Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Dressed in Black

Yesterday we found out the Biruk's paternal grandfather died.
So I got to find out the traditional Ethiopian way of dealing with a death in a family.

They recently changed their phone service and got a new phone number, so although he died on Christmas Eve, they were not notified until yesterday. I guess Biruk, his mom and I were the only ones who knew yesterday.
Biruk took it fine, he doesn't remember him that well.
See it is customary to wait to notify people of a death until first thing in the morning. The whole family comes over, the family is told of the passing of a loved one, then they cry, eat breakfast and have some coffee. After the person has cried themselves out, the laughing starts. The rest of the family's job is to laugh and be joyful.
Biruk's father, Getachew (yep, spelled that way, pronounced that way: Get-a-chew) is the main focus of this.
So I woke up this morning at about 7 am to a knock on the window. Z----, a friend of the family who is basically family and staying here for Christmas was out late last night with friends and arrived back early this morning.
I run up the stairs in my pjs to let him in and then head right back to bed.
About ten minutes later I go to the bathroom (still in my pjs) and on my way back see the living room full of Biruk's extended family. Now I feel a little awkward.
Biruk's dad is told and you can here him crying loudly.
Which wakes up Biruk's younger siblings, who want to know what is happening.
Their cousins and Z---- are in their bedroom, they just woke up to loud crying noises and it is nearly 7 am on their Christmas vacation. So their cousins tell them, and then they cry.
I didn't mean to put on black clothes purposefully, I just threw on some black pants and a drab-colored sweater.
Biruk didn't mention that I was supposed to dress a specific way, but when I enter the living room I notice that the brightest shade in the room is brown, and the overarching theme being black.
I help make breakfast.
A few days ago I made french toast, which everyone liked. Biruk asked me to make it today for breakfast. So he and I spend the next half hour whipping up french toast for about 15 people, which ended up being eaten like toast- no syrup, no forks- but I think they still enjoyed it.
After breakfast was served I ran back to the kid's room to sit with them- they will speak English.

So I followed what I was told was tradition and told them stories to make them laugh;
like falling in a lake and having to wear my friend's clothes the whole rest of the night at my first Jr. High co-ed party.
or when I messed up the word for 'chicken' and 'male genitalia' in Thai; the difference between 'ghai' and 'khai'-very embarassing because I thought I was asking a boy where his chicken was... only I wasn't. He was very polite about it.

So I got them laughing, and when the over-load of family members had started to dwindle, they came out to mingle with the family.
We ate lunch.
A few more people left.
We played with playdough, and when I say we I mean everyone present. I am actually quite talented at creating things out of playdough, if I do say so myself. I made a little display of birds being hatched- an egg which was cracking, a bird half-way out of an egg, another bird with an open egg beside it and a momma bird flapping her wings.

It was very different from what I am used to with family members dying; being told right away, given space and alone time. Perhaps being a little pampered- one's favorite meal, watching TV to get one's mind off of it.
However, I see the benefit of the support group that comes around you, family coming in and out all day to pay their respects and sit with you so you don't feel so absolutely lonely. It was very different for me.

Tomorrow we are supposed to leave for Edmonton- three hours north of Calgary.
It's my Christmas present from Biruk; a few days in Edmonton and....

BUNGEE JUMPING!!!

I'm super excited about that.
It's indoors- in North America's largest shopping mall; which also has an indoor beach and a roller coaster. If you've ever played with an elastic band after it's been out in the cold you might understand why it's best to do bungee jumping indoors when it's in Canada.
I am still trying to convince him to jump with me, but he won't give.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In the early, early morning

there is a one-hour time difference between Calgary and Winnipeg.
Last night, before I went to bed I prayed about this summer. I prayed about if God wanted me to return to Winnipeg and spend the summer there. I felt that I was supposed to spend my summer there this year when I was in Venice and other places in Europe; why would I be thinking about that little city while I was on vacation? I felt that God was calling me back there to work.
And then my school closed and my focus has been else where; should I transfer? what should I do? will I graduate on time? if I can spend the next semester anywhere and take online courses, where should I go?
And... somehow I didn't feel an urge back to Winnipeg. Not that it is all about feelings... I just wanted to more clearly hear where I was to go and what I was to do. Perhaps with my school closing other aspects of my future were to change?

Last night I prayed (and I know it word for word because I often write my prayers): Lord, please lead me and guide me concerning this summer. There are so many options...I'm not sure what ot do. Please help me to listen to your voice, understand it when I hear it, and believe what you have to tell me, and act on what you have said. Before, I really wanted return to Wininpeg and now I just don't know. Can I not hear you as clearly simply because I haven't been listening? or is the plan really changed? Am I supposed to go somewhere else? To do something else?"

That was around 1:30 am Calgary time, which is 2:30 am Winnipeg time.
According to police and people who heard the gun shots, that's what time he was shot.
The Free Press had the best story on it of the newspapers I've read.
I heard about it this afternoon... but it's still sinking in.
The main thing I imagine when I see him in my mind are some of his tattoos- mainly the portrait of Mary, the mother of Jesus on the inside of his forearm.
I remember when he grabbed my purse and took out the Bible...
I remember I used to be scared of him, but then I had to repent of that; for the opposite of love is fear and it was keeping me from caring about him... it was unfair of me.
I remember writing him letters when he was in jail.
His family lives in the same apartment building I used to live in- actually, only one or two away from my apartment.
I wrote a poem for him...
He made a significant impact on my life; he was the first drug dealer I ever met.
That needs clarification; met other people before him who were drug dealers...but I didn't know for sure until I met 'the Boy in the Red Hat' as I called him. He was the first to be so real infront of me, to trust me, to know I wasn't an undercover cop.
A good source told me this morning that as far as she knew, he hadn't been getting into trouble and since being released from jail not too long ago, had been 'being good'.
The news suggests the murder was a result of a fight at a party that same night.
L----, boy in the red hat, Hot Sauce- rest in peace.
You had a huge impact on my life, I won't forget you.

I think I'm going to Winnipeg for sure this summer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

decisions

I had a premonition!!! on December 11 the Upland campus will decide to not accept the Criminal Justice program... I'm just kidding. I received an email which had tomorrow's date on the memo. I still don't know where this leaves me, but at least a decision was made!
Now I just have phone calls to make, questions to ask, schools to visit and time lines to think of.
Graduation seems... like.....it's.....just...within...reach....

Monday, December 08, 2008

Finals...

I got a 100/100 on this paper, so I thought I'd share it. The only thing written anywhere on it said that it was one of the best papers my professor head received on this topic. I don't know that I did that good of a job, but I'll share it anyway, if it seems choppy, it's because I cut out parts that I didn't think you'd be interested in reading. Also, I got a 100/100 on my final- but it was only three questions and they were oral, so, ya know. It's my social work class, too bad that's not my major anymore, but to any future employers- it still is my concentration for my associates!!!

