What to say? I've already deleted what I had written twice... I can't seem to organize my thoughts enough to get an actual post together. I guess all I can say at this moment is that this little girl captured my heart when she picked me out of a crowd of people. I looked down and saw her hugging my leg because she was too small to reach my waist and for the rest of the day she stuck to me like glue. When it was time for us to part ways I stood at one end of the street watching her make her way down the street looking back at me over her shoulder. I was already choked up as it was but when someone whispered to me "She doesn't want to leave you either" the tears began to fall. I don't have the capacity to write much more right now... I'm still trying to process everything that I experienced these last nine days and what it now means for me and my life.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future."
Well my first semester of college is officially over. I got back to Philly this afternoon after hanging out in Baltimore for the weekend. I'm looking forward to just relaxing with my nose in a book and mug of tea before heading out next Monday on my next adventure- Guatemala City! I'm going on a vision trip with 6 other people to see the work that is being done down there from the 22-31 of December which means, yes, I'll be gone for Christmas. Believe it or not it's a huge relief to be going. The thought of being here for Christmas is unbearable, why? It not only is the first Christmas without Ben but we had made plans MONTHS ago for him and his brother to be here. I even knew what I was going to buy him, I had had the web page bookmarked for a while and had to delete it because I got tears in my eyes every time I went into my bookmarks. Anyway, I'm very excited about the trip AND I get to add another stamp to my passport who can complain about that?!
So, I pretty much have wanted this shot for oh... about four years. After four years of standing on the El train platform waiting for the train home after various sports practices and games looking at the skyline with various cloud patterns or sunsets thinking "Darn it that looks amazing I wish I had my camera with me..." I FINALLY got the picture. I took this over Thanksgiving Break when I was back in Philly and went down to see my high school's girls basketball team practice and when I got off the train and looked over at the skyline I finally pulled out my camera and clicked away taking pictures of the skyline on one side of the platform and the Delaware River on the other side. It was good to be back in a city. I'm still not used to the small town thing down here... I'm not used to the whole "Town Mall" being the cool place to hang out with its food court and Boscovs rather than "Downtown." My friends from high school were laughing at me when we were hanging out over break when I went on a rant about how the town I live in manages to have 3 grocery stores and not much else. I'm a city kid what can I say?!
Well my first homecoming ever has come and gone (no pun intended). It was actually the first football game that since coming to school that I've been able to go to. I haven't been missing much... Our football team is still riding on their last conference championship won in oh... 1998! If you go to a McDaniel football game you go to support your friends on the team and for the social aspect NOT to watch the insane about of skill taking place in front of you because there is none :-) I did go for the first two reasons though and had a good time doing so. Me and my friends had a good time hanging out last night afterwards too avoiding all of the tons of alumni walking around campus reminiscing about their days on the campus of Western Maryland College since the school only fairly recently changed the name, long story don't ask. Over all though it was a good day. I had never been to any type of homecoming before because my high school didn't have it but there is a first time for everything and this was definitely a good first.
How could I not post this picture after tonight? I was in my friends' room watching the news when the announcer said "Barrack Obama is the 44th President of the United States." For a moment we all sat there in complete shock of what we had all just heard... then everything went CRAZY! People were running through the hallways yelling, air horns were going off, pots and pans were clattering, people poured out from the dorms running to Red Square in the center of campus. I ran there with my roommate and other friends with so many others yelling and screaming around us. I stood there taking it all in when I saw my friend Laura. She ran towards me and snatched me up in a huge hug while screaming "This is history, WE'RE APART OF HISTORY!" Chants of "Obama, Obama!" and "Yes, we can!" went up all around us. More people made their way to the square, camera flashes were going off, hugs were all around everyone was just ecstatic. When we all came to our senses we all ran to hear his speech. Laura, Anna and I ran back to my room and just sat there taking in what we heard. Tonight will forever be in my memory. I've never experienced something like this before... It was amazing seeing history take place. I was a part of history. Yes, Laura WE are a part of history!
The weather yesterday couldn't have possibly been anymore different from when I took this picture... It was what one of our coaches affectionately called tsunami weather. Meaning it was a torrential down pour with lovely winds whipping around us BUT we still played our soccer game. At least the temperature wasn't too freezing but either way sitting on the bench was even less fun than it usually is. Today was a beautiful day though! I had a nice walk with a friend and when standing on top of one of the many hills in Westminister we had a beautiful view of the autumn leaves in the area. We've got two soccer games left in the season. I've loved playing this season and being a part of the team has been so fun but I'm tired, my legs are hating me right now for being so tough on the them every single day, and I'm looking forward to a normal schedule with a bit more free time that isn't always jeopardized by the practice that might go over the alloted time frame, team meals, activities etc. We'll play indoor during the winter and the then spring ball but it won't be nearly as intense or the same time commitment that this fall has been. My work load has picked up a bit more now. I've got research papers due in all of my classes (with the exception of astronomy, surprise surprise!) before Thanksgiving. I should be working on them all now but I'm trying to prioritize which ones need to be worked on before the others depending on when each is due... So with that I'm going to be getting back to my homework... Or rather watching the James Bond movie that's on TV. I'm very studious can't you tell?
Oh weekends... Those great things. This shot is from this past weekend which was Fall Break. We had a game Saturday so Sunday after hanging out with Christy for a bit I headed to Baltimore to crash at my aunt and uncles' house. It was really really really nice to be away from campus and to just be able to relax for a couple of days. This shot is from Monday I went with my aunt to the Inner Harbor and walked around for a bit. I like shots that have three things in them. So, when I saw this house with the three windows I couldn't resist. Anyway, I'm really glad it's the weekend again. Our short week of classes was really nice but of course not having any classes at all is great too!
