Friday, August 22, 2014

All In

I am currently sitting in the Dusseldorf airport, taking advantage of 30 minutes of free wifi. This airport is not particularly exciting, especially coming from my other connecting airport, Munich (free coffee and tea!). 

I happen to have sat down in a gate near my own that has a big picture of the Chicago skyline. It's God's reminder to me that that's where He wants me to be again and that He'll be with me there too.

I look forward to my sophomore year. So many times I've thought about how different it will be from my freshman year. I will get to hug my friends again, instead of coming in not knowing anyone. I am leaving Czech for the second time, which is ten times easier than the first time, because I know what I am going to on the other side. I know the blessings of Moody and I have favorite spots in Chicago to look forward to.

But of course, I will miss these hills.


And these walks.


My parents.


The rich history here.


The quaint houses that are tucked away in villages or perched on hillsides.


One of the things I prayed for when I arrived in Czech a month ago was that I would be able to integrate the two sides of my life. That I would be one person, with two places a part of me, instead of two different people in two different places. It's been tricky figuring out how to still connect fully to Czech while in Chicago and vice versa. After lots of thinking, praying, talking with my parents and friends, I feel so much more rooted again.

As I go back to Chicago, I want to follow my dad's advice: Lean in and engage completely. The

more I lean into the Lord and depend on Him for strength (like I got to practice at Gull Lake), the more joy I will actually experience. If I am following Him completely, then I actually might have more energy doing something hard than I would if I did something easy all by myself.

I will live an integrated life. Combine my past with my present, be fully where the Lord wants me to be. But not by my own strength. Only by His grace and with His help.

It won't be easy. I tend to fear, to worry, to hold back and conserve energy for fear of running out. That never works out for me though. God's provision of "water" is a flowing river, mine is simply a cistern that will run out. May I know this running water of Jesus more this semester!

My flight leaves Europe in an hour, and soon I will be in yet another chapter. I guess I'll turn the page and see what happens next!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Real and True

To be honest, I didn't know what it would be like to come home. I knew what my house would look like, that the mountains would still be here, that I would get to drink bubbly water and eat Mom's cooking. 

What I didn't know about was how it would be seeing my friends again. After a year in the States, and a year of living separate lives, would there still be a connection that ran deep? 


The answer?

Yes.

I have been overjoyed to see so many dear people since I've been home. Czechs are loyal friends and they remember just about every person they come into contact with in life. They have so much room in their hearts for others.


It took me a few days (ok...maybe more like a week) to regain fluent Czech, but once it came back, I was able to feel totally normal with my friends here. They are precious to me.

I enjoyed every minute of my walk with Kristi today. She and I sat next to each other for two years in high-school and her friendship continues to mean a lot to me. She is thoughtful, a great listener, thinks deeply, cares for people and has such a happy smile.


I'm thankful for all the reconnections I was able to make while I was home. My fears of coming home and not having any friends were proven not valid. Life here was real. My friendships were real. I did actually have roots here. I still do. Life still is real here. Just like it's real in Chicago now too.


Kristi noticed a heart shape made out of the trees that frames Lysa hora perfectly. It accurately captures home for me. I love this land and these people. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Day in the Life

I think I could write a journal of today that resembles one I would have written as an 8-year-old: 

"Today I woke up at 7:30AM, ate pancakes that I heated up in the toaster and then I walked around the lake with Lucie." 

Well, that's the short of it anyway. The day actually went on in this fashion, with every single hour full until the last of the light dwindled away from the once pink sky. 


When time should be slowing down, to soak in every last day, it feels like it's speeding up. I could expect that would happen. I'm getting in last visits with people I haven't seen yet, and filling up the days with as much of "home" as possible, before I leave for a season again.

I got to explore a new part of our valley today, a reservoir that sits looking up at the Beskydy mountains, not far from where I live. I'm not sure how I never actually ventured out to this magical place until now, but it was fun discovering a new place. Lucie, a friend who still goes to BMA, led the way around the reservoir as we chatted, got rained on, and ate peaches picked up from Billa this morning.

Mom and I had to take Kaylee to the vet at 10 for her appointment, hence the early meeting with Lucie. As we waited for Kaylee to get taken care of (just a regular ol' annual teeth cleaning), we stopped by our favorite new bakery in Frydek.


These cases are full of rolls, loaves, pastries, puffs, cakes and anything else you could ask for. 

It's all gluten-free.

When we came here for the first time a couple weeks ago, we could hardly believe our eyes. "Is everything here gluten-free?" I asked the kind lady behind the counter. "Yes! Everything!" was her answer. My face broke into a huge grin when I heard that. 

Since we found this certified gluten-free bakery, I have indulged in not a few of my favorite classic Czech foods. "Vetrniky" and "rohliky" and other things that don't even exist in the States, let alone exist gluten-free, have brought our family so much joy. To be able to eat these things and not feel sick afterwards is wonderful.

My next stop at 2 o'clock was a house half an hour away with two very adorable kids awaiting. The Thomasons live in this house and moved to Czech in June. Their kids are now Third Culture Kids, though they probably have no idea what that means yet. But they are already learning about Czech ways and will soon be learning the Czech language by full immersion into preschool. Life radically changed not only for their parents when they followed God's call to serve Him here, but for the kids too.  


They have an exciting, hard, but blessed life ahead of them as TCK's. And I got to spend the afternoon and evening with them while their parents went our for a date! 


With puddles, Wii, books, the yard and making pizza to entertain us, we had such a good evening together.

Although it ended up being a packed day, God answered my prayer this morning that it would be a rich and peaceful day. I truly did enjoy every component of it. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17th

What makes this day special?

It's Mom's birthday! Celebration time!! 


Mom - you have given me so much over the years and I am thankful for every memory we have together (and I look forward to many more to come!). You're THE BEST! 


So glad I get to celebrate with you in person again this year. Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Newness

I finally did it.

It's been 10 years since I last had bangs, and it was about time for a comeback! I'd been toying with the idea for a few months and decided to go ahead and get the haircut with my regular hairdresser while I'm here. 


Side note: I love living next to our tiny airport. 


And I love my dog, just sayin'. 


It feels so good to have a change. I was scared I wouldn't like it, but it's been fun!