December 7, 2014

Reader's Problems Tag

So, I'm moving up in the world. Rachel found my blog and invited my to join the Reader's Problems Tag which includes answering questions about reading. So, Rachel's Blog, "Rachel's Reading Corner" is awesome and you should definitely go check it out! 

Now, my answers to these book related questions. (Because seriously, who needs to study for finals?) 

You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
 I mean, I make lists of books I should read, but when it comes to it and I'm choosing what book to read next the answer is always just whatever book happens to be nearby. So, if you really want me to read a book, the only way to be sure I'll read it is if you hand me a copy. 
 
You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you commit or are you committed?
If I don't like a book I feel no obligation to finish it. There are too many good books in the world to spend time reading a book I don't love. An important exception is One Hundred Years of Solitude which I've been fighting through for just about a year now. I will finish it. Eventually.
How do you determine which book from your TBR pile to read next?
Hm... Isn't this basically the same as the first question? In any case, my answer is the same.
The end of the year is coming and you're so close, but too far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
  I would try to catch up... but I definitely wouldn't stress about it. I mean, there's always next year. Plus, I tend to set impossible goals. That way even if I fail I still got higher than if I'd set some piddly goal I knew I could meet.
 
The covers of a series you love do not match. How do you cope?
Ooooh. That would drive me crazy. I don't know how I would cope. I guess I would just have to read faster so that I could finish them and pretend like I never even noticed the mis-matched covers. 

Everyone and their mother likes a book you didn't enjoy. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
I try to just deal with it and bit my tongue. Everyone gets their own opinion, right? Besides, I know that I've read books I really liked even if I can completely understand why other people don't. So I shouldn't try to force my dislike on them.
 
You're reading a book in public and you're about to start crying. What do you do?
  I just cry. Books and movies make me way too emotional sometimes and there's nothing I can do about it. I suppose I would lift the book to hide my face though and pretend like I just had bad allergies. I would probably also try to take a five minute break from the book to calm myself down and get back to the real world.
 
A sequel of a book you loved just came out but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Do you go back and reread the book, skip the sequel, read the synopsis, cry  of frustration or what?
Honestly I just keep reading and trust that eventually the second book will make sense on its own. I don't usually have enough time to reread the first, and I'm just too lazy to find a synopsis...
 
You don't want anyone to borrow your books. How do you politely tell them that when they ask you for one of your books to borrow?
No way. I hardly ever buy books so I rely completely on borrowing books from others, so I would never say no to people borrowing the few books I have. I think of people reading my books as a huge honor and compliment. 

You've picked up and put down five book in the past month. How do you get over these sorts of reading slumps?
I take a break and just let myself not read. Maybe it's time to go crazy writing. When I am really inspired with a novel I'm writing I usually don't read very much, and I think that's okay. 


There are so many new books coming out that you're dying to read. How many do you buy? 
  Yeah, I don't usually buy books. I let other people buy them for me, or borrow them from friends with similar taste. Or, now that I live in the wonderful USA I can just go to a Library and check out a book. Such excitement, and way cheaper. 


Looks like that's all for these questions. Feel free to leave your own answers in the comments or disagree with anything I said. I am a bit more careless with books than many book lovers. I mean, books are important, but the story itself is the most important part. I don't think that makes sense. I should go study for finals. Or, better yet, I should get some sleep before my 8:00am final tomorrow.

December 2, 2014

Roustabout

A Roustabout is someone who lives by chance.

I learned this from a guest speaker in my Professional Writing class, a man that told us his crazy life story with a banjo, a guitar, Polish bagpipes, a love flute, and a stick of hobo signs.

While I'm not quite at the point of applying for a grant to learn bagpipes in Poland or sitting in a sweat lodge to earn the right to learn to play the love flute, I like to think that I've kind of lived a life of chance anyway. It's not like I've done anything off the charts crazy, not exactly, I've just been incredibly blessed by incredible opportunities.

In two weeks I go back to Oaxaca, Mexico, a place I've come to think of as my 'home away from home' or 'home here on Earth'. It's a place that stole my heart and makes me dream of cacti and rain on dry dirt. It's the place where I'll get to see my family again after way too long, and the place where some of my best friends will get the chance to meet up again. I can't wait to go back, and even though I still have 12 days to wait I don't know if I'll have the chance to blog again before then because finals and projects and Christmas parties.

So here's the facts. Ten months ago (ten by the time I get back in a couple weeks) I left Oaxaca. Since then life has swept me off my feet and carried me across the world. If you had asked me a year ago, when I turned 18, to predict my 18th year, I would have painted an awesome picture, but it wouldn't have come anywhere close to how crazy and amazing this year has actually been.

I have sat through 15 plane rides since that first flight out of Mexico City. Granted, this includes those little connection flights that leave me stranded in airports because they're always delayed. By the time I get to Mexico again there will be another 3 flights thrown into the mix.

I have taken 10 train rides.

Only 5 coach rides (a coach is different than a bus, a coach is for long distance and is usually bigger; buses are short around the city and I am definitely not going to take the time to count those up).

And probably spent more than 100 hours in a car. I wasn't going to add this up either, but on at least 5 different occasions I went on a car ride that was longer than 5 hours, so that's 25 hours, plus countless 2 or 3 hour drives and then all those minutes added up... you get the point.

In 10 months I have stepped in 9 different countries, 7 of which I'd never been to before.

I've also been to 9 different USA states, 6 of them for the first time.

I started college at Champlain as a Professional Writing Major.

I wrote the first 73 pages of my latest novel. (I'm hoping to get it to 100 before I leave. That's just a much better number than 73. We'll see if projects will allow for that.)

I started writing for a magazine, got a job, opened a bank account, saw 5 concerts, practically met the Queen of England, kissed the man of my dreams, finished reading the Bible for the second time, made a ton of wonderful, wonderful friends from all over the world. You get the point. I've done a lot these past 10 months. It's been crazy and fantastic and new. 

I know at least some of this was planned out ahead of time. You can't exactly just hop a flight to London. But so much of my travels has also been spur of the moment, spontaneous decisions to skip class and fly to Dublin or hitch a ride to Pennsylvania.

I couldn't ask for better adventures, better stories I will one day get to write about. It's been a wonderful trip, and I am still in awe of how lucky my chances turned out to be.

November 23, 2014

The Stonehenge

I have written at least one chapter of Equity Blue this month. Definitely not my most productive month as far as writing goes. In fact probably one of the worst. Like, in my whole life, ever.

But, although I may have kind of abandoned Equity, I've been introduced to a new form of writing--the Stonehenge.

Perks of being a Professional Writing Major in college? I get to study with a professor who made up his own form of writing to help us learn some super valuable skills. He even has a book about this new form of writing- The Stonehenge- and is working on a second, which theoretically I could be a part of and have my own writing published.

