not everything you learn has to be from a textbook

Sometimes we can tell when things are changing.  They come with big signs, like graduation parties, and certificates to hold.  But sometimes change sneaks up on us.  And suddenly I am filling the last page in my thick journal, holding documentation of the past 1 and 1/2 ish years of my life since moving to New York.  And sometimes I think I haven’t changed at all.  I mean, I’m still me right?  But then I think, I hope I have changed. Mostly because I hope I’ve learned SOMETHING in the past few years of living in this strange place and I think it would be such a shame to have nothing to show for it.  and really, I think change is the fruit of learning (much like Love is a fruit of the Spirit).

So. What have I learned. Well. Obviously a lot about speech-language pathology since that’s why I’m here. (bu dum chi)

I’ve learned a lot about living independently.  About traveling alone. About other religions and cultures. But I think, maybe, (hands down?) the one change that has snuck-up on me is my slow change in world view, specifically as it relates to absolutes.

OH NO! I know. here I go down the slippery slope that Mennonites, in all their sincerity, try so hard to avoid.

So. Before you write me off as a way-word child, let me explain.

First, I still believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  And that we are accountable to HIM and Him alone.  And I believe that the Bible is the word of God and is our guide to finding out what God has planned for our lives and the future of the world.

Second, I don’t believe that everything else in life is as cut and dry as we would like to think.  And I believe that we don’t have to have all the answers.  In fact, I believe that we get to spend our whole lives figuring it out. And that’s kind of the point. (I mean to say, that the point of life is to figure things out. Not to have all the answers.)

I don’t know.  Maybe everyone else already thinks this way and it’s nothing new.

But for whatever reason, when I started school I believed in a lot of black and whites.  I believed that there was one ‘correct’ way to speak.  I believed that getting good grades meant success.  I believed that if you were late that you were probably late on purpose and that was rude. And I believed in an end game. meaning.. I treated much of life as a means to an end.  I’m going to school to be a speech therapist.  You know.

And I think, really, I watched all my friends do the same thing.  We argued over “I seen” and “I saw.”  We compared our test scores, not our content comprehension.  We got annoyed with people for skipping youth group because they didn’t want to come?!? And they (I won’t claim to be part of a “we” here) dated for the intent of… getting married, quitting their jobs, ‘settling down’ (whatever that means), buying a house, having babies, and .. eventually.. sending those babies to school.

And well.  As I currently am 1 and 1/2 weeks from finishing my SIXTH year of higher education, I realize that I no longer view these facts as truth.  I realize that just because you say “I seen” doesn’t mean you don’t know how to speak English “right,” it just means that you speak a different dialect than I do.  And I’ve realized that what I learn in school is MUCH more important than my GPA, because the content will have a much greater impact than the score 89%.  And well, I’ve learned that it’s okay to do things differently.  To not go to youth group because you really are growing out of it.  And not feel “left out” when all your friends are in the same stage of life and you’re not, because, let’s face it folks, there will always be “the next stage in life” to run towards, and me? I want to be ready for it when it comes.  So that means I actually have to be here, living in the moment I’m in now, learning the lessons I have to learn now, and not trying to rush to the moments I see ahead of me.

So yeah…. That’s what I’ve learned.  To be okay with not having black and white answers for everything.  And, I think I’ve learned this just in time because my 6 year life plan is coming to an end and I don’t have answers for the questions people like to ask me.  But I’ve realized that’s okay.  Because I realize that answers come with time.  And prayer. And I like that.  I might not always say that I do.  But sometimes, every couple years, I think it’s good to be at a point in your life where you have to look at God and say, “What next?” instead of all this, “Follow me,” stuff that we like to give Him sometimes.

That’s what I think anyways. If you disagree, do so silently. 🙂

And now. The moment you’ve been waiting for.  When we totally switch gears from my super pensive word side to my.. hey- these are pictures from my phone.  Yup. You can roll your eyes if you want. Enjoy!

1. Sparkling water, on tap.  Liberty island has some class!

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2. It was almost Easter and the city is full of “hidden” eggs on display.  What can we say? Art.

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(selfie with the rockefeller center!)

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3. oh look. it’s the empire state building. Image

4. So. I heard this place was good so I got a deal on Livingsocial.  Then I went and discovered that this is a take-out location.  But I didn’t even care because that just meant I got to eat baked macc-n-cheese in a park in alphabet city with…Image

this lady 🙂

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see. yummmm

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5. Sunrise service on the beach (again).  It was cold but I won’t complain.  Just look at it!Image

And finally, just a word to the wise:

*word* | fresh hues

My Manhattan Whiplash

The reality is real.  I have yet again been too busy to post on my regularly scheduled weekly Sunday posts.  The struggle is real.

On the plus side.  In the midst of 25 page diagnostic evals, brainstorming field trips, and long train commutes I hosted a ladies weekend in the city.  The ladies were: my mother. 3 of my great aunts. 2 of my mom’s cousins. 1 of my mom’s friends.  They came to look at New York.  To shop, hike stairs, and spend as much time touristing as possible.  I tried my best.  I think we did just that.

We saw the skyline from a million angles.  Visited Lady Liberty and Ellis Island (which were on my list).  Went to a flea market.  Times Square.  Central Park.  Empire State Building.  And plenty of all American restaurants.

If you don’t believe me here’s the proof:

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My great aunts.  They are troopers nearing 70.  I’m impressed!

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Look. She has a shadow.

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A side you don’t usually see of her.Image

My mom makes a great Vanna White. Image

I look like I’m wearing a hat. But really. I’m holding up the statue.  You’re welcome. ImageImage

Ellis Island.

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The great room.  Where immigrates met their fate. Stay. or go.Image

My mom is so cool.  She found our friend Chris’s name on the wall of immigrants! Image

Off to Times Square.  Susie’s favorite place.  Can you guess which one is Susie? 🙂Image

Yup. Just as busy as always. I just sat on a chair and watched the people. And ran into people I knew! Small world eh? 🙂Image

Then Karma made me go on the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us.  I didn’t even complain. Image

Look mom! no hands!

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That day was silly.  And these people make for very silly train riders at 11 pm. Image

Everyone is happy to be on the bus. Image

And I spotted Improve Everywhere in Central Park. Is it bad that the only famous people I see are only famous on YouTube?

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Empire State group pic.

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We went at sunset.  We liked it pretty good. ImageImageImageImage

But it was kind of crowded.

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So my silly guests left yesterday.  And I wrote an entire report outline this morning before noon.  Because that’s when it was due. Yup. Life has found it’s way back to ‘normal’ in one big swoop.  But I have applesauce in my freezer so I know it was real.

(In case you lost count I only have 36 days to graduation.)

I'm Going To Succeed Because I'm Crazy Enough To Think I Can

(alternatively captioned: ignorance is bliss)