Correlations Between Social Work Values and the Christian Faith

The profession of social work has been shaped largely by the Christian faith’s belief system. Many not-for-profit organizations and other charities are religious based, or have values that reflect the values of Christianity. According to Beryl Hugen,

“Historically, the whole shape and operation of organized welfare is inexplicable apart from…religious conviction and commitment. Jewish, Catholic and Protestant thought have continuously shaped the ideological basis of social work practice.” (2008, p.1)

However, at times, humans used Christianity as a reason for refusing to assist the poor. The early murmurings of social welfare in America, such as the Charity Organization Societies, proposed that the poor needed a friend and a moral uplift to help lift them from poverty. Poverty was seen as a moral issue; the result of sin or laziness (Trattner, 1999, p. 67). Thankfully, as social work has developed, this idea is not held.

Although some would argue that the gospel is about saving souls and not justice, the scriptures are very clear that social justice is a foundational aspect of Christianity. Consider the life of Christ, and how he challenged the social structure of his times, concerning the foreigner, females, and the outcasts. Jesus tried to bring equality to people and break down the barriers separating them, he came to bring justice and preach of a perfect world; how things were created to be (Cunningham, L. & Hamilton, D., 2000). Consider for a moment that Jesus’ words of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ as about the perfect society; and how greatly that would have offended the leaders of the day. No wonder he was sentenced to die!

The social gospel emphasized the primacy of changing unjust social and economic structures as opposed to a focus on individual change. Transformation of the individual would follow social and economic change and individuals would find meaning in their lives through radical alteration of the very fabric of society in which they lived... the social gospel proposed a world that took up the teachings of Jesus that challenged privilege, power, prestige, and social conventions. (Schmidt, 2008, p.169)

Social justice in the field of social work also seeks an ideal world where all people would have the same opportunities, rights and social benefits. Service within social work is necessary; it is the practice of “providing help, resources and benefits” to clients, groups and communities (Kirst-Ashman, 2003, p. 31). Notice that this is providing help, not establishing or carrying-out such things independently; but with the participation of those involved. This incorporates the dignity and worth of a person- to not take away their rights to choose; therefore retaining their free will, which is often termed ‘self-determination’ as well as the importance of human relationships. Social work recognizes that human interaction is important and such connections are influential in promoting change.

Service is not a passive option, but one of action. Jesus came, yes preaching and teaching, but also healing and feeding. He met practical needs and took action. Likewise, social work is action-based. It is not a profession that focuses on meetings and talking about making changes- it works on practical ways of implementing plans, programs and actions to help people. Even those who work in the area of making policies, part of the process involves making sure a policy can be effective in the real world. Social work is about action and about effecting real people’s lives. As is the Christian faith; James 1:27 says “Religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress” (NIV). In other words- real religion, true following of Christ is to be acted out in caring for the vulnerable; widows and orphans. This is exemplified in the life of Christ, who did not merely say that he loved the world and preach sermons, but healed the sick and fed the hungry. Christ took action and Christians are called to do the same. It is best summed up as; “The Christian biblical command to love God and love one’s neighbor as one’s self was directly translated into a sense of moral responsibility for social service” (Hugen, 2008, p. 30). Christ combines all the other laws into two: love God, love others, within these two commands we see backbone of the Christian faith. Luke 10 is the parable of the good Samaritan; a parable that emphasizes taking action in helping others. It is interesting to note that it comes as the answer to an expert in the Law’s request of how to inherit eternal life, and after Jesus sums up of all the laws into ‘love God, love others’, and he ends with “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37). It is a command for all others who claim to obey God and follow him to also love others in action, not only words.

The Bible clearly shows that God is concerned about injustice, and the life of Christ represents one of caring for the oppressed and fighting for justice. The commands given to God’s chosen people, the Israelites, involved rules about caring for the poor, the widows, and foreigners living among the people. For example, in Exodus chapter 22 Moses tells the people:

Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will by aroused…your wives will become widows and your children fatherless (v21-24).

Also, according to Hugen, the Hebrew concept of charity, represented in the Old Testament was directly related to this notion of justice:

The helper benefited from the act of charity as well as the one receiving help. It was a reciprocal benefit that balanced relationships between people. God specified the need for interdependent relationships, and charity was an aspect of this...God intended that society benefit by sharing resources among all its members in a just and equitable way (2008, p. 30).

Social work apart from Christianity sounds very humanistic; it holds that people all have innate value and worth, and strives to help people reach their full potential (Plotnik, 2008, p.442). However, where is the basis for humans having more worth than any other creatures? In a Christian perspective, there is the recognition that humans are made in the image of God, and that the death of Christ has redeemed humans, therefore each person has value and is deserving of dignity. How does this connect with serving the poor?

The earliest biblical records reveal distinctive guidelines for the care of the poor. The guidelines are shaped by the covenant relationship of a people with their God who represented love and justice. If God is Creator, then all people should be treated with respect and care. This is a way to honor God. The guidelines apply not only to individuals and families, but also to the larger community and society (Hugen, 2008, p.106).

One was to practice justice and care for the poor to respect humanity, as the image of God, the Creator.

Here I took out about 2 pages worth- discussing the aspects of 'importance of relationships, integrity and competence within social work. I thought that might be much to read and it really was not all that interesting...

Just as a social worker is to take action to impact the lives of people, Christianity is to be lived out. As the apostle James says, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (2:18). Sadly, too often churches leave charity up to faith-based organizations, not-for-profit groups and the government. Those roles were commanded for Christians to fill. Jesus refers to the ‘sheep’ as his true followers when he says “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36). Each one of the listed things involves action, and does not refer to a position of the heart or an amount of faith. Christ expects his followers to do something, and says that in helping someone in need, they have helped him.

Social work and the Christian faith have foundations of service, social justice and integrity. Social work recognizes that humans have value and worth and that healthy human relationships are important; Christianity holds that people are made in the very image of God and that their worth is tied up in their Creator and that they were made to have relationships with one another and with God. The career of social work and one’s faith working together can be a powerful force in influencing society.

Bibliography

- do you really want to read the bibliography? I have it, if so. But that's just nerdy...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Who knows?

As you probably know, my school is closing.
The announcement was made about two months ago, but sometimes it still feels surreal. Colleges just don't close, right? and with so many unanswered questions and people's futures hanging in the limbo, it seems even more ridiculous that it is being closed so hastily.
I am still a criminal justice major and I do not intend to switch or change, I really feel this is where I am supposed to be. However, Taylor University Upland has announced that they refuse to make a decision about the criminal justice program being added to their campus until November of 2009.
That's right; after the school year has started,
after people would have made decisions about their future schools,
too late for me to take any classes there (not that I wanted to),
but also too late for me to know the requirements for the new program for completion of my degree.