Stonehenges are three sentences long. The first two sentences set up the stage, giving some description, maybe a bit of context. The last sentence is *bam* some sort of surprising action. These three sentences together create a moment.

(I definitely suggest buying this book. It gives a better explanation of how to write a Stonehenge and a lot of beautiful examples. And the cover is so... um, soft? Can I describe a cover as soft? I just love holding the book. It's great. Anyway, check out the book.)

So I've had an incredible battle with this Stonehenge project. It's so much fun to scrunch an entire life-changing moment into three sentences, and I love the challenge. But it is definitely a challenge. Which words to keep, which to take out, where to put the ones I want to keep. I must have written this Stonehenge about a thousand different ways now.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with all of this. I guess I just want to make sure everyone knows that I am still writing something, even if my "NaNoWriMo Project" is 50 words instead of 5,000.

November 14, 2014

2:00 AM

I really should be asleep right now.

A year ago, there's no way I would even have imagined writing a blog post at 2:00am. No way. This is the time for sleeping and dreaming and NOT thinking. I mean, there were nights when the Whisperers kept me up until midnight, but that was a big deal. That was for days of intense inspiration and ink running through my fingertips in place of blood.

Now it's Friday night and I'm still awake, and I feel a strange sense of accomplishment. This is college. This is what college kids do: stay up at all hours of the night for no reason in particular.

But see, you've got to understand that I'm not forcing myself to stay awake to write a blog post just to say that I fell into the college stereotype of not getting enough sleep. I mean, for one, I can sleep in tomorrow. It's Saturday, my plans don't start until 1:00pm. See, this week has been a long one, and really hard. I've found myself curled up in bed fighting back tears almost every night, wishing I had someone to talk to, and yet knowing that whenever my boyfriend or sister did write to me I wouldn't actually tell them everything. I felt drained throughout the week, angry at myself for not feeling happy but too tired to do anything about it.
I started reading the Bell Jar and found my emotions put into words beautiful, way better than I ever could. And then I saw the character move even further, even deeper, and the easy, smooth transition terrified me. I felt stuck in a life that is so unclear right now and could go anywhere. I don't think I'll ever be able to comfortably go to New York City anymore, and I'm not sure I want to finish reading the Bell Jar.

But today something clicked. I guess God just decided that I had been sad enough, that it was time to answer my prayers of the week and give me a smile. He even gave me the snow I'd been asking for, and time alone when I prayed for it and friends to talk when I complained about being lonely. My God is a great God.

So now it's 2:00am and I feel more awake than I have all week. I feel alive again, and energetic, enthusiastic. I feel happy, no, not just happy. I feel joyful.

I don't know what happened, honestly. Something just clicked and feeling dragged down is just too much work. So tomorrow, if I can manage to wake up before 1:00pm... which seems a bit doubtful, I'll go for a bike riding in the morning sun. I'll go Christmas shopping and laugh as much as I possibly can and maybe write a poem about keys.

Because the book of my life is a good book, and it will have a happy ending. And if it takes staying up until 2:00am to figure that out, well then... this is college!

November 9, 2014

Etsy, Corn, and Hipster Fashion

I discovered Pinterest a while ago as I planned out dresses with the other bridesmaids for my sister's wedding. However, since college I've spent an embarrassing amount of time looking for ideas for new hairstyles and cute quotes to write in letters that I send my friends.

Recently, someone told me about the world of Etsy, which normally would be safe, but is such a distraction now that I'm looking for gift ideas for this Christmas. Except, it doesn't work all that well, seeing as I've spent hours searching the site and so far only have a present for my boyfriend. I should probably consider getting something for my family...

So, there you have it. The truth is out that I still have a lot of free time, and while I'm at that point where I may start complaining about having too much to do... it's a lie. After six o'clock just about every day I have nothing to do but stare at my computer screen, either wasting time on Pinterest or Etsy or talking to people on Facebook or Skype or just repeatedly punching the orange StumbleUpon button or choosing one hundred songs to listen to on Grooveshark even if I know I'll only listen to about twenty of them.

I do have a few projects now, and have actually been writing for school, which is exciting, seeing as I am a Professional Writing Major... It's nice to, you know, finally write.

Someone keeps stealing letters from my College's Welcome Sign. It's rather obnoxious, really.
As for corn and hipster fashion, both of them pretty much just go right back to my missing Mexico. I love corn, and miss having a freezer always stocked with a bag of frozen corn that I could mix in to basically any meal. And corn tortillas, I definitely miss corn tortillas since they're the base of any good Mexican Meal that I could consider cooking over Thanksgiving Break when I'll have to make my own food again. Ah, I miss corn.

I got to Skype one of my best friends the other day, who told me that my old school was busy with Spirit Week last week. So of course I asked what the theme for the next day was, "Hipster/Hippie" and decided to dress up like a hipster for the day.

Unfortunately, I go to a very hipster school and fit the hipster definition given by Google Images when I searched hipster fashion. So I just wore my normal clothes and blended into the crowd. I don't think that counts as hipster anymore.

But, speaking of new and non-mainstream, I now have an article written for our online magazine which will be super cool and original when it actually becomes a thing. But now I officially will have something to contribute. So that's cool.

Now I just need to be cool and get back to this blog and update it more than once a month. That would be good. Plus, then I can actually give specific details about cool things in my life, like the snow that will hopefully come soon and I am so stoked to write about, rather than just vague updates.

I mean, I didn't even write a thing about Equity Blue in this entry. Then again, I also haven't written much in her story lately. However... I've been having a blast writing little snap stories of the Whisperers in the future, so maybe someday something will come out of that... Who knows, only time can tell. 

October 11, 2014

A Bit About Books

I have way too much to say and don't know how to say it all, so instead I'm just going to take a challenge from the Young Writer's Society and answer some questions about books instead of rambling on about the complexities of my life. 

1) Who is one of your favourite authors?
Cornelia Funke, C.S.Lewis and Markus Zusak. I know, I know, it's more than one... but they're all so good. I couldn't decide just one.

2) Ebooks, Paperback or Hardcover?
Paperback. I like hardcover as long as it doesn't have the dust jacket. That extra paper cover thing is so annoying!

3) What is your favourite genre and why?
I like young adult fiction, which I know is super broad. Fantasy is fun, but only if it's really good fantasy.

4) Why/when did you start writing?
My family reads. I learned to love reading from all of them as soon as I could.

5) Why/when did you start to love reading?
I don't think I've ever not loved it!

6) If you could enter a fictional world for a day, which would it be?
The Inkworld. I would love to spend a day in the Inkworld. Inkheart captured my heart (ha, get it? Inkheart, heart... yeah....) in ways that I can never fully understand. I would love to follow Maggie through the pages.

7) Who would be your fictional boyfriend/girlfriend?
Well, my current boyfriend is already better than any fictional guys. But for the sake of answering the question. I've always been a bit in love with Rudy from the Book Thief. Oh, can I say Mortiod from my own book? He's pretty cool.

