Tuesday, April 28, 2009

10 divided by 2

5 things I have seen that I think other people should see before they die:

1. The ocean. Biruk says he's been to Lake Winnipeg and that's just as good. I finally got out a map of the world and asked him to show me Lake Winnipeg. He couldn't find it, because it's too small. The oceans, he could see those right away. He needs to see the ocean before he dies- everyone should see the ocean before they die. Not just see it, either- swim in it.

2. The sun setting or rising while in an airplane. Words can't describe... it's like seeing poetry, flying past it... so beautiful to fly past a purple and gold colored cloud. To actually be in the sky while the sky is green or orange. Red-eye flights are definitely worth it.

3. A live fire-dance show with poi's or batons. If you could be the one twirling the fire, that would be even cooler, but if you prefer to just watch the flames swirling around some one's head, that would be cool, too. The risk of something being lit on fire is worth it.

4. Phi Phi Island, Thailand. I can't wait to go back. It's beautiful, fun, exciting, or quiet if you wanted it to be (just stay away from the night-life areas). It's considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. I took photos and people thought that they were post-cards, those cheesy ones that look so picture-perfect and idealized. No, I took those with my crappy little camera, and I'm no photographer, that's how beautiful this place really is.

5. A shooting star. Actually, everyone should see the night sky full of stars. A few times in my life have I seen the sky full of stars, and every time there have been several shooting stars. They are amazing to see, and even if you see them again and again you will still be filled with excitement; like watching fireworks, you never get bored and never want it to end. In Kotido, Northern Uganda, one of the smallest towns I had ever been to, and they only had electricity a few times a week. This night, there was none. I was in awe at the night sky- it was beautiful! I don't remember the name of the place, but it was in northern Michigan, with a school trip. We were far away from any town, let alone a city. I saw near to 15 shooting stars that night. West Virginia, on a mountain, if you lay on the hill on a clear night you are bound to see a handful of shooting stars.

Now, 5 things that I would like to see before I die:

1. Medjugorje, Bosnia. A mountain where 6 children claimed to have seen visions of Mary, mother of Jesus. These visions came at specific times and days; once a month, once a year, ect. depending on the particular child. As they grew up, the schedule didn't change and tests were performed on them. Now, everyone knows that people don't use all of their brains all of the time, maybe only 10% of our brains. However, brain scans were performed on (at least one) of these children- by that time adults, and during the time they claimed to be having a vision, their brain activity increased to 100%. The entire community has come together, offering their homes and being hospitable to travelers coming there to renew their faith or grow in their faith. I think it's really cool that the whole community has come together to be hospitable to travelers.

2. Lalibela. A church in Ethiopia, shaped like a cross that is carved out of a single rock. It's really old, sorry I didn't look up exactly how old- but it draws crowds from all over the world and is packed full of worshippers on religious holidays.

3. San Francisco, California. For some reason, over the past year I have had a fascination with this city. Every time I read something with the name in it, I pay a little more attention. I can't really explain why I would want to go there. I have wanted to go to California for a while, just to be there, but San Francisco is where I would like to visit, possibly live. Maybe it's because of the art in the area, the Mediterranean-like weather, or the Bay; but I want to go there! Every time I watch re-runs of the show Full House, I think about that city.

4. Bruce* (not his real name). I've never met him in person. I've talked to him on the phone, emailed and talked through facebook, we've exchanged letters. We have seen eachother through plexi-glass and talked through phones, but we have never actually met in person, talked face to face in a private conversation. It would be nice to meet this guy who I've been friends with for nearly two years now!

5. The little boy Biruk and I sponsor. He lives in Ethiopia and we have talked about visiting him when we go visit there. He's written us letters and sent us pictures, but we would like to meet him face to face. He is such a cutie, with little dimples (his picture is right next to me as I type this). We would like to hug him.

Now- do your own! The things seen or should be seen do not have to be physical locations or places.
Dad, even you can do this one, you've traveled alot of places and seen alot of things!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

charcoal bug

I've been going berserk the past few days with drawing with charcoals.
One is for an art project, and the other is my mom's mother's day present and my father's father's day present. Yeah, I'm ruining the surprise, oh well.
The first one is a photo from the Prague Castle, in the Czech Republic. I really liked this picture and the way the stairs twisted and I really liked how my charcoal drawing of it came out.

