Month: December 2012

Wrapping things up

Well I’ve been doing a lot of wrapping lately – both literally and figuratively.  This semester has had a lot of things to be wrapped up as I finish up and prepare to go home for Christmas.  My church had an appreciation dinner for all of the volunteers; that was a lot of fun.  It was a formal event, but they also had lots of games and silly dancing and such – the best of both worlds!  I love the fact that my church loves the Lord so much, but also knows how to have fun :).

I hosted a potluck the week before I left Atlanta.  It was sort of a “good-luck-with-finals-have-a-good-Christmas-break-I-love-you-all-immensely-so-let’s-have-some-fun-and-stress-relief” sort of deal.  Most of them didn’t know each other, as I had met them all from different circles, but we got together and had dinner and played lots of games and shared lots of laughter together.  I love it when my friends meet each other – it’s even better when they get along! 😉  Plus I made homemade chocolate truffles for everyone, which always makes things better…. 😀

I also said goodbye to my house church.  I’m going to have to take a class during our meeting time next semester, so I’ll have to change house churches.  It’ll be a while before we get together as a group again.  But we all have each other’s numbers, and I’ll still be in the same city, so I’m confident it’s not really goodbye.  Plus, it gives me the opportunity to get to make a whole ‘nuther set of friends at my new house church! 🙂

In other wrapping news…this year I finished almost all of my Christmas shopping before December!  I wanted to complete the stuff for my Atlanta friends before I left town, and so I decided I’d just go ahead and do them all while I was at it.  I actually ended up making pretty much all of my Christmas presents this year, which has been really fun to do – photo calendars, and homemade chocolate truffles, and glass etched things, yada yada yada.  I’ve been a Christmas-present-making fiend over the past few days, hehe.

But anyway, that’s basically all of my news!   I went home to Albany after classes ended, spent a whirlwind 2 weeks there getting organized and doing Christmas-y things with my family, and then was off again to visit family and friends over the break.  More on that in the next update :). So I can finally say that I’ve officially survived my first semester of graduate school – woohoo!!!!!  I hope the next one is a bit easier…..

Volunteer appreciation dinner at my church
The food was soooooo yummyyyyyy

Matt and Elizabeth, 2 very dear friends 🙂

My house church is silly 🙂

Potlucks!  Even more yummy food!!!

Thanksgiving is for giving thanks

This past Thanksgiving was the first Thanksgiving that I was state-side in 3 years.  Needless to say, it was certainly a time of thankfulness on my part.  I took my friend, Sunny, with me home to celebrate with me and my family.  We did a tremendous amount of cooking and baking – pies, fruitcake, green bean casserole, turkey, yada yada yada.  It was wonderful having a normal-sized kitchen to work in again – my kitchen in Atlanta looks like it’s made more for midgets than for regular people, lol… 😉

After Thanksgiving dinner, my sister and I decided to make an enormous leaf pile and jump in it – a totally regular activity for a graduate student, right? 😉  It became more of an all-inclusive family event, with Josh and Matt and even Dad getting involved in the action.  Mom supervised and took pictures.  Hahaha.  
Other highlights included light-hunting with the fam (an annual tradition) and going to putt-putt – Hope had the best shot of the day, hands-down.  You can’t argue with a hole-in-one on the second hole of the game- when the shot came from the first hole! 😉  The biggest event of the weekend, however, would definitely have to be The Haircut.  Sunny and I decided to go together and donate our hair to Locks of Love.  I had been planning on doing it for a while; Sunny’s decision was rather more spontaneous.  But it was fun for the both of us – definitely a bonding experience!  So now I have short locks again!  I miss my hair, but at least this time I actually like my new haircut, which I could not say the last 2 times I donated my hair.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to it growing back, though ;).
There are so many things that I’m thankful for this year.  I’m thankful for friends, and for my incredible family.  I’m thankful for good health that allows me to give my hair to someone who has none.  I’m thankful for the lessons that God has taught me and the experiences that He has given me over the course of my life.  I’m thankful for my church.  I’m thankful for the homes and adopted families that I have all over the world.  I’m thankful for warm weather.  I’m thankful for chocolate cookies, and working heaters, and scarves, and fun jewelry, and big fuzzy bathrobes, and christmas lights, and soothing music, and teddy bears, and nail polish, and cell phones, and notebooks, and cute pens from Korea to jot all of my random thoughts down with in aforementioned notebooks.  
But most of all, I’m thankful for God’s favor and love.  And I want to live in a way that shows that.  It was really hard going back to Atlanta after Thanksgiving – back to the grind of schoolwork and classes.  But whenever I struggle with leaving, I always remind myself that God has put me here for a reason, and the best way that I can honor Him is to bloom where He’s planted me, and to do my best wherever He sends me.

Sunny’s first time making merengue cookies!

Look at Josh trying to be all cool and stuff…. 😀

I love my daddy 🙂

The fateful haircut!!

Orlando vacation ^_^

As the semester draws to a close, I’ve realized just how far behind I’ve gotten in several things that are important to me – most notably, in writing.  Writing is something that I really do enjoy doing, and I’m told by my loyal fans that I’m decently good at it ;).  Plus, with 2 freelance contracts under my belt over the past few months – one with a startup travel blog, and the other one writing the cultural sections of a Spanish language textbook – I suppose I need to get back into the habit of actually writing regularly again!  So here goes, update #1 of who-knows-how-many….

I had so much fun in Florida with my friends the Reichels for Sarah’s wedding (see my blog about that here), that I just had to go back and see them again.  My class schedule is pretty flexible, so one weekend in early November I was able to hop on a bus and spend an entire 3 days down in Orlando with them.  It took an incredible amount of work beforehand to get to a point where I didn’t have to do any schoolwork while I was down there; but once I was there, it was a lovely little mini-vacation.

Mr. and Mrs. Reichel greeted me with another welcome basket and note, just like they had when I first arrived for the wedding a month earlier.  It was so nice to feel so loved and welcome – my love language has always been gift-giving, and that family certainly knows how to speak my language :).

As wonderful as the wedding was, however, this weekend was great in an entirely different way, as there were no stressful preparations for a life-changing event to prepare for.  It was definitely a much more relaxing weekend overall than the first time around.  We hung out around the house some, had dinner at a Japanese steak house, went for a walk around a lovely park at night, saw a hilarious show at a comedy club, and went on a canoeing trip – wearing a bathing suit in November….imagine that!!  Gotta love Florida….

My favorite place, however, was called WonderWorks.  It’s difficult to explain, but I suppose that the best description I can afford you would be that it is a hand’s-on science museum.  They had giant bubble makers, and machines that generated hurricane-force gales, and virtual roller coasters, and beds of nails, and all sorts of things to let your inner child play without abandon.  It was delightful.  My mother always says that age is a state of mind, and I quite agree.  I may be turning 23 next month, but I’m really closer to 3 than 23 ;).

So that was Florida!  Updates from Atlanta are soon to follow!

The park at Crane’s Roost
SAK comedy club 😀
Yay for canoeing!!

The wonder of WonderWorks!!

Laser tag….I was unshootable 😉