8) What is your favourite classic book?
Hm, tough question. There's so many great books, and I can't think which ones count as classics. Secret Garden? I read that years ago but remember loving it. Anne of Green Gables? It's a classic in my mind. Lord of the Flies? So good...

9) If you could only read series or standalone books for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Standalone. I get tired of authors quickly and need to take breaks between books in a series.

10) If you had to burn three books in the world because they were so bad, which would they be?
Textbooks, I guess. I don't think I could burn an actual book- it just feels like murder...

There you go. Now you've learned absolutely nothing about college or my writing or anything like that, but you know more about my specific taste in books. I hope you've enjoyed. 

October 5, 2014

Write Write Write

What? Does this thing still exist?

I really haven't been gone that long. It's just that there have been so many time where I have every intention of looking at this and posting something... and then... life. Or distractions. Or laziness. Or food. Most often laziness, to be honest. Not actually life.

Despite what I attempt to trick you all into believing, life isn't all that exciting and demanding. But it is awesome; I'll give myself that much.
Writing in a Tree. Because, why not?

First big news, I was hired this week by my school's Publishing Initiative, which is this really neat thing that I don't exactly understand but sounds really cool. So my professor recommended me to the woman in charge of the Publishing Initiative and told her that I should be a writer for her. So I am going to write for their online magazine, which is pretty darn exciting. And it's, like, a job. Wow.

On the same hand, though, I've never written for a magazine. No idea what I'm doing. I'm totally going to play up on my professor's theory that different is better and this is going to be a like-no-other-totally-exciting-not-at-all-boring magazine and I'm just going to do my own thing and hope they like it, or at least don't hate it.

Also, I'm mentoring for kids in the middle school through a program called Word Play. The main goal is basically to get them super excited about reading and writing, which I can definitely do. "Hey, you guys are complaining about writing one page? Yeah, I wrote a novel in eight grade. But whatevs. A page is a lot."

What else? I'm also in a class called Literary Magazine, and we read submissions and decide whether or not to put them in this other magazine which is called Willard and Maple and is pretty cool. So I'm, like, an editor for that magazine as well.

And my Intro to Professional Writing Class is awesome, and our homework assignment for this week is to submit a project we've been working on to yet another magazine. Hm, I'm thinking my college really likes magazines.
Chai Tea, Music, Friend, Writing. Life is good.

Basically, life is crazy as a writing, so exciting. I can see myself moving forward. Like, this is happening. I'm not just some crazy kid in my room writing novels that no body ever reads. I am a writer. I feel like a writer. I feel like I can do anything.

September 7, 2014

Quidditch and Questions

What does it mean to be a college student? I would have thought that being in college would make it possible for me to answer that. Unfortunately, I still have no idea.

Life right now still feels so unsettled, so crazy. I feel like these weeks have been full of roller-coaster changes and I just don't always know how to deal with them. The silliest things set me off. Today the issue is whether or not to go to the first meeting for the Quidditch Club. I really don't have any good  points for either side. I don't particularly want to do anything at all right now; this last week has been full of people and classes and homework and card-games and I would really like to take the rest of the day to myself. Besides, is "oh, Harry Potter!" a good enough reason to run around with a broomstick between my legs avoiding dodge balls? I'm really not sure. Then again, this is college. I'm supposed to go have fun and live  my life and not sit in my dorm room alone all day. The week has been full and a bit overwhelming, but not busy. I have a lot of free time, a bit too much, and would like some way to fill it. Just... not today.

Besides, not going to Quidditch would mean I'd get to talk to my dad sooner. This week has also been a little bit homesick, as I'm starting to realize just how far away from everyone I really am. I can't say that I don't know anyone here anymore, I have a lot of friends and acquaintances and everything else. But there's definitely no one from 'home' here no matter which way I try to define that word.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, though. College has been great. We spent two full class periods in Media and Society talking about books, and it was awesome. And for my Intro to Professional Writing class my assignment is to listen in on people's conversations. I do that all the time anyway, having it given as an assignment is great.

Plus, the novel material here in college? Every kind of character I can imagine is here, such a variety of personalities all merged together into one place. I kind of have a theory that after a while people will start blending together. Humans have a way of wanting to fit into the crowd, and while I imagine that a lot of these college students are trying really hard to stand out in a crowd, I bet before too long they'll slide together a little bit. Then again, maybe not. I'll find out, I guess.

I don't know what else to say. There's so much I could say but I'm not sure how much is worse immortalizing on the written page. Maybe as I head into this third week I'll get into some kind of routine and find a way to post on here more often. To be honest I kind of forgot that I had a blog until today, when I needed somewhere to write without working on my novel, because I can't quite focus on Equity Blue right now. Anyway, college life begins, or continues, or whatever. This is the first day of the rest of my life, right?

August 25, 2014

Writing My Way To The Future

A part of me is saying not to write this blog post. The other part knows that writing, any kind of writing, will remind me of all the reasons I have to be as full to bursting with amazement and joy as I was this morning.

I mean, just writing this I can remember what it felt like walking down to my second class feeling the sun shimmering down through the leaves (I hate the word shimmering... especially in reference to sunshine, but the sun really was shimmering.) I don't know exactly what it was, but somehow everything just sort of fit into place and I knew I was right where I belong.

Then later, sitting in my first Introduction to Professional Writing class listening to my professor's accent and taking in the details of the round room and the gorgeous skylight and the one straight wall that cut the circled room into a slightly more than half circle.

It's like my life has always been up in the air and tossed around in every direction imaginable, and now all of a sudden I've been dropped down into college, and I was so terrified to come here and so worried about this huge thing in front of me called college, but now I'm here and it's wonderful. I feel like a college student; I feel ready to be a college student. 

Of course nothing gold can stay, and there's always a little shadow to block out the sun if I let it. Communication with old friends is really hard when all of my old friends are busy with college beginnings as well, and all over the world. I feel like so many of my friends are slipping through my fingers and I know that I can't catch them all and that really hurts. Dating an amazing man who's on the other end of the country is really hard, especially during these first few days as our schedules are changing and unknown and we haven't been able to Skype or talk over the phone since orientation started.

But I want to focus on the good. Live life moment by moment and take hold of the present instead of wishing for the impossible, even if the impossible is just a phone call. So here's a bit of a peak at my new college friends. (Hopefully if they ever find out I have a blog and write about them they won't mind. There is a danger to befriending a writer, after all.)

They're from all over the country and somehow ended up bonding over the fact that we're all freshmen in the same residential hall. We call ourselves the Breakfast Club, or at least mentioned it once, but I think it fits. We don't quite fill the exact stereotypes, and there are more than five of us, but it sort of works. One guy looks like John Cusack, another is just loud and friendly, another ridiculously quiet, one girl is practically a hippie and calls me Mexico, another is a crazy and fun New Yorker, the other is my roommate who's studying game programming and likes anime and manga and South Park, another carries around a long board and is slightly crazy and cheerful, and one is mostly normal in the best way possible.

