This weekend I surprised most of my family and friends by showing up at home.  I got a ride with my brother Troy as he was here in the city for a week helping with vacation bible school.  And I didn’t tell my family.  Well. My parents and grandparents and sister.

So I arrived on Friday afternoon and walked into the bakery and said, “Hi Dad.” And he looked. And blinked.  And silently absorbed the shock like a heart attach.  This was followed by some hugs and questions.  (I came with Troy. I’m flying back on Tuesday.  From Chicago. Yes, what a surprise. 🙂 )

Then the phone rang. In the bakery.  So I answered it.  “Hello Baker’s Nook.” and my mom said, “whatchyou up to?” And I said, “Just chatting w/ Dad.” Which was followed by the same questions and remarks of “WHAT THE WORLD?!?” and general indications of shock.

So we planned to meet for dinner at Hacienda (where everyone in Goshen meets for dinner).  And Briana arrived after we were sitting already.  And she was surprised too.  So she spent most of the meal just staring at me.

The surprising lasted all weekend as I got hugs and church and grandpa’s.  I must say, surprising people is a good way to say, “I love you,” I think.

Aside from spreading surprise everywhere I went, I also hung out with some people who I had prearranged plans with.

So.  My Saturday was full of some of my favorite friends and we went to places like the fair (only the 2nd largest in the nation you know) and the Chief (only the best ice cream in the state you know) and saw fireworks.  Because Indiana is cool like that and hosts some of the best that summer has to offer.

Image ImageImageImageImage

And then I came home yesterday.   Spent an hour doing homework.  And went to class. So I’m back to the independent crowded normal part of my life.  Not in the country anymore.

I still think the country is a little weird.  But I think driving out to Indiana (rather than flying alone) helped me transition as I watched miles of space fly by and got to freak out about what white people wore at travel plazas before getting to Indiana.  Let’s just say- acclimating home takes time but it helps when I have time to do that before seeing people I know.

All in all.  Twas a great trip.  And now I’m onto enjoying summer in the city.  I only have 1 class right now and have plenty of time to do things like balance my check book, sweep my floor, and get a library card.  Can’t wait!  Seems like normal life has a way of getting blocked out when we are busy.  And although I like life better when I’m busy, it’s still important to take time for the normal things too.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself to keep from getting too bored the next 3 weeks.

Basically my next reality:

Haha I should start texting people that

Happy Wednesday everyone!

The Magic Hour

Tuesday. July 23, 2013 7:55 pm Upper West Side, Manhattan

Exactly where I was during the Magic Hour. Well.  That’s what we called it anyways.  Because the sun was setting and the city sky was shades of pink and sun.  Probably because there was also a sun shower (an East Coast way of saying it was raining and sunny at the same time).  AND it was the specific day of the year where the sun lined up perfectly with the streets of Manhattan so that you can see the sun set between all the buildings.  Yup.  It was a magic moment. So magic that I didn’t take a picture.  Instead I smiled and walked and enjoyed the fact that I was part of it all. Part of the city where the sun sets in the rain between buildings that reach the sky.

In other news.

This is the end. Of 2 really great things.

1. My placement. My last day was yesterday.  My heart squeezed a little as I took the paper shapes and spider web from my wall and packed up my toys from my final sessions with my kiddos.  I said, “bye.  I’ll never see you again.” They said, “ok, bye.”

And life moves on.

2. VBS. My church has been hosting a vacation bible school for the past 2 weeks.  Even though I didn’t help it impacted me because 4 out of 5 of my siblings came out to help.  So. For the past 2 weeks my sister has been sleeping in my living room. My brothers and sister-in-law have been stopping by for breakfasts and chats and games and the internet.  And today is the last day of it.  No more venting at the end of the day.  No more car at my disposal.  No more people eating all my food. (To be clear. There are certain advantages to life going back to normal- but there are also definitely things I will be missing.  Mainly, the people.)

And now- we are at the predictable photo portion of my post. (Upon review I have discovered that my blogs generally include some sort of list, a photo montage, over-usage of the words “so” and “and,” and tend to end with some kind of inspirational or funny farewell.  At least we all know what to expect.)

This is me driving my sister’s car!  The freedom found in wheels is not something to take for granted.  Especially when you don’t have to deal with any of the responsibility.  ImageAnd this was one of ourviews as Erleen and I drove through Brooklyn. ImageHere is another view we had.  Yup. Brooklyn has sooo many neighborhood I STILL need to check out. ImageAnd this was my view yesterday morning on my way to my placement.  I was walking because the train was not running. So I walked.  Just 13 blocks.  Which isn’t really so far. And I actually like walking.  Especially in Manhattan.  For obvious reasons. Image

This is the end part. Are you ready for it?


