Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Today on an unexpected extension of a trip I was asked an interesting question, "what annoys you."
At first I couldn't think of much...but then my list was extended. Since I cannot seem to fall asleep, which immediately puts me in a bad mood, I'm going to share.
1) Whistling. This is little known, but the pitch usually hurts my ears. Interesting tidbit, I can handle Andrew Bird.
2) Tardiness. I think this is because I used to always be the "late" one, which in my family means 2 minutes after the extra 1/2 hour we have to arrive.
3) Waste. I think Uganda has something to do with this-- and my education.
4) Gossip/judgement.
5) Complaining. I have noticed that I have been a bit of a complainer recently. I hope to amend this now.
6) Illogical-ness. I have the unfortunate ability of valuing efficiency above all/most else. This does not fit well with patience...or group projects.
7) Joking about abuse/violence.
8) Being put in a box (i.e. the 'late one'. or the 'messy one'.)
9) People backing out on their word/being inconsistent. If I was ever to hold a would be for this.
10) Ignorance.
11) Being dismissed.
12) A lack of common courtesy.
Following this question was an interesting statement made by the other party: "I find that the things that most annoy me are the things I struggle with." Too true Roberta*, too true.
Looking at the list I have a few follow up remarks.
1) I'm a really good whistler.
2) I'm really not late...just uncommonly early (just ask 3N:)
3) Sometimes I leave notebooks half empty.
4) I criticize everyone in my head.
5) When my life is crazy, I want everyone to know how great I am at getting things done.
6) I am often unreceptive to new ideas.
7) I know too much to joke.
8) I categorize my friends.
9) Like I said, this is one of the I try my best to stay consistent.
10) I feel ignorant when it comes to most things.
11) I dismiss people SO easily.
12) In general I try to be nice.
With the exception of 7, 9, and 12, I struggle with the very same things that annoy me about others. Perhaps this comparison speaks to the idea that you take out on others what you dislike about yourself. Perhaps not.
Well. Now that you all know just a little bit too much about me, I am going to go to bed:)

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Note: I realize this post is a bit ludicrous and over the top.

I am not sure how many of you have heard of November 17 as "National [Facebook] Un-Friend Day"...but this is a basic synopsis:
"National UnFriend Day was November 17th, 2010 — the day when all Facebook users protected the sacred nature of friendship by cutting out any "friend fat" on their pages occupied by people who are not truly their friends." (
That week in mid-November started out the same as any other week: office laughter and chit chat. I am not sure who brought up the fateful day, but someone did. Since my office is full of friend-laden people we decided to take a brave step and attempt to rid ourselves of some extra friend baggage.
We boasted and bragged about the 'difficulty' of removing individuals who we have not talked to in years. In reality, I am quite sure we were being dramatic.
Since then, I have occasionally gone through my friend list and deleted a few people here and there in hopes of cleansing my facebook page. Today was one of those days that I decided to scroll the list.
Every time I have pulled up the list to filter who I am truly friends with I become more and more sad about removing people. Why? Because each and every one of my 'friends' has a memory associated with them. I think that's why today I started to *gasp* tear up.
I have decided that no matter how little I communicate with said 'friends', I will no longer be deleting any more people out of my life. The joy that comes from simply looking at their name and remembering that he or she was there with me and we experienced something together far outweighs the time we have spent apart.
I want it to be known that I am not bashing "NUFD", I am simply saying it is not for me.
So if you are one of those friends who I carefully deleted...I am sorry. Let's be friends again...ok?
[Also note: Yes. I realize my reasoning for keeping friends is completely for my benefit and that I am objectifying friends as memory snippets.]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Different Prescription

I would like to preface the below by making some statements.
1. I started and wrote this reflection quite late so...
2. It's incredibly cheesy and fluffy...but that's ok because
3. It's pretty much all true to what I am feeling right now.
4. Also, I did put a bit of theory in here-- feel free to skip it.

I have always pushed to be viewed as a competent individual. Timeliness, due dates, and follow through have played a significant role in who I am now and who I have worked to become. While I have been running around ruled by my watch I have missed something. That something is passion, drive, and provision. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the conference in its entirety, the last workshop I attended was of particular importance to me as a growing professional. A word not unfamiliar to me was introduced and stressed, and that word was strategy.
When I think of the word strategy competition often comes to mind. The intertwining of these two words gives me a negative image—one of a selfish individual pushing past everyone regardless of the other people’s current state. The way that Serena talked about strategy, though, put a whole new spin on the concept. She showed me that I can do more—and I need to in order to maximally benefit myself as well as others. I cannot be content with competence…I need to step up my game.
The ten tips and subjects the presenters talked about were as follows: know yourself, network and mentor, résumé and interview, technical and management skills, you better work, managing your supervisor, ethics and professional standards, organizational politics, don’t forget what you learned in graduate school, and professional development. The first one most definitely fits with Chickering’s 5th vector: Establishing Identity. Interesting enough, competence is something he posits will be mastered before identity establishment. I think this vector also spoke to me because I have been thinking a lot about identity development—especially after we read Let Your Life Speak.
In reality, all of their tips fit somewhere into Chickering’s vectors. For example,
1. Competence: Technical and Management skills; Organizational Politics; Don’t Forget What You Learned in Grad School
2. Emotions: Know Yourself
3. Autonomy to Interdependence: Managing Your Supervisor
4. Mature Interpersonal Relationships: Network and Mentor
5. Identity: Professional Development
6. Purpose: You Better Work; Résumé and Interview
7. Integrity: Ethics and Professional Standards
Obviously some, or most, or the tips may be put into one or more categories—or completely different ones. For lack of room and efficiency I will not necessarily cover why I placed each tip into the specific vector. Know though, that I was both impressed and surprised to see how well they each fit into Chickering’s theory; that fact alone was impactful and a prime example of theory to practice.
Though the workshop description said, “this interactive workshop will address the issues and challenges facing new professionals as they move in, through and out of the first three to five years of their career in higher education,” I think it went far beyond the now seemingly trivial description. In fact, I am going so far as to say that it has revolutionized how I will think about my future—whether student affairs is or is not a dominant aspect of said life plans. Both the style of the presenters and the content of the presentation reached out to me and gave me the metaphorical thick, heavy, and possibly unattractive, prescription glasses that I so desperately needed.
As previously mentioned, I have placed a high value on competency. Chickering himself points out that competency is only the first vector and there is so much to be gleaned from developing the other facets of his theory. Since I have arrived in August I have been surviving off of my ability, aptitude, and proficiency. However, little flags (such as the book) have popped up and forced me to reexamine why I am in this program and profession. Through those instances I have slowly become aware of the holes in my development—and this realization reached its pinnacle at the conference. I no longer want to just be viewed as capable—I want to be seen as driven. I don’t want to solely settle for adequate but instead strive for excellence. And instead of being an excellent observer I wish to share my passion with those around me.
I truly think the decisions I have made about myself will carry on into the future. I have already noticed that I look at my tasks and my job in a whole new light, one of excitement—one I have not seen before. This new lens I am currently seeing through has almost a sort of fulgent aspect. Even though I love this new perspective, I still have some misgivings.
First, I wonder how long this new love feeling will last. After a couple of months will I be discouraged once again? Or, what if I find out that I lack the ability to examine these parts of my life? I wonder if I hold the drive to stay driven. I also am curious to see the challenges and struggles that are sure to arise as I attempt to push myself farther and harder than I ever have before. Will my wall hit me sooner than I want it to?
When I think about the qualms I have expressed, I am not too worried. Perhaps this is foolish of me, but I think that optimism is a strong force. I am confident that as I continue to navigate this career of student affairs I will always look back at the Session C workshop with a tender heart. After all, I have been forever changed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