It's incredibly frustrating having your future waiting for other people to decide about.
And I'm a junior and I don't want to be in school for two more years (or more!).
Looking at nearby schools, ones that have announced that they will take all credits from Taylor Fort Wayne that have criminal justice programs, but the outlook is not too pretty, but I do have alternatives in mind and I'm waiting for further guidance of what to do.
It would be nice to just put it in the back of my mind and enjoy my time, but I've not been able to do just that.
Why couldn't I just be normal? why couldn't I just finish up in four years like most people?
I definitely feel the urge to just take another break from school... but I am coming back spring semester- I am determined to graduate with a degree this spring!
Last night was Dec 4, Dr. Duane Kilty Day. No really, it was. The mayor of Fort Wayne, who was fighting to keep this campus open wrote out the papers and made that day, (which I believe is also Dr. Kilty's birthday) an official holiday. It was the school's present to him as we all said good-bye. He was working and planning and creating strategies to keep this school open, when it closed he was offered a job at a nearby university and he took the offer. We are all really excited for him and will miss him.
I've learned so much about trust and faithfulness because of the school closing. The professors, students and staff teach me new lessons every day. And as we grow closer as a school I learn more about community, supporting one another, grieving and rejoicing together than anywhere else I have ever been.
I think that perhaps my one semester (soon to be one year) at this school has taught me more than all of my other educations ever could; how ironic that this is the school which is closing.
I am thankful for my college. Although I often wonder God's hand in it, I haven't doubted his direction to come here, and I still believe I was called here. I see it more clearly in all the lessons that I have learned while here; it might be temporary, it might make a longer journey to graduation and a degree, but it was, and will be worth it. I don't regret it one bit.
I am thankful for Taylor University Fort Wayne.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

names

I stole this because I liked it. It is what my name would be if I needed a name in one of these categories:

WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: Joan White
(Mother’s & father’s middle names)

NASCAR NAME: Robert Eugene
(First name of mother’s dad, father’s dad)

STAR WARS NAME: Paelle
(First 2 letters of last name, first 4 letters of first name)

DETECTIVE NAME: Green Monkey
(Favorite color, favorite animal)

SOAP OPERA NAME: Marie Fort Wayne
(Middle name, city where you live)

SUPERHERO NAME: Yellow Wine Cooler
(2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink)

FLY NAME: Elpa
(First 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)

GANGSTA NAME: Peanut Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut (wow! thats a LONG LONG one!)
(Favorite ice cream, favorite cookie)

ROCK STAR NAME: Beautiful Rudisill
(Current pet’s name, current street name)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

boys

"He offered to pay for dinner and pay for my gas!"
poor girl, she actually thought the guy asking her out was doing something nice and being charming.
We told her that yes, we did want her to have fun, and no we didn't have a problem with the guy; we just wanted her to realize that for almost any date it is customary that he pick you up and pay for dinner- this guy was not doing anything special.
Biruk hates me bragging about him, but I can't really help it!
So many things I hear people say and they really think that they had a nice catch or a good guy, and I just think how much the standard of a good guy has dropped in our society.
I know that the Twilight buzz has hit many girls, and I am glad for it. Because despite the main character being a vampire, he is a good guy. And I'm glad that girls around the age of 11 and 12 and much older are looking to 'Edward Cullen' as a standard for their guy; someone who opens doors for girls, who protects others, who cares about their family- ya know, more than just offering to pay for dinner.

I really hope that girls start to raise their standards for boys!
I'm thankful for Biruk.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Home

I've been wandering for several years now. Ever since I graduated from high school, the longest amount of time I stayed in any one city or town was when I lived in Winnipeg. But while there, I had several different residences.
6 months was the longest amount of time I lived in any one of those residences.
It's not a complaint; because I had some wonderful experiences in of those places.

I had different experiences at each living arrangement; the family and the sisters, helping with the newborn, living with people my own age, dorm life, college roommates that scared me, learning about different cultures: becoming a family.
I would not trade those experiences or memories for anything (well... I might trade a few of those horrible experiences)
And I'm very, very thankful that I was housed and sheltered for so long and in so many ways.
Last night I got to talk with my Winnipeg family; learn about how they are transitioning back to Canada after spending several months ministering in Nepal. Dad got his ear pierced, K--- got a tattoo, A---- adopted a dog which they actually brought back with them to Winnipeg, and more stories. They asked about my future plans and when I would visit them again and reminded me that I always had a place to stay with them.
If/when I go back to Winnipeg, I already decided to stay with my dear friend Netta and her sister, who happen to live just a few blocks away from my Winnipeg family. 'Dad' laughed and said that I had plenty of homes in Winnipeg.

Yes, I have plenty of places to stay, to crash, to transition in... but sometimes I feel like I don't really have a home. (parents- please don't take this personally) I feel like I am always traveling... and then when I do stay in one place for too long I get antsy because I am not used to being so grounded, becoming so familiar with things.
I feel that way with school right now- I'm so ready to be finished and moved on. I'm so glad that I played soccer, I feel like I kept me busy enough and delayed this nomadic urge.

Today I read Zephaniah. Chapter 4 talks about how the wandering people (in this case wandered away from God) will be brought back to him. God promises to bring justice and joy and that "at that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home."

I'm going to move around more. Obviously with this school closing, I have to go somewhere else. I will have to go somewhere this summer. And when I finally graduate, I will go move somewhere again.
But... Remember in Finding Nemo when Dory, the amnesic fish tells Marlin not to leave her, because when she looks at him she remembers things, when she looks at him she's 'home.' I like that part. I think that's what good friends are... and even more what Christ is.

I'm home when I'm in Christ and no matter how often my location continues to change, no matter where I am- I'll never be without a home. Which maybe doesn't connect with the Zephaniah verse, but it made sense to me.
I'm thankful for home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Counting

13 days until Thanksgiving. I will get to see my family! I won't have to share a bathroom with 50 other girls! And I've been eating awful food for so long that I had Chick-Fil-A chicken today and thought I had died and gone to heaven the chicken tasted so good. I realized then that I really need to start eating better than what is served here.

28 days remain in this semester. Actually- that sounds so, so long! 4 weeks left- I'm ready for it to be over now! I'll just think of it this way; if we take out Thanksgiving break and the weekends, then it's only 21 days! (which is still 3 whole weeks!!!)

32 days left... I've been counting down until I get to see Biruk again. I haven't seen him since July and I'm sure my roommates are sick of hearing me whine about it.

40 days until Christmas! I love it; it's one of my favorite holidays. I really enjoy thinking of gifts to give people, and wrapping them all pretty. I like the lights decorations and how cheerful everyone is. The music gets on my nerves, but that's about the only thing. I even don't hate the cold and snow so much during Christmas time.

And then 46 days until this year is over and the book on 2008 is closed.

What do I still want to accomplish before this year is over? I think this time of year is more motivating to 'get things done' than the new year with all the New Year's Resolutions- you are one a high from all the celebrations and gifts and cheerfulness, you don't think about all that still needs to be done.

And at the same time, as I get older it becomes harder and harder to see the significance of the New Year. I attended a Jewish service a while ago, just before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement- the day of rebirth and new beginnings. Why can't the new year start there?
And Biruk's country lives on a whole different calendar than the rest of the year and his new year is in September and is the year 2001 by their calendar.
I'm afraid to say this- but maybe I'm just getting old and the time is going by so much more quickly that it doesn't matter as much to me. That's sad...

School is going great. I'm earning a little money running the shot clock for the basketball games. However, my friends who play on the team aren't too happy about that, because then I can't yell and scream for them. I'm ahead on my assignments, volunteer once a week and am taking an online class that I'm almost half way through (and I only started it about a week ago). The professor who asked me to 'not disagree with him' chastised me the other day because I wasn't participating enough in class. Listen, buddy- you can't have it both ways! Either I participate (which he doesn't like and says is disruptive) or I'm gonna be quiet.
It was kinda funny though... since I don't talk much anymore, hardly anyone talks and when they do, it's often to question or disagree with him. And I swear I didn't encourage anyone!