Anyway, I suppose sleep may be a good idea. I do still have a couple more first classes tomorrow, so I should be wide awake and ready for them. I have a feeling this post doesn't make any sense and doesn't flow very well, but I think I mostly write these blog posts for me, anyway. Every once in a while I lean toward some kind of audience, but usually it's just another way to keep myself writing as often as I possibly can.

August 23, 2014

Chicago to Champlain

I wish I could have had time to write a post during my time in Chicago, but alas, life moves far too quickly for that. During my week in Chicago I wanted to take up every moment possible and enjoy every second I had. Which I most definitely did. I experienced what it's like to stop time and teleport, and spent a lot of time with some amazing people who I hadn't seen in far too long.

I honestly can't even think of what to write as a highlight of the week, because everything was just so wonderful. We watched movies, played cards, talked, walked along the beach, even found tacos al'pastor! Delicious.

But then all of a sudden I was driving to the airport, and walking through security, and watching the earth drop out from beneath me. Then I was in Montreal, Canada, my sixteenth country, and my mom was there again and I got to see her after such a long time away. Then we were driving down to Vermont and meeting strangers who gave us a room in their house for the few days we were here.

And now?

Now I'm in college, which is absolutely insane.

Now I am a freshman at Champlain College and I am surrounded by people who I will spend the next four years of my life with. I am hearing about the Professional Writing Program and learning how to get involved with publishing and magazines and poetry readings and writing workshops, and I am making new friends and setting up a dorm room and staring at the globe on my desk wondering where all of this will take me.

For one of those overplayed ice breakers we were supposed to talk to someone else for two minutes about ourselves, and then they would come up with two truths and one lie about me. My three things (already adapted so they are all true.)

I'm from Mexico. I've already written two novels. I brought a typewriter with me to college.

Of course there are way more than three things to describe me, and if I was told to choose out three facts from my life these probably aren't the three I would choose. On the other hand, they fit pretty well. Although I would need to add in a fourth fact, something about my tattered old Bible that I love so much, or the importance of God in my life, considering that is probably the most important thing about me.

But anyway, I'm in college, typewriter and quill and globe and everything, and as terrifying as it has been, it's also exciting, and crazy, and wonderful, and overwhelming, and breathtaking, and beautiful all at once. It's college; and I'm here.

August 10, 2014

Stuffed Inside my Suitcase

My suitcase and I have a very special relationship. After all, we have traveled the world together. We went to my first Writer's Convention in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, we've been back and forth between Colorado and Oaxaca, we've gone camping all over, we've gone to the beach, we went to Peru, we went on a cruise to Jamaica and the Bahamas and Grand Cayman, and most recently we traveled through Europe. Now we're headed to Chicago, Canada, and Vermont, where hopefully we can finally take a break from each other for a while.

I mean, no matter how close we are, no relationship should have to deal with this amount of pressure. Me: "Come on suitcase, I know you have room for me to stuff in this one more notebook!!"
Suitcase: "My zippers are going to break!" (Just to prove it the suitcase zips through a shirt making it impossible to completely close or open to start over.)
Me: "Seriously? I hate you."
Suitcase: "Fine. Don't take any of your stuff with you."

Eventually we always seem to work something out, even if I've left boxes of my old things all over the world. Belongings just seem to multiply so much during travel. Oh well, I think I managed to squeeze everything in for now. But it sure will be wonderful to live in one place for the next year.

Anyway, I could write a blog post all about my college fears and excitement and all of that, but I think I've given enough of those already. Besides, for right now college somehow still seems pretty far away. (Far being two weeks.) So Chicago is the next adventure at the forefront of my mind.

I've only ever been to the Chicago airport, so I am very excited to go explore some of the city itself. However, of course I am mostly excited for who I get to explore the city with, my amazing boyfriend and his family and some other families and friends who used to live in Oaxaca. After four months of only limited Skype calls and Facebook messages, I am so happy to finally get to see my boyfriend again without unreliable internet and spontaneous computer access.

On a different note, my writer's side decided to suddenly get inspired about Equity Blue again. So while I had an entire summer full of writing time with no inspiration to write, I suddenly have a whole ton of motivation and no time to write. See? My theory was right; I write best when I'm busy. I guess the chaos of having something else to do makes writing just seem so much more appealing. So I have a beginning six pages of Equity Blue. That means I need to come up with fourteen more in order to conquer the twenty page block. (My theory that I can't say I'm working on a new novel until I've written more than twenty pages. Once I get over twenty pages then it's a keeper, before that it's just brainstorming ideas.)

So I'm off to Chicago for the week to see what new stories life throws at me and to hopefully be inspired to get back to Equity as soon as I get settled in to college so I can write out twenty pages and get started on the next novel which has been marinating for far too long.

August 6, 2014

Caves and Camping

Imagine yourself in the depths of the earth sitting on the hold, hard, metal seats of a little boat. There are fourteen people on the boat with and most of them don't know how to shut their mouth for more than a few seconds at a time. However, we stop in front of "Gibraltar Rock" and the tour guide turns off the lights and for a few seconds we get to experience total darkness. The blackness feels tangible, it's so thick. And then the lights come back on and I just want to close my eyes because the darkness was so beautiful. And then... then the tour guide pulls out a Native American flute and starts to play, and for once everyone is silent and the music echoes of the cave walls and it sounds so amazing.


Definitely one of the highlights of my week long camping trip. There's just something about caves... I know they're supposed to at least be a little bit scary, but somehow the silence and darkness felt more relaxing than anything. It was also pretty amazing when my aunt and I detoured away from the trail and explored a little cave on our own. We couldn't make it very far inside before it was all water, but it was so neat to watch the walls sparkled and find a cave salamander and some crickets and lots of frogs.

Speaking of frogs... I also watched one of the other girls on the camping trip chase a frog straight into a snake's waiting mouth. So traumatizing to watch the snake gulp down the poor little frog that wouldn't have died if I hadn't seen it and pointed it out to the other girl...

Oh, and I cannot forget the biggest adventure of hitting a deer on the way down. I was in the passengers seat and got to sit and watch as my windshield suddenly turned brown for a second. Lots of damage to the driver's car, but neither of us were hurt which was definitely a blessing.

Beautiful hikes, indescribable devotions in the sunlight every morning, and breath taking stars. I even got to see a lunar eclipse. All in all a very good camping trip, even with the disappointment that came right before, when my brother wasn't allowed to fly alone from Mexico to come and spend the week with me. I really miss my family, and it's been so long since I've seen any of them. It was so hard to hear that my brother wasn't coming after weeks of looking forward to seeing him.


Unfortunately, while I did write several pages worth of words, nothing worth showing anyone. I still have all of these ideas for the upcoming Equity Blue, but something is still holding me back from writing it. Maybe it's all the uncertainties and changing aspects of my life. It's hard to write when I'll be in a different state every week for the next few weeks.