[I feel that I'm taking a bit of a risk by being painstakingly honest in the below post. Please don't take it personally and try really hard to remember that everyone has struggles...right? Anyone?]
The last couple days were hard on my personality. Where I wanted clarity I was given confusion. When I wanted structure I was forced to improvise. I had to settle for less than ideal. I was late. I was blamed. I was too concerned when I should have just let things go.
In reflection I know I could have handled said 'things' a lot better. I should have been gracious instead of incredulous...but I wasn't. I could have taken the blame and embraced humility...but I didn't.
The more time I spend with these new people the more I learn about myself. I used to think that I could never be annoyed...not true. I once believed that I couldn't believe anything negative about a person...false.
I'm a little excited about this discovery.
I often question if I have adequate critical thinking skills. I mean, if I always go with the flow and am 'ok' with anything and everything...well, should I be nervous?
Over the years I have learned that while embracing a humble attitude and an open mind is generally a positive thing, lines must be drawn and choices must be made. I have very little desire to live my life floating along like an aimless, although beautiful, leaf drifting along in the stream of life. I want to be able to claim my thoughts and ideas with reverence. So take that all you people who once said, "but brit, you like everybody"; let it be known though...I do like everybody:)
Additionally, from looking at my reactions to the people around me, I have realized just how opinionated and strong willed I really am. This realization has been interesting. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to become aware this fault...probably because my roommate(s) was (were) incredibly accommodating. But now I know what most of you have probably known for quite some time.
So thank you everyone for not only tolerating my craziness, but also loving me through it.
p.s. I encourage you all to check out 'Vampire Weekend' my opinion, they're fantastic.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Banana and Bootcamp

Below is a post that my wonderful sister, Hannah, wrote a little while ago. There are a couple of reasons I decided to include it in my blog. 1. Banana is awesome, 2. She has a lot to offer, and 3. I have blog-writer's block.

note: HA= honor academy. You'll have to check out her blog for more information:)


ESOAL lesson #1

(many more to come!)

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

-Nehemiah 8:10

About this time last Saturday I was (probably) going on a 2-mile run with a wooden cross slung over one shoulder and a duct tape strap for my water bottle on the other. Picture yourself standing on the sidelines while we march/jog past you. You probably would have smelled us before you had a chance to look into our sandy/muddy/sweaty faces. At this point in ESOAL, about 30% of us probably had plastered permanent smiles on our faces. The other 70% of us had so much joy we were bubbly, giddy, and overflowing with happiness as our dirty tennis shoes pounded along in perfect rhythm.

Last weekend I was able to participate in one of the HA's (optional) Life Transforming Event called ESOAL. Despite how ESOAL has been portrayed by various people or media organizations, it is truly an amazing experience that God used to teach me many life lessons.

Going into ESOAL, I was pretty freaked out. If you know nothing about ESOAL, let me give you a quick update. Picture the HA gone military. Actually, ESOAL is supposedly based on the Navy Seals' Hell Week. I'm not in the Navy, so I really don't know how accurate that is; all I know is what I personally experienced. ESOAL did have certain military aspects to it. For example, we were placed into companies and platoons, given helmets to identify us and crosses to carry, told to respond using "Sir" and "Ma'am", allowed only to say numbers under 10, and taught how to low-crawl. It was completely unlike the military in other areas, such as middle-of-the-night worship, constantly being asked if we were growing, giving our 100%, asking how we could help our company, having to work together to produce unity, singing worship songs while we marched, and reciting Bible verses.

Before ESOAL, I only knew about the military side of it, which is why I was so apprehensive. I couldn't understand why all the 2nd-year students were so excited. I was expecting my experience to be filled with anger, bitterness, and fear as I worked my tail off to please my major. I'm so thankful that this is not at all what it actually was! Instead of being angry at my major and captain for making me low-crawl or do push ups, I realized that I had a choice in how I would respond. Yes, I could have gotten angry and bitter, but instead I was able to "choose joy" (motto!) and respond in a way that was honoring to God. When our company was falling behind and our major was telling us to go faster, we could have all separated and fallen apart, but instead we realized the importance of unity and stuck together, helping and encouraging whoever was struggling. We were able to choose optimism and unity over anger and self-reliance because 1) we all knew we couldn't get through it on our own, 2) we all knew we couldn't get through it without God, and 3) we all knew that the joy of the Lord would be our strength when our physical bodies had no strength left.

One main lesson that really took root in my heart was a common yet powerful asset during ESOAL. One phrase that you would constantly hear throughout the endurance of ESOAL was "choose joy", said with much exuberance. We were made aware at the beginning of ESOAL that it wasn't going to be something we enjoyed. Who thinks physical exertion and no sleep is a fun combination? Not me. We all knew that we would want to quit at one point. It wasn't going to be peaches and cream....BUT (there's always a "but"..) we also knew that we could make it enjoyable. We could make it fun. We could choose what we got out of the experience by what we put into it. This really rang true for me. All my life I had been told this, especially when I chose to not get a positive experience out of something that I thought was a major struggle. During these situations, it never really sank in that being joyful is a choice.