Okay, Whitney gave me a hard time on Friday night about mentioning Megan and Kerri in another post SO I'm making it up to her by posting not one but TWO pictures. Megan and Kerri just got mentioned and now Whitney and Jess get pictures as well as getting written about. (Whitney, this means you have to comment!).
Anyway, these are two shots from Friday night. Our Fall Break started and most people had left, except for us lovely ladies, so we wandered around campus a bit and hung out. They were good sports and didn't nag me too much about lagging behind taking pictures. So, thanks girls for being good sports. Especially when I made you sit on the fence for these shots... Like I told you guys, I'm sure it won't be the last time! :-)
Last night I was in DC to see La Edad de la Ciruela (The Aging of the Plum) a play in Spanish (obviously) with a group of people from school. This isn't your typical DC shot though... I had hoped to get a shot of the Capital Building or the Washington Monument to post but I only saw both from a far as we were driving away so I wasn't able to get any shots. Anyway, this shot is from outside of El Teatro Gala. I really liked the play. The actresses did an amazing job. I wish we could've had more time in DC. I really liked the area we were in and would've loved to explore it more. Plus in the words of a friend I'm "such a city slicker" and I've missed being in a city with things like subways and buses to take you places. There isn't even a bus going through Westminister... *sigh* It's good to be living somewhere very different though, it's just taking some adjusting.
iTunes: Slow Down Sister by Lady Antebellum (I'm not a country music person but I LOVE this group!)
I'm posting and it's NOT Sunday night!!! Wohooo! I was looking through my recent pics and couldn't find one that I quite liked so I decided to post this one from back when I first arrived on campus. This is one of the windows in the Little Baker Chapel which is where Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship meets every week. I'm beginning to wear a path with a few of my friends from our dorm to Little Baker...
What to say, what to say... I feel like nothing has really happened but yet at the same time so much has gone on. Days go by, emotions go up and down, weakness and strength come and go on a daily basis. For example- today started out not so good and continued that way up until soccer practice at 4:30. Practice went well and got me to think about other things. After practice I rushed back to my room, showered and bolted to head to a soccer game in Gettysburgh to watch Messiah vs Gettysburgh play (Messiah is currently ranked #1 in the NCAA Division 3). It was a good match, the hang out time with most of my teammates and coach was good and it was a great relaxing end to a day that was well... Not so great. It's completely impossible to predict how I'll feel at any moment of any day. I can be completely fine one moment and then two seconds later be thrown into a dark mood. Learning how to deal with this and to keep going is a challenge and adjustment- as if I didn't have enough of both already. I just have to keep going because that's all there is to do right now...
I appear to be getting into the not so good habit of posting very late Sunday night/very early Monday morning... It's not intentional I promise! This shot is from Friday night at the Pour House, the cafe where Christy's pictures are on display. I LOVE going to the Pour House. In addition to having great coffee and food they have an awesome atmosphere. Friday night two groups were playing live music. One of them called the Transcendent Third was really good. It was twin brothers who played together and blended their music together really nicely. At this point right now I'm not sure what else to write about... It's late/early and I think the best thing to do would be to just click "publish post" and shut my laptop for tonight... So that's what I'm going to do!
So... Here's my evening for you. I got back from dinner around 7:30, picked up my books and headed to my friend's room down the hall to study and get my work done. It is now 12:30 am and I'm still not done. NOT because I have a ton of work but rather because we get distracted so easily. If you want proof and you're me friend on facebook keep and eye out for the Kerri and Meg dance videos, enough said! For further evidence, Meg is now looking at pictures of her sister trying on wedding dresses. You might ask why am I blogging when I have work to be done? Well, It's called procrastination and I'm thinking of declaring it as my major. Just kidding! I really like my classes, with the exception of my astronomy class which fortunately is only twice a week, Spanish is definitely my favorite class, followed by Introduction to Political Science, Religion is okay... not amazing but not to horrible either, and astronomy is just blehhh. Oh well, it's only a semester long and it's getting one of my science credits out of the way.
This shot is from earlier. My friend pointed out the sky while dinner was being made. She then rolled her eyes and said "why am I suprised?" when I went to grab my camera. Haha! Well, I'm off to read some now so MAYBE I can sleep tonight before class tomorrow...
Today is ridiculously gorgeous after a really rainy drizzly couple of days. I have to admit... I didn't know there was yet another hurricane happening. I plead college student ignorance for that and not having a working T.V. at the moment or having checked the news recently... Ooops... Anyway, Today in celebration of the awesome weather I went to the Women's Field Hockey game today. I tried to get some action shots but shooting field hockey is harder than other sports because the ball is SO small that it just looked like the girls were running and throwing their sticks at each other. Obviously though I got some shots of the girls on the bench I liked, since I'm now posting 3 of them... The top one is my favorite. Gotta do some work now and then am heading to Target to pick up a few things.
iTunes: Lookin' For a Good Time by Lady Antebellum (I'm loving their CD right now!)