Which brings me to wonderful news- I'm going to Chicago!!! I get to spend a week up in Chicago with my boyfriend and his family and some other families that used to go to my school in Mexico. I cannot wait to see some familiar faces from Mexico and spend some time with friends. And, of course, I am excited beyond words to see my boyfriend again after months of rare Skype calls and some emails and lots of Facebook messages passed back and forth as I moved from country to country. Five more days until I get to see him in person!! I cannot wait!

So not much happening in the pages for me right now, but a lot of adventure outside of them.

July 8, 2014

Summer Sun

It's raining today. Not pouring down rain, but a calm, steady rain that actually has raindrops, unlike the rain in England. It's the kind of day that makes me want to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. Oh wait, I already did that for several hours this morning.

However, most days this summer have been sunny and humid and warm. It's been a relaxing summer so far, a nice slowing down of life after the crazy excitement of my Europe travels. I know it's just a lull though, ready to jump right back up as soon as August hits and I have to go off to college. Or get to. Or something.

I decided that I probably should update, because life has slowed down but certainly hasn't stopped since returned to this side of the world. I have been enjoying the company of my wonderful grandparents and my aunt and uncle and cousin, and even though this is just a small part of my family and there's a bit of a hole where all the other members should be and aren't, it has certainly been great to be here.

Fourth of July seemed to have taken up the last two or three weeks, with fireworks and firecrackers going off every night from 9-12 or later, and lots of picnics with way too much good food. People at Capernwray talked about gaining Cape pounds because of all the potatoes, but somehow there my pants kept getting looser. Not anymore. Then again, that may have just as much to do with the fact that now I'm actually washing clothes since I don't have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for laundry.

Sunday was the church picnic from my grandparents' church, and I had a lot of fun running around the playground pretending to be a kid again with my cousin and some of his friends. The day before I also 'played' tennis and badminton and volleyball and ping-pong- and somehow every game ended with everyone just acting ridiculous and basically just throwing or hitting whatever ball in any and every direction and laughing. Am I really that bad at sports that it's not even possible to attempt an actual game of anything? Apparently, but it is much more entertaining to laugh and forget about the idea of competition anyway.

Unfortunately, as far as writing goes- free time actually seems to hinder my writing effort. I mean, I wrote so much more when I was busy. I wrote Shadow Whispers while finishing up my junior year of highschool while taking three AP classes along with the normal ones, and when I attempting my poem a day for April I wrote so many poems while travelling. It's like I write best when I know there's something else I should be doing instead of writing. Now that I have an entire day basically free to do whatever I want, I just can't motivate myself to go write anything. I wrote fifty-one poems in April but have written two in July. It doesn't make any sense!

Although, now that I think about it, the fact that I'm reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn may have something to do with it, since I find it incredibly hard to set down that book. In fact I can hear it calling to me right now... 

July 4, 2014

Post-Capernwray Culture Shock

I don't know why I thought that three months in Europe wouldn't make such a huge impact on my life. I expected some changes, sure, but I had not realized that Capernwray, my British home for two months, would actually become a home and would steal quite a big piece of my heart.

Now I'm back across the ocean, though not back in Mexico with my parents, brother and no longer existing bedroom. Instead I have a summer with my grandparents, aunt, and cousin, which so far has been fantastic. Not that it's been very long, it's only been four days since I left Europe behind. However, it turns out that three days are enough for some culture shock and some readjustment after Capernwray life.

So without further ado: some things I miss about Capernwray.

1. Tea! Yeah, yeah, I know I can get tea here. But there's something about knowing I'll have four cups of some hot drink every day. I love chai tea, but I'll always have a place in my heart for plain English tea with a little bit of milk.

2. Turning on outlets and adapters. I had a while to wait in the airport, and it sure was strange to not find an on and off switch next to the outlet. And having to take the adapter off of my computer lead... it's just weird.

3. Lifts and Cues. I finally managed to stick my brain full of all this English vocabulary. Now I don't know what to say anymore. "Where's the... um, yeah, bathrooms, that's what they are here!"

4. Digestives and Porridge. I never liked oatmeal, but I got so used to eating porridge every morning for breakfast and now I'm in withdrawal. And those little packages of fruit flavoured oatmeal just don't taste as good. I need to learn how to make my own! And digestives, do I need to say any more? I just miss digestives.

5. Katy Perry's Birthday Song and Midnight Dance Parties. I think I hated this song so much that I had no choice but to love it. I mean, we heard it enough as it was, but with all three of my roommates having birthdays this song just seemed to be playing non-stop. And our dance raves were just awesome in every way. We love you Conference Hall 13!

6. Green fields and sheep. Growing up, I was always shocked by how green Indiana was. It always seemed so bright and so vibrant. But now... I don't think anywhere can compare to how green England was. And I do miss those obnoxiously loud sheep in some small way, though I prefer Indiana's squirrels and rabbits.

7. Other Nationalities. I love my family here so much, but I do miss my Capernwray Family Group and Interactive Group. It's sad not to sit at a table and hear people speaking in German or Korean, and I miss talking about Australia and Philippines and Japan and Argentina and New Zealand or comparing Nursery Rhymes in Germany, Ireland, the USA and Canada.

8. Pre-Planned Outfits. Getting dressed at Capernwray was easy. Maroon Monday, Stripes on Tuesday, on Wednesday we wear Pink, Theme Thursday, Freaky Friday, Saturday was usually free and Sunday was dress day.

9. Nail Painting on Tuesdays. I loved my group of Capernwray friends so much, and Tuesday was always a highlight of my week when we got together and painted nails and usually laughed way too much. I did get a little bit better at painting someone else's nails, but I'm still pretty bad...

Obviously there are way more things I miss about Capernwray and a lot of things that I'm still readjusting to. Yes, I still have no idea what side of the road I'm supposed to walk on. "Wait, why is the car driving that direction on that side?" And it always throws me off in restaurants when I read chips and french fries. It takes a while to remember which is which. Oh, and I definitely miss parties in the Beehive whenever we had something to celebrate or something accomplished or something sad or something upsetting. And I miss my extra meals, coffee break and supper. And I don't know what meals are supposed to be called. Right... tea time isn't actually a thing over here.

But, as I've said a thousand times before, it's all part of the adventure. I'm learning and figuring it out, and storing up stories and experiences for all those novels that will come along someday. Thank you Capernwray, for all the things you gave me to miss. 

June 25, 2014

Countries and Castles

I spent the last five days in Sweden, with a little bit of Denmark thrown in, and it has been incredible. I am so blessed to have been able to come on this trip and see a little bit more of the world. I can't believe the stories I have to tell and the little bits of knowledge that I've picked up from each country.


Now my trip is coming to an end, and while a part of me will miss Europe and all the adventure, I'm ready to move on, back over the ocean, to see what God has planned out for me next. I'll have a couple of months with my grandparents, and I'm excited to see them again after a year apart.