This is an interesting concept. In our lives, the joy that we have experienced is only surface level. For example, when something happens that creates a feeling of happiness within you, your are joyful. You are outwardly joyful as a result of the inner joy. However, that joy fades away with the initial event that created it. During ESOAL, we were taught a new type of joy that never fades. This joy is a result of so many things. I mean think about it, if you have God as your savior, why shouldn't you be filled with joy all the time? Think about your eternal reward. Think about how much God loves you. Think about how much Christ did for you. Think about His saving grace. Think about how well He has equipped you for anything that could ever come up against you. Think about God. The end. Just the thought of God can put a smile on your face, no matter the circumstances. It's amazing. Revolutionary even. Life-changing if you let it sink in. I let it sink in. If I hadn't, man, those nights of sleep/no sleep would have been completely miserable, just like everything else that was challenging during ESOAL. I would have rung out having learned nothing but self-reliance.

Because I was able to rely on God's strength and constantly be filled with his joy, I was able to not only complete ESOAL, but also lean on God and use His strength instead of my own. Not only was I always smiling outwardly (for which I was nicknamed "smiley") but I was also always filled with joy inwardly. I was made aware of just how much Jesus did for me while on Earth living as a man. He went to the cross for me - I can sacrifice my feelings, my emotions, and my physical body to Him. The best part is this: when I gave up my pain, my struggles, my emotions, my feelings, I was filled with even more joy. God wasn't just going to leave me with nothing. No, He filled me up with so much more than I had before. He blessed me. He blessed our whole company. Let me tell you, once we had all grasped this, ESOAL was like a family vacation - no joke. We were all laughing and cracking jokes about the simplest and hardest things. It was so good!

Moral of the story: Choose joy in all situations! You don't have to go through a tough experience like ESOAL to grasp this concept. The next time you feel yourself turning sour as a result of something gone wrong, ask God for His joy. I guarantee He won't disappoint you! Also - you can't always rely on feelings. During ESOAL, if I had waited until something good happened to be joyful, I would have wasted so much time feeling sorry for myself and embracing self-pity (that's a whole different blog post...). You always have something to feel joyful about - let God fill you up to overflowing with His joy, which is your strength!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

And the Winner Is

The day started out with my first APU chapel. As soon as I entered the stadium and the music started to play I was reminded of my love for student community. Being in a room surrounded by students and staff alike was beautiful and fulfilling. To put a the proverbial cherry on top, the speaker was Shauna Neiquist. She spoke about challenge, growth, death, and redemption. If you have yet to read her work-- I urge you to do so. Through it I was inspired; I felt she was writing exactly what I was feeling.
After that uplifting experience I headed off to work. We (Amanda, Rebekah, and I) decided that we wanted to be crafty with our advertising. Earlier that week Amanda and I scoured the dumpsters for cardboard and headed to Michael's to buy 21 beautiful colors of paint. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to be given the task of painting. As I had already painted a number of pieces of cardboard, I decided it was time to dress them up-- so that took up the next hour.
Now it was time for the free, semi-exclusive (but not really), lunch with Shauna. Yes please. As I sat in the room of females and listened to so many of them pour out their heart and thanks for her words I was also reminded. My mind went back to the time that I read her first book, Cold Tangerines. Stephanie Slotsema brought it with her to Uganda and recommended that I read it. Since we were often without electricity and little to do after 7 pm, I gladly took her up on that offer. And I wasn't the only one; Stephanie (from Germany) also read it. I still find it difficult to express what that book meant to me and to the others in the house. Being in Uganda was not an easy task and Shauna's words lifted us up, encouraged us, and gave us a renewed strength. I, of course, tried to verbalize this at Friday's lunch but alsas, my fear of public speaking kicked in and I fear that I didn't at all portray the immense gratitude I felt at that moment.
After the lunch I finished the poster stuff and went out for coffee with Tiffany (a 2nd year and an intern in my office). It was a time of honesty and learning. I love times like this.
When I finally landed home in the late afternoon I...think I took a nap. Or painted. Or wrote notes, but I really can't remember.
After supper I headed to a housewarming party for Tiff and her 5 roommates. Though I had mild associations with Tiff's friends, I really didn't know anyone else. The next two hours were not easy for me but, surprisingly, not too difficult either. I found that if I put forth an effort and was semi-intrusive (because let's face it, that's the only way to break into a group of friends), I could engage in legitimately good conversation. For example, I learned that a 1 yr pass to Disneyland is only $16 a month, if someone says you have to swing dance you shouldn't lie and say you don't know how because they'll teach you anyway, and Michael Buble tickets are quite costly. After all that and more, I decided I needed to go to bed.

Today I slept in as long as I wanted, which was beautiful. Then I went to the post office, picked someone off the street and drove them to a hospital, and went to the gym. The rest of the day I read. Of course the location and subject matter differed, but nonetheless, I solidly read for the next 6 hours.

I suppose the question is this: which day did I glean more from? The one that took up a bazillion lines, or the one that took up 5? If you haven't guessed yet, it's the former. As much as I love reading about buggers and piggies, I really desire and thrive on contact of the human type. If you've been hoping to find a 'moral of the story' this would be it. Even though being with people is hard, emotionally draining, and sometimes undesirable...I still pick it. I think it's worth the hastle, late nights, and hard conversations...truly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Along the Way

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking. That's not to say I don't normally think...but I think my synapses have been firing extra hard because of the amount of alone time I've been having.
So I ponder stuff...
I wonder if I'll ever see the wonderful people I met in Uganda again. I hope so...I miss them a lot. I find it strange that I have such a strong connection to them and my heart aches to see them again-- soon.
I wonder if I'll find friends here who know me like the ones I left this past May. Friends who I feel so comfortable around. Friends who have been so encouraging to me even while I'm far away.
I wonder if the reading for my classes will ever end.'s intense. Oh well, that's grad school.
I wonder how many people in the world are shallow. My heart has been broken over and over again by stories of harsh words and a critical tongue. Can't men think women are beautiful just being them (and vice versa)? I have my doubts.
I wonder if I'll ever get sick of coffee. Oh dear. I hope not.
I wonder if I'll ever be brave enough to write with pure and unabashed honesty.
I wonder if the words I speak to others are heard, or if when they seem like they aren't listening they really aren't...listening.
I wonder how much more I can write before I become too embarrassed to share my thoughts with my 'blog audience'.
Mmk. I think I've hit that point.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