First World Problems

You know.

My air conditioner’s refreshing breeze doesn’t extend to my bedroom.

Baskin Robin’s is out of chocolate ice cream during a summer scorcher.

I don’t feel like doing homework when it’s hot.

I don’t feel like doing homework when it’s nice out.

I don’t feel like doing homework when it’s cold.

I don’t feel like walking to the corner store for milk.

I have too many electronics to plug them all into my extension cord.

Something mysterious spilled in our fridge.  My roomie thinks it’s the fridge.  Nobody really knows.

I want to go outside but I don’t want to sweat.

My contacts stick to my eyes if I fall asleep with them in.

The water from our sink is lukewarm.

The memory on my ipad is maxed out and I have to delete apps to download more.

My internet is being slow.

You know. First world problems. Problems you only have because you have something else. Problems you have because you are taking something else for granted. 

Pathetic really.  I agree. How about we all start being a little more thankful for the things that cause the inconveniences in our lives?  Maybe invest in people. Talk about what we are learning. Take the time to learn. And. Most of all.  Appreciate what we have.

I have a friend who always tells us when we are stressed out about a class, “Remember.  There are starving kids dying in Africa right now.”

Sometimes that’s just the perspective I need.

Do What You Can

Going and Coming and Summer Sweat {It’s July}

It seems like every other post lately is about my travels and guests.  But. Here we go again.


A week ago I spent the weekend in western Pennsylvania with a bunch of Mennonite peers at Faith Builder’s College Student Retreat (CSR).  Since I’m still thinking about all my conversations from that weekend I’m going to avoid digging into that in public.  But. I did take a picture of the city as I rode the bus toward Reading, PA to catch my ride further west. Image

And, as I was riding I had the compulsion to extend my arms away from my body.  Just because I could.  Because there is so much SPACE in the country.  Image

On this trip I also had my first ‘hitch hiking’ experience.  (Not in the real sense of the word however.  Let me explain.)

To get to western PA from NYC without access to your own car is a bit tricky.  Especially on the 4th of July, when public transportation is on a special ‘holiday schedule.’  But I did eventually get from my house (via 2 trains) to the bus station.  But. The bus filled 1 person before me.  Really made me wonder how my day would have changed if I wouldn’t have stopped for that smoothie.

Regardless. I waited in line and chatted with a girl from Reading. I could tell because she was too nice to be from New York. (Sad but true.) And, long story short, I ended up catching a ride in Reading from this girl’s mother to a Subway restaurant to find my lunch while I waited for my ride to show up.  They had Christian music playing from their car radio though.  So, I felt pretty safe.

And this was my view while waiting for my ride.  Small towns can be fun too I think. Image

And this is my only picture from CSR. Never mind that we stayed in a mansion in the mountains.  This is the only picture I got. Image

And. In a brief summary.  The funniest conversations I had that weekend were related to being afraid of hipsters overtaking the world (said the man in cuffed skinny jeans. I mean.  It is a more realistic fear than a zombie apocalypse. But still. Properly ironic.) and the difference between introverts and extroverts.  Seems like everyone has an opinion about this.  (If you are wondering. I’m mostly an extrovert myself.)


This was the weekend that my mother, my sister, my grandpa and his wife, and my great-aunt and her husband, and my mom’s cousin and her daughter came to visit.  Yup. That’s 8 people. Only 2 of them stayed at my house.  But. We were properly (and excessively) touristy.

Here comes the picture portion:

My grandpa and Eileen waiting to cross the street.  Nothing says out of town like Indiana hats and skyscraper views.


We saw a Broadway.  It wasn’t that good so I won’t tell you about it.  But we had fun anyways. Image

We visited my school. And these elderly men did their best to look like philosophers.  I think we properly amused everyone.  ImageImage

We saw the sights.


Participated in some pretty shady China-town purse related transactions.  ImageImage

Embarrassed uncle Howard for his birthday.


And. We rode a double decker tour bus. Although it’s not a good way to experience the real city, it is a good way for people who don’t like to/can’t walk to see the city.  Since I didn’t have to pay for my ride (THANK YOU GRANDPA) and we had a pretty amusing tour guide- I’d say – it was worth it!  Plus.  We got some pretty great views. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The weekend was ended with coffee in Times Square with my mom’s cousin who also happened to be in town this weekend.  Image

The end. (Photo credits to Mom and Myself.) And a picture from a preschooler.  She drew me rainbows and flowers.  I put it on my fridge.  Turns out I like 5 year-olds after all.