The second one is a hut in a refugee camp in Uganda. On the side, the words "WITH GOD EVERYTHING IS" and around the corner was the word 'OK'. Pretty powerful stuff when you consider the surroundings. I was very careful about taking pictures in refugee camps; I didn't want to strip away the dignity that these people still had. They had worked so hard to build their huts and maintain them, paint them with whatever they had; I did not want to barge in their home; the community they were trying to create and ruin it by taking pictures all over the place. However, when I saw this picture, I couldn't help but take a photo- it was so moving!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I have been INCREDIBLY annoyed with immigration Canada; that is, the immigration Canada offices in the USA.
I know for a fact that in Canada, Immigration and Citizenship Canada called and talked to Biruk. Go figure, a real human being!

I try to call the nearest Canadian Consulate (here in the US) and listen to a five minute long recording that gives me the email address, mailing address and operating hours of that consulate and then reminds me that they do not take any calls via phone; only in writing.

So, I send off a very clear email. It took me a while to write it, all the questions so clear I felt like I was treating the reader as if he or she was a moron.
However, when I read the email I received in reply, it was full of links and other websites to visit and did not answer a single one of my questions!!!
I specifically asked: "What is the difference between Sponsoring your Spouse to come to Canada and the Family class visa?". They couldn't even have cut and pasted the definitions of those two visas for me?
I also asked "What is the difference between a Working Holiday Visa and a Student Work Abroad Visa?". Again, no answer. In fact, this was one area where they did not even reply.

I just wanted to talk to a real person! That's all I wanted, really.

We DO have a few different options that we could pursue and do know which first step to take regardless. But, Biruk and I want to
a) pray more about it first
b) talk to someone about if there are other options, or which options are best
c) weigh the consequences of each
d) and have a few questions answered based on our choices- such as, what documents I need to bring when entering under a tourist visa when I intend to study with a program that is 6 months or less, or if I intend to visit for a few months.
And basically, I just want to talk to a real person!
I called the Service Canada line, they were friendly, but not very helpful. The lady didn't really listen to me and then gave me a phone number that is only accessible in Canada after I explicitly told her that I was in the US.
Perhaps real people who have talked to me at that number. However, since the number would not work in my location, I guess it doesn't matter.

I've emailed the list pertaining to my internship and what not to Biruk for him to ask all those questions for me, while he is in Canada.
Perhaps, though, I should just wait. I plan on visiting him in a month, either way.
And the first thing to get started on doesn't require that I know that answers to everything else. So, even if I don't get all my questions answered right away; its going to be okay. It will end up working out.
But I would like human communication, not just random links (which I already was aware of through their internet, so obviously it was still lacking in clarity) and an email 8 hours later.

Wonder if you saw this on the news; but Canada just changed a law to allow persons who were refused dual citizenship by Canada have now been allowed it back. So people who gave up being Canadian to become a citizen of another country can now be both; and not only them, but their children, as well! Which mean's there is about to be a lot more Canadians. Canada estimates that the majority of these 'new citizens' will be from the US.
This is what I found amusing; how they are explaining it and getting the word out is through a YouTube video.

Yes, the government of Canada is using YouTube to explain how all of these people are now citizens.
Does that say more about the government or more about people in general that they are using that as their messenger?

I might sound grumpy, but I'm really not.
The semester is almost over.
I'm excited about the summer.
Doing pretty well with completing my assignments and staying up on my school work. I'm having fun and I am enjoying this time with friends.
I have, however, been very busy. I wanted to get together with my mentor, but it has not happened in quite a long, long time, which I feel bad about.

I feel like time is going by at just the right pace; fast enough to make me excited for the future and to not miss Biruk so horribly. But slow enough to still dream and to work on the things which need to get done.
I feel content. Which is a word I don't often use because it makes me think of neutral; not really happy, not really sad. But I feel it's the appropriate word right now. I AM happy, I am calm, I do not feel worried or anxious (which may change come finals week!). There is nothing I feel that I am lacking that I immediately need (answers to my questions might be nice!) and I know God is working it all out.
I'm really thankful right now, I feel so blessed and so content (in a happy, not neutral, way).

Monday, April 13, 2009

for my grandmother, she keeps asking my dad...

Probably Not Having a Wedding

I do like flowers. Lilies are my favorite.
I do like dressing up and having my hair done for me.
I really like black and white pictures.
I enjoy riding in sleek limos.
I love a good party!
I do like dancing.
I've always had a taste for those small, soft mints that always seem to be at these functions.

But, I'm really not interested in having my own wedding.
Love to attend other peoples'... just not desiring my own.

