plus, this is my first international trip! getting a passport was a huge ordeal (that almost included peeing my pants in a random post office), and there have been hoops to jump through for sure. but, now, with passport in hand, i’m ready to go.
a few months after my international trip, i’m also excited to say that i’ll be moving to a new country for the summer. it’s nowhere as intense as honduras, but i’ll be working at a camp in ontario, canada. there’s a tim horton’s 10 miles away from where i’ll be living, so that pretty much solidified my decision. doughnuts! hockey! aboot! these canadians better meet up to my standards.. that i’ve learned from how i met your mother. after a long camp search, i’m ecstatic about where i’m ending up. i’m also going to be working with the ropes course and climbing wall which are my favorite activities to teach. it’s just perfect, especially since i just got my passport anyway. it’s weird to be receiving emails for “international counselors.”
honduras we go. ontario i go. so much excitement.
valentine’s day is always a weird holiday for me and matt. neither of us are big fans of it, and it’s only four days before our anniversary! we still always do something small to celebrate it, and it’s always a fun day.
i’m in the progress of making something huge for our anniversary that has been taking up a lot of time (i’ll be posting on this soon!), but i still wanted to make matt something that he would like for valentine’s day. i was looking on pinterest a while ago, and i spotted it. matt took an astronomy class last year, and ever since then, he has been obsessed with stars. so, i decided to make him this star jar.
photo from design mom
he loved it! the constellations didn’t end up actually shining on the ceiling, but it still makes pretty awesome shapes on the ceiling. here’s a picture of mine in action.
besides that, i made him a card as well as baked him a batch of homemade cookies.
he really did an awesome job on the festivities for me! when i woke up this morning, he was outside with a tulip plant and an itinerary for the rest of our day.. i’m type a, and he does a good job of handling it, ha.
after our classes, he met me to bring me chocolate and a new card game. from there, we left to go to a cute little park in traveler’s rest. he wanted us to have a picnic blanket, so he went to wal-mart and purchased a few yards of fleece from the fabric department. i just can’t handle the cuteness. i love when guys do things completely out of character like that for a special occasion.
our picnic consisted of a ton of fried chicken, cheez-its, peaches, and sparkling white grape juice served in special valentine’s day toasting flutes. i had such a great time eating, taking pictures, and laying around in the grass.
we went back to his apartment for dessert, then went star gazing to end the night. he did such a great job, and it was definitely a special day.
before last year, i had never understood or participated in lent. it was just something that was never brought up in the churches that i went to or that anyone around me cared about. the only thing that i knew about it was that catholics or something did it. it didn’t seem relevant.
last year, it was shown to me at my church how important and awesome participating in lent is. they focused on the idea of sacrifice.. jesus gave up so many things during his life on earth, including his actual life. although giving up a luxury is hardly the same, it brings you a little bit closer to understanding what he did.
last year, i gave up two things for lent: cheese and fast food. i realize that giving up cheese sounds completely ridiculous. however, if you’re saying that, you’ve probably never met me. cheese is my favorite food. nothing is as good without cheese. furthermore, sometimes the only meal available to me at school is pizza. so, if it was a day that i could only get pizza, then i would be eating cheese-less pizza. no fast food meant that getting late night meals wasn’t an option and that cravings were put off until it ended. i’m big on food, so this wasn’t the most fun.
though having to eat food that wasn’t as good as it could have been wasn’t exactly a life changing ordeal, it did cause me to think about what i was sacrificing on a daily basis, and that’s the point here. for me, easter has just never been a huge holiday. i’ve known what it’s about, but it wasn’t’ something i got excited about. participating in lent last year really changed this, and it was awesome because easter is something to get excited about as a christian.
so, this year, i’ll be participating in lent again. i had no idea what to give up until my roommate said she was giving up social networking because she spends so much time doing it on her phone. that majorly resonates with me.. i spend so much time refreshing instagram and waiting for new tweets. before i go to bed, i check twitter, instagram, facebook, twitter again, instagram again, and then get on pinterest until i feel like sleeping. even when i’m around friends, i’m on my phone doing nothing. it’s a problem and a time suck that i could be using to do things that mean something (like, uh, reading my bible).
i have to use facebook and pinterest for my job, but i won’t be using them personally. i won’t be using twitter or tumblr at all. the only application that i’m making a small exception for will be instagram. i won’t be using it for social networking (as in, looking at others’ pictures and communicating), but i will still upload pictures because i use those pictures to document my life as well as for printing them later. otherwise, it’s a no go.
i’m excited about this. it’s not going to be the easiest thing for me, but i definitely think it will instill a small sense of sacrifice in me as well as give me more time for the things that i should be doing for this season. i also hope for this to be the last thing that i mention about doing this; no complaining! there’s no point in doing this without the right mindset and heart.