Sorry for the lack of posting recently... It's been a combination of a crazy schedule, adjusting to a new routine, hanging out with friends etc. Also finding or feeling the desire to pull out my camera and take pictures has for whatever reason has really not been present, which is weird... Anyway, This weekend after a 2 day soccer tournament I headed to spend a few nights with my cousins who live about 45 minutes off campus. This shot is my younger cousin. Her and her brothers all have blue eyes and just pop. I kept trying to get a good shot of her while we were all outside yesterday. I have a feeling this shot was close to the point where she was beginning to get ticked off at me... Oh well, what else is new. HAHA! Well, I've got to get some work done before my afternoon class today. It was a nice and relaxing weekend just not very productive work wise... Oh well.
You should all leave Christy lots of comments despite her lousy computer right now, and congratulate her on an awesome photography show tonight! I was so excited that I was able to go and see her work on display. And I must say her photos were quite a hit!!! I'm so happy for her with all of these new and exciting opportunities that are coming her way! Quick post for me tonight because I'm tired and after having loads of coffee today I'm now experiencing the post-hyper-off-of- coffee-energy crash. HAHA! That looks really funny... This is a shot from around campus. Basically the whole campus is a pedestrian campus AKA no roads dividing it up with cars driving through... There is the occasional golf cart but that's it. Every so often there are these brick ring things (I'm not too sure what to call them) where a couple of paths meet together. Anyway, I snapped this shot earlier today between lunch and a class.... Heading to bed now cause the coffee has definitely worn off... Good night!
Well today was my first official day as a college student and I have to say that 2 classes in one day, as opposed to 8, that finished at 11:20 AM in the morning was SO nice! I then had until 4, when I had soccer, to do whatever I wanted! I chose to make a Target run with Christy and do a few other errands with her. I then came back and hung out in my room with my roommate for a little while before she split for her afternoon class, which left me in the room for some down time by myself. Not too bad of a day! I know things are going to pick up speed pretty soon. Especially when soccer games start. This is another shot from my picture walk last night. I played with the color some but decided that I liked the color of the light with the brick too much to change it to black and white or sepia. So here it is! I'm going to try to get some shots the next couple of days of the campus during the day so you can see it in daylight...
Wow... There is so much to say so, where to begin? Well, I've now been living at McDaniel college for one week. It's been a very busy week. Monday started 2-a-day soccer workouts, Wednesday brought the rest of my freshman classmates as well as the start of orientation, Saturday the rest of the upper class-man moved in, and today (Sunday) was the last day of orientation... Thank GOODNESS, the bore-fest has finally ended! So, in addition to gaining new buddies, a new school, and new "life" I've also added a new camera to my collection of newness!!! Since Christy has upgraded to a DSLR I've now got her Sony DS-H2! I'm very excited!!! This shot I took tonight while out for a walk with a new buddy and my new camera. I knew I wanted a shot like this to be my first REAL post from college (the last didn't really count). SO I decided I would make a list of some of the things that I learned this week, by the way, classes start tomorrow. Here goes-
1) You can always be better than you thought you are/were.
2) Re-making friends isn't easy but it's a challenge everyone is facing, so be patient and you will meet people who need you as much as you need them.
3) Soccer- there is no such thing as walking. You either sprint, run, or jog. If coach wanted to see people walk he'd go to the mall and watch old people.
4) When living in a place you're more likely to keep it clean... I've never EVER compulsively cleaned my room EVERY day before this week...
5) Glar food isn't good....
6) Going to a place with athletic facilities is nice... Trainers a great people!
7) It is possible to smash 8 people in a tiny dormroom.
8) Chinese food makes great leftovers.
9) Text messages unite the world... or at least a college campus.
10) Hurt never goes away it just intensifies or lessens depending on the day.
11) It's okay to cry, it's okay to hurt, it's okay to open up to people who care.
12) IVCF is really cool.
13) Nice/Friendly people do exist in a church/youth group setting.
14) Change is good...
15) Never think you know what to expect because then you get something else thrown at you which you never saw coming.
Tomorrow is going to be my last day in Center City before heading to school on Sunday. It's also going to be my last time seeing some of my IB buddies before all of us heading our separate ways for school. We're all excited and of course a bit nervous at the same time. I have to say my excitement greatly outweighs my nerves by a HUGE margin. I've been thinking about college since I was about oh... 10 years old. Now it's finally here! I'm so excited for the new challenges that are coming and for the new changes as well. Right now I need both of those things a lot. I need structure, I need my day occupied with many things, I need to be able to focus on something other than myself and my own loss. It's been one month since Ben died but it feels like so much longer than that. He would want me to be living it up in college and to have a great time just like he did. Ben, I'll do my best to make you proud.
Here's another shot from last week's vacation. This is my youngest cousin affectionately nicknamed "G" in many different forms ex. Lil G, G-unit, etc. Unfortunately Lil G came on vacation and proceeded to give 15 of the 20 of us the stomach virus... Not fun! It's okay Lil G we'll forgive you... Someday...
I love this shot of Lil G. She was so funny to watch on the beach. I played with the color in this shot and looked at it in sepia and black and white but I love the way the pink looks contrasting with the grays of the beach. Sorry this is so short. I'm heading off to work... 3 more days!!!
iTunes: Next to Me (Wait a Minute Sister) by Gavin Degraw
I just got back from a week at the Outer Banks with my mom's side of the family. The weather was great all week. The water was amazingly blue everyday with really gentle waves and it stayed at a good temperature so we were in the water constantly. Unfortunately 15 out of the 20 0f us came down with the stomach virus, myself included, which was NOT fun at all... The week was good other than the whole sick thing though...
