Category: Albany friends

Summers are for memories

Aren’t summers great?  Particularly when you’re a student.  Students’ summers are marked by lazy afternoons by the pool, vacationing over the weekends, and visiting friends and family.  My summers, even though I’m a graduate student, are still much the same.  I realize that this is probably the last summer I’ll have like that, so I’m trying to make the most of it!

Of all the great things about this summer, though, I’d have to say that my favorite part was reconnecting with family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  My summer is almost over now – I moved back to Atlanta to begin settling in for the new semester last weekend – which means that now I’m only left with the nostalgic memories.  Here are a few of my favorites:

My Great-Aunt and Great-Uncle had a big anniversary party / family reunion dealio around the 4th of July.  My dad and brothers couldn’t make it, but my mom and sister and I did.  We drove midway up to Atlanta, visited with Julia a bit, and then went the rest of the way up to Dahlonega, in North Georgia.  Oh my word.  That was so much fun.  It was at an absolutely lovely venue, and it seemed like everyone was there.  I’ve often wished that I could see more of that side of my family….but it’s always a blast whenever I do get to see them!  My my, it’s amazing to see how everyone grows up!  🙂

Bill and Rose Dery….what an incredible couple! 

Hope and Hope – these two cousins were joined at the hip all night long!

The whole clan.  Or at least most of it…I think 😉

My cousins + Daniel’s new fiancé! 🙂

That same week, I also got to see fireworks not once, but twice!  I suppose that somewhat makes up for the fact that this was the first 4th of July I’ve been home for in 3 years.  Other countries don’t find the fourth day in July nearly as important as we do…ergo, no fireworks ;).

My 2 youngest siblings were in a production of the Little Mermaid this summer.  Hope played the most adorable seagull / princess / ocean creature you’ve ever seen….and Matt, our little budding thespian, got the lead male role of Prince Eric!  We were all very proud.  Although i must admit, I was about ready to go postal any time I heard any of the music from the Little Mermaid by the end of the summer.  Too much of anything is never a good thing…. 😉

Hope is third from the left

One proud Grammie!

 I did my best to spend some time in the pool this summer, too.  I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked – work definitely kept me hopping – but I got enough to at least get a few good shots!  And my last weekend in town, a friend of ours took me and my siblings out on his boat.  My goodness, that was fun!  The excitement was just compounded by the imminent danger of the boat breaking down at any minute.  It never actually did, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t in a constant state of anticipation!  Ahhh, good stuff, it keeps us young, hehehe….

Aside from all of the good memories, it was definitely a challenging summer.  But I’m so grateful for it.  The Lord taught me so much, and grew my relationships with my family tremendously.  I feel energized and ready to take on another year at Georgia Tech….although I must also admit, I’m sooooo glad that this is my last year!! 🙂

(The pictures below are from an impromptu photoshoot I went on in a peanut field with my friend Chad.  I didn’t know where else to put them, so I just stuck them at the bottom :]).

There and back again

Well my nerdy book-worm friends will recognize the title of this blog as a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” which I suppose is rather fitting considering the fact that I’ve just spent the better part of an hour downloading dozens of free literary classics onto my Kindle to keep me occupied during my numerous upcoming flights.  But other than that, there is really nothing relating to Tolkien or Middle Earth or Hobbits in this blog.  This one is about Christmastime in America :).

The trip to America was long and boring, but I would not go so far as to say grueling.  It was uneventful, and marked mostly by sitting and watching movies, but not a particularly pleasant trip, nonetheless.  I started at 2 in the morning from Gyeongju, catching a bus to the airport in Seoul.  I met a girl from California while I was waiting on my flight who was doing the same thing I was, and we got some coffee and had a nice long chat.  It was a much better way to pass the time than just sitting in a corner of the airport :).  So anyway, 1 bus, 2 planes, 3 customs and security checks, 4 airplane meals, and 27 hours later, I finally found myself in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport.  My friend Sylvain met me at the airport.  We got some airport pizza, he got a good laugh at seeing me so completely jet-lagged, we caught up for a little bit, and then I took a shuttle to Columbus, where my family was there waiting for me.  Actually, I ended up waiting for them for a little bit, but it was ok, because I got to meet lots of interesting people while I waited.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy striking up random conversations with strangers I meet in my travels.  That’s not really something I can do in Korea, as usually there is a pretty large language barrier that makes communication of any depth really impossible.