White Nike Socks

Today I read about...
Marathons. I don't know how many of you know, but I'm not allowed to "real" run...ever again. When my second doctor told me this after my second knee surgery I was disbelieving. "Yeah right" I though, "I recovered fine from my first and this one will be the same way". Well it wasn't. I have never gained my muscle back and have trouble with everyday things like...walking. Just yesterday I was hobbling down the stairs when my knee buckled and I fell (don't worry mom, it happens all the time:). I have always known that I have a disadvantage and my body is quite literally falling out of its sockets.
Unfortunately for me, I love to be active and, even more, I love to push myself. I have, admittedly, run since that horrid man told me I couldn't. But my actions have had brutal consequences that I have had to face. For example, and I think this brings it full circle, my whole life I have loved to competitively run. When I was in 8th grade and had just purchased my first pair of spikes and crisp white Nike socks I came home and decided that I wanted to go to the state track meet. So I put away one pair of those white socks and vowed to keep them until I made it. Let's just say those socks definitely got worn a few times.
I also remember going through a period of being truly confused and, for the first time in my life, a little bit mad at God [note: I really don't ever get angry...this was a big deal]. I have never understood why I am 23, love to physically exert myself, and have such a strong limit. I'm still a little angry about it but...
Today I also read about...
Challenges. While doing the meet and greet with my boss, Shino, we stopped at the campus pastor's office. While we were all talking I was, of course, looking over her book collection. I noticed she had 'Bittersweet' by Shauna Niequist (who also wrote 'Cold Tangerines'). Of course I had to ask her about it and in return for my curiosity I was handed my very own hardcover copy; easily made my day. As I read the prologue I was immediately convicted by the words. Or maybe I was just immediately drawn in by her expansive vocabulary and natural ability to tell stories. Either way, I loved that she pointed out the difficulty that so often seems to overshadow the joy of Christianity; "the central image of the Christian faith is death and rebirth."
I have always said that I appreciate the process of disequilibrium and hardship-- learning is fun! But when I really begin to think of the implications that go along with what I so desperately yearn for, I'm not sure I am all about that whole 'going through hardship' stuff. So I'm lamenting. I'm not happy that I am not allowed to do the things I was born to love. But I do think the fact that not being able to do them forces me to question and grow.
By the way, I'm not giving up on that whole running thing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Variable-Interval Blog Posting

For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about my blog or, rather, lack thereof. The constant desire to amend this has haunted me but obviously I'm not afraid of ghosts (harhar).
Today another roommate is moving in and honestly, I have failed to think of something else I would rather do while the crazy is happening outside my bedroom door. So I've turned to blogging the unknown.
I suppose I could start with what I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I arrived safely in CA after a beautiful, terrifying, and strangely relaxing drive. The first couple of days were spent meeting and greeting the friends of a fellow Northwestern->Azusa friend. These adventures involved a lot of firsts including, but not limited to, pools in the apartment complexes, beer pong, In-N-Out, and tours of the now less confusing campus of APU.
The next Sunday I met my office. Technically, I work in the office of the Associate Dean (Shino) but for the Women's Resource Center (still Shino). Sharing our office is All-Student Leadership. The people that make up the office are: Shino, Jeannette (admin), Tiff (2nd year grad for ASL), Kristen (undergrad for ASL), Rebecca (2nd year for WRC), me (1st year grad for WRC), and Amanda (undergrad for WRC). If I were to be completely honest, I'd tell you I have issues with working in groups. But this blog is not the place to talk about my (many) personality issue(s). So instead I'll just say this will be a year of challenge, growth, and a LOT of fun; I already know I have been blessed with an amazing office full of people that I have already grown to cherish.
This year I will be a part of the initiation and/or programming of many large and (compared to NW) extravagant events. I think it will be a lot of work...but I am truly excited for it.
I did meet my cohort(graduate class) last Tuesday. There are about 45 of us. Honestly, I didn't make too much of an effort to get to know them yet-- I'm not a big fan of random mingling. However, I think once class starts connections will be made.
Between a couple of the above sentences I went to Pasadena to meet up with a couple of NW people. The time was really great...even though we really didn't talk much about Northwestern. I think the comfort of a common base was a large part of said greatness.
Well. I think that's a sufficient life update. Hopefully in the future I will be more proactive with my blog...but no promises.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adaptability is One of My Strengths...Somehow

Sometimes I have severe doubts that adaptability is solely a strength. Sure, it's nice to be able to assimilate into different situations easily, and I do enjoy the lack of homesickness that others so intensely experience. But sometimes, especially lately, I have wondered if I would be closer to God if I had a bit more difficulty transitioning. Take my time in Uganda. I figured I would have to rely more on the presence of God to get me through those six weeks. I'll admit, I was looking forward to forced intimacy. Unfortunately, I was left with much to be desired. I tried to rely on God, take more from him, but there always seemed to be so much other things to do and see...and not enough time to channel my nonexistent suffering to the only thing that never falters.

During an infamous Wednesay night Bible study, one of the women shared how she would really appreciate a scenario where God showed her that he was there. That night I thought, yes God, why is it me always doing the talking and trying to find that ever escaping 'personal relationship'? Then, of course, the guilt of what I had just dared to think overcame me. However, me and my strong personality continued to question God. "Sure God, you sent your son to die...and that was great, but what about now? I don't do one extravagant thing for my friends and then expect them to continue to foster the relationship on their own."
Blasphemous, right?
I feel that I am constantly praying for God to put a hardship in my life so I can learn and grow with him. I live my life attempting to put myself in situations that will be difficult for me so I will be stripped down to just me...and God.


I have been home for 1 week and...
1. I cannot find my malaria pills...they're supposed to be taken today.
2. I have literally spent a majority of my time either cooking, painting, or running.
3. I don't feel any closer to processing my thoughts.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have strong sensory recollections. Whenever the smell of coconut lime hits my nostrils my brain is flooded by flashbacks of scenes from all-state chorus junior year. I remember scrubbing so hard to get rid of the disgusting smell of a spray-tan went bad, the funny red shirt from wal-mart, sitting in bleachers all day with people I hardly knew, and the goosebumps that come from being a part of hundreds of students singing in perfect harmony.