One of my favorite things about the week was staying up late and going down to the beach really late at night and just sitting looking at the stars. I'm such a city kid! On the rare occasion when I see a few stars I think "wow cool!" but being at the beach and seeing thousands of stars every night was amazing. I could have stayed down at the beach all night every night just looking at the stars and never gotten bored just looking at them.
One week until I leave for school! I'm so excited!!!!!
Another shot of my little Maddie just as I predicted. I feel so blessed by the cousins I have both younger and older. I had never really thought about the bonds that I have with each one of them. Maddie and I have ever since she was 5 months old and I met her for the first time have had a special bond. I still remember the first time that I saw her. I was sitting in the dinning room of my aunt and uncles' house in West Chicago the morning after my sister, my cousin and I had arrived. The night before Emily, Jake and Maddie had been asleep by the time we got to the house so our anticipation to meet our new twin cousins and to see our 4 year old cousin again had to wait until the following morning. I had woken up early in the morning after being just slightly jetlagged. I had gotten something to eat and was sitting at the table talking to my uncle while my aunt had gone running. We heard one of the twins crying and he got up to get the baby. I was VERY excited to finally get to see one of my new cousins. When my uncle walked back into the dinning room he had in his arms my baby cousin Madeleine who was wearing a soft, green pajama set. She still didn't really have hair just dark baby fuzz. I was so happy to see her, to hold her, to see her big blue eyes, touch her little round nose, and kiss her fat cheeks. Since then Maddie and I have had our little bond. I don't even think she realizes it... Every time we see each other she has to warm up to me again but with given time she's my buddy again. Last weekend in Lexington we cuddled on the porch after dinner and she told me from her expert 4 year old perspective about her new house. The next morning we sat on the deck of the house on the big swing together, I with my coffee and she with her baby doll. We just sat and swung back and forth occasionally venturing a comment or two. And the last post as well as this are proof of our fun little shoot the last night we were together. I love this little one so much. I wouldn't say I love her more than her twin brother or her older sister it's just that we have that unexplainable bond that draws me to her every time we're together.
Today I talked to one of my best friends on the phone for the first time in a few months. She lives in London and I haven't seen her in a whole year. I miss her so much especially during this time. We talk about everything together from clothes to boys, from music to our savior Jesus. Today one of our topics was heaven and what we each thought it would be like. We both said how we would be able to be with each other whenever we wanted and not have thousands of miles separating us. Nishma then ventured the question "Do you think there will be email in heaven?" To which of course we both laughed. I told her how I like to think heaven will be like C.S. Lewis' description of the "New Earth" at the end of the Last Battle. For all of the Chronicles of Narnia the "real" world and Narnia had been separated a person was either in the real world, or they were in Narnia and there was no being in both places at once and while you were in one of the places there was no telling how time was passing at the other. When the old Narnia was destroyed and the characters went "Further up and further in" to the new Narnia they see that the two worlds are no longer completely separate. The characters can stand on a hill in Narnia and see their parent's house in England with their mum and dad waving to them smiling. I'd like to think of heaven like that. I can stand on a hill and see Nishma standing at her house in Harrow, I can see Ben riding his piki around the valleys of Kenya, I can see Maddie running around her back yard in Kansas, and nothing separates me from them anymore.
iTunes: Kindness/Give Us Clean Hands by Passion Worship Band
This shot is of my younger cousin. She was so much fun to be with this past weekend. She and I did a little-mini photo shoot on Saturday night after dinner. She'll probably be featured in my next few posts.
What to say? Anna suggested writing an email to my friend but I didn't feel like an email was what I was looking for right now... Journaling? You don't get feedback from the pen and paper really though... So blogging is the answer. The service for Ben was on Saturday in Lexington, NC. It was a beautiful service and a wonderful celebration of Ben's life. I cried more tears in that amount of time then I thought I would. Just when I thought I was okay I started again. I was so glad for the friend sitting next to through out the whole service. The hardest part of the service wasn't watching the slide show of pictures that I had put together, it wasn't listening to Jesse speak or Uncle Dan or Aunt Lynda, it wasn't hearing David Neilson recount his memories of Ben at Covenant, or hearing his grandfather thank everyone for their support of the family through this time, it was sitting in the front of the church staring at the box that now held the body of my cousin who I love so much. Knowing that his body was in a box that in a short amount of time would be buried, never to be seen again in this life. I wanted to hear his voice telling me everything was going to be okay, I wanted one of his strong hugs after being apart for so long, I wanted to see him laugh, I wanted to wake up out of the daze I was in to find out that it wasn't real. How could it be real? How could I be at his funeral? How could he be gone? Even now as I write this and the tears continue to fall I can't believe it. He shouldn't be gone. I know that if he were here he would want me to to be strong and to trust in the knowledge that God is in control. I feel as if I have an emptiness in the pit of my stomach. I want to be with him, I don't want to hurt anymore, I have questions that will never be answered, I miss him... I miss him so much more that I ever would have thought possible. I wish I could have heard his voice one last time. I wish I could have said goodbye.
I missed out on finishing Project Black so I thought I would post this... No I did not take it as I'm the 2 year old sitting in the middle. I love this picture. It's from my aunt and uncles' wedding. Yesterday I went through a TON of pictures of Ben from the time he was born up until a couple of weeks ago (thanks facebook). I'm getting all these pictures together for his service which is Saturday. It was hard going through all the pictures especially from when we were younger. I would see a picture like this one and start crying and then I would flip to another one a burst out laughing remembering some odd memory of us. I'm on an emotional roller coaster right now... I wish there was more to write on here but I'm not sure what to say... I'll post again soon hopefully after we get back from the service.