Really, thats the only class I do that in- all of my other professors are more competent in the subjects that they teach (is that mean to say?).

Have I mentioned yet that I'm ready for school to be over?
I really am in awe of the people who are able to stay in school straight for 4 years without a break between semesters. I've got to hand it to my siblings; and Anna, my hat is off to Pierry, because we was able to go 5 years straight.
Please, give me some tips of how you managed to stay put, keep focused on school for the spring semester- and especially how you stayed sane!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's Official!!!

Yesterday I took a new, big step in my life.
I've never done this before, and it's a bit frightening- I feel so tied down.

I signed up for classes next semester.

So I'm going to go to the same college for two semesters in a row... I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it!


Also- please pray for Biruk on Nov 13- he has his citizenship test!!!
I might be dating a Canadian soon. Again, please pray for him. He's waited a while for this and is really excited.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I get it from my father

I've been told I should be a lawyer.
Apparently one of my professors disagrees.

Our class likes to ask a lot of questions- partially to get off topic, but also because it's humorous to see him get flustered if he doesn't know the answer. So he began class one day saying that if someone asked a question that would take too much time to answer, then he would not 'go down that rabbit trail'.
Someone asked an on-topic question, but he shoo-ed it away by saying that there would be no questions on the topic. So I raised my hand and asked, on behalf of the class, how we could be expected to learn if we couldn't ask questions?
Since then, I've continually had fellow students thanking me for speaking up in class because they 1) find it entertaining, 2) it helps the class to go by faster 3) it helps them to think critically about things.
On Friday he ended class saying that there was 'no overarching theme' to the Book of Song of Songs/Solomon (pick whichever you prefer).
I raised my hand and asked if there truly were no theme, as love and romantic relationships certainly had a major emphasis within the book.
My prof got a bit huffy and asked if it was a serious question and then agreed that I was correct, but there was no plot to the book (which is different than a theme, he he).

And as we studied the Psalms we reached the Lament Psalms. He asked what was significant about Lament Psalms. I was good; I raised my hand and waited to be called on, and then said that Lament Psalms praised God, despite the difficult situation being faced and proclaimed the writer's trust in God. For some reason that answer was wrong and the correct answer was that the Lament Psalm was a symbol of trust because the writer was praising God despite his situation. In response, I said was that it was not a symbol, but literal because he was not symbolically trusting God; he was literally trusting God.

Today, he nicely, politely and privately asked me to 'stop disagreeing with him in class' because it was disruptive.
'Is it okay to still ask questions?'
'Yes, of course.'
well... you should know that many years ago I spend a few weeks in the Caribbean with no television or radio and our main source of entertainment was 'the question game'.
The rules are simple- every thing said must be phrased as a question, if you say a statement or anything else that is not as a question you lose.
I became really good at it.
I hope you're ready to have my disagreements presented as questions!
And remember- my major is criminal justice.
Oh... I think this might not be my least favorite class after all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I had a job interview the other day.
Too bad being upfront and honest probably didn't pay off! I don't know for sure yet.
I wasn't going to seriously look for a job until soccer season was over, since I would hardly ever be able to work because having games and practice all of the time.
And then, with not being here for J-term, it seemed silly to even consider a job until I returned after January. However, I was called in for an interview, which was a surprise.
Actually, I would probably love working there- its a bakery (I love bread!) and they help out the community with giving away some of the bread to charities and such.
I figured it would be best to mention right away that I was going to be leaving for a while, and not come under false ideas that I would be able to work right away, especially as they are very busy during Christmas time. Imagine a brand-new employee asking for a month and a half off after only working for one month, I might have been fired!
So, I don't know how it will turn out, I'm not worried about it either way.
See, I was hoping to be here for at least another year, and then I could get a job and work there for a while, volunteer at the same place for about a year and get lots of experience. With the school closing, I have no idea what I will do.
It's difficult to stay focused on school when the school is closing.
I'm sure it is much harder for our profs to continue working when they realize their jobs are done after this spring. But the community is really pulling together; students have been going on road trips to visit other colleges, taking people they hardly know with them. The profs are pouring into the students and helping them complete what they need to, even though they are also losing their jobs, need to consider their futures and their families. The administration still prays with people; enrollment and admissions (who are no longer needed and will probably be leaving soon) are friendly and helpful and have treats for the current students.

What hasn't been helpful so far in this change has been the Upland administration. Not that everything is their fault or that they are to blame for our school closing. However, this campus thought it would be helpful for the students to host a "college fair", as every single student that is not a senior has to find another college to go to. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Nearby schools were being invited to come, especially Taylor Upland. Instead, the 'officials' who are above the administration at this school put a stop to it.
So all the commuter students who don't have the option of attending Taylor Upland just have to look around on their own.
All the students who have scholarships that are exclusive to this school, which probably won't transfer to Upland just have to look for other schools and be treated like any other student who is transferring.
Thankfully, some of the nearby schools have been more accommodating- some have announced that they will accept all credits from Taylor University, regardless if it exceeds their normal required limit (as most juniors would have exceeded it). Other school's coaches have been scouting athletes and looking for scholarships for them if they want to transfer to that school. And other nearby schools that my friends have visited were incredibly hospitable to them; setting up meetings with advisers in the fields they would like to study in, showing what classes would count for their requirements and working out possible plans with them, should they choose to go to that college.
Yet... Upland hasn't made many decisions for students as of now. They've said a at least 1 program that will not be at Upland: Pastoral Ministries (however, they are required to allow students who are sophomores or juniors and already declared and begun their major to complete it in some fashion- which is good news for me, because they haven't made a decision on Criminal Justice yet!) Still, it is very aggravating that not only was our school closed, but those who are supposed to be making decisions about all these things- like what programs and majors will be transferred to Upland, what will happen to scholarships and other questions we have were not considered in a serious enough fashion to be answerable at this time.
Advisers and professors cannot help students make informed decisions because there is not enough information and our questions have not been answered.
And when there were attempts made to help students- such as college fairs, they were prohibited. It should be mentioned that although they chose to not allow a college fair to happen here- the Upland campus has yet to visit here and recruit students.
I might sound very enraged, but really I'm not. It is talked about on a regular basis on this campus, so it is just part of my life right now.
That and the stank that is constantly in the hallway... ughh.

Tonight is our last soccer game ever. I'm excited about it, we plan to have alot of fun!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh! pretty bruise

Considering the bruise, and that it is a raised welt and feels like a rock, it should be no surprise that when I was rammed in the side I fell over, saw black and was unable to walk right away.
The trainer said that I had 'rock hard muscles' I was about to thank her for the compliment when she said that it was a bad thing that my muscles were so tight.
I played the rest of the second half, but my sprint wasn't a very fast one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's a strange freedom in realizing that there is nothing left to lose. What else can be taken from us?
It's brought a strength and unity to this campus, in the midst of everything seeming so hopeless.
People dance more now- what can anyone do to them?
Professors joke about slacking off- what's the worse that can happen to them- they're already being fired.

What do you do when everything has already been taken?
That's what we are trying to figure out over the next few weeks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh, Sad Day

"After 16 years of trying to build a presence in Fort Wayne, Taylor University announced today that it is closing down the money-losing branch campus of Taylor University Fort Wayne — leaving about 340 students searching for another college next year."

