On Disappointment

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Everyone knows in their head that disappointment is a natural part of life. But it has not been a large part of my life. As bratty as that sounds, it’s a truth I’ve come to realize in the last few weeks. I hear the word yes much more than I hear the word no. I live a blessed life- my parents are beyond supportive, my socioeconomic status provides countless opportunities, and my personality is extremely driven and ambitious. For instance, I got into my top college, I was selected to be RA in Heidelberg, I got the summer internship I applied for- the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder that when I hear the word no, I don’t exactly have the strongest coping skills. I haven’t had much practice!
Recently, I found out I was not selected to be an RA again next year. This was especially painful because I feel as though I’ve done a good job this year, and everyone in my program seems to agree. Even my program director was shocked when I told him. I expected to be rewarded for my hard work. I thought I deserved it. I legitimately couldn’t believe I was rejected. Now, I know there are a million factors that go into these decisions, and I shouldn’t take it personally, but I did.

Then, a few days later, I found out I did not get on-campus housing next year and that one of my apartment mates would not be living with us after all. Talk about adding salt to the wound! Not only would I not be an RA, but I wouldn’t even be a part of the residential community! I felt utterly disappointed. And I didn’t know how to deal with these foreign feelings. It’s one thing to say “God will provide” and another thing to actually believe it.

In the midst of my dejection, I stumbled across the verse Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I had a very specific plan in mind for my future, but it was swept away with the tide. I have to believe that the only plan left is God’s plan. And in reality, God should be my plan A. I need no plan B. His plan is always infinitely better than mine, even if I can’t see how just yet. There is no comfort in growth and no growth in comfort. God says he has everything under control and it’s my job as a Christian to believe him.

So although I’m ultimately glad there are more yeses in my life than no’s, I am confident God’s no is better than any human’s yes. He has my future in his palm- a future of prosperity and hope.

I pray my little rant encourages you to push through any disappointment you’re currently facing. Have a great weekend friends- I’m off to Scotland to cheer myself up!

 

Ireland

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Ireland is the land of my dreams. I felt as though I’d been there before, because I’d always dreamed it existed. As a former Irish dancer, this trip held special significance to me. I finally understood the context and traditions behind the sport I pursued for seven years! This trip was also significant because my mom and I were able to meet up and travel together the whole time! Below is a loose itinerary of the places we visited and the memories we made there. I apologize in advance for the exorbitant amount of pictures. Ireland made me camera happy. IMG_3769
Dublin
I arrived in Dublin on the eve of St. Patrick’s day! Although I didn’t reach my hotel until midnight, the party was far from over. Irish people love to dance, play music, drink, and celebrate. This St. Patrick’s day was one for the books! After the city calmed down the next morning, we headed out to see the sights. First, we saw the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels that was handcrafted in Ireland around 750AD. I was in total awe of the attention to detail and painstaking craftsmanship. Next, we jumped on a Hop-on-Hop-off bus, where we saw various landmarks such as the Guiness Factory, the historical prison, and the president’s residence. The night culminated in an IRISH DANCE SHOW with live music! I couldn’t stop tapping along with my feet under the table. Take a look at the video I previously posted for a glimpse at the performance. I was one happy camper when I fell into bed that night.IMG_3750IMG_3728IMG_3714IMG_3773IMG_3671IMG_3660
Cork
The next morning we woke up bright and early and said goodbye to Dublin’s fair city. We boarded our guided train tour bound for the West coast. First, we stopped in Cork (pictured below) which was the last port the Titanic docked in before embarking on its tragic journey across the Atlantic. It is the port from which nearly 2 million people emigrated to America after the Great Potato Famine.  I can just imagine them crowded onto ships, waving goodbye to their loved ones, watching as the church spire (pictured below) faded from view- the last glimpse of their homeland, never to be seen again by many.

IMG_4172IMG_3929IMG_3910IMG_3895The Blarney Castle
This was one of my favorite stops, because I got to kiss the Blarney stone! Blarney is an old English word for nonsense, but I’m not quite sure why the name was assigned to this particular castle stone! Regardless  I kissed that stone real good,because it is said to bless you with the gift of eloquence. No wonder I can never stop talking…

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Cliffs of Moher
Perhaps Ireland’s most well known landmark, these slate-rock cliffs do not fail to deliver! My mom and I spend the afternoon walking along the precarious edge, lounging in the grass, and listening to the seagulls squawk. I couldn’t have asked for better weather or better company.