So anyway, my first week in America was marked mainly by just spending time with family and friends, punctuated by Christmas, my birthday celebration, and visits from Grandparents.  I went on a picnic with my friend Tyler, saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie with James, took daddy to see Mission Impossible, and played lots and lots of games with my siblings.  I went to a Christmas Eve Eve service at my church on the 23rd, got a hair cut and a pedicure with my mom, and went shopping with my grandmother.  Christmas day was a relaxing affair – we waited to open presents until after church, and then just hung around and visited with each other.  It was also the only day that I got to see Chris, which was a nice treat.  Mom and I hosted a tea at our house with some of her lady friends who had been wanting to meet me, which was fun – I’ve been wanting to meet them, too, and I haven’t had a real tea in years.  Then my grandparents came down to visit on the 27th, and stayed until the 30th, so I got to spend a lot of time with them, too.  That was awesome – it had been close to a year since I’d seen them.

Josh’s birthday present – Joshua 1:7 in Korean

Tyler’s Christmas present – Kimchi!!  He was so happy 🙂

My first picnic in years 🙂

She’s such a cutie pie <3

The Fenner family, all together!  Such a rarity these days…

Merry Christmas!!!

I love, love this picture!!

Spreading the Korea love….

Yay for seeing grandparents!! 🙂

Tea with the ladies! 🙂

Haha we’re silly 😀

Christmas presents from the host family 🙂

On the 30th, we packed everything up and made the long drive to Birmingham, Alabama, to spend New Year’s Eve with our friends the Roberts’.  This has been an annual tradition with our families every year for as long as I can remember – we take turns hosting each other in our respective homes, and it’s always a lot of fun.  However, I haven’t been able to be present for several years for one reason or the other – usually it’s because I’m out of the country, lol – so it was especially nice for me.  So we had lots of fun, played lots of games, watched the ball drop in New York City (and for a special treat, watched the moon pie drop in Mobile, Alabama!  Gotta love the south, lol….), went to church, and then headed back home.

Games with the Roberts’ are always super intense, lol…

Happy new year!!

Friends… <3

On the way back to Albany, my parents dropped me off in Atlanta.  So that was goodbye to my family, and hello to Atlanta.  Bittersweet for sure, but it was good to see my friends in Atlanta.  So Rachel and her fiance Ryan picked me up from my parents, and we wasted no time.  That night was spent playing putt-putt with J-Parr, and then going to Jonathan and Jessica’s house and playing games until wayyyy too late at night.

The next day, January 2nd, was the day before my 22nd birthday.  However, since my 22nd birthday was going to be spent on a plane, the 2nd was the celebration day.  I got to watch the tournament of roses parade (my favorite parade…ever!) for the first time in like 3 years.  After that came lunch with David and the Knights and then more games.  And then the evening came.  What started off as a simple dinner with friends morphed, because of my fabulous friends, into a full-blown birthday dance.  They even had a steal dance just for me.  As I was looking around the dance room at all of these dear faces, half of whom didn’t even dance, but had come just to see me, I was overwhelmed.  I felt so loved.  It was a wonderful way to wrap up my visit to the states.

They were calling me the “princess” because of what I was wearing.  I think that’s why I was making that face, lol.  But…I did win the game!! 🙂

Soon-to-be newlyweds….love those guys

Jonathan and Jessica
Me ‘n David 
Old friends from Berry <3

again….spreading the Korea love.  What can I say?  It’s infectious 🙂

My friends are silly 🙂

Yay for sisters 🙂

So, armed with my suitcases and enveloped with the wonderful new jacket that they had bought me for my birthday, Rachel and Ryan took me to the airport early the next morning.  I was fighting a cold, but I sat next to a really friendly lady on the plane who made the trip a whole lot more bearable.  When I finally arrived in Seoul, the plan was to meet Sarah and Leora and Adam and go up to Hwacheon to see the ice festival.  So I met them and they gave me a little birthday party and it was great to see them.  But by then I was REALLY sick, so instead of going north to Hwacheon, I went south to Gyeongju.  I know my limits, and that would have been just too much.

