Category: family

The beginning of a grand adventure

Well, I am leaving for Peru tomorrow.  While the past week since I graduated has been very busy, and I’m excitedly nervous for the start of my trip, I couldn’t have planned a better final weekend in Atlanta if I had tried.  I spent all day on Friday at an event called LeaderCast – basically a one day leadership conference that was much akin to drinking out of a fire hydrant for 6 hours straight.  Speakers along the lines of Andy Stanley, Laura Bush, and Malcolm Gladwell came and gave us their wisdom and insight into what it means to be an effective leader.  Then, in the evening, Michael and I made dinner for us and 2 other friends of his.  Although I didn’t really know them that well, it was still a very nice and relaxing evening chatting and getting to know each other better.

Saturday was spent at the Renaissance Festival, my annual tradition ever since I started college.  Although the forecast was threatening thunderstorms all day, hardly a drop actually fell.  It was simply nice and cool all day long, and the threat of rain had scared away much of the crowds, making it even better.  We watched incredible acrobats, and pottery and glass-blowing demonstrations, and meandered through the vendors’ booths, and of course took lots of pictures.  I just felt so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love me so much.

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That evening, after we got back, Michael and I got all dressed up and headed over to Chris and Julia’s.  Julia was having an “Old Hollywood” themed birthday party that night.  So the guys were all decked out in their suits, and the ladies were well represented in sparkly, shiny, or old-style flapper dresses.  It was really a lovely night.  Julia outdid herself with all of the planning and little details, and I was super grateful for the opportunity to see her and get to meet and talk with some of her and Chris’ friends.

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The weekend was rounded out with a grand mother’s day celebration.  My whole family drove up from Albany early on Sunday morning, and got to my church just as the service was starting.  So I got to go to church with my family on Mother’s Day, something I haven’t been able to do in many years.  Afterwards, we all drove to a park in south Atlanta to meet the families of several degrees of in-laws.  We all brought some food to share, and had a grand picnic lunch.  Actually, grand is probably not the correct word.  It was really quite simple and unassuming; but the people that I got to share it with were what made it grand.

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Today (Monday) has been nuts, with me running around trying to get last-minute things for Peru.  Fortunately, though, because of wonderful friends who have pitched in and helped out with what they could, I was also able to go to Elizabeth’s graduation ceremony from Emory nursing school.  Graduating with honors, and already has the job of her dreams lined up – so proud of that girl!!

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And there it is.  I suppose that’s all for now, folks.  I leave tomorrow morning at 11:00 am.  I’ll do my best to give updates as regularly as I can, but as I don’t even know where I’ll be staying from night to night, I have no idea how regularly I’ll have access to internet.  As I’m reflecting over the last few years in Atlanta, I’m realizing more and more that life – all of it – is a grand adventure.  You don’t have to go to another country for weeks on end with no plan to have an adventure.  You can have one every day of your life, if you choose to find it.  But nevertheless, I’m excited to be going on my next big adventure!  Leaving in less than 24 hours!! 🙂

Efforts to become more cultured

In an effort to become a more cultured individual, I have decided to make an effort to see more performances this year.  With the Georgia Tech Woodruff Arts pass, which for $20 gives me 1 free ticket to every performance at the Alliance Theater, High Museum, or Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a full year, it’s hard to find a legitimate reason for why I shouldn’t go.  However, in the course of that push for increased cultural awareness, I have become ever more cognizant of just how much I like watching performances.  Whether it’s modern dance or a musical, a professional circus or just a kid’s play, I love watching people show off their craft, put proudly on display what they have been working for months or even years to perfect.  It gives me such an appreciation for the creativity that God used in designing His creation.

Here’s a couple of my favorite performances that I’ve gone to this year so far:

The first on the list is a bit of a misnomer, since I didn’t actually see the entire performance.  I went home a few weeks ago to see a play that Josh, Matt, and Hope were in.  I ended up having to leave early because of terrible pain from kidney stones, which was a pretty big letdown.  But I got to see the pictures and hear the stories after, and it’s always wonderful to see my family – even if I’m in pain.  Actually, that was probably the best place I could have been – my mother is a wonderful nurse, and my siblings are excellent cuddlers when one is feeling yucky :).