Yup... I'm posting a black and white picture sorry... You'll just have to take my word for it that his hair is black and there is black in his shirt. If you don't believe me this little guy was in my first post for Project Black, he's my younger cousin. I love this shot of him... He's such a little thinker even though he's only 4 as well as being QUITE a little fireball.
Where to begin with this post? I mentioned in a previous post how my heart is with so many people in so many different places around the world... Well, one piece of my heart died this morning along with my older cousin Ben. I can't even begin to express how much it hurts to have lost him so suddenly. Anna asked me when I was going to post about him so here goes.
Ben was amazing. His family moved to Africa years ago and Ben attended Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. During his Sophmore year my uncle and the doctors in Africa realized that he had contracted Rheumatic Heart Disease and that his Aortic valve wasn't working properly. The fall of his Junior year (my freshman year) Ben's whole family came back and stayed with my family while he had open heart surgery at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). The valve in his heart was repaired and after recovering he went back to how he was before, playing soccer, going to school, etc. with no limitations. The last two years Ben has been attending Covenant College, playing soccer, and of course goofing off like every college student... This summer he went back to Kenya for his younger brother's graduation. While in Kenya he had a stroke. He unknowingly got and infection in his valve and the clots went to his brain. He then also had pneumonia. While he was with my uncle being med-evaced to South Africa he died when something happened to his heart.
I can't believe he's gone... He was so young, so energetic, and with so much ahead of him. I loved him so much. He was my older cousin, my friend, and most importantly my brother in Christ. Through all his trials, surgeries, complications and set backs he always had a smile on his face and rested in the knowledge that God was in control of his life and had a plan. I called Anna this morning in and while I was sobbing she said "God took him Anna, God took him." God did take him. I wish God hadn't taken him, I wish he was still here, I wish I was still going to see him in August. I was talking online to one of his friends a little while ago who I met when he came to visit Ben after his surgery. We talked about Ben, how we wished we could have seen him one more time before he left us, how we both loved him, how great he was. At one point we were talking about how we felt selfish for wishing he was still here with us while Heaven where he is is so much more unfathomably better than him being here on Earth and Martyn told me about how once when they both were having heart problems they walked to the top of Mount Kenya and when they got to the top Ben said "I think God creates places like this so we can get little glimpses of Heaven." As if I hadn't been crying enough through our conversation I was full out sobbing when I told Martyn "Well he doesn't need glimpses any more because he has the whole thing to look at." I miss Ben so much more than I could ever think I could. It hurts to much to think that I won't ever see him again, I won't ever talk to him about soccer, I won't get to argue about Manchester United and Liverpool with him or Real Madrid and Barcelona, we won't sit in my house playing FIFA, we won't make late night trips to Dunkin' Donuts because he's got jetlag and needs to stay up, we won't race down the beach to the water or ride the kayak through the waves and compare who had the most crazy wipeouts, I won't interrogate him about his girl friends and he won't give me lectures about what guys I shouldn't date, we won't laugh at our memories of when we were younger with his brother and we all won't go through old family videos and laugh at our moms' weird hair. I could go on, and on, and on and on about what I won't be able to do with him in this life but I have to keep reminding myself that this life will be gone in the blink of an eye and then for eternity we can be together celebrating the presence of our magnificent savior who despite what we may feel or think at various points loves us so much and had our lives planned before we were even born. He is sovereign and is in control of everything.
I don't understand why Ben is gone and I never will. I will always miss him and love him.
When I went for a jog today in between sobbing and trying to breathe I listened on repeat for 2 hours this song by Caedmon's Call... I can't think of anything else to say. I hurt, I cry, I wonder, I miss and I don't have any answers but I will see Ben again and I have to rest in that knowledge.
Late at night I wonder why Sometimes I wonder why Sometimes I'm so tired I don't even try Seems everything around me fails But I hold on to the promise That there is a reason
Chorus: Late at night, the darkness makes it hard to see The history of the saints who've gone in front of me Through famine, plague and disbelief His hand was still upon them Cause there is a reason There is a reason
He makes all things good He makes all things good There's a time to live and a time to die A time for wonder and to wonder why Cause there is a reason There is a reason
I believe in a God who sent His only son To walk upon this world and give His life for us With blood and tears on a long, dark night We know that He believed That there is a reason There is a reason
For the lonely nights And broken hearts The widow's mite In the rich man's hand And the continent Whose blood becomes a traitor
For the child afraid to close their eyes The prayers that seem unanswered There is a reason There is a reason
Sorry I didn't get to post yesterday it's been quite a week... I posted another shot of one of these lanterns back in May (see here). For this project I've been so busy that I've been going through my archives for shots to post. This shot is from when I was in Granada, Spain. Hope everything is going well with the other participants of Project Black!!! I can't wait to see what everyone posts today!
Thank you to everyone who commented on my picture from yesterday! I was so shocked to come home from work today to see that I had 20 comments I feel very flattered that you would all take the time to look at my blog and then comment on it. So thank you very, very, VERY much! I feel like the last picture deserves a little explanation as I was kind of rushing to post it so here goes- that was a shot from when I was in Chicago during the fall (see here). It was of my younger cousins who I absolutely adore. We were at the zoo for the afternoon and I think he was probably looking at the bears knowing him...