Well, happy Monday all students- the school is closing after this spring semester.

4 years ago, I never, ever would have guessed at the struggle it would be for me to graduate college. I contemplated this afternoon, sitting in the dining commons with the other students and the faculty as we heard how our futures were about to change, how someone else- a board of people who we have never met and know so little about us just changed the course of our lives... I thought about how I would have been a senior this year and be graduating in the spring and none of this closing down the school and campus would be affecting me. I would be... that is if I hadn't obeyed God's call and spent nearly two years working in Winnipeg. I would be nearly a senior if I hadn't taken that 6 month break earlier this year, visiting my sister in Brazil, working in Calgary and living with a great family. But then I remembered that I don't in the least bit regret any of those choices and I would do them all again- including my choice to come to Taylor Fort Wayne. I love this campus, I have learned so much and really am enjoying myself.

Parents- you are prophets to have joked that I would transfer yet again. However, this is not by choice.

I am a believer in finding the positive in every situation, something to be thankful for.
I found several things;
I am part of the first and last (and only!) TUFW women's soccer team- what a legend to leave!
I am so glad that I am getting my Associates this spring, so I still get a degree from this campus- along with the last ones awarded.
And also, this whole school-closing this is making people do the things they wanted to, but kept putting off. Like going on trips, my roommates and I are planning to go to Chicago, and now we actually will. Those classes I wasn't sure if I would take on campus or online? many I will now to taking on campus, because I want to be able to take them with certain professors; like my RA who majored in math and is teaching a course this spring. My roommate's father, a former police officer who (hopefully!) is teaching a course on American Policing, and even if I have to take them through independent study- counseling courses with my favorite prof.

I am a bit discouraged, but more determined than ever to finish my degree.
I'm not average, and I couldn't be an average college student, but I never expected so many hurdles or that it would be so difficult to finish.
I have a life list in the back of one of my journals- one of the items on the list is to graduate from college. No matter how long it takes me, or how ever many schools I have to go to I will graduate some day!
I heard this awesome "last lecture" online by a professor who was dying of pancreatic cancer and about how to achieve your dreams. He said that brick walls get in your way to see how badly you are willing to work for something.
I really, really want this. If I do end up finishing at the Upland campus, I still want my degree to say Fort Wayne.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Enter October

We tied our soccer game on Friday. 2-2.
Even played double over-time, but no goals. But hey! it's another game we didn't lose!

I started an online course on Friday. A 1 credit hour orientation to online classes. Now, remember I have taken several online courses already, but this class is required for my associates degree. For all relatives reading this- yes, I am still going for my bachelors degree (2010, lets hope!) but I also have the opportunity to earn my associates without putting myself behind and only taking about 2 extra classes- classes which also can carry over towards some of the the extra social sciences I need! So I started this course on Friday. It's Sunday evening and I AM DONE.
whew. that was easy.
So I signed up for another online course tonight.

And for those of you concerned about my social life, I also had fun this weekend.
Here's my proof:


I carved a pumpkin for the first time today. In real life it is a little pumpkin, about half the size of a soccer or volley ball, but as the saying goes, that camera adds ten pounds.
Fall is here and Halloween is coming!
I'm going to be a big girl this year and not go trick or treating. Instead my roommate is having a party at her house, a fire, candy, dressing up, all that jazz. (So I still get tons of candy without having to walk all over the place for it!)
I even have my costume all lined up. I am going as a basketball player. My volleyball player roommate is going as a soccer player and my basketball player roommate is going as a volleyball player. Expensive costumes this year, huh?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Shabbat/Sabbath

This evening I was supposed to volunteer at the YSC with YFC, and although it didn't happen this today I realized I hadn't mentioned it at all on my blog.
As part of needing to fulfill mandatory volunteer hours (yes, an oxymoron) for one of my social work classes, I've been volunteering. Thankfully, we were allowed to pick where, what and when and I picked something I enjoy and that is relevant to criminal justice, as well.
A few weeks ago, a kid went off on a rampage about Mexican orphans between the ages of 12 and 18 who are imprisoned simply for being orphans because there arent' enough orphanages to take them and if they aren't adopted, that is how the government takes care of them. He talked about how it would only take 300,000 to release them from jail and why weren't people getting involved in this?
Open your eyes, (little sheltered boy) that happens in America, too. At YSC, some of the children are there because of crimes committed, some are in there as a mid point either to or from the youth correctional center and some are in there because they are waiting for a foster home to open up that can take them. There aren't enough foster parents, or enough room in group homes often, especially for teenagers or siblings trying to be put into the same home, so they must wait for placement in a youth center. These children may not be orphans, but whatever circumstances have happened that make their homes unfit places for them to live shouldn't mean they are sent to a detention center, but what other option is there when there are not enough foster or group homes?
I really enjoy volunteering there, alot of what we do is similar to when I volunteered at the Youth Center in Winnipeg, only there is more of a turnover here (because in Winnipeg it was similar to a jail, whereas you could maybe call the YSC more like a remand center).
However, I did not volunteer there tonight. Soccer practice usually inhibits my schedule for volunteering because it falls just in the middle of volunteering- early enough I would only be able to volunteer for about half of an hour and late enough that I would show up late and have no transport there. However, soccer is over in about 3 weeks and I am very thankful of that!
After soccer practice, I attended a Jewish service with my roommate. It is part of an assignment for one of my classes, to attend a church service with an ethnic group with which you are unfamiliar. And then boiled it down to- you could not have attended a similiar church or worship area before. So that ruled out African American churches, Buddhist Temples and Thai churches (although there aren't any here), Hispanic congregations, African churches and possibly even mosques, because although I've never been to one, I think living with a Muslim family rules out my case for being unfamiliar with that group. So, it was either the Korean or Jewish. The Jewish Temple was closer, so it won. However, we both really enjoyed ourselves. The service was calm and incredibly relaxing. At no point was I bored or felt like I might fall asleep, however when the service was over I felt so calm and so rested that it was as if I had been in a spa for about an hour.

There wasn't really singing... instead it was more like chanting and then reading some passages together. I've been attending a Lutheran church lately and there's several parts with chanting and responsive readings. It wasn't like that at all. And the hymnals were in English and Hebrew and because they read from right to left, the book started at what I normally think of as the back. So page 1 was in my right hand and page 600 was in my left hand. It wasn't an NIV Bible or a King James Version, it was... the Jewish version, I guess. They mentioned that all of the scrolls and scriptrues they read from were all the same and implied that everyone would read from the same version. They used alot of different names for God instead of just God and Lord throughough the passages. Adonai was popular (Everlasting God) I was surprised at how little Jehovah and Yaweh were used, because I've been told that is a popular Jewish term for God. At times if felt like we were reciting poetry together and other times they chanted in Hebrew and I just read the English translation.
There wasn't really a 'sermon' instead they talked a little about Yom Kippur and gave a little of the traditions because apparently there were alot of visitors that night and alot was explained that I figured would often have been a normal part of worship. There was a short story that stuck with me and we learned about the day that the Jewish people, as a community celebrate rebirth. They put a big emphasis on community, which stuck out to me because Christianity has an emphasis on helping a community, being part of a community, but not necessarily about a community faith, often one's individual faith is emphasised (how are you doing in your walk with God? how has God been moving in your life?). At the end, there wasn't a call forward, there was no push or even encouragement to join or to make a decision or join the temple, it just ended and people greeted one another. It was comfortable and relaxing. I felt so rested after the service- I can't remember feeling that way after a church service or really after any function, unless I received a massage during it.
And then when I returned, some one had been in my room in put a password on my computer, so now I can't get on. I'm sure it was one of my friends, but it's really annoying because I don't know who yet. I'm typing this on my roommate's computer, but hopefully I will be back to my own by tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Go Figure, We Actually Won A Game!