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I went out with Michael and another couple mid-way through the semester to see the circus.  That was quite an adventure!  There was apparently a huge cheerleading convention in the same area, so the roads and sidewalks were swarming with giggly teenage girls in short skirts and bouncy ponytails.  It took us FOREVER to go the last 3 blocks.  But we finally made it…and it was incredible!!  I had never actually been to a circus before, and we definitely picked a good one to go to.  It was absolutely mesmerizing.  I found that I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.

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But I’m also realizing – and very grateful for the fact – that I don’t have to be doing anything particularly exciting to enjoy time with people I love.  And I really have been blessed with some truly wonderful friends.  Michael said something a few weeks ago that really stuck out to me.  “I like your friends a lot,” he said.  “They love you very well.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Whether it be going to a sketchy fair in downtown Atlanta, going out for tea with some girlfriends, collaborating to throw a surprise birthday party, or just gathering together every week to study the Bible and encourage each other – we started a little house church of sorts a few weeks ago – I’m so very humbled by the network that God has given me here.  It makes the thought of having to leave so, so sad.  I’ve been diligently looking for a job all year, but so far nothing has panned out, so please keep praying that something comes through!  I’ve only got a few weeks of school left…but regardless, I’m just trying to remember that God is taking care of me, regardless of what happens :).  

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Caleb with Amy on her first Ferris Wheel ride ever!

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Panama

I want to start off this post by apologizing for my deplorably long silence on the cyber-world.  I have been hard at work giving my blog a complete redesign.  What do you think? 🙂  There are still some tweaks that I want to make, but this is at least the general idea.  Also, just as a heads-up – my website URL has changed.  It’s now just laurenfenner.com.  But I have the old address forwarding to the new one, so you shouldn’t have any problems regardless of which address you use…

But anyway, to thank you all for your patience with my silence, I had to leave the country to give you truly exciting story! 😉  This year for my Spring break, I went to Panama with my mom for most of the week.  Yes, Panama the country, not the city in Florida.  It’s so strange to me to think that this could be the last Spring break I’ll ever have…but it was fun spending it with my mom.  She and dad are looking to buy some property down there, so we went down there on an exploratory trip of sorts.

Our adventure started before we even got to the airport.  Or at least it did for my mom.  She took the airport shuttle up the airport from Columbus, but south of Atlanta there was a horrible accident.  She was stuck in standstill traffic for over 3 hours.  I felt so bad for her :(.  But she finally made it to my house…we were able to get a few hours of sleep before heading to the airport at 0-dark-hundred for our 6:00 am flight.  My friend Michael offered to take us to the airport, which I was very grateful for.  Public transportation doesn’t run at that hour, and airports are really rather creepy places at 4:00 in the morning.  I never in my life thought that I’d see a completely deserted international terminal.  So strange…

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Panama – the only place in the world where the sun rises on the Pacific Ocean and sets on the Atlantic Ocean

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We arrived in Panama City in early afternoon and headed to the hotel.  The rest of that day was pretty much a bust – we were both exhausted from the early morning and long travel.  The next day we left early in the morning to see the Canal.  That was definitely my favorite part of the trip.  There was a fascinating museum they had, which told you all about the history and technical achievements of the Canal.  We also got to actually watch a boat move through the Miraflores locks, which lie on the Pacific side of the Canal.  That was really awesome.  I was totally in awe of the feat of engineering that is the Panama Canal.  I was able to get both pictures and video – check them out below!

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They have small, powerful trucks that hook up to the boats and run on a track along the canal, to help the pilots guide the ships. Sometimes there are only a few inches of clearance on each side!