Anyway, back to this post. This shot was from my room the last two summers. I loved the windows in the house I lived in. They were so old and had so much character unlike mine now which are just your basic, average windows that slide up and down. I miss those windows, I miss that room, I miss that house, but most of all I miss the people in that house and the others who were there frequently. This summer is VERY different from the two previous and I'm trying to be content but its hard. My heart isn't here and I wish I could be where it is but the problem is that it's broken up in pieces scattered around the world with so many different people in so many different places. It's okay though because my heart isn't broken in fact it has never been better because there is so much love that comes with each of the pieces that are all around the world that it's impossible for it to feel broken.
Words cannot express how amazing the game on Sunday was. I wish everyone could watch that game and maybe understand the passion and emotion that is the sport of football around the world and why I love it so much and why I am so passionate about it. Spain won the game 1-0 and when the final whistle blew my friend and I were jumping up and down hugging each other, and I'm not going to lie I had tears in my eyes. It wasn't the same type of celebration that my cousin experienced in Spain but it was the best we could do... Ah, the game was SO awesome! I looked through my pictures from Spain to see if I had any that would be a good expression and celebration of the Spanish national team but I couldn't find one that was quite what I was looking for so I settled for this one. It's a shot from when I was at the Alhambra in Granada. I just like it... there really is no more explanation for it... Haha.
Well I have sometime now so I thought I would write a little more that I typically do. I started working as a lifeguard in a section of the city called Feltonville. At times it's insanely boring and at other times it just makes me want to pull my hair out... A bit of an extreme there no? The majority of the kids who come are under 14 or 15, come with out any parents or adult supervision of any kind and most are latino or african american. There are some kids who couldn't be and sweeter and it makes me happy to see them everyday when they come in and say "Hi Anna!" . Yesterday was a particularly crazy day though. One of the other guards had to jump in and get a little kid out (he was of course with out a parent or guardian), I had a grab another little girl out of the deeper area and remind her to stay in 3 ft (not the first time I've had to do that to this little girl) and for whatever reason the kids were just particularly crazy yesterday. It ended on a good note for me though when two of my regulars (as my friend who is also a lifeguard would call them) came in. They're two little Puerto Rican brothers who have been here for a year and typically come to the pool with their uncle. They were so happy yesterday when they figured out that I speak Spanish. It made my day getting to hang out with them for a few minutes while there weren't many people in the pool. Kids like these two remind me that I'm at this particular pool, in a not too great part of the city, for a reason more than just to sit in a pool chair and be a glorified babysitter. I'm there for the kids and I need to remember that more often.
Ah summer is finally here!!! Originally while I was still in school I thought "When summer comes I'll be able to post more often." Well, its only been the first week of summer vacation and I think I may have posted once... I've been working every day this week which has been good but tiring at the same time. Today is my first day off and my friend and I are locking ourselves in the AC to watch the Euro Cup final- Spain vs Germany. It's going to be a great game! If any of you are interested it will be airing live on ABC at 2:30 EST.
First, I did NOT take this picture... I wish I was at that point but I'm not.
I've been wrestling with a lot lately. One of my good friend's moms who I've known for as long as I can remember is dying from inflammatory breast cancer. She probably has a few more weeks at most... She'll be leaving 6 kids ages 18 to 18 months here on earth. I can only pray that she isn't in a lot of pain between now and when Jesus comes to take her away and that he gives his amazing healing and comfort to those left here.
To visit Miss Andrea's blog go to www.punkrockmommy.org/blog
The auditorium of New Covenant Church was packed, cameras were flashing, the lights were bright, the piano was being played, and I was standing in front of it all. My heart started beating faster and faster, with each name called it was closer to mine. I scanned the auditorium and saw so many faces, most of which I didn't know. I could, however pick out quite a few. My best friend was in the middle towards the back wearing the dress we pick out on sale from Guess, her blonde hair made her look so summery. Next to her was Andrew, have they really been together over a year? Last year it was him standing up here, how were we not really friends until after he graduated? Another name called... Look there's Ms. Johnson! She's here, she's here!!! I could pick out the famous "Ms. Johnson hair flip" anywhere. I wonder where she works now? Another name... Those lights are really bright I'm probably going to look like a ghost on the video, GREAT! I'll have to explain to my kids 20 years from now how mom always looks pale from about December to the middle of June until she gets a tan. Another name... Look there's Dos! Standing in the back, arms crossed, tall as anything. Portugal plays Germany today yay!!! That's going to be an awesome game. Another name... Oh crap, oh crap, OH CRAP! What if I trip on my gown? That would be something that would happen to me, if I fall flat on my face I'll just laugh along with everyone else, that'll be something to tell people later "How was your graduation?" "Oh it was great... except for the part about me falling on my face in front of everyone." "Well, that would be something that would happen to you now wouldn't it?" "True." Another name... Ok, deep breath now this has been 12 years coming, deep breath.
"Anna Del Vecchio"
Step, breathe, step. I walked to Dr. Gardiner, shook her hand and took my diploma. In my hands I was holding my high school diploma... OH MY GOSH I'M HOLDING MY HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA!!!!!!!! All of these years... all these years... ALL THESE YEARS and now I have it! A huge smile broke out across my face. I walked back to my seat and looked at Jo-Jo. "Yeah Del Vec!", she said while giving me her huge and awesome "Jo-Jo" smile. We all stood together, looked at Dr. Gardiner and listened to her say-
"By the power given to me by The School District of Philadelphia I now pronounce you 'Graduates of Bodine High School for International Affairs'. Graduates, would you please change you tassels?"