But enough on leaving. I'll write out a highlight of Sweden and one for Denmark.

Sweden: Nimis!
This place was incredible. Read About It Here! So basically, just in case you're too lazy to read the entire Wikipedia article, an artist built these structures out of driftwood in the middle of a national reserve. There has been a lot of legal debate, and somewhere in the process the artist declared this place to be a micro-nation. Anyway, it was such a strange and fascinating story, and such a cool place to see. It was like a giant playground for everyone, and I had so much fun climbing up the towers and trying to avoid getting scratched by the nails sticking out all over or getting splinters.

Denmark: Hamlet's Castle!
I did try to read Hamlet before going, but only managed to read the first two acts and a summary before we went. Still, I know enough about Shakespeare and Hamlet that it was so cool to see the castle the play was based off of, and to hear about the actual kings who lived there. Plus, it's a castle, and castle's are basically always awesome. I especially liked the ballroom, which was huge, and the underground rooms where the soldiers lived, even if it was freezing down there. But yeah, such a beautiful building with so much history and a fantastic view from the castle windows.

Basically, this last adventure has been great, and I do recommend Sweden to anyone looking to travel. Just make sure that if you're ever in Sweden or Denmark or anywhere nearby that you stop to look at Nimis! 

June 18, 2014

Following My Heroes

The problem with running off following adventure is that finding time to write about the adventure is practically impossible. But seeing as for the moment I don't need to Skype anyone and I kind of partly have the next stretch of travel from Oxford to Sweden planned out, it seems a good time for a blog post.

First of all, can I just point out that I'm in Oxford? Yeah, yeah, like the University, but mostly like the place where Lewis and Tolkien lived and taught and walked... Amazing. 

So many little carvings all over the walls and ceilings of all the buildings!

This city is incredible, with architecture that takes my breath away and so many complex and intricate buildings. Me and my traveling companion have kind of accidentally run into several places used in the filming of Harry Potter, which is definitely exciting. I cannot wait to get back and watch all the movies again, just so I can point and say: "I've been there!" Nacho Libre's not the only movie set I can say I've been to anymore.
Anyway, back to the point: this city is so beautiful! There is so much history carved into the buildings and I can just feel all of it in the air as I walk through the streets. Plus, it's time for examinations, so the Oxford students from several colleges are walking or riding their bicycles through the city wearing black gowns with carnations in their pockets and their sharp, erudite black and white uniforms. I can only imagine what it would be like to actually study in a place like this.
Christ Church. No wonder movies are filmed here.
So far I've been to Keble College, Christ Church, and a bit of the New College, and each college is breath-taking. I'm hoping to get in a few more colleges before we leave on Friday. We even attended the Sung Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral on Tuesday, which wasn't quite as impressive as the service at Westminster Abbey, but still pretty cool. Plus, we've done a lot of walking around, taking photos, shopping, trying to find the cheapest ways to eat, sliding through museums, and a little bit of getting purposely lost in order to see more. It's wonderful.
Radcliffe Camera, apparently one of the most photographed buildings in Oxford. I can understand why, plus the fact that it sneaks into the backgrounds of pictures of other buildings nearby...
And, did I mention? This is where Lewis and Tolkien formed the Inklings and met in pubs to discuss their writing. I dropped into the Eagle and Child pub and took pictures and stood and marveled, but the food was too expensive for me to justify eating there. However, across the street the Lamb and the Flag was also used by the Inklings, and I managed to afford a nice ham sandwich. Then I just sat in the pub and wrote out four pages of my thoughts as my mind wrapped around the fact that I was sitting in the very place that Lewis and Tolkien read their stories. So incredibly unbelievable. I just cannot hold in how excited I am to be in the place where my heroes actually lived.
Eagle and Child. I am still amazed.


Tomorrow I'm planning on finding the Kilns, where Lewis lived, and then Holy Trinity Church to see his grave. I'm so excited to follow him even more and see how many of his words will drip down and influence my own writing and my own stories. I can just feel the creativity in this place (did I mention Lewis Carrol was also an Oxford don? Lots of Alice in Wonderland exhibits in all the museums) and I am quite sure my writing can only improve as I result of being here.
This was inside the Eagle and Child, so of course when we got back at night we watched the first half of the Lord of the Rings and went crazy when this part actually came up.
Bonus: today I had the most interesting conversations back at the house where we're staying. It began as a sort of conversation against the Bible, though without any time for me to answer the questions being asked, or at least not enough time to answer them well. Then it became a conversation about my family, and about camps, and then the ice cream truck drove by and I smiled at the music and was treated to an amazing Cadbury ice cream cone.
Later in the day a French man living in Germany arrived to stay in another room here, and we all talked for hours about language and education and politics and immigration and travel and culture and even culture shock. Such a great conversation and it kind of made me realize that I am in fact an adult now and can not only listen in on but be a major part of a conversation like that. I mean, usually as soon as it's a serious conversation all I can do is listen, but this time I actually had just as much to add to the conversation as anyone else. More memories and information to store in my "future novels" room in my Mind Palace.
And to end, a lovely picture of me and Smaug.

June 14, 2014

How to be Courageous

Goodbyes suck. There you have it, the truth of the matter. And I have had to say more goodbyes in my life than should be possible.
I remember when I was little I had this one friend I would have sleepovers with all the time, and when my mom came to pick us up we would run and hide so that we wouldn't have to say goodbye. I'm sure that our mothers didn't much appreciate that.
Hiding out in some awesome ruins near Capernwray. I believe it was the old game keeper's house for Capernwray Hall.

Unfortunately, most goodbyes I can't hide from. I left Capernwray Bible School yesterday morning, but only after a full night of watching the people I've come to love so much drifting away one by one. I have to admit that my emotions kind of shut down during the goodbyes. I just knew that I couldn't handle any tears. It felt like if I let myself cry even a single drop I would just keep crying forever. I mean, I already said goodbyes three months ago to Oaxaca, Mexico and all my amazing friends there, and then two weeks later I had to say goodbye to my sister again.
Goodbye Capernwray Hall. You'll have a piece of my heart forever.




However, I believe that one form of courage is the courage to life every moment to the fullest, and I decided to try my best to be courageous. After all, so many of my goodbyes are not permanent. How many times have I said goodbye to someone thinking I would never see them again, but years later I find myself saying hello to them again? Lots.

Besides, we live in a world that is all connected, where I can open Facebook and see statuses posted from Korea, Ecuador, Uganda, Kenya, Asia, all over the USA and Mexico, just to name a few. I have relatively easy access to Skype and Emails and it is still possible to send hand-written letters, which are so amazing to receive. (Thanks my favorite sister, the only person who got on the ball and sent me mail while I was here in England. And she sent two letters.)
I'll miss tea when I leave England. Somehow drinking tea won't be the same if it's not scheduled into the day. I had at least three cups of tea or coffee ever day while at Capernwray, I think I'm going to go through tea withdrawal now that I'm travelling. Oh wait, the hotel has tea... I'll survive another three days at least.