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Click this link to see the locks opening: Opening of the Miraflores locks at the Panama Canal

On Sunday afternoon, we went on a tour of “Casco Viejo” – the old city.  I felt like I’d been transported in time.  The beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, the indigenous people selling their beautiful hand-made wares on the street, the snake charmer surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers, the little old Panamanian men dressed in white linen and straw hats leisurely lounging and sipping their beers in cute little outdoor cafes…all of this together felt like a different world entirely.  It certainly wasn’t the same Panama that my hotel was located in – that Panama had huge skyscrapers built in fantastic architectural designs, wide paved roads and beautiful modern bridges, and enormous tracks of land that had been water only a few years ago, but have been reclaimed by the Panamanian government due to the increasing need for land to continue their explosive development and growth.  It was truly a fascinatingly stark study in contrasts.  In fact, a lot of what I saw in Panama surprised me – I was expecting a lot less development and a lot more poverty than exists in actuality.

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We saw a sloth!

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Mom touching a starfish

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This arch is proof of the lack of seismic activity in Panama – since it’s not built to withstand tremors, if there had been any sizeable earthquakes it would have collapsed

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There’s still plenty of room for growth, though.  One such area lies in the peninsula in the center of the country, where my parents are looking to buy property.  On Tuesday morning, we headed out there – about a 5 hour drive – to check out the property and development plans.  James, who works for the developers, picked us up in his car and was our escort for the entire 2 days that it took to go out there and back.  I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.  His dry British humor and pithy comments kept us laughing for most of the trip.  And, as an expat who’s lived in Panama for years, he was incredibly knowledgeable about any we could think to ask him about.

Because it was such a long drive, we stayed Tuesday night in a hotel in the nearby city of Santiago.  We got there early enough that we were able to enjoy the gorgeous pool for a little while.  That was definitely a treat.  I’ve never been in a pool like that before.  Then on Wednesday morning, we went to check out the development project.  While at this point it’s still mostly wild, I can see how it will be really incredible in 5 years or so.  And the views were exquisite.  My mom certainly fell in love with it, lol.

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And just like that, our 5 days in Panama were over!  It was a pretty short trip, but I really enjoyed it.  I’ve never actually traveled with my mom before, so that was a great bonding experience.  Plus it was high time that I start using my passport again!  I haven’t left the country since I started my MS of international affairs – how’s that for irony??  But now, sadly, I must end the nostalgia and continue my quest to dig myself out from the never-ending and ever-growing mountain of work that I have to do before the end of the semester.  Hasta luego!

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Extending the season

Well Christmas is over, the decorations have been put back into the attic for another year, the ball has dropped on December 31st, and I’ve started school again.  However, I’m not quite ready to let Christmas go just yet, so I’ve decided to extend the season just a little bit more by writing about my Christmas escapades from after my Oregon visit.

After returning to Atlanta, I hung out there for a few days.  I had bought tickets for mom and I to go see the Nutcracker ballet at the Fox theater the upcoming weekend, and there was really no sense in driving home to Albany only to turn around and come back up 2 days later.  I made the most of my time while I was waiting, though; the most memorable trip definitely being the one to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  Every year the Botanical Gardens are transformed into a magical winter light extravaganza.  My camera, while very good, does not even come close to doing it justice.  But I did my best :).

Christmas went by in a blur.  I’m used to spending weeks at home over winter break; it was very strange only having a little more than a week in Albany before heading back to Atlanta.  Chris and Julia came down for a few days around Christmastime.  It was nice to see them.  Having the entire family together all in one place is getting rarer and rarer these days.

After they left, I had a few days with just the family before our old friends the Roberts came into town.  We played games, and went out to dinner once (and were rather silly while there – I’m somewhat surprised we didn’t get kicked out of the restaurant, hehehe), and read books…much the same as what we did once the Roberts got here, actually.  Except Josh also got his learner’s permit.  Oh…my…word.  Such a terrifying thought to think that my baby brother is driving!!  😉  Well, I suppose time does march on, doesn’t it?  It has to, or we wouldn’t already be a week into 2014 :).  Updates from my awesome birthday festivities coming up next!

Can you believe he’s got a license now?!?