Brand-new fiancees!  And I get to be in the wedding!! <3 

So I finally got home to Gyeongju…and my host father took one look at me and hauled me off to the hospital.  Within an hour, and after much poking and prodding, I found myself with an IV needle sticking in my arm and a bagful of medicine.  Add to that extreme jet-lag, and my host mom’s constant fussing and overprotectiveness was NOT appreciated.  All I wanted to do was sleep, and that was the one thing they didn’t seem to want to let me do.  Although I must say, sleeping with a needle in your arm is most certainly not the most pleasant sensation.

Today, the next day, was mostly spent in bed, with a short foray into town to swap stories with Elizabeth.  I’m glad I got to see her – I needed to get out of the house, and I think talking with her restored a sense of normalcy and acceptance to being in Korea again, which I had been lacking since my arrival.  So yeah, that was America!  Winter camp starts in 2 days – keep me in your prayers!!  I’m super nervous about it – I’ve never done anything like this before.  I’ll have my students for more time in the span of 2 weeks than I had them for the entire semester, and I’m terrified that I will run out of material.  I guess it’ll just be another chance for God to show His bigness!! 🙂

Sinbad’s back!!

Hey, everyone! It’s been a long time since Sinbad’s given you an adventure update, hasn’t it? Well, never fear, the updates are very shortly going to resume in full force! In 2 days, I will be on my way to South Korea, to teach English there for a year. I’ve been busy getting ready to go for the last few weeks – getting my visa, packing, settling my affairs here, studying Korean, and most of all, spending as much time as possible with my family and friends.

This past week has been a whirlwind. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! I’ve got to spend lots of time with the people that I love, which I am grateful for. Last night was especially entertaining. I’ve been going to a Bible study for the college and career class at my church on Tuesday nights. Last night, obviously, was the last one that I’ll be able to attend for quite a while. After the study, four of my friends (Marie, Jason, Jill, and James) came over to my house to play games and watch VeggieTales – cuz that’s what college graduates do :). We sang along with Larry’s silly songs, and looked at pictures from Paris – Marie had studied there for 6 weeks, so she and I nostalgically swapped stories – and played Rummikub and Buzz Word, and watched dancing videos, and just all in all had a grand time. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been blessed with such wonderful friends – I love that we can have a blast for hours without a drop of alcohol involved.

Then tonight, my mom had a going-away dinner for me. It was a rather unique evening – we’ve been replacing our kitchen cabinets this past week, so we had no sink or counter space. It’s an interesting experience, camping out in one’s own house…but I still had a blast.

I’ve been so blessed to have almost 2 months with my family before leaving on this big adventure. I was able to go to New York to see family for a week. I went to Atlanta 3 different times – to dance, visit friends, and go to the wedding of a couple of friends from college. At the dance they had a going-away dance for me – it was so much fun!!  I went to the Renaissance Festival, visited friends from Rome, went to Six Flags, and more. I caught up with old friends in Albany, made new friends, worked around the house, helped my dad on his jobsites, spent as much time as possible with my dear siblings and wonderful parents, and overall just basked in the blessings that God has given me.

I can’t say that I’m not nervous about going to South Korea. I am – very much so. But I’m also so excited to see what God has planned for me in this coming year. I’ve never been so sure in my life that I’m where God wants me. I’ve learned so much about Him – and life – in the past few months. Through my daily blog about what He’s teaching me, I’ve embarked on the adventure of a lifetime – and I didn’t even have to travel anywhere! 🙂

But nevertheless, I’ll still be traveling pretty soon. My next blog will be written from the other side of the world. Only God knows what awaits me there. But you know what? That’s ok. It’s still nerve-wracking, but knowing that the Creator of the universe – who cares for me so much that He knows all of the hairs on my head – is looking out for me is good enough for me. See you on the flip side! Literally :)….