So in the words of my sometimes extremely poetic boyfriend: "I prefer to think of it as more of a goodnight, going somewhere else, to have some more epic adventures, but waking up to find that person still there. And if we're lucky, we might just find them in our goodnights along with our goodmornings." 
I've had to say goodnight to Capernwray, but I can't wait to see when and where I find myself meeting up with the people I got so close to here in England to share some goodmornings. All I can say is that sometime there must be a tour of Canada, because Capernwray was overflowing with Canadians, and also that I am praying like crazy that God will someday bring me back to Europe somehow. 

Getting my certificate of completion for finishing the course. :)
For now I am going to take the advice of one of my amazing Capernwray friends in a letter she wrote me with instructions not to read it until I had left Capernwray. So I read it in a hotel near London and was so touched by her sweet words. She said that she admired the way I life day by day and life every moment fully, so today I'm going to push all the past and future stuff away and enjoy today. I will do my best to forget about travel stress and forget about goodbyes and forget about missing home and forget about college and forget about getting a job and I am going to enjoy London! 

I think our main plan for the day is to relax in Hyde Park and read and write, which sounds so amazing. I am so excited for round two of London, since honestly my day in London before going to school didn't leave that great of an impression. But it was Good Friday and the city was packed, and all we did was see the major tourist stuff that seen from a distance really doesn't look any different than it would seen from a photograph. But now I get to see London again with an awesome group of people and less of a schedule and with more time. So London... here I come.
After our 6.5 hour coach ride from Capernwray to London I ate sandwiches with two of my closest friends on the sidewalk because we couldn't find a nice place to sit, and then I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends for what felt like the hundredth time. I hope it's not too long before we meet up again in the next country.

June 5, 2014

Washing Machine Life

Everything is changing.
My oh my how that little sentence has been true over the last couple of weeks. I've watched, from England, as all of my classmates graduate and get ready to go all over the world. It's so strange to think that all of those people will no longer be in the same place, that even if I went 'back' I could never go back. Everything is changed now.

So after a few days of panic over the fact that my friends have all graduated and moved or will move soon and then panic over the fact that I'm not going home after this and won't ever live at home again and then panic of "why in the world am I going to college in a state where I don't know anyone?" Honestly, though, what prompted me to go so far away?
I still can't believe this is where I've been going to school!

Then again, I am in England right now, and it's even further away than Vermont will be. And while one of my friends followed me here from Oaxaca, I did still come here alone. So I don't know why college seems so much more daunting.

Yeah, I guess the pictures don't really have anything to do with my post, but open doorway, you know, like a door to my future...
But that's the big abstract change that sometimes seems unconnected from my life, like I'm watching it happen to someone else. Right now the change is the end of Bible School coming up in just one week. I know I've done a terrible job at updating everyone, but these two months really have been incredible. It will be hard to leave, but I am so excited to see how I can take everything that has been poured into me during my time here and then turn it into the rest of my life.
And road to the future...

I'm trying to think of some highlights from the time here. Elephant Table Tennis was definitely fun, when a group of us played the most ridiculous table tennis ever and could not stop laughing. Parties in the Beehive are also fantastic, eating chocolate and gummy bears when we're upset about something or when we have some reason to celebrate. Reading my novel out loud to one of my friends here has also definitely been a highlight.
So many sheep here!

Of course I've also loved all of the lectures and spending time alone with the creator of all of this fantastic greenery and watching the British sunset fall over the hills. I am amazed at what God has done during this time, and I pray that as I move through a world that's spinning around and changing way too quickly for me, that I will be able to continue to grow and learn and store all of these stories for my future novels.
I went to the Pencil Museum in Keswick. How random is that? I didn't know pencils came from Keswick England.

I just need to focus on the adventure and forget the fear.

There is beauty everywhere as long as I remember to look for it.

May 18, 2014

Capernwray At Last

I have to admit that Capernwray has been a tiny bit overwhelming. I mean, there are so many people and everything is just so incredible. I've been here about three days now, I think, and I don't think I'll ever get used to this. Of course I don't want to, either. I love walking out of my room and having my breath stolen by the green and the rabbits and the lambs and the birds.

The lectures are, well, lectures, but I love being able to study again. I was surprised by my own nerdiness because taking notes again made me so incredibly happy. I just love writing so much, and even if I'm just writing down information about Deuteronomy and Interactive Groups I still love putting words down onto the page.

So I feel like I should explain the Bible school or tell a story or something. I guess I'm a bit distracted tonight though. I've gotten online most days for a few minutes to get little bits of Oaxaca, but I haven't done too well and it's hard to connect my thoughts in a crowded room with a lot of other people all skyping and writing and trying to keep up with everyone.

Basically I'm making a lot of friends and learning a lot and it's all been great, just a lot to take in. But I'm loving it so far, even if it's weird just constantly meeting new people and trying to figure out how to make good friends and not just a ton of acquaintances.

But my roommates are awesome and I love talking to them and hanging out with them. It's such a fun room and I have a feeling these next two months will be great. I just need to remember to read all of the Bible chapters I'm supposed to and keep up with my poetry (which I have done a great job keeping up with, by the way).

Ah, I really just cannot think properly to write, but at least here's an update of some sort. Eventually I'll get back to it and write a better story or something, I promise!!

Dublin Snow

I flew "home" from Dublin today, and laughed at how quickly this castle has become my home. Or maybe I just adapt quickly anywhere, since the little hostel we stayed at in Dublin became 'home' too while we were there.

Anyway, while I have thousands of words that I could pour forth on this page about England and Capernwray, I did just come back from Ireland, and I think I'll write out my Dublin adventures and hopefully get back to England soon. I do apologize for this frightening lack of updates, but I want to enjoy England while I can, and the rare times when internet is available is usually taken up by Skype calls.

You are probably wondering why the title of my Dublin trip in May has anything to do with snow. While my sister informed me that it was snowing several days in Colorado, it did not in fact snow in Dublin.

But as my Capernwray roommate and I were walking along  the Dublin streets we saw a little red-head boy with his thick Irish accent crumbling a block of Styrofoam over his sister's head. Skipping and clapping as she walked, she reached up and laughed, "It's Snowing!"
I know I am often that girl, laughing at the scene created in my imagination even if it isn't the real thing. I don't know how often I've dreamed myself into another place, another country, another world. There were so many moments during my two days in Dublin when I had to stop and take a second to realize that I wasn't just playing with Styrofoam. I went to Ireland! I saw all the tourist sights of Dublin, from the famine memorial to the spire to Dublin Writer's Museum, and it was all real.

(Sidenote: Apparently Ireland is the place to be if you want to write. I had no idea so many writers were from Ireland! Maybe some of the leprechaun dust will rub off on me?)