This is true with music too. Just today I was listening to ‘Mosquito’ by Ingrid Michelson, and I was overwhelmed by the images that flashed through my mind. They were ones of this past year in my apartment. The strongest one was of RA training when I was living there by myself and attempting to organize the mass chaos that surrounded me. This of course made me sad—and apprehensive. I was again hit by a bulldozer full of uncertainty as I look forward to the next year. I am still in mourning over leaving Northwestern and all that this place held for me. I know that all will be fine but fine is not the last four years. I will never again be able to live with my closest friends and have so many others in near proximity. I am afraid. I am scared that all the friendships I worked so hard for and cared about so deeply will change and fade. I am angry. I am frustrated that life works this way and people don’t spend their lives traveling in packs.
But most of all, I am grateful. I have been so completely and utterly blessed by the students and professors that I learned to call friends. I will hold the memories of these times dearly and when I listen to certain music, smell a select scent, or see a once shared sight I will be reminded. Whatever the circumstance, I will remember and be thankful for the laughter, the pain, the sadness, and the excitement, but most of all for the people I experienced those moments with.


True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.
-Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
I really have been appreciating this book. The author appeals for a life of celebration and in doing so, has challenged me and provoked thought about friendship, God, and life in general. The above excerpt resonates with me in a special way…and I will tell you why.
In high school I was a listener and observer, and only that; I didn’t often speak my mind or share my innermost thoughts. I refrained because I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear. Sure, they would ask questions and listen for the first 30 seconds, but it was clear to me that what I was truly thinking didn’t really matter to them.
I carried this attitude with me into college, but it was here that I was challenged to think differently. Many people and conversations contributed to this, but I remember one in particular. Last fall I was talking to someone about how I don’t often share everything because I can sense when people stop listening, or when they are judging me, and I don’t want to be a burden to them. His rebuttal was that through this, I am really hurting myself—and that maybe whomever I was speaking to really might want to hear…he or she just didn’t know it yet. So henceforth I have been challenged to really speak my heart, regardless of the other person. This endeavor has not been an easy one; it has been a journey filled with frustration, sadness, and joy. Though there have been times that I have been asked a question, been in the midst of pouring my heart out, and then been interrupted and forever halted, there have also been strengthened friendships—and that, I think, is worth it.
Additionally, I was told that I owe it to myself to share. I struggled with this thought all year and until recently was still unsure what it meant. Now I know. Not only have my friendships grown, but I have also been able to process my thoughts through sharing. I would posit that it’s important to talk about…whatever, if only to figure out what you are trying to say in the first place.

It's Kind of Like Christmas in July in September

The day started out as a typical Ugandan Sunday. We attended a church service that flew threw, and 45 minutes past, the 2 hour allotted time slot. The pastor talked about how we are human-beings but we are often fooled into acting like human-doings; I couldn’t agree more.
After Stephanie and I biked home we prepared a goulash-type meal using the leftover taco mean from the night before and, or course, the Gouda [we are currently on a strictly food with cheese diet because once the cheese is opened, it doesn’t last long]. Then we started cutting up vegetables for our contribution to the 4th of July meal. The vegetables here are cheap. For $3.50 we bought 3 kilos of tomatoes (~20), 3 kilos of potatoes (~20), and 7 onions. After I had cut a mere 3 gashes in my hands, we were ready to put it all together.
Our task was simple and one that I had done countless times at home…on a grill. I figured since it took 20-30 minutes with a grill, an oven couldn’t take more than an hour.
Two hours and three episodes of Lost later we were still sitting at home with crunchy potatoes. Luckily our friends love us more than well-done vegetables, and they told us they would love to have us regardless of the state of our dish. Because the sky had a foreboding air to it, and it had already poured rain earlier in the day, Jennifer came to pick us up in her jeep type vehicle.
We arrived adorned in red, white, and blue, in time for me to successfully aim every serve at the tiny-blonde girl in the middle of the volley-ball court…poor Lydia. Luckily for her, the food was soon ready. As we gathered ourselves and began to dish the amazingly scrumptious food onto our plates, we began to feel raindrops.
It rained for the next hour or so, but we were happily cozy in the house and even played patriotic charades. Also, Becky and I were forced to tell Lydia and Grace stories—which I loved. If you haven’t been subject to one of my odd poems, you probably have little idea just how creative I can be with words. My favorite was when Becky and I collaborated for a story. It involved Siamese cats who loved grape jelly, had a home gym (which enabled them to hang upside down from the ceiling), and an allotment of exciting circumstances. Soon it was dark (meaning it was sometime after 7 pm) and we were ready for our s’mores…made out of graham crackers, nutella, and the obviously necessary marshmallows. Also included were fireworks—called candles here (they were a good combination of the two and looked like a proportionally correct giant candle with sparkler abilities).
Overall, a successful Independence Day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Love Jesus

This last Wednesday we had our usual women's bible study. We started off by reading Genesis 3:1-6, which talks about Eve being tempted by serpent Satan. Following this we were asked the question, "what is your apple" (or something of the sorts). Basically, what in your life seems like it is a good thing, but really is not. Because I can usually think of something to say, and nobody else was volunteering to talk, I stepped up to the plate.
"Open-mindedness" is the word that escaped my lips.
I was met with blank stares and a some obviously questioning looks.
"Well, what I mean is that sometimes I think I am too non-judgemental"
This statement was met with a few more looks of confusion with a hint of criticism.
"I mean...critical. I think I often am ok with everything/everyone and sometimes I wonder how much I should really be fine with accepting".
I'm sure most of you can imagine what took place when I tried to explain how I am a bit more liberal than some Christians. While some of the women were empathetic, others came at me with rebuttal strait from scriptures, which is of course the best kind. As I was definitely at the disadvantage I sat there, listened, and tried to embrace the diversity that Christianity holds.
A couple of thoughts [try not to read into this too deeply, it's the middle of the night].
-I really don't think the Bible is all that obvious. If it were, would there really be so many different religious affiliations in the world? Unless there is a select group of super-interpreters and the rest of the groups are innately ignorant, the Bible can be read through many different lenses according to many different interpreters.
-Some parts of the Bible are forgotten by those who seem to remember other passages well. It's not so simple to say "Jesus said it" I was reading my Bible the other day I came upon a verse that surprised me greatly. I remember a specific conversation from high school that some of my classmates were having about this law. I won't go into the details because that is not the point I am making. I would just like to say some passages are far more emphasized than others that are more 'old fashioned'/'illogical'.

