Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Sights

Yesterday, my grandma and I began the day in Lancaster, PA on a Amish buggy ride, then we enjoyed Hershey Chocolate World with my friend Tori, then we drove through north/central PA and Western NY before settling just outside of Rochester, NY for the night.

And let me tell you - even though that was a long drive, longer than we anticipated, the mountains of Pennsylvania and New York were breathtaking last night in the sunset and dusk. I believe it was the Alleghenies we were driving through, and I was in awe. Huge peaks rose on the either side of us and the road curved in a large, wide arc to go around giant formations. I felt small, and that felt good. It's okay to not be the center of the universe. It's okay (and good) to contemplate the hands that formed those mountains out of nothing. Wow. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer 2013: Camp and Road Trips

I arrived home from summer camp on Friday evening, after spending ten weeks in beautiful Northeast Alabama, where I loved on precious young ladies between the ages of six and sixteen. Here are some pictures from the summer, below. (Some photos courtesy of camp, some mine.)

In other news, I'm crossing off a number of goals this summer! I have visited a new state: Alabama, and I will visit more next week on my upcoming road trip with my grandma. (More posts about that to come!) I can also cross off number 20, since I joined the American Camp Association right before I went to camp.

Read more about my summer at camp here.

I won the Golden Crusader Award!

Sundays at Camp!

ACA Membership! 
This summer marked my first time....
  • Being an actual camp counselor
  • Driving more than five hours by myself
  • Working on a ropes course / learning how to belay
  • Eating Oreo Yum Yum! 
  • Putting thirteen year old girls to bed (& then singing loudly to wake them up in the morning!)
  • And much more! 
Looking forward to finishing this summer strong with a road trip with my grandma. More posts to come.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer and Number 7

Good News! Today, I received the contract for my summer job. I will be a camp counselor at a Christian girls' camp in Alabama for nine weeks this summer. I have praying for this for so long that I am just bursting with excitement about this opportunity!

Not only will my summer job provide me with a time to be with preteen girls, invest in their lives, develop life skills, and grow closer to other counselors, all within a Christian environment - but it will also 1) Provide much needed funds to be able to go to Thailand in 8 months! and 2) This goal will complete another state for number 7, as I've never been to Alabama before, as far as I can remember. I can't wait.

In addition, my grandmother and I have nailed down dates for our summer road trip to Canada. For my birthday, she gave me a road trip, and we have decided to go on our trip in August so I can work the full summer at camp. We will have seven days to drive up through states I've not yet visited, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to Canada, where neither of us have not yet visited, back down through Ohio and Michigan. We really want to see Niagara Falls, the Liberty Bell, and more of the East coast. And that will cross off number 18!

I hope this summer is as full of adventure as I'm planning. Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Journals from Around the World

One of the traditions that I started when I went to Asia last summer was to collect journals from each country I visit. As of today, I only have three journals, but my collection is growing. Here are the three I have so far...

Purchased: PageOne Bookstore, Hong Kong
Cost: $16 HKD (appox $2 USD)
"Meng Xiang" (dream)
"Somene wanted to be a teacher when he was little."

Purchased: Phimphone Market, Vientiane, Laos
Cost: 19000 Kip, approx $2.39 USD 
"Stop Global Warming"
"make quality make design style BSP"

Purchased: Cozumel, Mexico
Cost: $6 USD
"Cozumel, Mex."
It's made from "huun" (maya word that means handmade paper)

I hope to keep adding to my collection from every country I visit in the future!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

All You Wanna Do is Ride Around, Alex

Over Christmas break, I renewed my driver's license. It was actually the first time I had been in the DMV since I received my restricted license almost five years ago. Crazy.

In actuality, my visit went really well. I had been completing observations at a school in town, so I didn't make it to the DMV until 4pm, just an hour before closing. A lady at the front door helped usher me in quickly and I was in and out in about 25 minutes, including a new picture for my license. Hallelujah! Another ten years in my '01 Mustang, or until it decides to die.

By Steven Depolo, Flickr

When I was leaving, I checked my license to make sure it was correct and I realized I'll have this one license until I turn 31. Of course, this does not take in account moving or getting married, but a move within the state means you just apply for a duplicate license with a changed address. So, therefore, there is the possibility I could be stuck with this license for a while.

Interestingly, because I don't turn 21 until March, there is a note in red, capital letters that specifies "UNDER 21 UNTIL" my birthday. I was struck by the irony that even though I have a month and about a week until I turn 21, I will have that line on my license until I get married, move, or turn 31. (Not even going to mention that only slightly horrific picture.)

It's a bit like a reminder of who I once was. You know, even when we grow up, we are still, in a sense, products of our past. We can go through counseling, for example, and learn from our pasts. We can become Christians and go deeper with Christ, and we are saved from the sins in our pasts, but we are still who we are today because of those pasts.

I guess that's why I started this post with a reference to a song that was released the year my mom was born. The past doesn't define me, but it affects me. History is rich with art, stories, and lessons learned, I am affected by what has transpired before my time, and I can learn from the triumphs and mistakes of others. It's one reason we study events like the Holocaust, so we can avoid allowing similar tragedies to shape our generations. It's also why I like to listen to oldies music, because the art (good and bad) of yesteryear have something to say to us today, even if it's just "Go have fun."

"Mustang Sally," is the R&B hit referenced in the title of this post, which my dad happens to sing to me on an occasional basis. This is a live recording of Wilson Pickett's 1966 version of "Mustang Sally."