So we found out its going to be raining in London. What are the odds? Anyway, we decided we didn't want to take our trench coats and instead we would buy smaller cheaper rain jackets. We found one for him right away but finding one for me is a bit more difficult. We finally discovered one that fit perfect in the little boys section of Gap. Turns out I fit in a size MEDIUM in little boys rain jackets at the Gap. Stupid midget body. However my new rain jacket has secret inside pockets for sling shots and rocks. So thats cool.
HHHHHHUUUUUZZZZZZAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Testicles! No, just kidding. Huzzah that I'm DONE! This semester was grueling. I took my last final last night. It took me nearly 7 hours. I'm in a very very very happy place right now. No more school (till I get back) and only 2 DAYS till I leave for Europe. Ha! I'm on cloud 9.I just want to walk around chanting. I mean this time next week I will have moved on to our second country. Woah. I'll be in my last day in Paris. hahahaha. Seriously there is some giddy going on here. Ok. Lets talk itinerary.
April 30 : leave for Europe
May 1-3 : London bridges falling down
May 3-6 : Paris je t'aime
May 6-9: Strasbourg and Black Forest (up till now I have only experienced black forest cake)
May 9-10 : SwissCheeseland and the Alps
May 10-12 : Cinque Terre, Italy :)
May 12-13 : Pisa, Italy
May 13-14 : Civita, Italy - an abandoned fortress to prepare us for...
May 14-17 : ROME - the EMPIRE
May 17-19 : Venice
May 19-20 : Austria
May 20-24 : Munich Germany and home
So yeah, thats all I'm doing for like the next 25 days or so. We are taking the capacity to have a few thousand photos, and days of video so I will be sure to update whenever I can. Its entirely possible that this will be my last post for a little while. I love everyone and everything. I'm just full of love and happiness right now. Lets all go, shall we? :)
I'm in the middle of what is dubbed 'hell week', where I have assignments and papers and readings and finals and work and packing and a sinus infection and family arriving. But rather than complaining, which I have been doing way too much of lately, I wanted to highlight a few things that I'm really grateful for. This helps me keep hell week in perspective. -I'm grateful for the opportunity to get further education. I love being on campus and I enjoy my professors and my classmates. I love learning and I like being held accountable to learn new things. -I'm grateful for wonderful friends. I sometimes feel like I'm not a very good friend because I'm so busy all of the time. But my friends are so understanding of that and are great to me anyways. Seriously this week I've had a friend bring me dinner and another offer to bring me lunch. I've had numerous texts to see how I'm hanging in there. -I have the best counselors and advisors. At my church I am in charge of all the girls 12-18 and I have counselors and advisors to oversee and help with the girls. These leaders are incredible. I'm so inspired by their greatness. All within the same hour the other day I got an email from my first counselor saying she had everything covered for our Tuesday night youth group, an email from my second counselor giving me updates on the ash cloud and reassuring me about our trip, and an email from my secretary that took care of three things on our to-do list. I divy out a lot of responsibilities to these leaders and advisors and I have never, not once, been let down. They go above and beyond in all they do. Its an honor to work with them. - I have the best cat. She seems to always know when I'm stressed out. I took nyquil a few nights ago and while it helped with coughing, I was so grogy when I woke up that I was having a hard time getting out of bed. Knowing just when I get up, my cat came over to the side of the bed and put her face about an inch from mine and meowed in increasing volume till I got up. - I'm grateful for my job. I work at a training company and I really actually believe in our training. I feel like we make a positive impact in the world and I like being a part of that. I also really like the people I work with, and not everyone can claim that. - I'm grateful for my family. I don't get to see them or talk to them much but they are good people and really kind and very funny. I grateful for my life. I am so blessed. This week is rough but it would be so much harder if I didn't have all these amazing things in my life to make it better. So thanks to all of you great people who help make my life so wonderful! We've got one week till we leave for Europe so perhaps we should listen to one or two European artists. Its raining outside so first up is a moody piece. Damien Rice, representing the UK:
Switching gears here is Bireli Lagrene, representing France:
I'm a bit sad by the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) decision today. The ruled to strike down a law that had banned videos depicting animal cruelty. The decision was made because the court felt that the law could be interpreted too broadly, or rather broadly enough to impede first amendment rights of free speech and expression. The law was enacted in 1999 to limit Internet sales of so-called crush videos. These videos are disgusting. They appeal to a sick sexual fetish of deranged people by showing women crushing to death small animals, usually kittens, with their high-heeled shoes. Most states have laws against animal cruelty, but the federal statute targeted the videos because it has been difficult to prosecute people who take part in violence against animals with a camera rolling, but not showing their faces. The one dissenter, Justice Alito, wrote, “The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it most certainly does not protect violent criminal conduct, even if engaged in for expressive purposes." The court encouraged Congress to pass a law that can be less broadly interpreted and representatives have said they are ready to propose new legislation as early as week from now. I really hope that they do. People who participate in animal cruelty are some of the lowest scum on Earth. Why it isn't a felony in all 50 states is beyond me. If you are a resident of Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, or the Dakotas then your state does not make animal cruelty a felony. Many of these states don't have jail time or fines or even counseling for those found abusing animals. If you are a resident of one of these states and want to do something about this, then you need to write your representatives in Congress. I will even find their addresses for you if you'd like. Lets protect our sweet animal pals.
I think we've celebrated it 6 times together? Is this true? This is a picture of our first celebration of your birth as a married couple when we lived in government housing in Virginia. Ha. We've come a long ways since then.
I know you told me not to do anything for it this year since we are leaving for Europe in 11 DAYS! so I respected your wishes and did very little. But I thought I would tell you here on this public forum of mine that I like you and I think you are great and I hope you have a great birthday.
(Also to anyone who reads this, please PLEASE say a prayer that the volcano stuff will not prohibit us from our European travel plans. Your prayers are much appreciated!)
I've whittled my way down to about 30 pages left to write and one last regression analysis and a few hundred more pages to read. My brain is tired. If not for the quantity of work then surely for the type of work its attempting to do. Quantitative analysis is a strange process for this brain of mine. Imagine trying to understand a new language within your own language and then adding symbols. For example, lets say you were talking with someone and they were saying words you didn't understand. They used a word like sycophantic. In your mind as they are speaking you think, ok that word means butt kisser, and you begin to translate a word into ones you are more familiar with and then go back to put the meaning into context. But imagine if every word they used was like that and you were trying to de-code it at the speed they were saying it. Our minds do this naturally to a certain extent but only consciously when its a language beyond standard comprehension. Then assume that every word is represented by a symbol and you must do mathematical equations with these symbols to prove whatever political theory you are working on. Its taken me almost the entire semester just to hang with the language, let alone the mathematics. And thats with a fabulous teacher and hours on my own to retranslate everything into my own trivial terms. How can I be feeling so stupid while doing what I think might be some pretty advanced crap? As I write this there is a huge tea party rally one block from my house (its tax day for those of you who are a bit less informed and tea partyers or partyists or whatever are anti big government spending) and I think it turned into a techno dance party about an hour ago because there is some crazy loud eurotrance music happening. I love living downtown. Always an adventure.
In our church the kids are split up according to age to be taught Sunday School. In each classroom you must have two adults. The seven-year-olds were in need of a second adult and a frantic teacher asked my husband if he would just attend the class so there would be two adults. This seemed funny (if you knew my husband and how awkward he is around kids you would understand). Reluctantly, he went into the class and it was, shall we say, spirited. The teacher was explaining the story of Jacob and Esau. He had one little boy put on a sheepskin and my husband was Isaac and he put on a blindfold to feel the difference between the two boys chosen to play Jacob and Esau. The teacher asked, "now how do you think Esau felt about Jacob?" and the one little boy playing Esau shouted, "I would throw my knife right into his testicles! Huzzah!" My husband lost it. He was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. The teacher said, "Testicles? No, no. No one in the scriptures throws knives at people's testicles!" I want whatever translation of the Bible that kid has though.
