Sunday, May 29, 2016

Normal Not Normal (Comments of a TCK)

I did something I've never done in my life before. I drove up to see my grandparents on my own on a completely normal day. 

This might seem like a completely normal thing to do, and it is, but not for this Third Culture Kid who grew up with an ocean separating our family from most of my extended family. We would visit grandparents every 2 or 3 years and occasionally they would come to Europe to see us too. It was always a special day though when we got to visit with them.

Since I'm in Colorado this summer, I'm only an hour away from my Patty grandparents. This is such a new phenomena to me! I called Grandpa and Nana a couple of days ago and asked if I could come up to see them on Sunday and for Memorial Day. And so, after going to church this morning, I made my way to Denver and found a cozy spot on the couch to listen to story after story, and felt so welcomed in and cared for. 

Such a simple moment means more than just a visit on a (fairly) regular evening. It's a reality that I've never participated in because of living overseas, which makes today all the more sweet. 

(Photo not posed at all! This moment was so sweet that a second of puling out my phone for a photo was worth it) 

Monday, May 23, 2016

News from "Forest-Lane": A Puppy!

What's the big news in the "forest-lane household"? (Why yes, I have now nicknamed my host family's house to make the referencing of my home during my internship simpler, and also more fun...yes, their house is on a lane, in a forest-ish area...bear with me.)

There is a new addition to the family! This is sweet Jordyn! She's a 9 week old golden retriever puppy, and a 10-year-old boy's new best friend. He has been asking for a dog for years now, and since he's turning 11 here pretty soon, summer is about to begin, and he doesn't have siblings as playmates at home as an only child, his parents decided it was finally time for a puppy buddy. 

Jordyn arrived at Forest-Lane yesterday, and has been melting our hearts ever since. Even her cries at 2AM were excused by this college-student-intern-summer-guest because of her innocence and cuteness. We shall see what stories lie ahead with this one! Will she remain compliant and sweet, or will she be a troublemaker? Or perhaps both? She is a puppy after all. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Internship: Week 1

It's a good thing that I'm required to write a journal for my internship requirements, because a lot has happened this week and thoughts of transition constantly run through my mind. How to even capture week one of my internship?

I've been challenged this week, since I jumped head first into the MTI schedule, becoming a "floater" between the different classrooms and assisting wherever is needed. It's been a lot of learning by observing, copying, and asking questions here and there, and the Children's ministry team has been so welcoming and helpful as I'm the newbie there.

MTI feels like a fairly normal job/internship, besides the fact that I'm not working with neighborhood kids, but with kids who are about to move overseas with their families on mission. What a unique place! I'm still learning the ropes, and the lingo as well. You know how every organization has a certain culture, and "ethos"? Even though I'm still in the States, and I'm in Colorado (where my dad grew up), it is still somewhat of a culture shock because it's a completely new ministry setting. Within this new setting there are certain values, standards and even ways of speaking that I am slowly learning and adapting to.

Even with all of this transition, I can say I am grateful to be here. It takes adjusting to be anywhere new, so I'm glad that this new place is MTI. And lastly, I'm glad to be in a place where the skies are extra blue, the weather is always changing, the sun is bright when it shines, and the evergreens are plentiful.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Patty Party and A Graduation

The end of the semester was a whirlwind, as expected, and it's hard to believe that it's over. My apartment is packed up, classes are finished, exams are done, graduation is over, and even the drive to Colorado is behind me.

But I can't skip ahead to where I'm at quite yet, since I do want to remember the weekend of everything wrapping up for the semester.

Caleb and Haley drove back to Chicago so that Caleb could walk at graduation to celebrate finishing his time at Moody. Mom and Dad were here for his graduation too, and the whole family had about 24 hours together, which is a rare occasion these days, and always merits a family photos because of that (with a tripod, of course!).

This Patty Party on Friday was bittersweet, since it's the last one we'll have in Chicago (unless by chance everyone made it to my graduation next year at this time, which I'm not even sure I'll be able to make it to after finishing in December). Tyler and Lara won't be in the Chicago area much longer, and I'll be done in December, so these days are coming to a close. They've been hard ones, challenging and full of ups and downs, but also rich in relationships and growth, which is why this season will always be a very important and sweet one.

Even though Caleb technically graduated in December, I'm so glad he came back to walk at graduation so that we could all celebrate with him on Saturday. He has modeled what it looks like to serve humbly and generously even amidst studies and work and life. He's also the one who taught me that it's possibly for homework to be worshipful when it's presented to the Lord and in love for him, and he consistently displayed that to me and everyone he interacted with during his time at Moody. 

I know so many, including me, have been blessed during his time at Moody by his diligence, love and interest in others, hard work, incredible attitude, compassion, sense of humor and delight even in the littlest of things. 

I'm proud to be known as your sister, Caleb! 

Caleb and Haley - you're amazing for all you walked through during your time in Chicago. And I'm excited to see what the Lord continues to place upon your hearts as you continue on in Colorado and beyond.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thursday Transitions

Today marked a the beginning of yet another season of change. 

Kelley and I had our last Thursday morning coffee date, and reminisced on the last three years we have spent at Moody. We talked about what we've learned about God, about people, and about ourselves through our time here. Kelley graduates in a week, and I graduate in December. I'm hoping to still see her in Chicago when I get back from Colorado after the summer, but she's still in the process of seeking the Lord and deciding what next steps will look like after the summer. 

Then tonight, I had my last PCM (Practical Christian Ministry) with this lovely team up at the Great Lakes Naval Base. The experience up there has been invaluable for these past two semesters. It hurt my heart to say goodbye to the kids, knowing that they too would be moving with their families soon as well, as military families do. This PCM not only gave me insight into the life of military kids, but also helped me better understand the AWANA system, and learn to apply what I've been learning in the classroom to ministry settings. 

I also have to give a shoutout to this team, who drove an hour up to the base and an hour back each Thursday! It has been a pleasure getting to know them more, and sharing life with them on car rides, which is strangely a treat here at Moody when car trips are few and far between otherwise. 

The next changes will be coming soon too... I finish up the semester next week, and then head to Colorado on the 15th with Caleb and Haley. I'll start my internship at MTI on the 16th.

What a whirlwind that will all be, but one I will not be in alone - the Lord is ever faithful and near. He sustains and is my anchor when everything else is constantly in transition in this season of life. And not only does he constantly provide his grace, but he patiently makes it known to me again and again to strengthen my feeble faith. He shows his Fatherly love in tangible ways just so that I can know and worship him more. Without his initiative, I can never be faithful apart from the faithfulness of Christ.

Disappearing into Homework

The title sums up how I have felt for the past week...or maybe few weeks. Homework continues to press in upon life, and I'm in the home-stretch of the semester. By next Tuesday, I will be done with all of my projects and exams, and all that will be left is packing up my entire apartment for the summer (no small job though). It's hard to believe that after I finish this semester, I only have one more left once I come back from my internship.

In light of that, I present to you: the view from my study spot. Both of these photos were taken within half an hour of each other. Yes, this is Chicago weather. Despite the quick changes that constantly happen here in the city, I'm trying to soak in my last Chicago spring as well. Remind me again how it's possible that I'll be graduating in December??

Also, I'm working on a unique project for my Romans class that consists of a series of blog posts for a specific purpose and audience. You can click HERE for the first post on that blog that introduces the topic and follow along as I finish this assignment (which is due on Monday!).