A Typical Week

Sunday: Church (approximately three hours), random activities (this week Rachel and I learned how to make Samosas from one of the teachers at Harmony), and team worship (filled with off-key singing and 30 minute mini-Ugandan sermons).

Monday: ‘A Shift’ at Amacet (babies home) from 7-3. Bible study with girls from Light (a boarding school) from 8-9.

Tuesday: Harmony in the morning. This week’s afternoon featured painting at the Shaardas. Game night: Dutch Blitz…I don’t excel at fast-paced games.

Wednesday: Same as Tuesday but instead of game night we had women’s bible study. Interesting. This was an experience my require its own blog post.
Thursday: Today we went to work with children affected by armed forces (caaf). The team put me in charge of the painting station, meaning I was able to paint with teens for a couple hours…work? Nope. Thursday is also the night I work from 6pm to 7:30 am at Amecet. Which is where I am now. Did I mention I’m not so good with babies? It’s really quite sad—I don’t even know how to feed. And the diaper changing? I remember once when I was an early teenager I was holding a baby at our supper table. Well, whoever put the diaper on the baby (probably me) didn’t put it on correctly and the baby diarrhea-ed all over me. I think I set the baby on the (cement) floor and ran directly to the shower. Why do I tell you this? Because it’s pretty accurate of the baby-brittany extravaganza. Don't get me wrong though, the babies and children that come through here are precious...but this is not my forte.

Friday: Sleep for a couple of hours. Bible study with another group of girls from Light Secondary; the main goal of this time is to foster critical thinking skills.

Saturday: Assisting with reading at Amecet Namun (older kids) in the morning, visiting James and Nora’s house in the afternoon, choir practice after that, and then movie night with the girls (all 90 of them) from Light.

A Northwestern Education in Action

If any of you took Cultural Anthropology at NW, you may remember the article we read about flashing. No…not that kind. Flashing here is calling someone but only letting it ring once. The point is that they see your number and call you back so you have to pay for the bulk of the call. It’s a bit of an economic thing—whoever has the most money is expected to pay for the call. It’s real. It’s funny. It’s somehow frustrating.

Don't Worry Mom, I'm Ok.

On Monday (June 21) the Sliedrechts, Bobbie, Rachel, Jennifer, Becky, Lisa, Sarah, Stephanie, and I, went on a little vacations. Sarah and Lisa were leaving the next day, so we ended their time with us by going to Sipi and Sissi Falls. We left early in the morning and arrived in Mbale a little past 10. We started off by hiking one of Sipi’s Falls. It was gorgeous. The hike wasn’t too difficult, though quite slippery. We ended at Sipi Lodge and ate lunch.
At the beginning of the trip Tim and Angie asked if I was a vegetarian. I said no, though I admitted I don’t enjoy meat all that much. Because of this I have been classified as a vegetarian when we go out to eat—which is nice because the meat here is a bit sketch anyways.
From there we went to another waterfall—I think it was still part of Sipi falls. We were able to hike to behind this one. Again, the hike wasn’t too bad, but the clay was slimy.
Around 4 we left for Sisi Falls, where we would be camping for the night. When our stuff was settled in, a couple of us when to explore the falls; we were able to get close to the bottom, but really desired to go to the top…which seemed near impossible as it was the mountain was cliff-like.
For supper we had roasted pig (I ate it…it was awesome). After this we went up to our campsite, which was surrounded by beautiful vegetation, and talked around the campfire. After praying for Sarah and Lisa’s trip, we went to bed.
In the morning we got up for breakfast—which was great. It was here that I was told we could hike the mountain. The catch was this, it was a really difficult hike (remember the cliff) and some parts of it involved climbing up a vertical rock. If you know me, you know that I have always wanted to climb a mountain…but I also have little leg muscle in one of my legs. So the decision was mine.
I went (of course)…and I loved it. It was without a doubt a hard hike, but not by any means impossible. I used my arms a lot and held on to a lot of plants/rock walls, but it was completely worth it. When the five of us who decided to do it arrived at the top, we were not disappointed. From the top of the mountain we were able to see the whole valley, sit on the edge of the cliff (no rules in Uganda), and see our tiny camping site. On the way down we stopped by the edge of the waterfall, where I held onto Sarah’s pants as she leaned over to take pictures.
On the way home we stopped at an Indo-Chinese restaurant in Mbale…that was quite the ordeal but I will have to tell anyone who has inquiries about Ugandan restaurants about this special experience later.

Plumbing, Cat-Care, and Teaching

Since I wrote this title, it has been quite some time—so I will try to remember what exactly happened.
I remember that I was too stubborn to ask for help to unclog the sink, so I unscrewed the pipe below the sink and had quite the nasty surprise…but it worked.
I also know that I was the only one who said yes to watching Jennifer’s cat while she was in Kampala. I’m not a fan of having to feed a kitten every 3 hours, especially one that cries incessantly. Oh yes, also involved in this job description was helping it to pee by rubbing it’s woman (or man) parts. Who knew, eh?
When I was trying to pick a major for college I thought about my favorite subjects in school: math & English. Unfortunately, I figured the reality of being anything other than a teacher was small…so I declined those majors. Recently I have been affirmed in that decision. Harmony Primary School is a private elementary school a short bike ride from our compound. Rachel and Stephanie both help out children who need extra attention, so naturally they asked me to help too. The first day I went I observed. It really didn’t look too bad, after all, I have tutored a variety of subjects to a diverse amount of ages. But let me tell you, even my most frustrating writing conferences cannot hold a candle to what this is like. I went in with Rachel this week and she told me I could have the most advanced group…also the group that she gave up on (because she didn’t know what to do). That day I wanted to get an idea of where they were at, so we read a book together. It went well—they really are excellent readers. We stopped after each paragraph and discussed the story. Then I had them write about what they learned. The information they wrote down was inaccurate and even directly opposite of what we talked about and read. For example, we read about Noah and the Ark, and one of the children wrote that Noah and his family all died in the flood.
Day 2. I wanted them to be able to write a (very) short story on their own, but I figured they would need some guidelines. So I gave them a list of things to include in the story (i.e. a family of 4 monkeys, bugs, a river, a bird named Peter, etc.). For one of them this worked alright…but for the others it was a struggle. They wrote about each in bullet-like lines and did each in separate ‘stories’ (each being 2-3 lines long). I think I’ll talk about how to write a cohesive story and use their first writings as drafts…or something. It is difficult because even if I can teach them how to write a paper I have much doubt that they will even use this skill; paper writing and creative thinking seem to come in slight quantities.