And the tears poured! Everything went fuzzy as I changed my tassel from the right to the left. I looked at Jo and she started tearing up too. Four years, four very long, hard, strenuous, yet fulfilling years and here we are- graduates. At times it felt like we would never get here, but we did. The tears continued to pour as we sang the school's Alma mater. I can't believe this... "Anna, stop before I start crying too!" came from Tamara standing next to me. Too late, she had tears running down her cheeks too. Well, she was better than me I had tears and make-up streaming all over my face! No matter how much we complained about school, our teachers, our work, our uniforms, how horrible the lunch was, how boring the principal was, we still stood on the stage at our graduation crying. I've loved my high school experience. I wish everyone was as fortunate as me to have had the 4 years that I did. I've had amazing teachers, met some incredible people, made some AWESOME friends, had 100% unique experiences, as well as learned and grown so much. The last 4 years have made me who I am today, the high school graduate, sitting at a lap top crying as she writes about her day. But the tears aren't really from sadness. This chapter of my life is over, it's been amazing.
Now is when things feel like they're moving really fast. Yesterday was my grad party, Thursday is graduation, work starts Friday, my cousin has already left for the summer, another is leaving in a few weeks, and here I am.... I've been reading over letters people have given me over the last few years and journals that I've kept the last 2 summers reliving all of what I felt and experienced. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't wish that my summer was going to be somewhere else. What can I say? I have a wandering spirit. I'm never content to sit still and be in one place. I constantly want to go, go experience other cultures, go speak other languages, go try other foods, go live somewhere else, go see other friends, go take that chance, go, go, go, go, GO! I love going and then I love looking back on the experiences. Looking back is good because I can see how experiences and one time led to me reacting differently in other situations. The last 4 years of my life have been crazy, amazing, hard, educational, enlightening, awakening, sad, hurtful, and jam packed full of memories. I'm excited for the future. I'm excited to see what at get to do, who I get to meet, what I'll experience. I also need to enjoy the "now" more than I do. Looking back and reflecting what I've experienced is good and all but I need to also enjoy it while it's happening.
This is going to be really fast because I'm leaving a few minutes for my class (2 more nights to go!). Since Project Blue is over I decided to post this shot from the Coffee House last week. I think it was when I started taking pictures of the fountain that my friends began asking me questions about what I was doing... One day they'll thank me for all the candid shots I have of them though! My life guarding class is... interesting... I'm the oldest AND the only girl in the class other than the instructor. At times I feel ridiculously mature and at other times I feel like a 12 year old giggling at the boys. All of the boys in the class are 15... need I say more? One of them is absolutely hilarious he comes out with the most random comments and questions and there really is nothing to do but laugh. As two other boys were practicing back boarding the other day he starts chanting to the tune of "U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi" "L-I-F-E life is what you guard for me GO LIFE GUARD!!!" I mean honestly wouldn't you have laughed if you were sitting by a pool and suddenly out of no where heard that? Anyway, I take my certification tests tomorrow and then (assuming I pass) will start work anytime after next Friday! By the way, graduation is next Thursday... I don't get much of a break now do I? Haha such is my life :-)
I can't say enough how much I'm loving Euro Cup right now! From watching the Italy vs Holland game today I was inspired to pull out my sister's Italia bag to try see if I could get a good shot of it for Project Blue. I'm not particularly in touch with my Italian heritage and I'll be the first to admit it. I don't speak the language, I've never been to the country, I don't know my Italian relatives, I know nothing about the culture etc. etc. etc. In other words I'm an American! I would one day like to learn the language and visit the country. One of my best friends is Italian and her dad chooses to only speak to me in Italian which I can understand but because I'm fluent in Spanish... It's a shame that so many Americans aren't at all knowledgeable about where they've come from. My great-grandfather immigrated from Italy and none of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren speak the language or are at all in touch with their Italian side. We speak english, spanish, portuguese and french... notice something wrong with that? In a way I feel a certain way when my sister starts bragging to someone about being Italian and proclaiming her Azzurri pride- have you visited the country? No. Do you speak the language? No. Well then what makes you Italian? The Italian blood in your veins... Should that be considered enough? There are many Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans etc. who speak little to no Spanish, but I'm fluent at 18 in a language no one else in my family speaks and I've been to Spain and Mexico where I've had to speak the language everyday... does that make me more Latino or Spanish than them? As Americans what defines our heritage? So often we claim a nationality we have no right to. As for me, I'm an American and that's what I'll always be. I'm not proud of it but right now I can't change that. Maybe one day I will but for now it's the only thing I rightfully can claim.
Project Blue #4. I found this little dragonfly while out at The Coffee House the other day. My friends were quite amused at my taking tons of pictures of things that were blue... I had to explain the whole blogging thing to them... Some of them got it and others just take it as "Well, it's Anna." Euro Cup starts today! I am SO excited about it. I'll be watching the opening game and then the Portugal game at my soccer coach's house along with other people from school. Sorry this is such a quick post but there are somethings I need to do before going to watch the games. Have a great Saturday!!!
The brand with the three stripes. I should be sponsored by Adidas... all my shoes are Adidas- my cleats for soccer, my basketball shoes, my favorite pair of sandals are Adidas Slides, and I absolutely LOVE my pair of Sambas that I got last year for my birthday. In my search for things blue I saw my running shoes at the bottom of the steps yesterday and this picture is one of the many as a result of laying on my stomach snapping away at my running shoes ;-) I wish I could post for longer but I'm leaving shortly for my life guarding course. It's 2 weeks long but at the end I'll be a certified life guard and be certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED so... It's kinda a necessity for my job this summer...