IMG_4236IMG_4219IMG_4212IMG_4204IMG_4184IMG_4257The Ring of Kerry
The 179 km route through County Kerry is truly God’s masterpiece. I’ve never seen a more unique, arresting landscape, and I doubt I ever will again. Wild sheep grazed in the hills, gentle fog hung over the sea, and green pastures met sharp drop offs. Neither the pictures nor my words really do it justice!

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See that face? ^ That’s the face of one content lass. Not only did Ireland impress me, but I was blown away by the friendliness of the Irish people. They coined the term Open Book. I had conversations with taxi drivers, strangers on the train, concierges, etc. who divulged their entire life story before telling me their name! They have a contagiously sunny disposition, and welcome you to their country with open arms. I know they’re supposed to be the lucky ones, but I left feeling luckier than ever. Have a great week friends!

Ireland Video

Hey friends! How are things? I just returned from a trip to the Emerald Isle with my beautiful mother! I made a little video to capture my wonderful experience if you’d like to take a look. Stay tuned for another post with pictures and details coming soon to a theater near you!

50 Little Things That Make Me Happy

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  1. Crawling into my soft bed after a long day
  2. Painting with watercolors
  3. Sipping a Chai Tea Latte
  4. Reading before bed
  5. Sunsets
  6. Coffee dates with friends
  7. Playing the Piano
  8. Late night chats with my mom
  9. Browsing my favorite Blogs
  10. Taking photos with my DSLR camera
  11. Editing said photos
  12. Messing around on the guitar with my little brother
  13. Traveling
  14. Long car rides
  15. Making a new iTunes playlist
  16. Writing this blog!
  17. Twilight walks
  18. Rainy afternoons
  19. Binging on Gilmore Girls episodes
  20. All things Mango-flavored
  21. Listening to an especially good sermon
  22. Organizing my room
  23. Bear hugs
  24. Family vacations
  25. Creating little Films
  26. Discussing Literature
  27. Sending letters/postcards
  28. Celebrating Birthdays
  29. Buying the perfect gift for someone
  30. Watching Elf on Christmas Eve
  31. Doodling during class
  32. When people absolutely love their job
  33. Biting into a crunchy piece of watermellon
  34. Fireworks on the fourth of July
  35. Parades and Festivals in my home town
  36. Visiting my extended family in Iowa and Nebraska
  37. My older brother’s laugh
  38. Church Potlucks
  39. Summer camp
  40. Family dinners
  41. Card Games
  42. The changing of the seasons
  43. Coffee-flavored Gelato
  44. Finding a Bible verse that really speaks to my heart
  45. Journaling
  46. Crafting!
  47. Scrolling through Instagram when I first wake up in the morning
  48. Friday afternoons right after I finish class for the week
  49. Hearing the waves crash on the sea shore
  50. Discussing deep, philosophical issues with my dad
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    ^Neuschwanstein Castle makes me pretty happy too! Especially when you can actually see it :p

When in Rome

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When in rome…eat as much gelato as possible! Thats how the saying goes, right? Well, that was my motto this weekend in Roma anyways. I was one of the only students in my group who hadn’t been to Italy yet this year, and I was determined to remedy that situation! So three good friends and I hoped on a (long!) train to Rome after class Thursday night. IMG_3515IMG_3492IMG_3500IMG_3469IMG_3266IMG_3260

The first thing we saw when we stepped out of the metro station was the Colossuem! BAM- I fell in love that quickly. The Colossuem is truely breathtaking. Not only is it a site of great historical significance and architectural mastery, but it is also an important part of Christian history. Built in 70 AD by emperor Vespatian, it was used for gladiator contests and public events. The thought was, in order to keep the people from uprising, all one had to do was give them bread and entertainment. That’s where the Colosseum came in!IMG_3315IMG_3319

Next stop: the Trevi fountain. I’m sure it was gorgeous, under all the scaffolding! But we technically saw it, and I threw a coin in the dried out fountain for good luck. I’m pretty sure it still counts! IMG_3407IMG_3348

Then we jetted off to the pantheon, an ancient temple designed famous for it’s large domed ceiling. The Italian’s ceiling game is on point. They do ceilings right, the rest of us could learn a thing or two from them. The dome on the pantheon has a round hole in the top through which you can star gaze! IMG_3393IMG_3369IMG_3357IMG_3461

Then to bed, and up early to see more incredible things. First stop on day two: none other than the Vatican. Am I allowed to count that as another country I have visited? I think yes. When we arrived at the entrance to St. Peters Piatza, the main square in the Vatican, there was a huge crowd pushing to get through the gate. We didn’t know what it was for, but we figured it must be something good, so we pushed our way in! Turns out, a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of a saint’s death was taking place, which culminated in the appearance of THE POPE!!!!! Thats right, I stood five feet away from Pope Francesco!!! I screamed ‘VIVA IL PAPA’ with thousands of other Italians as the pope waved from his convertible. And then I died in peace because my life was complete. IMG_3334IMG_3350

Experiences like this remind me that sometimes the best moments are the ones you don’t plan. Ask anyone, they will tell you I am planner to the T. I like to know exactly what I’m doing before I do it. But if we had stuck to the plan, we never would have seen the pope! This year abroad has taught me to take a deep breath and be flexible- you never know what fun God’s got in store for you today, so don’t let your plans get in the way!