Cast List

Tim & Angie Sliedecht [Avalien (Detroit), 4; Moses (Amacet), 3; Zulea (Amacet), 3 mo.] -Leaders of Team Beyond
-Have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, all three of their children.
-Tim is originally from Canada, Angie from Michigan
Josh & Mandy Sharda [Lydia, 6; Grace, 4; Lukka, 2]
-Long term missionaries.
-Both Josh and Mandy are from Michigan; Mandy and Angie are sisters.
-They just returned from the states, which they had to go to because Lukka had some very serious health problems.
Bobbie & Rachel
-On a one year vision trip…seriously considering long-term.
-Bobbie is from Michigan and Rachel is from Omaha (we appreciate each other because we are the only ones not from MI).
-Rachel is a teacher and Bobbie has a heart for street children.
-They have been married for 4 years
Becky & Jennifer
-Both on 2 year vision trips and roommates
-Becky is a social worker and wants to work with children affected by armed forces (CAAF)
-Jennifer is a nurse…so basically a doctor.
-Recently she has been focusing on children with disabilities
-Both from Michigan
Stephanie [Alibina (Amacet), 5; Julias (Amacet), 1]
-Stephanie is a nurse from Berlin, Germany
-She is here because she is fostering Julias
-Not part of ITEAMS, but rents the guesthouse (and therefore lives with me)
-Going to be a senior at Calvin in Grand Rapids, MI
-Second time here
-Going to be a math and science high school teacher

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Hodgepodge of Information

June 19

-‘This American Life’ keeps me company at night…as do sleeping pills.
-Les Miserables keeps me grounded.
-I go to bed around 9 and get up a little after 7…all without an alarm.
-I eat breakfast every morning.
-The ministry here is not especially focused—in a good way. A variety of issues have been identified and they are all being poured into.
-I love my housemates: Stephanie (from Germany) with here 2 adopted children: Allibeena & Julias, Stephanie & Lisa (from Grand Rapids, Michigan), & Sarah (also from Michigan).
-The Sliedrechts are splendid. Tim (Canada) & Angie (Michigan…pattern much?) have adopted 3 children: Aveleen (Detroit), Moses (here), and most recently…Zulea. More to come on the adoption/foster process here.
-It never really gets below 80 degrees here—but I am getting used to it.
-Pedestrians NEVER have the right of way.
-Ugandans don’t really have roads.
-We have electricity here for the first time since I arrived.
-I have gotten quite good at lighting matches…to light our stove/oven.
-Riding bike here is terrifying...especially because you have to wear a skirt all the time.
-Ugandans can carry everything/anything on their mini motorcycles/bikes.
-People here are so fun and laugh at many things.
-When we walk places children begin to follow us and say, “how are you mzungu” (in a rhyming way)…and then run away and laugh if we try to talk to them.
-There is much poverty here…kind of. Because people have lived like this for their whole life it is all they know; it’s complicated.
-It gets dark around 7 pm every night (connect this with going to bed early + no power)
-They have coffee here. I drink it often.
-At a trauma conference a man tried to marry me off to his son because I am THAT attractive…or because I am a mzungu.

Second Favorite Second Cousin

June 18

I love the song of a piano. To me there is such beauty in the simplicity…or complexity, of the music. As I sit here and listen all is right with the world. I think that no matter what I am feeling, listening to this music would somehow calm me.
The piano is magnificence waiting to be played; it is splendor through keys. The melodies that are produced take patience, hard work, and most importantly, loyalty and ardor.
How is it that one individual may be brought so much joy by a singe instrument. It is in this question that I have found true wonder. You see, it is not the piano that brings joy…it is the player; I’m sure at least some of you have had an unpleasant experience with a still developing pianist.
It blows my mind that a person who has a gift and spends time developing said gift can impact me without even knowing me. I have been provided with a peace that is apart from human contact—at least in the physical sense.
Develop your gifts…you may never know how much impact you may have on another individual.
Life is often like that—so many opportunities for exquisiteness just awaiting investment. Amazing. Something happens inside of me when I listen to it…indescribable. Perhaps some of you know what I mean. How is it that one individual may be brought so much joy by a singe instrument. Not just an instrument alone—a person must be using it. In theory then, are we all equipped with a gift? Something that we have passion for and have dedicated our lives to Strengthening?

The Mzungu Crosses the What? The Lake.

June 16

Today I had the privilege of spending my Wednesday with Becky (long-term with ITeams) and Benna (World Vision). Benna (Bernadette) has an amazing vision to enhance and develop the identity of the children of Uganda. Becky and I went with her to a primary school, about a half hour from Soroti. We spent hours (about 3) there watching Benna talk to a group of 20 children aged from 11-15 about early marriage, abstaining from sex (teachers often pressure students to sleep with them for passing grades, etc.), taking a stand for themselves, gender equality, respect, and assertiveness.
After we ate lunch (with our hands) at 3, we went to check out the lake that was ‘nearby’ (close is a subjective term in Uganda). What we expected to be a look-and-go situation turned into a, drive into the bush-wade in the water-get in a boat-paddle across the lake, type of hour. It was so, so fun.
The below video will give you a good taste of what the journey entailed.
[Excuse me, this is where the video would have gone if the internet was strong enough to post]
Today was more than just an informative and fun day…it was a day of the emergence of a bright and positive attitude.
These last few days have been difficult; I have struggled to find my place. I entered an already established team and have been trying to enter both into the culture and the team. I was feeling like it was taking me way too long to adjust to where I was. Because of this tortoise like pace, I began to lose sight of my purpose and whom I should be depending on. Last night I pulled out my prayer journal for the first time. It was so good…just what I needed (thank you SO much to all those who contributed). For those who don’t know what a prayer journal is, I will briefly explain. Basically, someone close to and SOS-er is asked to put together a book of encouraging notes from friends. My youngest sister, Hannah, wrote to me about our time in Mexico—and about past regrets. This, along with an allotment of other wisdom, was perfection
Needless to say, I was built up in an incredible way not only by the encouragement that was found in the pages, but also by the truth that was spoken to me; truth that I knew, but I still needed to be reminded of.
Today was such a good day…I not only crossed the lake of Uganda, I crossed a lake of knowledge…or something (clever, eh…not only literal, but metaphorical).
p.s. Mizungu means white person in Ateso.