I'm loving this whole "Project Blue"... I almost cried yesterday because I couldn't pull over to shoot this amazingly blue house... I was in kinda a rush home because my mom needed the car to drive my sister to a soccer game, and my friend was meeting me at my house so he could pick up me and another friend to go to his house... I may have to make a special trip back to that house though I've been thinking about it quite a bit today. Anyway, this is my soccer jersey from school. I'm very proud to say that I'm the only person to have ever worn this jersey. It was new when I got it and I may just have to keep it now that I'm graduating. My blood, sweat, and tears have been on this jersey... seriously! Blood- nose bleeds, they happen, however, scoring while having a nose bleed is something to be proud of! Sweat- obviously it's a soccer jersey if you don't sweat while wearing one you don't deserve to have one on, plain and simple! Tears- of happiness after scoring against the best team in the city of Philadelphia, of frustration after loosing in the playoffs my Sophmore year to a team to which we were vastly better than, and of sadness at ending my high school varsity soccer career with one of the best coaches in the region. I love soccer it's easy to call it my passion. I hope that I'll be able to continue to play in college and if not... maybe I'll coach someday...
Ah SEPTA- The Philly public trans system... I take public transportation to and from school and anytime I want to go into Center City. Here's a weather worn bus stop sign near my house. I love the blue and red in the sign but also the great color of the sky. I'm SO glad summer is on its way finally! I'm so tired of dreary, cold, spring and winter weather. I love the sun and the heat!!!!! Humidity I'm not so crazy about though... Saturday was really rainy and muggy which was NOT a good thing as it was the day of my friend's wedding and they had an outdoor reception. Everyone made the best of it though and the bride and groom were so happy together I don't think they even noticed the weather. I have a few pictures from the wedding/reception that I'll post sometime maybe but for now I'm sticking with Project Blue.
Like Robert said in a comment on my last post one perk of having a gate in front of you is that you can glimpse what's on the other side. Usually I'm pretty restless when it comes to waiting for something... Right now I'm actually enjoying the wait. Because my exams are over I'm not doing anything in school anymore (yes, going is quite a waste of time) but having NO school work for the first time in years is actually such a nice feeling. Today we had an assembly where all of the Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 classes performed original songs that we had written ourselves using all of the grammar and vocab we've learned over the years. We write the lyrics and then set them to beats and perform. It's always such so much fun seeing what everyone has come up with. Fortunately I got the assembly recorded so I'll be putting it on youtube if anyone is interested I'll post a link once everything is uploaded. Why mention this? Because it's a symbol to me and my fellow school mates that school is almost done for the year and summer is rapidly approaching!!! Prom was on Friday and I had a BLAST! I went with a friend had an awesome time dancing and hanging out with my friends from school. When I was talking to someone today I mentioned how this is the most relaxed I've ever been. I'm finished with school, I've had my Senior Prom, I've been accepted to a college, I have a descent paying job lined up for the summer, and now all I have to do is enjoy this brief spell in the middle and believe me when I say that I am!
Done, done, done, done, done DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stop myself from saying it over, and over again. I'm done! My exams are over which means high school is almost over! WOW!!! A huge load has been lifted from my shoulders with finishing these exams. A friend who took the same ones before she graduated told me that it was going to be the most intense couple of weeks I had ever experienced in school... boy was she right! Now that they're over I feel so relieved. Lacey mentioned in her comment on my last post about going through the open door in front of me. Well, I've gotten through the one door, being my exams, now I'm in that little room between where the door to normal high school has closed behind me and I'm waiting for the graduation door to open. Believe me, when that door does open I'm going charging through it! I couldn't find a good picture of a door so I decided to do this one of a gate instead... it's more or less the same thing right?
Three more to go... three more to go... THREE MORE TO GO!!!!! Me and my friends were singing while we were walking down the street today. Literally singing! The Beatles song "I've Just Seen A Face" to be exact. We finished our biology exam around 10 this morning and then had the rest of the day for... whatever. I took this picture from the Borders next door to the offices where we've been doing all of our testing. It's nice going to school in the city it's easy access to Center City and everything that comes with that. Walking around with free iced coffee from Dunkin Doughnuts, goofing off with my friends, and just relaxing felt so great. I'm almost done!!! The worst of the exams is behind me... it feels SO GREAT!!!!
I wrote the lyrics from the song I posted last time around the frame of my door... Who knows what my parents will say when they discover Red Jumpsuit Apparatus lyrics written in Sharpie marker around the door (kids don't try this at home!) but it's ok... I'll deal with it. I also have Artemis Fowl runes on the wall surrounding the door. Why is it that the door to my room is where I put such things? I think it's because my room has always been my hiding place. I've laughed till tears came to my eyes, sobbed until I couldn't breathe, studied until my eyes felt as if they were going to fall out, hidden there when I had no where else to go, and been at peace there. The door however is the opening into the world. My room maybe my hiding place but it's also my reality. The world, while also real, is a harsh cruel place and I know that better than anyone. The door from my safe haven opens onto something that has no shelter or protection... With all my exams I haven't really been studying at home. I've been going to Barnes and Noble or Starbucks for hours and hours at a time. Why? Because my safe haven has been invaded. It's no longer a place for me. It's contaminated by the harsh, cruel outside. I can't focus or relax while in my room anymore. There no longer is my door protecting me from the big, bad outside. It's now me standing amongst it all, but I'm not alone.