4-3.
and we sent a girl on the other team off in an ambulance.
Oh... October. I don't know if I'm happy or not for fall.
It's chilly... but I usually enjoy fall. Jumping in the leaves. Bonfires. Hot apple cider.
Many of the team members, me included, are counting down until the our soccer last game. But soccer is also a fun part of fall.
We have a game this afternoon, by the way.
I am deciding about my change in major, but happily stuck in the justice area, leaning towards criminal justice, victims services concentration with probably a minor in psychology and counseling.
The most exciting aspect of my change of major is that I can take my practicum anywhere!!! As long as it fulfills the requirements of the practicum and I have a reliable mentor while I am there, I could go to Los Angeles, or Nairobi, or Thailand, or Winnipeg. That thrills me and has put me in a good mood all week. With the social work major I had to be within a certain radius of Fort Wayne, which was really 'crimping my style' to hold me in one place for so long.

Now I get to dream up the places I'll go...
Speaking of which, I bought my plane tickets for this Christmas. I'm going home. Well, my most recent home. I'm excited to see the mountains again, even though it will be during the winter. And I will get to see my niece and nephew (Mr. Solomon and Umi) again. Also, a few more of my friends have been shifting over to Calgary, hopefully they will still be there in January.
The ticket cost a total $88 due to taxes and almost all of my air miles, but I'm not gonna complain when I realize the gas to Indianapolis costs about the same amount.
And of course, I'm not taking a J-term class, because I know that I wouldn't be able to finish spring semester unless I get the break during Christmas time. However, I'm already signed up for two more (1 credit hour each) online classes and then hope to take another online course over January.

I really am enjoying college. Still looking for a job, still deciding my major, waiting for soccer to end, chugging away at finishing up.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I decided to change my major.

I assumed that I was a weird enough 'college kid' with all the moving around, the breaks from school, the transferring and the online courses that I would also be an oddity in being one of the few college students who doesn't change their major throughout their college career.
I've said I wanted to be a social worker for years now.
Thinking back, if I had stayed at Spring Arbor I probably would still be a social work major. The program there seemed to be much different from the one here, and there was a lot of support from my professor and adviser at that school. Social work was presented in a different way, as well.
Here is different, mostly a good different and at times just a 'different' type of different. This mostly refers to the social work program.
For one, it is dying on this campus. Apparently, doing well on the Upland campus but no so hot here. I have a class with 5 students in it, and now, with myself included two of those students are changing their majors. Many of the social work classes are being offered only on the Upland campus, meaning that as a Fort Wayne student, I would regularly have to travel to Upland to complete my degree (so why not just transfer to Upland?)
Also, because of the change in where classes are offered, major courses required for my major that have to go in a specific order are not especially brought attention to for say, transfer students. So without knowledge that I could take courses at Upland, or that they are only offered there, I was not able to take the first of 4 courses. Being unable to take them out of sequence (and I asked) means that I am set an entire year behind- graduation for me would be in 2011.
I'm not willing to be set behind by a year.
I considered my other options- taking courses at another nearby school or online, transferring again, or changing my major.
I really, really like this school and I don't want to leave again. I know that transferring will only set me back again, and only mean that it will take me longer to graduate.
I was also confronted with my avoidance of counseling. I'd told people that they could use counseling as part of social work, so why not take social work as your major? However, I personally was a bit afraid of counseling myself. I didn't want such a role and I was afraid to do so.
But I'm pretty good at psychology and I understand it really well. My favorite professor is for my abnormal psychology class and he teaches most of the counseling courses. Being afraid of counseling is not a good reason to not do it- If I thought I would be bad at it, that would be a different thing. However, I would probably be good at it.
So, I'm considering majoring in counseling instead, probably with a minor in criminal justice, maybe also in justice and ministry.
Or criminal justice with a concentration in victims services and a minor in justice and ministry. However, I would really like to minor in counseling, but I don't see that its offered. However, I want to talk to the head of that department to see if an individualized minor is available. That would be kinda cool, too.
Considering the number of classes required, I could complete them in 3 semesters (if all the classes are offered at the right times), the latest being in 4 semesters. So I would graduate in the Spring of 2010, or in the fall of 2010.
That sounds much, much better to me.
Also, I don't really enjoy my social work professor's classes, its all note taking off of power points until my hand cramps (and she won't post the powerpoints online, either). So we all scramble to write them down, but have little time to actually listen to what she is saying. I can't say I'm going to miss her classes much.
It wasn't a frustrating decision to make at all- I had fun looking up the different courses required and reading about the careers that usually went along with such fields of study. I prayed about it, as well and asked that what I was supposed to do would be made clear. So when I met with my adviser to find out that what I intended to do wasn't possible, I said that I would then be changing my major. My prof nodded and said she understood, but never asked me to rethink it or gave any pressure to stay in my major, which only made my choice the more clear.
I can still do alot off the things I want to do in the future- work with refugees (if I go for counseling), work with juveline offenders (with either major or minor in criminal justice), work with non-profits (with a minor in justice and ministry) and help people and have a positive impact in their lives. Because that's really at the heart of what I want to do with my life, whether I do that with a different label on my framed piece of paper doesn't matter as much to me as I once thought it did.
Oh, and I'm declaring an associates in justice administration, which doesn't actually mean very much, but is another piece of paper I get.
And for one of the first times, I made a decision that is going to effect and alter my life and future, but didn't move anywhere!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I attempted to take a picture of the purple bruise on my chin, the the camera just wasn't able to capture the grey-to-deep purple circle hiding just under my chin.
In our game on Saturday I was elbowed in the chin while running for a ball- I don't know if it was intentional or not, but either way it was a hard hit that hurt worse than a bunch because an elbow is pure bone. So, sorry, no photos of soccer bruises in this blog.
And the girl in the photo with me, as we stand in our jerseys all ready to take on the other team; well she tore her ACL. I don't actually know what that means, except it is near, on or some other way involved with one's knee and she needs surgery. So she is out for the rest of the season.
I feel like I jinxed her by taking her picture!

