Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just the Cashews

Today has potential to be a perfect day. Katie and I stayed up talking until 4:30 this morning and then I had to watch one more episode of Lost. So I was anticipating to sleep the day away until I have to be at school this evening for our big outreach called Candlelight Dinner. But instead I got up for brunch with friends at my favorite restaurant around here and enjoyed the sunny 57 degree weather! It's gorgeous! I even came home and took a catnap in the sun on my roof (it's a flat roof) and did a little reading. So the biggest problem today is, "why do I have to eat so many peanuts in my 3 lb tin of mixed nuts to get to the cashews?"

London pictures and stories to come...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Good Couple Weeks

Several people have told me that February is the hardest month at BFA. The relaxation of Christmas break is long gone, but the sicknesses that the students brought back with them still linger. Spring break seems a lifetime away. And it's cold- really cold. This morning, when I headed out to the bus stop at Sonne, where snow drifts were knee-high, the thermometer read -8 degrees Celsius.

February has been the hardest for me as well. Staff and students are dropping like flies from the BFA super-virus that is bred when all the students return from various countries with different sicknesses and then live in close quarters. We've had computer problems that corrupted the database that I do most of my work on. And the frustrations of not driving are teaching me to be more patient and rely on others, but frustrations nonetheless.

What is amazing, however, is that despite this being the hardest time, the last two weeks have also been some of the happiest I've had here. It starts with God fixing my bad attitude. Then it comes from having two incredible friends here. Cara and Timmy probably don't realize how much I've needed their support lately, but something as simple as them making me a CD of songs I like was a good slap in the face- a wake-up-people-care-about-you-and-want-to-help slap.

Cara walks into a room and makes it brighter, happier, and more fun. She is funny even when she doesn't mean to be and one of the most genuine people I've ever met. She has more energy and enthusiasm than I could even dream of mustering and brings spunk and laughter into my life.

Timmy is also fun, incredibly genuine, and makes me laugh a lot, but he's the balance in my world for Crazy Cara. He is passionate about loving and serving people, a hard-worker, and is not afraid to tell the blunt truth when it needs to be said. He brings wisdom, insight, and truth into my life.

I'm not really sure what I give them. I'm trying to be the kind of friend that friends like them deserve by loving, praying for, telling the truth even when it's not fun, and just being available to them. They are wonderful. Unfortunately the only picture I have of the three of us is from orientation last summer, and it's just our backsides. But here's one of them from Christmas Banquet.

So, I'm thankful for God fixing my attitude and for my friends. But I'm also thankful for time away from work! Last Thursday I went to Paris on last minute notice with a new friend named Peter. We left at 5am, rode the 3 hour train, did tourist stuff all day (Notre Dame, Louvre, Arch de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, French crepes mmm) then got back at 1am. It was a long, spontaneous and great day!

When I got back to my office Friday morning, the Witt girls had decorated it with streamers, tons of encouraging little post it notes, roses, and chocolate. How awesome are they?!

Then later that day, Cara, another RA named Anna, and a student named Leah, piled in my car (which I still own, but Cara drove) and went to Garmisch, Germany for the weekend to stay with Leah's mom. The house was full of other friends who had come visit that weekend as well and was a blast! Friday night was meat fest a.k.a. my version of heaven. Saturday morning the two married guys in the bunch that were visiting went out and got roses for all of us ladies and then took us to breakfast.
Then Cara, Anna, and I broke off from the group while they went skiing. We saw Zugspitz (the highest mountain around here that has family significance for me), Neuschwanstein and the King's Castle, and a hockey game! Sunday we went on an army base and bought all kinds of goodies that can't be bought elsewhere- like Orange Gatorade, Starburst Jellybeans, and Trail Mix- three things for which I am also thankful :)

I'm going to London this weekend. It feels crazy to be doing so much traveling, but these are my first big places I've visited since being here. The cheap flights and free places to stay all happen to have come up during the month of February, the hardest month at BFA. What a blessing for opportunities to come at the time when I need it most.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

License Update

Several people have asked for an update on the driving situation, and now I've realized that I never even wrote on the blog what I sent out to my support team. The short version is that there's a far-fetched chance that I could get an Alabama driver's license without an epilepsy restriction when I go back to the States next month and then exchange that for a German license. It would work on the American side. Three years of seizure-free behavior earns a clean license in Alabama (where I lived for 3 years), and I've been seizure-free for 3.5 years. The tricky part is the German side. You have 6 months to change over your license that was issued before coming here. I'm past six months, and it will be a new license. So I wrote to the German side explaining everything and asking for the needed waivers. I haven't heard anything yet.

Even if I find out it won't work, I might still drive to Alabama because I've got myself so psyched up to go to my favorite restaurants: Thai Emerald, Formaggio's, The Grape, and Waffle House for some key lime pie. Mmmmmfood. And then I would go sit at five points and soak in the life of the city for a while. Maybe find a lonely old man to play chess with outside the Starbucks like I did in college.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I got to spend the last five days at Maugenhard (Lane and Michelle's dorm for all you CFC people). The normal staff of 6 for the 29 high school boys was down to 3 with the Youngs off and one RA in the States, so I showed up and asked to be put to work.

The day after spending time in a dorm is crashing after a drug binge. It's a tough transition back into my office after getting to play mom for a bunch of crazy boys. I realize I don't have a clear understanding of what the dorm parents and RAs have to do since I've never stayed in one dorm for longer than a week. But it's like a drug to me... getting to take care of people in practical ways. Cooking, cleaning, staying up all night tending to the sick, putting them in their place when being punks, helping with homework, throwing snowballs, wrestling, watching them play rugby (and wishing I'd thought of bringing orange slices)... I love it all.