IMG_3421After I regained my composure (Papa Francesco is a big deal, people), we saw the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters basillica. As a painter myself, I was stunned speechless by Michaelangelo’s masterpiece. The attention to detail is mind boggeling. He worked on the chapel for four straight years! How did he know when to call it quits? What was the finishing touch? How did he stay inspired for so long?

St peters basillica houses the supposed bones of Peter the apostle, who was crucified in Rome. It is hands down the largest and most ornate church I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of churches. My favorite part was the basin of holy water that is blessed by the Pope. I filled up a flask I had bought for this sole purpose, and will keep it forever as a tangible reminder of God’s favor and blessings on my life.

IMG_3488Last but not least: the Forum, an area of ancient roman ruins that used to be a warehouse, then a marketplace, and finally the Senate. Julius Caesar was actually assasinated outside the senate in the Forum (apparently William Shakespeare got it wrong. Way to go Will). The apostlePpaul was also executed in the forum, as it was the center of roman life at the time. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or will ever see again. We were there at sunset, which casts a magnificent glow on the ancient columns, tomb stones, arches, etc. By the time we sat down to dinner that night, I knew I was head over heels for this city, which made it ten times harder to leave for home that night! IMG_3513 All in all, my weekend was crazy good. There is so much more to see in Rome, and this trip only wet my apetite. I wil return one day Italia, mark my words! Ciao for now friends.IMG_3446IMG_3256

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Ten Things I Will Miss About Germany

372fbca1-75a7-4bda-8246-22cdcd08e1ab.jpg1. Church Bell Tolls- The bells of the main protestant church in Heidelberg ring daily on the hour! As someone who always forgets to wear her watch, I find them both beautiful and helpful!
2. Punctuality- If the schedule says the bus is arriving at 3:02, you can bet your money that it will be there exactly at 3:02- not a minute before, not a minute after. Coming from Southern California, where time is never of the essence and nothing starts until thirty minutes after the listed time, I used to find this frustrating. Why couldn’t the bus just wait two minutes for me, can’t the driver see I’m running to catch it? But now I find the punctuality incredibly refreshing and useful. I’ve learned to be more punctual, and it takes all the frustration and confusion out of travel.
3. Coinage- The Euro does not have bills under five euro, so all the small numbers are in coin form. Back home, I would never use my pocket change for anything other than parking meters, but here every cent counts. I always pay in exact change, and hardly have spare coins weighing down my wallet. Plus, it makes you feel like you aren’t spending as much money, even though its exactly the same in reality!
4. Cafe Culture- When you sit down at a cafe, you have that table as long as you want. There is no rush to make way for the next customer. It is not uncommon to lounge around for an entire afternoon, ordering multiple coffees or simply people watching! The waiter will never bring you the check before you ask, so as not to hurry you along.
5. Seasons- If you’ve read my blog for a while, you will know how much I love seasons. Sure, sometimes they make things a bit more complicated, but I embrace them just the same.
6. Cold Mornings- Call me crazy, but I prefer cold morning to warm. The crisp air helps me wake up, and I love seeing my breath as I walk to class. Plus, a scarf and a hat complete any outfit.
7. No Small Talk- I never realized how much Americans small talk on a daily basis. Although I grew up with it, I was never very good at it! Germans don’t possess small talk skills, and would rather jump right in to the big stuff.
8. The Language-  Sometimes functioning in a society that doesn’t speak your language is exhausting, but most of the time I enjoy the challenge. I find the German language beautiful, and try to embrace every opportunity to speak it! Plus, it is much easier to tune out background noise when you can’t understand it!
9. German School Children- They really are the cutest. I pass an elementary school on my way to class every morning, and I love hearing their excited squeals as they climb on the playground. They have brightly colored, boxy backpacks, and adorable hats and mittens.
10. Train travel- Trains were a very foreign concept to me when I first arrived. I didn’t understand them, and longed for a good old fashioned car. But I slowly grew to love and appreciate the ease and convenience of the rail system!