Favorite part? Well, the Writer's Museum was pretty cool, and the old library was definitely awesome as well, complete with the book of Kells and that amazing smell that instantly inspires me to write. The Little Dublin Museum was also fascinating, and I loved eating mint chocolate chip ice-cream beside the River Liffy and sitting on the side of the walking street listening to the musicians play, and even sleeping in the airport our last night really wasn't bad.

So basically, Dublin was like walking through stories I wouldn't have imagined seeing in real life. It was like realizing that my made up snow was actually wet and cold. But at the same time it didn't stay wet and cold, everything exceeded my expectations. So my Dublin snow was more like the fountain being cleaned, with foamy bubbles that kept growing and growing until they starting flying off to the sky in giant bursts of snow cloud.

Dublin was fantastic, and coming back to Capernwray to a long shower, a clean bed, and free food was definitely a welcome return. I know I've said it a thousand times before, but I really am in the land of stories, and I can't stop realizing how incredibly blessed I am.

April 16, 2014

Dreaming

I don't remember how old I was when I first set my heart on England. Maybe it happened as I was reading through the Chronicles of Narnia on the living room floor and crying over the last page just because I didn't want to story to end. Or maybe it didn't happen until the movies came out and I began to learn more about C. S. Lewis. It grew as I sobbed over the story of Goodnight, Mr. Tom and was certainly already there as I began to read poetry and care more about authors who all seemed to have one thing in common, England.

I guess the more I learned about England the more I loved it, even from such a distance. In my mind it was a world of words and the place I dreamed of visiting.

I still can't fully believe that I am sitting in Burgh Le Marsh, England as I write this. It seems incredible to me that I have had about nine cups of English Tea since I flew in just two nights ago, or that today I climbed up two old windmills, one of them the only mill in the country still used as a mill and not just a tourist attraction, and the other turned into a beautiful house once used as a Bed n' Breakfast. I can't fathom the fact that the phone boxes are actually real and not just a red spot on the curtain in my room, and all that perfect picturesque scenery is really there, not just the setting for a film or the photo on a postcard.

I guess I haven't had any sort of adventurous stories since I got here, but driving through those brilliantly green hills and trees and breathing in the fresh England air is more than enough. I spent a bit of yesterday by the sea and ran down to dip my feet into the freezing ocean and ate Cadbury Ice Cream and made it back to the house in time for yet another cup of tea. Then today the windmills and a stroll through Boston and a Sing at the church to practice for Sunday Worship.

It's all been perfectly lovely, and I cannot wait to get to London tomorrow to meet up with a friend and possibly some more of the students who I'll be attending school with for the next two months. I know London won't be as peaceful and serene as Lincolnshire, but I have a feeling I'll love it just as much. After all, I'm in this story land of my dreams now.

April 15, 2014

Smile, You're In...

I should have taken a picture of the sign: Smile, you're in :D usseldorf! I did smile, as I have been quite a bit lately. I was really hoping that I would have more time to blog, but it turns out when I'm traveling around Europe blogging takes a backseat in my brain.

So in order to try and avoid a blog post too long to read I'll stick to two stories and hope I can get some more details in later on.

First off, taking a train in a foreign country would probably be a bit scary no matter what. I mean, it was Germany, and I don't speak German, and I'd never been to Europe before. But then my flight was delayed four hours and I missed my trains.
So I had to learn how to buy new tickets and probably paid way too much that the delayed airline really should have paid. If I was someone else I would have hunted them down and made them. But of course I just paid whatever without even trying to figure out how much. I even splurged on a Sundae from Burger King to try and make myself feel better.
Then came the adventure of trying to find a way to connect the family that was going to meet me at midnight to tell them that I wouldn't get on a train until 1:30, though of course the train was delayed until almost 2:30.
So I wandered into the internet Hot Spot room with possibly homeless people possibly waiting to steal all of my belongings. But I went in anyway and locked myself into a room with all of these strangers (okay, I wasn't locked in and I sat right by the window, but still...) and eventually I asked someone to help my connect, and while my computer never did connect to the internet the man who thankfully spoke English let me use his cellphone. Sorry, his mobile phone.
So then I sat in the Hot Spot room for a while and then left to explore until a creepy man started following me around the empty train station after midnight trying to talk to me. So I followed around the few people still there until I met the nice lady with a bike headed to Paris who happened to be sharing my train and helped me figure out that step. And then the man with the license plate helped me through the next two trains, where I helped the English speaking guy with the turban and accidentally sat in first class until the ticket checker kicked me out and I eventually made it to my final destination of the day.


Wow.  That was longer than I meant. Oh well, you don't have to keep reading.

So fast forward to Konstanz and I'm with my friend looking at the locks on the side of a bridge and this guy comes up trying to talk to us and get us to fall for him or something. And then this other guy came up to ask why the locks were there, and he got really upset that they couldn't be opened again. "But the lock is like a covenant, so what if there is a breakage in the relationship? My question is, how do you get the key to open the lock?"
He kept repeating that over and over again, and our "you don't get the key back" didn't seem to be a satisfactory answer. So then he told us his sob story about the girl who ran off to the United States and came back pregnant and how he would never be able to trust another woman again.
Eventually we managed to get away without giving out our names and phone numbers and without going to "sit and talk". So while the first guy sat and felt sorry for himself that we both had boyfriends already the second guy repeated his story several times and wondered repeatedly why anyone would be so stupid as to eternally lock their love onto the bridge. I guess my friend and I are silly for thinking the locks are romantic, even though they definitely are.

April 8, 2014

Above the Air

I think all of today I've had and will have my head in the clouds, in more ways than one.

I'm leaving. I'm actually leaving to Germany and then England and all these things that I've dreamed about for so long are actually happening now. Already I can feel so many stories waiting to happen so I can write all about them. I really can't tell you how excited I am, and at the moment the excitement is definitely beating the worry, which is awesome.

Of course, it would be nice if this itch of a headache would go away. I took Ibuprofen already, what more do you want?

Anyway, I'm in the Denver Airport right now waiting for my plane to arrive and load and take off, and then I really will be in the clouds. I had a bit of an issue checking in, but the united staff person who helped me was super nice and helpful and we got it all figured out and I have three boarding passes that will get me to Germany.

The scary part will be finding my flight in Houston in time; I have a 32 minute layover. Youch. I already have all these prejudices against Houston, I really don't need any more reasons to dislike that airport. Oh well, at least I won't be bored.

Then two hours in London shouldn't be too bad, and I feel at least a little bit more confident now that I can make it from the airport to the train in Germany and find my way to where friends will pick me up.

Wow. I just say that and my mind is blown away again. I'm going to Germany. What? This is actually happening? Yep. I don't even need to pinch myself; I guess that headache is there just to remind me that this is real.

Anyway, send some prayers my way if you think about it and I shall update when I get the chance!