Friday, January 29, 2010

We live so high above the ground satellites surround us

I'm in Scotland. After three planes, one being an enormous beast, we arrived bleary-eyed, but oh so joyful in Aberdeen yesterday morning (or whatever time it is with this 5-hour time change). On my first plane, I got to hear one woman's life story. On my second plane (the seven hour one), I had a window seat and although I didn't sleep a wink, I saw the starry night sky resting on blankets of clouds below me. (No wonder God didn't give us wings, we'd never want to leave the sky!) On my third plane, I sat by another girl traveling to Aberdeen and we had fun leaning to look out the window over the poor sleeping man next to us. It's difficult to explain the feeling of stepping out of the plane and seeing Aberdeen for the first time. I am bound to fail at trying to describe my feelings, but my reaction can be expressed in two words: slaphappy and awestruck.

It's so surreal living here...such an out-of-body sort of thing. We hopped out of the taxi into a magical sunny snow globe and I swear it's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Mary's building is a five second walk from mine, and right outside my quaint, homey second story window, a snow-covered tree makes it feel like home. I'm living in a flat with five other girls who all seem wonderful! (From Latvia, Romania, Germany, and the Czech Republic.) Mary and I have already concocted our first meal, taken our first walk through Seaton Park (heaven), had our first funny grocery store experience, registered for classes (Philosophy of Knowledge and Mind, History and Philosophy of Science, and Religion at Ground Zero), walked in circles feeling completely and wonderfully lost, first funny bus ride to city centre, met 1,000,000 new faces...and the best part of it all is that we get to do it together. Taking in this new life just wouldn't be the same if I couldn't run two steps to Mary's room to really think about it all, talking about this funny life.

For the first time, I feel completely free. It's everything beautiful and everything scary, everything exciting and everything terrifying. But at the end of the day, I'm still just me, a girl who (by the grace of God) is now sitting in a foreign country, living out of two suitcases, and learning how to adventure with her best friend, to live simply and fully. And the most reassuring comfort of all is to know that I'm never walking alone. (I've never been more sure of that in my entire life.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We're only as separate as your little fingers

Yesterday, I waved goodbye to Hope College. The drizzly, dreary weather that the morning offered more than likely reflected my facial expression as I watched Hope College pass by through Mary's car window. The tears that welled up in my eyes as I left this beautiful place were not painful; my heart was full of love, and that love for my friends, my family, and this place seemed to stream down my face and across a funny half-smile, which can be best categorized as a "sigh, life is beautiful" smile. Although part of me longed to stay at Hope with the people I've grown to love, a part of me is eager to step onto new soil. On Thursday I will be on my way to a country I've only experienced in the travel section at Border's. In looking forward, though, I can't help but look back (feeling blessed in a way that I cannot put to words).

And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Goodbye Hope College, see you soon.
Scotland, can't wait to finally meet you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And the world spins madly on

A year and a half ago, I confidently said this: "I will never study abroad." Now, with 21 days left until I climb aboard a beastly plane, I realize how much experience changes us. Every person, every conversation, every class that I have encountered has prepared me for this adventure. I think about the months that lie ahead for me and the way that each day will move me, change me. I think about the beautiful people I have met and will meet. It's a funny and awkward place, this transition stage. Still, I know that I'm exactly where I am suppose to be: waiting in anticipation, accompanied by a heaping ton of unanswered questions.

Something I hope to keep in mind:
"I beg you... to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if the were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer."
-Rainer Maria Rilke