Monday, June 7, 2010

To Answer a Couple of Questions...

 A few weeks ago I was asked, “what is your favorite place in the world.” I chose Lake Hendricks. Here are a couple reasons why:

1) These 3 crazies (Banana, Rachel, & Coffee)

2) My family (as represented by my mother...yes Bullers, you are included in the family label).
Apart from the obvious draws of LH, this summer I will also miss...
-Hendricks Summerfest...for those of you who don't know what this is, just know it involves the 'World's Strongest Farmer', 'Hendricks Idol', 'Chicken Bingo'...and other such activities.
-Roadtrips & reunions
-Reading in parks and coffee shops
-Long bike rides
-Exploring in the kitchen
There are obviously more, but I don't want to exhaust my cognitive capacities before I leave...for Africa. Which brings me to what most of you have been waiting for: an Africa update.
Well, in approximately 21 hours I will be on a plane to Minneapolis...then on to Amsterdam (aka the motherland), which will lead me to Entebbe, Uganda. I will be picked up by the Sliedrechts and taken to Soroti where I will...well. I really don't know. I do know I will be staying with some people at some point and we will be responsible for our own meals. I am quite fine with being 'out of the loop,' as long as everyone else is ok with it.
So I will leave you with that. It's 6:00 pm on Monday night, and I am going to go to a movie, come home to clean my room, finish up some other stuff, and then start packing (in that order).
Next time you hear from me it will be from across the ocean. Then we will both have a better idea of what my summer entails.
Until then, God bless and thanks for the support and prayers!

6 Cavities Later

I hate dentist appointments. As I have teeth genetically predispositioned to fail, you can only imagine how I felt when my mother told me she made an appointment for me. Not only did I have to go to a dentist appointment, but I also had to do it the day before I left for Africa.
Additionally, today I have to decide which assistantship to take. For those of you especially close to me, you know how difficult this has been. With phone conversations starting with, “I am going to now take advantage of our friendship,” followed by, “try to be as subjective as possible,” I have exhausted my resources. Even after all that help I am still here, with 19 minutes before it is no longer Monday morning in California, not knowing which job to take.
Here’s the problem. I think I know which job I really want. But it’s not the one that would lead into a natural succession of RD opportunities. It’s not the one that I would be confident stepping into. No…the job I think I really want is the one that would be hard for me to adjust to. I would often have to be someone I am normally not—I would be forced to be brave (insert dramatic music).
So what do I do? After forcing my friends to tell me which job I should choose, I still have little direction. Four of the five pointed me towards the one I’d be more relaxed with, telling me things like…”you have so much experience with this”, “this job would be so helpful to you as an RD…the experience will carry over”. 
I still don’t know. With 13 minutes to decide I am feeling a bit helpless. Why? Because I think that there is a right answer and I must find it. In all reality though, why don’t I just flip a coin…if I really don’t care. Ahh. But I do care—obviously this wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t think it was such a big deal. So why can’t I figure out what I should do? If I have an opinion, shouldn’t I be entitled to knowing what that is? Apparently that’s not how things work.
10 minutes. So do I choose the job that I would be naturally good at? Or do I pick the one that’s a little more chancy?
I decided to pick option number easy. Of course that's not to say it will be an easy-breezy, beautiful, covergirl, year...but I think I won't have to adjust my natural way of communicating as much as I would have if option B would have been chosen.
Cop-out? Perhaps. But I am confident that learning will take place- just in a different form than the other option would have offered. Besides, doesn't the popular vote always win?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lost: A Substantial Amount of Hearing

Tonight my family went to my cousin Tori's 13th birthday party at Dars Pizza. While there another cousin, Zac, decided that he wanted to stay overnight at our house. Let me tell you some things about Zac: he's a "I'll be 12 in November", bangs over the eyes, too cool for school, crooked hat/under armor wearing boy who shares his ipod (with the volume up WAY too loud) with me to watch Avatar on the way home...and I love most everything about him. Tonight while Hannah and I were talking in my room he came in with a gift in the form of a ductape bilfold for Banana. After insisting that he was not at all tired, he decided to watch Sherlock Holmes with us...and promptly fell asleep. We couldn't resist capturing this precous moment on camera:)

As my date of departure draws closer, I am trying to take in every opportunity I have to spend time with those proximally close to me. Because my senses have been heightened, I have more deeply noticed the beauty that has been a consistent presence in my life. It's like...Avatar. I guess I would be Jake in this situation. Though it takes him awhile, he eventually opens himself up to learning and through that is able to see the majesty of Pandora.
So am I sad to be leaving this place for the summer? Of course. But I know that a sort of pizzazz can be found everywhere and within every person-- even in 11 year old boys.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Should Explain...

...My title.
As at least some of you may know, I am a significant (p<.05) fan of Regina Spektor. "A Silver Bullet Trailer" comes from her song, "Folding Chair", and though I do thoroughly enjoy her little tune, there is more importance in my title than it being reminiscent of personal aspirations.
This spring I graduated from Northwestern...forever. I'm not confident that everyone adored college as much as I did, but perhaps a handful of you may identify with the feeling of loss that comes with leaving such a place of growth and love. But what better way to remove oneself from said devastation than to embark on a service trip to Africa for the summer?
I have to admit, I am feeling quite overwhelmed right now—more than I would ever admit to anyone in person. But I know that as I make the transitions from Iowa to Africa and then to California in the fall, I will be fine. Everything will be ok...and though at times I am less than thrilled and extremely unmotivated, I look forward to much learning and new discovery as I load up my trusty (and might I add quite stylish) silver bullet trailer and take in all that is around me.