The whole gang!!

Matt’s reading a book called “The man who loved books too much.”  I thought it was a fitting title 🙂

Thanksgiving 2013

Spending time with my family is one of my favorite things to do ever.  And around holidays it’s even better.  And this holiday season….for some reason, this holiday is even better than normal.  I have had such a sense of anticipation and excitement at the thought of seeing my family this year.  Perhaps it’s because last year was so darn difficult; this is a nice contrast.  Perhaps it’s because 2 years ago I missed being with my family because I was in Korea.  Perhaps it’s because this year we got to celebrate Matt’s blessing ceremony on top of the usual festivities.  Whatever the reason….the past few weeks have been simply laced with excitement and anticipation.

The highlight of family visits was definitely Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago.  While Georgia Tech only gives Thursday and Friday off, I was able to work out my schedule so that I had nearly a week off.  It took me nearly killing myself the 3 weeks prior, but the time off with my family made it worth it.  Although I must admit…I felt somewhat like Martha Stewart with all the baking I did while I was home.  Sugared peanuts, chocolate pecan pie, apple pie, fruitcake, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole….the list goes on, but I’m getting hungry, so I’ll stop :).
We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, but the real Thanksgiving day was on Friday afternoon, when Chris and Julia and her parents came into town.  We haven’t all been together in a very long time, and it was really nice to get to see my Chris.  He only lives a few minutes away from me…I wish I could see him and Julia more often.  But the time we did have together was wonderful :).

Thanksgiving weekend was rounded out with Matt’s blessing ceremony.  It’s a coming of age ceremony, something my parents have done for all the kids; the best way that I can describe it is a Christianized version of a Jewish bar mitzvah.  Family and friends from all over came to celebrate Matt and speak blessings into his life.  It only lasted about 30 minutes, but it was sooo, so special.  I missed Josh’s ceremony because I was in Korea, and I was so grateful to be able to be there for Matt’s.

If you’re interested in watching the ceremony, I took a recording of it; you can watch it by following this link: http://youtu.be/O_2qvvKLFb0 .


Fall frenzy

I realized a few weeks ago that this year is probably the last fall break that I’m ever going to have.  It’s crazy to think that my academic career – after 12 years of high school and 8 years of college, I’m actually reaching the end of my formal education.  I’m not sure whether I should be happy or sad about that.  On the one hand, I love school and will miss the daily challenge it brings.  On the other, it’ll be nice to have a regular paycheck and evenings to myself! 🙂

Anyway, for my last-ever fall break, I went home to visit the family.  After so many years of not really wanting to come to Albany (I love the people, but I’m really not crazy about the town itself), it was a strange sensation to feel like I was actually coming home when I pulled into the driveway.  But strange in a good way…
I think the best think about fall break…is the fall-ness of it.  I love this time of year.  The vibrant colors, the brisk air, the pumpkins and apple pies and windy days and scarves and boots and bonfires….I could go on, but I think you get my drift :).  So I was pretty pleased when I got to go a place called Mark’s Melon Patch with my friend Stacie and sister.  It has pretty much all of the above and more – hayrides, mazes, homemade ice cream, the whole shebang.  Hope may have been an “oops” baby, but I can’t imagine life without her!  What a blessing family is!!  So overall, it was quite a lovely weekend home…my only complaint is that it was so short!  

Fried tomatoes and hidden corn

It’s incredible how quickly time flies by.  It seems like updated this only a few days ago, but lo and behold, the time stamps tell me that it was nearly 2 months ago.  Yikes.  Well, if the craziness of my life can be reflected by the number of tabs I have open on my computer (actually a pretty accurate measure), it’s no wonder it’s taken me so long to sit down and write for pleasure.  Last week I hit an all-time record of 62 tabs open simultaneously.  Don’t judge, haha :).

