Month: August 2012

Passion begets passion

So I’ve been learning a lot these days.  I’ve been learning about statistical analysis, international relations theory, the interplay between varying national and multinational institutions, and how to teach 250 undergraduate students about comparative American government.  I’ve been re-learning how to dance, how to navigate Atlanta, and how to cook.  I’ve been studying new languages, making new friends, and creating a new life for myself.

But the thing that I’ve noticed, more than anything, since I came to Atlanta, is this: passion begets passion.  Brilliance begets brilliance.  Talent begets talent.  I’m surrounded every day by really, really smart students from all over the world.  And, while I often feel out of my league, they also make me want to do better.  They make me want to learn more, to prove myself, to do my absolute best.  This is not true in just an academic sense.  I’m surrounded by fantastic dancers, who make me want to improve myself daily.  The people that I’ve met from all over the world – from Germany, China, Korea, Columbia, Brazil, and England, to name a few – serve as a catalyst for me to become more culturally minded and informed about global issues.  The strong Christians that I’ve encountered encourage me to daily become closer to the Lord.

I suppose that the opposite form of this statement is also true – that stagnation begets stagnation, dullness begets dullness, and mediocrity begets mediocrity.  But the great part, is that no one has to become mediocre if they don’t want to.  There’s no reason to become dull if you want to stay sharp.  There are numerous opportunities for growth all around you, if you care to take advantage of them.

The Lord has certainly put plenty of those opportunities into my new life in Atlanta.  I’m only taking 3 classes this semester, plus I’m a teaching assistant for a fourth class (250 undergrad students – I’m going to die!!), but I think that those 4 classes will keep me plenty busy this semester.  Plus, I’m getting very plugged into the dance community here in Atlanta (I’ve gone dancing 3 times in a SINGLE WEEK!  I can’t remember the last time that I’ve done that!).  Actually, I recently met a guy who’s looking for a practice partner, so we might starting doing weekly practices together to improve our dancing faster; we’ll see if that works out.  I’m excited :).  In between classes, I’ve been staying busy familiarizing myself with the campus and Atlanta, making new friends and visiting old ones, finding volunteer opportunities, and trying to improve my Korean and Spanish.  Oh yeah, and doing homework occasionally :P.  One class alone has about 500 pages of reading every week, so homework will definitely keep me hopping :).

I still miss Korea desperately.  I still miss my students so much that it hurts.  I still crave Korean food daily.  I still compare public transportation systems between Korea and America – and Korea always always always wins.  Two days ago was the first day of class at my school in Korea; that was a particularly difficult day for me.  But I have been in this place before.  With Costa Rica, Spain, France, Morocco, Cambodia….it always hurts leaving somewhere you love.  But eventually, the pain dulls, and what you’re left with is just the wonderful experiences, the incredible friends, and the better person that your time abroad made you.  I have no doubt that that will also be the case with Korea.  Until that time, however, I can be content in the knowledge that the Lord has given me a beautiful life here in Atlanta, too.  I can’t wait to see what the next two years bring!

Getting new sisters is always fun :)

So I must apologize for my long period of silence from the cyber-sphere. I returned back from Wyoming and was instantly hit with another crazy wedding week. After driving back from Wyoming (30-ish hours, without stopping…yikes!!!), I dove right into preparations for my brother’s wedding.

I left Wyoming Monday morning, got into Albany late on Tuesday, and left for Atlanta the following Wednesday. In the interim, I got to spend some time with my family, and also my aunt and cousin, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, so that was really nice. All too soon, however, we were on our way up to Atlanta, which served as our base of operations in the days leading up to the wedding. We had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner there, saw some aunts and uncles and cousins that live in the Atlanta area, got our nails and hair done, yada yada yada.

Somehow I managed to spend 8 sequential nights in 8 different beds. I started off at home in Albany, then went up to see my aunt and uncle in Dahlonega, then spent the night with a friend in Atlanta, then with my Atlanta cousins, then with Julia on the night before the wedding, then with the Purcell’s neighbors, then in north Carolina with my grandparents (my dad and I made a quick turnaround trip up there the Monday and Tuesday after the wedding), and then finally, on Tuesday night, I was back home again in Albany.

The wedding week was crazy, stressful, and insane. But the wedding itself was beautiful. I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of such a special day in my brother and new sister-in-law’s lives.  And getting new sisters is always nice!! 🙂  Lots of pictures below… stop: grad school!!!!

Cooking with my momma 🙂

My family, plus Grammie, Aunt Cathi, and Cayla.  I think the peace signs were kind of laughing at me….but whatever, it made me smile, anyway 🙂

My new in-laws

I love seeing family!! 🙂  

Bridal brunch for all of the ladies….it was lovely 🙂

Chris and Julia at the rehearsal….aren’t they just the cutest? 🙂

Rehearsal dinner – lots of lovely toasts, and only a few embarrassing roasts 🙂 

My mom and Julia’s grandmother’s hands…. 🙂

Julia gave all of her bridesmaids these fun kimonos, and we wore them while getting ready 🙂

My funky hairstyle 🙂

A few pictures, borrowed from the official wedding photographer 🙂

I only have a few pictures of the actual ceremony.  But this is kind of all you need to see, isn’t it? 😉

Mr. and Mrs. Chris Fenner!! 

The reception venue was lovely