I think it's several things:
--I don't want all that stress, which I guess is connected to all the planning and then building up that one single day which is supposed to be enjoyable, and most people tell me is actually really stressful.
--We are from different countries, simply picking which country to sign papers in and legally get married is going to take a lot of planning!
--I'm not really that kind of person; my sister said it very well- she is more of the princess, I am more casual about things and don't like to follow tradition. I'm also very simple.
-- and we do not want wedding gifts. I know it sounds crazy, but we talked about it. If we were to get married in the US, we would have to haul that stuff back over to Canada. If friends and family shipped it to Canada, all the forms and fees to ship it!

I still intend on getting dressed up, having my hair done, buying some pretty lilies, taking a lap around town in a limo and having some nice pictures taken (maybe even eat a few mints)- whether it is just to sign some papers or stand in front of a few friends and family and recite vows.

But for now, that's not really on my mind.
Getting to Edmonton, however, is. We've found a few visa options that look promising, and I'm calling to talk to a real person tomorrow to hopefully get more guidance.
We don't want to be married for at least a year, unless it seems like the only option we have.

It's funny, when you think about it. No wonder most engaged couples are preoccupied with wedding planning, it's the first question most people have asked me. But is it the most important?
What are some questions you (hey, reader- you!) think ARE important to ask?

-who is going to wash the dishes? (Biruk and I still have not come to a consensus on this!)
-who is going to be in charge of the finances or keeping track of finances?
-are you going to take turns on who cooks dinner?
-what country do you plan on living in? (Several, starting with Canada)
-how many real fights have you had?
-are you yellers?
-do you hold grudges?
-do you want children?
-what are the values you share?
-what ministries do you intend to do together?

My friend Kim (love her!) emailed Biruk to ask him if he was going to serve me. Now that is a very good question.

Besides, the wedding doesn't make the marriage, right?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Heading Back So Soon?

For those of you who don't yet know; I'm engaged.
Sorry if I didn't personally announce it to you; I'm not good at that sort of thing and don't like to push myself into the spotlight with conventional celebratory events.
I actually announced it to no one at school; I allowed my roommate to overhear me telling my grandmother. So when I got off the phone with her, I had plenty of questions to answer and such. I then gave her instructions to inform anyone on campus she wanted to, as well as someone who has quite a talent for spreading news.
By the next day, I didn't need to announce it to anyone; problem solved.
Aunt Linda: I was about to tell you the other day when we were chatting on facebook, but then it got disconnected and wouldn't send anything through chat. Sorry!

Of course, it's Biruk. We've been dating for a little over two and a half years, not exactly sure of the date when we started dating; either end of September or beginning of October we became and official couple; but we started going on dates back in August, I believe.

We've been planning our future together for a while.
Now I see God's hand in my direction to this school; not only do I love it here, but because the campus is closing I am finishing up next year online. Therefore, I can move anywhere! So (Lord willing) I will be moving to Edmonton sometime this summer, or really, as soon as possible after the semester ends.
I'm afraid I hinted at it a bit too much over my Christmas/January break when I mentioned how much I liked the city. I really wanted to visit the city if I was going to move there later. And I liked it much, much more than I expected.
A lot of things have fallen into place for me to move to there; as if God was planning it all out before we started to! (hmm...)

We are not planning on getting married soon. We would first like to just be engaged, live in the same country and city for a little while. Long distance relationships can start to screw with you once you see each other again, so we want to get out of that mindset.
Also, Biruk wants me to be finished with school (which I hopefully will be done with by May 2010) and to be started his training (the whole reason why he's moving to Edmonton; to start his secondary education).

Another thing is that we really want to focus on our marriage, not our wedding. One day I will wake up and take a vow, but I want to first think about every day I wake up next to Biruk after I've taken that vow.
So, no wedding plans thought up yet and not predicting any big plans, either. I'm the one who doesn't own an Ipod, uses only pay-as-you-go cell phones (has only ever had two cell phones in her whole life!) and is planning on buying an inflatable bed when she moves to Edmonton; fancy or extravagant isn't my thing.

Despite that we were making these future plans, I told Biruk that I would not move to Canada unless he proposed to me. It's just too big a step for me to take without the promise and commitment there, as well.
So, he officially proposed about a week ago (Saturday). He did good; got down on one knee and made me feel like a queen! Even though I was expecting it, I was still shaking all over with excitement.

Parents; you can thank Biruk that you didn't wake up to a note on the bathroom mirror. That was honestly one of the ways I was going to tell you. I wrote up the post-it-notes and was going to place them on the bathroom mirror for you to read in the morning when you woke up. But then I showed them to Biruk and he said I shouldn't do it that way...
Now I see that he was right.
I'm just not good at this whole 'announcing' stuff. Good thing it doesn't happen often in life!