What an eventful few weeks I’ve had!  I was surprised twice, by both my mother AND my father, with unexpected visits in Atlanta.  Dad was just in the area for work that day, so we had dinner together before he headed back down south.  And Mom actually stayed the night with me!  We went to a play, and made fried green tomatoes together, and just talked and laughed.  It was incredible.  I rarely get to spend one-on-one time with mom without other people or activities distracting us, and I treasure that weekend very much.

My first time trying fried green tomatoes.  They were super yummy!  We made them because we were going to watch the movie that night…

…but we ended up going into town to see a play instead! 🙂

Last weekend I went to a big dance event, the Atlanta Swing Classic.  It was such a blast!  I entered the competition and made alternate for finals.  It was a little disappointing since I was hoping to make finals outright, but also rather encouraging since I had mostly terrible partners, but still managed to do pretty well.  I went to lots of workshops, met lots of new people, yada yada yada….the usual excitement that can be found at one of these events :).  This time I also picked up a few of the pro dancers from the airport, so I was able to get some one-on-one time with them, which was awesome.  I so wish that I could afford to go to more dance events!  If you’re stymied for Christmas or birthday ideas, donations to my travel and dance fund are always appreciated!! 😉

I’ve also spent some time getting to know my dance community outside of actual dance events.  I went to a birthday dinner a few weeks ago, and just last weekend a handful of dancers went to a corn maze, about an hour north of the city.  They were both so much fun!  It’s incredible to feel not just like I know these people through dance, and we’re very friendly to each other when we see each other once a week, but rather that I’m actually a part of a community.  It’s also a novel experience, for sure, but wonderful.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world – or even, shockingly enough, for the chance to see the whole world :).

Not a dance friend, but still a friend…Sunny came over one night and we made a Korean meal 🙂

This was the map of the corn maze!!  It took us forever to figure it out, but once we did we rocked it!!

If you’ve never been to a corn maze before, though….take heed.  Don’t wear heels.  I had never been, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  In my mind, I was thinking, “It’s going to be cold…you need to wear something that will keep your feet warm.”  Unfortunately, the only high-topped shoes I own are 3.5 inch heeled boots.  So I traipsed around the entire maze in those things.  Hahaha.  I felt somewhat foolish…but also a bit fierce.  Mostly I just felt pain, though…especially the next day :).  Consider yourself warned!!

I had 2 other big trips within the past few weeks, but I think that those merit their own entry, so keep an eye out for more to come soon!

Hitting the ground running

Well I returned to Atlanta the end of July, but since then I’ve spent a grand total of 5 days in the city.  Since I stayed in Albany all summer, I had to squeeze all of my traveling into just a few weeks :).  First stop was Tallulah Falls, for a retreat with my church.  I had been feeling so spiritually dry for such a long time, and God really spoke to me in a way that He hadn’t for a while.  I’m so glad that I went – I almost didn’t.  It was a really powerful weekend.  Exhausting, but totally worth it.

I spent the night before the retreat with Elizabeth.  Check out our culinary skills!

The retreat site was lovely….the cabins, not so much 😉

This was the main auditorium.  It had signs with names, dates, and locations of people who had been to the camp before us – dating all the way back to the early 1930’s.  It was a fascinating glimpse of history…

The next week, my family picked me up on their way to Pigeon Forge, and we all went up there for a weekend vacation.  It was far too short, but wonderful regardless.  We went swimming, explored the town, and played shuffleboard and tennis together.  On Saturday, we split up.  The boys went to a huge knife store – over 2 million knives of all types!! – and mom and Hope and I went to a Christmas extravaganza place.  Oh…my…word.  There were more Christmas things there than I’ve ever seen in my entire life.  Combined.  Thousands and thousands of Santa Clauses.  Every single type of ornament you could ever imagine….and then some.  Tinsel, and glitter, and candy canes, and music boxes.  There were glass balls, Christmas trees, and nutcrackers of every color and variety. I felt like it was a Christmas version of Skittles.  Instead of Skittles: Taste the Rainbow, the slogan of this place should have been The Nutcracker: See the Rainbow.

Both of my brothers tower over me now!