I really enjoy my Abnormal Psychology class, although some people think I'm crazy to find it as interesting as I do. I really enjoy my psychology or therapy classes and have done well in all of them, which is interesting seeing that I am afraid of counseling and desire to be in a feild of social work where I do not have to administer any counseling... All the same, I guess its a good thing I enjoy it an am good at it, because then I will be very good at referring clients to counseling if I recognize a need for it.
My social work class is a repeat of the one I took at Spring Arbor, only they wouldn't let it transfer. So I feel like I'm refreshing everything but learning nothing new. I'm not sure how to word how I feel about my Biblical Literature class, except that I doubt the professor's competancy of the subject in practically each class- sometimes I challenge his statements or bring up questions that should not be too difficult for him to answer. So in one sense, I enjoy the questioning and challenging, but for all the wrong reasons and on the other hand I am frustrated with how riduculous it is.
And I feel it already... that desire to just be done with school and living in 'the real world' and having a job and not living this strange movie-like, reality-show feeling stage called college life. Do most people feel that? or do most people really, really enjoy college and want to stay there forever? Don't get me wrong, I love this school, I've made great friends, I'm excited about my opportunities here and I really want to graduate and have my degree. But, I still wish that I was a senior already and that this was my last year- or last semester, that would be even better!

As I sat down to eat my lunch today, I was informed that there was a mouse under my bed. Within those 30 seconds, suddenly the rest of the cafeteria was bustling about the mouse that ran from the hallway and under the crack under our door and straight under my bed. I was not there at the time, but my roommates were. Apparently, it was last seen under my roommate's bed, but no one has seen it lately and glue traps have been set.
I wanted to name him Stewart, as in Stewart Little. But one of my roommates was really grossed out by it and didn't want me joking about it, she was disgusted that there was a mouse in our room. There's not food on the floor and we vacuumed just the other day, so I can't imagine it will stay for long. I just wonder how it managed to get on the second floor and ignore the boy's rooms below us- easier access and surely more food available!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ankle News

So apparently, I strained or pulled a ligament from the bottom part of my calf down to my little toes. Thus the pain and swelling. I'm going to the doctor on Monday.
I know, hard to believe that I am willingly going to a doctor, but I played on it today and I figured that I should see the doc before our next game.
It looks like a golf ball is embedded in the side of my ankle and some artist has gone to work with water colors for the beautiful lines of bruising.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First Game of the Season


For the record, we can officially say that we did not lose our first game! However, we didn't win it, either. The game was called on account of the storm and the campus has been murmuring about how God is merciful because we were losing 5-0 and the first half wasn't even over!
I'm not surprised, I didn't think expect much of our team, but we are sure to have fun.


Within the first five minutes I collided with a girl on the other team and rolled over on my neck and this morning it hurts terribly! I've already scheduled a massage with a friend. It had begun hurting during the game and I wanted out for a minute or so just to rest my neck.
But the coach didn't see my arm up and I kept playing.
Our field has horrible, horrible holes all through it. So I was running, running all by myself, no one near and suddenly I fall into a hole and my ankle goes sideways.
I wish that it had been more exciting and impressive, like I was going for the ball or tackling someone when I turned my ankle. Nothing impressive like that, I just simply fell over in a hole.
And then I stand up in terrible pain and suddenly everyone is around me because the ball is there and I can't hardly walk, or even hobble let alone kick the ball out of the way. I scream for a substitute to come in for me, but the coach can't hear me, so I finally just kneel on the grass.
The didn't score during that time, but it took about another minute for the game to stop and me to get off the field.
Then our brilliant 'trainer' attempts to see what damage is done while I am still wearing my shin guards. It needs to be noted that my shin guards have ankle pads in them, so as she is feeling all around my ankle and making 'hmms' she actually is not able to feel my ankle at all.

She said it was only a little swollen, but she may have thought that I just had 'cankles' because she wasn't comparing it with my other ankle, as that was still in uniform.


This was last night, already starting to swell.
This morning, with my little temporary tattoo of Sebastian, you can see that i basically have no ankle at all any more and there's a beautiful bruising of green around the outside.
So now I get to be included with the numerous girls on our team that are injured! Oh joy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blessed

On Tuesday I had a much too short conversation via facebook chat inviting me to a wedding this weekend.
I agreed.

We had no contact again until Thursday evening, trying to figure out how I was going to manage getting 3 1/2 hours south by Friday evening and back 3 1/2 hours by Tuesday evening, at the latest when I don't have a car and he has a busy schedule. That was plenty of time, because we managed to swing it, with shelter fitting in there as well!
I felt like I was in the movie "The Wedding Crashers" because I did not know either the bride or groom, yet the family was so friendly to me and included me in inside jokes and photos. I basically ate a lot of food and danced with people I didn't know. Everyone told me to have a good trip home and that they enjoyed having me there. It was interesting, but great to feel so welcome.
It was also great to see my friend. We see one another about once a year, or less. And we'd been trying to be in the same town at the same time all summer; I knew that if I didn't go to this wedding I might not see him for a long time. Apparently, I might not see him for a few years after this.

I had a great week, blessed by:

--great roommates who think and use their brains and have reasons for why they believe what they believe (which is like a breath of fresh air on a conservative Christian campus, because sadly, too few of Christians think)
--great catch-ups where we completely skipped the movie because we needed no outside entertainment
-- patient friends who didn't mind driving me or waiting around for me
-- getting to see my best friend and her adorable puppy
-- a wonderful phone call that lit up my evening
-- catching up and laughing about the 'old days' and current lives with my wedding date
-- randomly being at home and will get to see my family for a day
-- no homework for this whole weekend
-- an A- in my online course

So many wonderful things have happened to me over this week, and even when hard or challenging things came up there was encouragement, friendships and hope in through all of it. I am finding it hard to express how blessed I feel, just having experiences bits of the love around me and the glimpses of God's movement in my life are so encouraging and so... it takes away my words.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I really like it here, I'm happy.

Hey, so I just took my final exam in my online course. And now I'm DONE!!! I officially finished my first junior-level course.
Now I only have 16 credit hours, two months left of soccer, required regular volunteering (I know it's an oxymoron) and a really easy online course. I feel so much better having this class done and behind me.
Also, playing soccer is counting as an athletic participation credit. I talked to my advisor and am getting another transfer credit to cover a required course. When they finally factor in my IU credits from when I was in highschool, then I will get to see what I still need to take. Hopefully after this semester I will be a junior!
It feels... comfortable here. Not the comfortable as in in my comfort zone and I'm not willing to step out or try new things. But comfortable as in it took me little to no time to feel that I fit in, to find a niche, make friends and be able to settle. The wonderful comfortable where your shoulders can slump and you almost instantly relax and feeling anxious will only happen for exams and tests and not for making friends or awkward conversations (because those don't exist!).
I really like it here, I'm happy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Faves

I love this angle of the little home jammed between two others. This picture was taken in Switzerland.
Venice. The building was huge, with plenty of windows, but only these six or seven had flowers on them, it lit up the whole greyness of the building.

My favorite picture of Venice, walking through and arch beside/in St. Mark's Square. The lighting of the sun setting was just perfect!
I perhaps have a soccer scrimmage this afternoon, we won't know for about two hours yet. We have to play 7 on 7 because we don't even have enough girls to make up a whole team! Well, technically we do have 11- exactly 11 (which is required for a game) that means no substitues. Unfortunate, because one of our players pulled a muscle and is supposed to be out for a little while. That puts us to 10.
And with 2 other girls feeling pains in knee joints, or strained muscles there's not much hope for us. But it is sure to be a fun season!
We are scheduled to have 2 more girls arrive when the freshman come this weekend, that means that atleast the injured girls don't have to play in the games.
Oh my, I will be doing alot of running!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Staying

I put all of my clothes in drawers, my books in shelves and my shoes in closets. I put my sheets on my bed, plugged in my alarm clock.
I am moved in!

