Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Journey Ahead

"How we spend our lives is, of course, how we spend our days." ~ Annie Dillard (American writer)

For months, I have been asking myself, What next? I thought that after trekking across Europe I would have a clear idea of what my next step in life would be. Instead, I found that I had no clue what it was. That scared me. I wrestled with different options, looked for jobs (without much luck), and just decided to try to make it as was until I could find something that worked for me. That was fine until I realized one day that I was just sitting still, not moving forward at all. I could no longer just "float" along in life, waiting for the next big thing to happen. I could make plans all I wanted, but if I never pursued them, it was pointless.

As it turns out, my deciding to become proactive worked in my favor. When one of my cousins suggested I apply at a Christian summer camp in Nebraska that her husband works at, I had my doubts. I mean, go live in another state for the summer? Could I do something like that? I wasn't sure that I could. Yet I was still filled with excitement at the possibility of going. After much consideration, I sent in my application and waited to hear from the program director. 

It didn't take long. I heard back the next day, and we set up a time to have a phone interview. It was a week away, and I was a bundle of nerves, waiting for the next week to go by. Finally, it did, and I had the interview. It went amazingly, and I felt such a peace about the whole thing. 

That was a week ago, and I tried not to let myself think too much about it and get my hopes up. If it were the right thing for me, it would happen. In some ways, this opportunity made me more nervous than even traveling to Europe for seven weeks by myself. It was a nervous excitement, but also a little bit of fear that comes with anything new and uncertain.

Today, I received a message asking if I was still interested in the job because the director would love to have me there. (Enter huge grin and happy dance) Never did I think I would be able to do something like this, and yet here I am, heading to Nebraska in 37 days...because, yes, I did take the job. And after that? Who knows! I only know that I am taking purposeful steps and living my life to the fullest. 

For those interested: The job is a staff position coordinating the snack shack but also being a part of the camp's daily life. The kids range from the ages of entering first grade to entering their senior year, and there are new campers every week. I will be 30 minutes-ish from Omaha and about that far from my cousins too. If you have any questions, please ask! I do have a lot more information. :)

I will miss living here a lot, but in this day and age, technology really does keep us closer.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

In Remembrance: From the Beaches of Spain to the Streets of Paris

I wrote the other day about my time in Europe, sharing three highlights from my stay in England. I wanted to share so much more, but there is just too much for one blog. Instead, I decided to break it down into small segments. This is the next installment. :)

After leaving England, I flew to Spain. Before last summer, I had never really thought much about visiting Spain. That was before one of my former roommates/friend moved there for studies. I decided it would not be a bad thing to go after all. And I am so glad I did. :)

4. The first full day I was in Spain, we decided to visit San Sebastián. It was just a bus ride away from Bilbao (where I was staying), and I was not disappointed. Even with the rain, it was beautiful. We walked through San Sebastián down to the beach, and let me tell you, it was breathtaking. Sometimes, I think back to that day when I am stressed, and it calms my nerves. We wrote in the sand, along with several others. The beach was covered with these notes, salutations to friends and family members back home (wherever that was for people), and drawings. Of course, we contributed as well, leaving our "mark" in least until the next tide or rainstorm...both of which came within the next hour. While staring out at the water, with land situated on either side and huge billowy clouds, I felt as if I were staring at a painting and sincerely wished I could paint. I never wanted to forget that scene. The pictures are beautiful, but they do not do justice to the serenity of the moment, even with the waves starting to grow and the rain clouds forming.

On the way to San Sebastián
Love to Mom :)

Some other Americans beat us here, I guess. :)


Paris....oh, Paris. There is definitely not enough blog space in the world to share everything from my weekend in Paris. Yes, it was only a weekend, but boy do my friends and I know how to squeeze in a week's worth of adventure into one weekend! We toured like crazy, seeing the Eiffel Tower (and going up to the TOP), walked through both the Notre Dame and a smaller church that we were told was the Notre Dame but wasn't, and stood under the Arc de Triomphe. We also walked to the Louvre but because of our time crunch were unable to go inside. Next time, I will. And there will be a next time!

5. Not to be a little too predictable, but yes, the Eiffel Tower is one my highlights. How could it not be? My first glimpse of the tower was the night I arrived in Paris. We had just gotten off the metro at Champs-Élysées. We looked to our left and behind some tall trees, there was the top of the Eiffel Tower all lit up. (I tried to take a picture but failed.) The next day, I was standing up there, looking out across Paris. Paris. I still can hardly believe it. From up there, you could see everything- the Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Royal Palais. I was mesmerized and just stood there for what seemed like hours looking out across the city. Someone was proposed to while we were up at the top too. It was a perfect moment, although I would have shouted from my spot, "I'm engaged!" had it been me. :)

There's the Eiffel Tower!
This is all that was left above me once I went to the top level!

 I wish I could write about everything I experienced in Paris. Maybe I will write just about that someday. For now, these pictures are a few of my favorites. :)

The River Seine

First Glimpse of the Notre Dame

Arc de Triomphe

 Look for the highlights of Copenhagen and Sweden in my next installment! :)