Oh, Josh….ever the comedian

This was the outside of the Christmas place

This tree was just Hope’s style… 

Some of the many types of nutcrackers we saw…

This music box played the most beautiful music!

 I also took my siblings to a place called The Track.  We all did one round of go-carts racing.  After that, my sister and I played a round of mini golf, while the boys did another race.  They had such a blast.  And I had a blast just being with them.  They’re growing up so fast!  And so well…I’m very proud of them :).

The 3 Musketeers at The Track


My last week of freedom before school resumed again, I went to North Carolina to visit my grandparents.  It had been a while since I’d seen them, so I was really grateful to be able to spend a few days of uninterrupted time with them.  I got to hear some fantastic stories from both of their pasts.  Man, kids who don’t take the time to listen to what their grandparents have to say are really missing out on a lot…  My last night there, Pa helped me make crab cakes, and then while they were both gone that afternoon, I made the rest of dinner.  They were so surprised!  I was delighted to be able to do it for them :).

The final product

But now I’m back at Georgia Tech, trying to hit the ground running.  Pray for me!  Of course, if past experience is any indication, I never really stop running, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem ;).

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 :]).

Finals Week Highlights

I’m done!  I have officially finished my first year of graduate school!  Let me tell you what, it was quite a ride!  But the last week or so or classes I didn’t really actually have much schoolwork to do – I’m happy to report that the mind-numbing amount of work I did before finals week finally paid off, and my finals week was quite relaxing.  So I made up for some lost time, doing all of the things that I had neglected to do throughout the course of the semester.  Here are some of the highlights:
I went camping with my dad the weekend before finals.  I think the two of us had two very different experiences.  For me, I had a blast – I really enjoy camping, but hadn’t been in years, so it was a nice change, and great spending some quality time with my dad.  But my dad’s perspective, however, was that there was a hole in the tent over his head.  Poor man.  It poured most of the night, and add to that the fact that he didn’t have a water-repellant sleeping bag, but rather one that absorbed all of that excess moisture in the air, and he had quite a rough night that evening.  We ended up waking up really early in the morning and just heading back – at least then he was dry, even if he wasn’t well-rested!
I also got to see a musical performance of The Mask of Zorro with my friend Amy.  To psych myself up for it, I watched the movie the night before, which was excellent.  But the musical just blew me away.  It had beautiful singing, and energetic dancing, and pithy humor, and sonorous Spanish, incredible costumes…it really had everything.  I was left breathless on more than one occasion.  I’m definitely getting the Georgia Tech student art pass next year!
My friends Jonathan and Jessica invited me to see a double feature at one of the last remaining drive-in movie theaters in the country.  We brought food and chairs and got there early to just talk and hang out – Jess and I did our nails, lol.  I had never been to a drive-in theater before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even despite the threat of rain that drove us into our cars for a while.  But even then, they play the sound through a radio station, so we could still enjoy the movie just fine :).
Of course I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do some dancing, too.  I caught the last bit of the Thursday night dance after Zorro ended, and that was a lot of fun.  I almost didn’t go, but in the end I’m very glad that I did.  But even better than the dance on Thursday, was the workshop on Saturday.  Now, I had been to dance workshops before – they’re always good and I learn a lot, but there’s nothing really that unique about them.  This one, however, was different.  It was called “The Art of the Steal,” and was specifically tailored to teach people how to steal someone else’s partner in the middle of a dance without disrupting the flow of the music or the dancers.  So there was a lot of group partnering instead of pairs, and weird rotations, and all in all everyone just had a grand time.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and learned a heck of a lot.  
My last night in Atlanta, I went out to dinner with Jonathan and Jessica and some friends of theirs to celebrate his graduation from Tech.  The place we went to was called Buca di Beppo, and their trademark thing is that they take all of their guests through the kitchen before seating them – way cool!! Anyway, I got back to Albany just in time on Sunday to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration with the family.  I was glad I made it back for that.  And now I’m in Albany for the summer!  For now, at least.  Who knows where I’ll be in a couple of weeks! 🙂