After living out of a suitcase for this whole year, I finally unpacked. It was a strange feeling, sort of freeing while at the same time feeling tied down.
I even bought a cell phone (email me if you would like my new number). But I did not get a contract, as I have 'commitment issues' with getting into contracts. I just feel so tied down to staying in one place for a year, or two years.

My roommates are great- I have no worries about anyone using my toothbrush, looking at porn on my computer or moving out without any notice to me (which are all reasonable worries, since I experienced those things). They seem really nice and fun.

And I think I'm going to like it here!!! I haven't even been here for a week, but the outlook is so good!
I like my room- it is the largest of the dorm I live in.
There is a Panera Bread not too far away, as well as a Steak'n Shake and a cute coffee shop with wifi two blocks away.
The campus is nice, not very spread out.
There is a minor league hockey team, the Comets, that play here.
I have made friends already- several girls on the soccer team are social work majors who just got back from a month-long trip to India and Thailand, we were fast friends which plenty in common.
I was already invited to (and attended) a church which was really nice.
And the semester hasn't even begun!
God has been so good to me- my main requests were of good roommates, which He has already given to me (over and above!) and now so much more.
I really like this school already; it has exceeded my expectations.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My 200th post

I finished packing the car in all of about 30 minutes (maybe less).
I feel like I am taking way too much up to college with me, but I am comparing that to my move to Winnipeg for about 2 years, wherein I only brought 1 giant tub (mostly full of clothes) and my hiking backpack (again, mostly full of clothes) on the bus with me. And I had to take many more sweaters with me to Winnipeg than I am taking up to college.
I didn't want to be too light, and maybe taking more things will ground me a little bit more and keep me stationary in Fort Wayne, right?
My indulgence for college: a bread maker. It's my little 'unnecessity'. I love fresh bread, and coming back to a room with my bread all baked and ready to eat sounds wonderful. Hopefully making my dorm stay feel a little more like a home. And taking an appliance with me is something I have never done before (besides a hair straightener or my alarm clock, do those really count?). So perhaps it will help make this feel less like a transition and more like the stage in my life that this time is.
I would love all of your prayers as I head up to college this evening. I have never been to Fort Wayne and I don't know anyone there, so it's time to make friends all over again. And I am going to school, so please pray that I focus on my studies and balance my time with my studies and that I don't let up too much on my distance learning courses, either. I have 1 term paper to finish, which is mostly done (I just have about 2 more sources to gather) and then I am basically done that course (except for the final exam... grrr).
Please also pray about me finding a church, as I was unsuccessful at that while in Calgary. I've been tipped off by a few friends that use to live near Fort Wayne about some prospects, so that may help. And Fort Wayne is nicknamed 'the City of Churches', so hopefully no problem there.

And now I'm off to be a nerd and finish up some of my homework before I head up to college and get too busy to focus on it. Either I'm very driven or just a geek who is too far behind in school... probably the last of those options.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A charge

Finally, the killer has been charged with second degree murder.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Glad I already swore of Greyhound

After my last episode with the Greyhound bus lines, I don't ever want to use them again.
The latest news about a man who was beheaded on the bus doesn't change my tune at all.

A bus headed from Edmonton, Ab to Winnipeg, Mb was near it's destination when a man suddenly began stabbing a fellow passenger with what a witness called 'a large hunting knife.'
Nearly 40 passengers watched the man stabbed reapeatedly, his head cut off and then the killer wave the decapitated head around for them to see.

Very, very creepy.

What concerns me almost more than all of this is the judicial response. The man has not yet been charged. He is still being called the suspect. With nearly 40 eye witnesses. Still a suspect. The police finally removed him from the bus and took him into custody. But still a susptect.

I realize that there will need to be a trial. I realize that there will be testing to see if the killer (suspect) has any mental problems or disorders. There will be testing done for drug usage and an ongoing investigation to see if this was premeditated and if there is any connection between the killed and the killer. I understand the necessity of all of that.
But for him to still be called a suspect? Are there other people running around suspected to have beheaded someone with a large knife on that same bus? If not, I hope the police can rest assured that they have their man.

You can see one Winnipeg paper's recent story here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Prague and Venice were nice.
Switzerland was picture-perfect.
Most of the trip was a blur.
Everything happened very fast, sometimes we traveled to three countries in one day!
I remember that Prague was beautiful and we were all surprised by how wonderful the Czech food was, because you don't often hear of Czech chefs or popular restaurants serving Czech food- but it was amazing... so, so good.
The statues lining the Charles Bridge were blackened by pollution, but still great to look at.
Venice only stank a little, and it was very beautiful. The glass making we witnessed was fascinating and there were too many tourists. Our room in Venice was beautiful and the whole hotel made me feel like royalty.

Apparently Milan was terrible, people were rude to us there and we had to spend the night there because we missed our train.
I got some homework done, but not as much as I had hoped. Perhaps I was punishing myself a bit to assign homework to myself while I was supposed to be vacationing. However, I really do need to get it done, and I'm trying to discipline myself so I don't end up killing myself when I'm full-time in school.

And this trip has also been good for my relationship with God. Taking a break from my normal routine helps me to get a better view, sort of look at that relationship from a new angle. And also, God has been speaking to me through my adventurous personality and my wandering spirit.
When did I feel the closest to God?
When did I feel the most alive?
Where did I feel at home?

Well... Calgary was a transitional place and started to feel like my home at the end... but still, I consider my home church in Winnipeg, my closest friends reside in Winnipeg and most of my 'homes' are stationed in that city. And for the other questions, I would say Winnipeg continues to be the answer to them.
When I moved to Winnipeg I did not expect it to be exciting or adventurous, however, as I travel around in Europe I continue to be reminded of that city.
I don't need to be some place exciting or exotic, I just need to be where God wants me. His plans for me are exciting, more challenging and adventurous than I would pick for myself. Yes, living in Winnipeg was not dull. And Calgary was the change I needed at the time I needed it.
And I know that God's plan for me is best, however when I follow it I often still long for something 'more exciting'- being somewhere warm and tropical or interesting. However, the most exciting is not in where I am on the globe, but simply in living my life.
I have a few more weeks before I start school in a city I have never been in, to a school I have never visited and I don't know a soul at. It's not that I'm nervous, it's just the strain of starting all over AGAIN.
A new city, a new residence, new friends, new schedule, ect. I am glad that I transfered, however sometimes part of me wishes that I had transfered to a school in a city I had lived in previously, because that might make the transition easier. But no regrets- I'm running at this full-force.
I'm getting a cell phone and a Rebtell number. I'm buying plenty of calling cards to keep in contact with friends all around. I am going to look over my travel plans for the next few years to see what fits in where. I am going to make friends and get to know my new city. I am going to church hunt and find a place to volunteer.
I'm going to mix all of my lives (my Spencer life, my other college life, my Calgary life and my Winnipeg life, and now my Fort Wayne life) and stay in touch better than I have done before. And my life is going to be exciting and wonderful! It's not based on what country I am in or what title I currently have- I am still me and if it's where I've been called, there is something for me there. And so far, God's plans have never been boring.
The only question now is- how many semesters will I stay at this school? (I might be joking...)