*I have passed away from heat exhaustion and am writing this from my grave, which is air conditioned.
Texas, why are you so hot? Why do you burn me when I try to touch the steering wheel of my car? And how come you never seem to dip below 80 degrees, even at night?
I would like to go outside for more than ten minutes this summer. I would like to walk from my car to my office without sweating through my shirt. I would like to leave things in my car without fear of them melting. Is that too much to ask?
Texas, you’re a hot mess. And now I am too.
End of rant. Roll credits.
Hi friends, how are you? It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote. Speaking of hot, southern California has been experiencing a heat wave the past few weeks and we are all weather wimps out here ;p It’s finally cooling down and I am settling into America again. I still have random bouts of culture shock, though. For example:
The light switches are on the outside of the room in German, but the inside in America. I keep trying to turn on the lights from the outside and can’t find the switch haha!
People here are so smiley and greet each other on the street. I have to remind myself to smile back and make small talk!
Driving a car in a crazy thing. Like, what a concept.
Messaging via normal SMS/iMessage instead of Whatsapp is strange.
I keep saying German words instead of English as vocal fillers lol!
Anyways, all is good. A note: I am not renewing my domain name passportsandpaintbrushes.com. It expires tomorrow and will return to the free version: passportsandpaintbrushes.wordpress.com. Your girl is a cheap skate who can’t be bothered to pay the fee haha! So please visit the latter URL when you want to check out this page from now on. I don’t think it will be automatically rerouted so you will need to type in the new address manually. Then again, who knows. I defy the stereotype that all millennials are tech-savvy. I don’t want to loose any of you lovely followers.
I hope you are having a lovely summer and please leave a comment below just to say hi!
I tried not to buy into the succulent craze that has swept the nation in recent years, but I officially give in. You are SO cool. My friend took me to a succulent nursery the other day and I was amazed. I need to get some of you for my room in Germany.
Dear Rob Bell,
You are a great author and speaker. I’m currently reading your book “What we talk about when we talk about God” and it does not disappoint.
Dear Little Brother,
You are such a tease. I only got to spend a few hours with you yesterday before you were off again! But I sure to love the time we have together 🙂
Two and a half weeks. I’m coming for you.
Not sure what to do with you these days. Any thoughts?
You simultaneously flew by and took your sweet time.
That’s right, I got a second tattoo. You look more and more beautiful to me each day. I hope I’m not getting too addicted to tattoos…;p
P.s. photo from the Grand Canyon this past June
Dear “Gilmore girls”,
I started watching you again for the third time and you never disappoint. But to be honest, I’m still a little miffed about the ending of the revival. I won’t spoil it here, but it sure was a cliffhanger and now I’m thinking we need another revival to satiate us.
The other day I heard, “No one hangs hard times on the wall.” That really spoke to me for some reason. It is so easy to assume everyone is fairing better than you at any given moment, but the truth is we are all dealing with the sadness and pain of life. You are never alone in hardship, ever.
Dear Paddle Board,
I enjoyed taking you out for a spin on the lake last night. But all those jet skiers were zipping around me making the water choppy and I had a hard time getting much of anywhere.
You sure are hot during the summer. Boy, just when I think it can’t get any hotter, it does! Maybe I’m a California weather wimp, but I still am not used to it.
Just reminding you how much I love you. Never forget.
Dear “The Lilac Girls”,
Just started this new book and am already a fourth of the way through. Historical fiction is my jam.
Are you as excited as I am for my return on August 23rd? I sure hope so, cuz I can’t hardly think of anything else!
P.s. Photo from our time in Bar Harbor, Maine 🙂
Wow, Iceland took my breath away. I had a quick two day stop before I head home to California today and I must say, two days is certainly not enough to discover this incredible island! I’m not even sure an entire lifetime would be enough. Below are a few photos from my tour of The Golden Circle and my day exploring Reykjavíc. Enjoy! ^Our first stop was a hollowed out crater-turned-lake. I’m not even going to attempt to write the names of all these places because they are incredibly complicated. Icelandic is such an interesting language. It reminds me of German in some ways, but is considered one of the most pure languages on earth– since the island was so isolated for so long, the language has changed very little from the viking days! ^Next was this beautiful waterfall on someone’s private property! Imagine having this in your backyard. Iceland is definitely the land of a thousand waterfalls.^Reminds me of Montana or Wyoming!^This national park was probably my favorite stop of the day. It is the sight of the first parliament of Iceland, back in the days of the vikings, as well as the place where the European and North American plates collide! ^You can actually walk between the two continental plates! So cool. It seemed symbolic of my life right now– half european, half American haha.^Geysers that go off every five minutes or so. The temperature of the water was between 80-100 degrees Celsius, but I still wanted to take a bath in it.
^I even got to walk on a glacier. This is the second largest glacier in Europe and third largest in the world. I felt like I was floating on clouds (and I got really sunburnt!).
^Waterfall from glacial run-off! ^Downtown Reykjavic is so colorful! I enjoyed the Scandinavian design aesthetic. ^Cool photography shop!^Arresting views from the Hallgrimskirkja, the famous church in town.Thanks for the fun times Iceland! I’ll be back one day, but for now I’m off to sunny Southern California 🙂
The day has finally come to say goodbye to Frankfurt. Who knows what the future holds after my graduation in May, but for now I need to return to school to finish what I started! This summer has exceeded my every expectation. And if leaving people and relationships can break a person’s heart, I’m certain leaving a place you love can too. Though I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends again, I can’t help but cry over leaving the new family and friends I’ve made here the past three months. But God is infinitely good and sovereign, he already has a good plan for me. I think this C.S. Lewis quote from The Four Loves fits my current situation quite well:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
I know it was worth every bit of pain, because I loved these people and this place deeply. I was vulnerable, I shared my life with them, and it made all the difference. Aufwiedersehen beautiful country, thank you for everything, again.
^A video I made of the entire summer!
This summer has undoubtedly been the most violent, tumultuous periods of time in the world that I can remember in my life. It seems like every day there’s a new shooting, bombing, or terrorist attack of some kind (if not multiple). Many of these incidences are centered in Europe, and now in Germany in particular, and it breaks my heart to watch them unfold. Reading the news has become even more depressing than usual, and often leaves me posing the exasperated question, “What is this world coming to?!”
This weekend I returned to Heidelberg, the city where I studied abroad for eight months my sophomore year of college. It is such a magical town, a town that fills me with incomparable joy every time I step across its boarders. I still can’t believe I was privileged enough to call this place home. The sheer beauty of Heidelberg is enough to take my breath away. As I strolled the charming cobble stone streets munching on a sweet from my favorite local bakery, my body was flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace. I realized that even if I were to be killed by a terrorist attack today (which is a real possibility), I would be satisfied. I have been able to experience more in my short 21 years on this earth than many people are able to in their entire lives. I am richly blessed, and all I have to do is look around to know it.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I don’t know the future, but I do know it is my duty to appreciate the present. As Christians we are set free from the crippling fear of death, for Christ says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The darkness and devastation in our world are real, and should not be overlooked, but take comfort in the fact that we can have abundant life despite the present darkness.
Thanks again Heidelberg, for teaching me exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. You never cease to amaze me. Until next time little city!