I love animals. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to make a career out of petting them and loving them. And don't suggest becoming a vet because I don't want to ever see them in pain. I've thought about being an animal rights activist (poli sci + love for animals) but I'm not sure that I'm extreme enough. I could never be a hunter and I really dislike hunting, but I still think you have a right to hunt, just don't talk to me about it. I think its awful that some cultures condone eating dogs, for example, but I recognize that it is cultural and people have a right to their cultural inheritance. I just can't picture a moderate animal rights activist. By definition they seem extreme. An animal handler might be fun, but I wouldn't want to ever make them do something they don't want to, which again, could be problematic. I guess I need to find a celebrity who wants someone to just love their pet for them while they are away and want to pay me a lot to do that. There is something just so sweet about animals. I'm enamored by their nature and fun personalities. I could talk forever about animals. So I'll just post this video and say I'm envious of this ladies profession.
p.s. She says 'shooting' these animals like 20 times. Probably would've been better to go with 'photographing' but whatev...
We leave in 23 days. It hardly seems real. I am so excited! Our final itinerary is as follows:
Black Forest, Germany
Cinque Terre, Italy
We see 6 countries in 25 days. We are staying with friends of friends, acquaintances, strangers, and in hostels. We will be sleeping on floors and couches and trains and planes. We will be eating in the lowliest European cafes and in open markets. We will be waking before the sun to beat lines so we can see some of the most beautiful works on this earth. We will play and slumber in some of God's most prized creations. We will wear the same clothes for close to a month and carry everything we need on our backs. We will write briefly in journals the moments that we will possess for a lifetime. We will meet the most interesting people and witness their beautifully strange culture. We will pay cash for experiences and forget buyer's remorse. And we will document it all, so don't worry :)
Let me tell you about the man I love. -He loves Walt Whitman. He always quietly smiles when he reads anything Whitman. Start reading Whitman and he will know it is him and he will start to smile. -He loves words. He is a word smith. If he were reading this, he would be silently editing it while he read. Using words like ostentatious because they're fun and he can. -He loves music. When I play piano for hours, we will listen for hours. When I stop playing he will ask me to keep playing. He has enough downloaded music to play non stop for months or maybe years. He is moved by music and will even get choked up at times while listening but don't tell him I told you. He doesn't have a favorite genre and I love him all the more for that. -He loves animals. He talks to them and worries about them and prays for them in our nightly prayers. If he sees a wandering dog, he will always pull over and try and find its owner. No. Matter. What. He tells me animals are in heaven ( which I believe too) and I know heaven wouldn't be such for him if there weren't. -He loves shoes. He has at least 20 pairs. He won't admit to loving shoes because he thinks it makes him sound like he also loves men, but one of the first things he notices is a person's shoes. -He loves cereal. He will eat cereal for any meal, any day, any time. He will sometimes opt for cereal over a cooked meal. Its a bad day if he hasn't had cereal. -He love authentic and funny people. He has an appreciation for fearless, opinionated and real people. He seldom agrees with them but he likes them. And if you've a quick wit, are sarcastic, and especially if you are comfortable with politically incorrect humor, then you are in. Few people are in. So feel special. -He loves nature. He will pull over on roadtrips just to have a moment in the beauty he sees. He will get so excited when his surroundings are gorgeous and tell me we must live here and come back here and stay here. We have many, many places we must live now. -He loves me. He adores me. There is no better feeling than knowing someone loves you unconditionally and with all they have. He does and I love him all the more for that.
There are other things about him. He is amazing with directions. He remembers every name of every person he has ever met, or not met for that matter. He gets angry at inanimate objects and while driving. He lies sometimes just to entertain himself. He worries about going bald and about making something of himself. But I think you can know someone the best by knowing what they love. And I love him.
and for those of you who say barf, the title should've warned you. :)