Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pastor's Conference and EGS

This view has been one that I've seen multiple times this week.

I'm working at Moody this week for Pastor's Conference, assisting Event and Guest Services, the department I work in throughout the school year too. I've been posted in places like the one in the photo above (Torrey-Gray auditorium) to check ID's and welcome pastors to the sessions. Pastors are so kind, but also hilarious with what Kaitlyn and I have called "pastor's jokes", which are similar to "dad jokes". We love these jokes and enjoy interacting with the pastors just as we greet them and provide information and directions.

It's hard to believe these are all pastors who are impacting their local communities. We are seeing only a tiny sliver of their lives at this conference. Occasionally, a pastor will stand and chat with one of us and we get to hear stories, which are my favorite. Just today I talked with a pastor who lived in Hawaii for 20 years before moving back to Virginia, where he grew up, to shepherd a church there. I'm thankful for all of these servants, and pray they are being encouraged and refreshed at Pastor's Conference this week.

In the few hours during the day that Kaitlyn and I aren't working, we've sometimes just sat down to rest our feet, but other times we've gone out into the city. Yesterday's outing consisted of library book pick-up and frosting shots from Sprinkles. Yes, Sprinkles Cupcakes will give you a little cup of frosting for only $0.75! It's the best. It's even worth the sugar crash you sometimes get as a result of the frosting!

Although this week has been exhausting and full, it's been memorable and good. We've hung signs, filled counting sheets, replaced signs again, ushered, and done random tasks like carrying pillows and blankets from one building to another, but we've also gotten to know the staff here on campus better and Kaitlyn and I have gotten to work together.

Today is our last day of Pastor's Conference, and I hope it's been a good one for everyone!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Moving Day

Moving out and packing is inevitably hectic and exhausting, and potentially somewhat humorous too.

The funniest part of the day to me was our trip to Trader Joe's for dinner. With campus being pretty much closed for move-outs, we enjoyed a lovely dinner from the store that's become familiar to me now. We couldn't even find steps to sit on to eat our meal, but snagged a spot/curb by some trees that sufficed. It wasn't quite as convenient as a bench on a cobblestoned European square, but it worked!

This entire day seemed like the epitome of a college student's life. This moment captured it well - sitting on a curb in the city, eating Trader Joe's dinners, with no car and everything we own in suitcases and bins back on campus in a storage area, waiting to be brought somewhere else for the summer. I just had to laugh, because the situation seemed classic, in a sad and also hilarious way. 

Packing up was a bit more confusing because of our lack of a vehicle. Long story short, a super awesome friend in the city saved the day (which was an answer to prayer!) and came to pick me and my friends up to take us (and our stuff) over to Caleb and Haley's apartment - the place my friends are subletting for the summer while Caleb and Haley are in Europe interning with Josiah Venture. 

Oh, what a comfort and joy it was to finally step foot into their apartment after our seemingly endless day. I am staying the night with Michelle, so she doesn't have to stay alone before her other roommates come, but it is also a sweet gift from the Lord to be here. It's settling to be in Caleb and Haley's home - a familiar place. Thank you, Caleb and Haley, for making your home available for subletting and for letting me stay there for a bit too before Gull Lake. Their home is charming and peaceful, a haven in the busyness of Chicago. 

Today, I am thankful for the Lord's provision. I am thankful that He created us for community and that we don't have to do things alone. I'm thankful that He cares for His daughters as a Father and wants us to go to Him with every care and burden. I'm thankful for prayer, for help when we need it, for Trader Joe's salads, and for rest after this hectic day. Although today was crazy, I'm still thankful for it, because it stretched me and showed me more of the Lord. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Final Final

I finished my last final of the semester!!!!

Promptly after I returned to my room at 8:45am, I took a nap. Yes, I took a one and a half hour nap first thing in the morning. I didn't plan on doing that, and had even gotten a good night's sleep the night before, but it was like I finally let down after the exam was over. Like I said, I still have other responsibilities, but this was just one great weight that was lifted. That nap was glorious.

Fun fact: Today was the last day that the scent of burgers came wafting into my room first thing in the morning.

Every Thursday is Big Burger Thursday in the cafeteria. Since my room is near the vents to the down to the kitchen, I inevitably smell burgers every single Thursday morning. Not my favorite thing to wake up to, but it's been reality for the three semesters I've lived in this room.

Two days from now, I'll move out of this room forever though.

I'll be living in the campus apartment housing next semester, and I will actually be able to cook for myself, which will be incredibly helpful. Moody's meal plan does allow me to eat gluten and dairy-free, but it has been hard finding enough nourishment in the cafeteria with both of those restrictions. I have had my fair share of spinach, broccoli and rice meals!

It will be a challenge, but also a privilege to get to cook my own food next semester and to live in an apartment instead of the dorms. I'll be taking one more step towards "adult" living. Whoa. Things are changing!

With my last exam, and my last burger-scented morning, the end of the semester is really drawing near. It's strange. I don't like that goodbyes have to be said, and yet I am excited for what's ahead. I'm sure I'll miss parts of living in the dorms, but I'm obviously looking forward to living in a slightly more "home-y" environment with my two roommates. Change is good, though bittersweet!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rest, Not Yet

These are full, rich, but exhausting days. I am growing weary - studying for finals, packing, saying goodbyes, thinking ahead. Yet there is such beauty to this time as well - it's hard to decide how to feel, honestly. 

It's in these times that we can keep pressing on. The time will come for rest. That time is coming soon. 

My last exam is tomorrow, and then I still have plenty of work and other responsibilities before letting down. Sigh. By this time next week, everything will feel much calmer. For now, I want to find joy in the activity, in the fluster of it all - for there is beauty in all of these stories that we're currently living in.

Speaking of stories, Sam and I had our last "roommate date", as they're often called here. We split a giant macaron at a shop off of the Armitage stop on the "L". Armitage is Sam's favorite stop because of the cute neighborhood, and we both loved coming back here again before we head our separate ways. Sam graduates on Saturday, so it's bittersweet! I've loved getting to know her this past semester, and will miss her; but I'm also excited for what's ahead and proud of her for finishing so well.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gearing Up for Finals

This afternoon: cups of coffee, roommates, doodling, public transportation, alleys with puddles and (some) studying for finals.

Kelley and Michelle are roommates, and Sam and I are roommates, but we're also all friends separately too, so we finally had a roommate day at a coffee shop in one of Chicago's neighborhoods today. It poured outside while we were there, but we soaked it in, since we're so happy that spring has arrived to Chicago.

And sometimes these three will go along with my photo requests...

But really, this is usually what things look like when we're all together...

Now we have to buckle down a bit and really get to studying for finals! I only have one this week, but it'll take some time to memorize dates and information. I'm glad to have had this day to gear up for the week and also to connect with these three. Sam is graduating in 5 days, so any time we get with her is valuable!