May 31, 2011

Summer Reading

I think it's no secret that I love books. But I haven't done that much reading since school got out. I tried -- I started The Book Thief when I woke up earlier than I thought I should have one morning last week, but when I fell back asleep, I somehow kicked it down into the abyss behind my bed and, though I've looked, it has yet to be recovered. (Not to worry, Liz, aka owner of the book -- when I pack up the room this week (yikes), it will be found.)

But today, I walked to the public library (a branch of which is conveniently located just across the street from the house I am moving into on SUNDAY) (yikes again), got a library card and some books. And I have sat with a cup of iced tea reading for the past two hours.


Also, I need some suggestions for my next trip to the library. What's on your summer reading list?

[images via Bookfessions]

May 30, 2011


wan·der·lust/ˈwändərˌləst/: Noun: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Last summer I had this idea to get a big world map to hang on my wall. I thought it was particularly perfect, seeing as my roommate and I are both of international origins (I'm an MK from Ethiopia, she's an MK from China), and we could even do something incredibly precious like putting a picture of our families with a string attached to their respective know? What I really wanted was to find an old, vintagey second-hand map buried somewhere in the depth of a crowded bookstore (that happened to be a great price) -- somewhat crinkled and yellowed with age; the blues of the oceans and pinks and yellows of the countries starting to fade.

But none of this ever happened.

Then last night, Madeline and I were walking home from dinner, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves that evening. We needed to run some errands, so I threw out the possibility of Wal-Mart, to which Madeline (who happens to be going to Palestine in two weeks) responded "Well, I have been wanting a world map for my wall..."

I stopped, right in the middle of the Corner. "Madeline!" I exclaimed. "I want a world map for my wall!"

"Let's go to Wal-Mart!" said Madeline.

And a taxi-driver sitting nonchalantly in his vehicle about five feet away started laughing at us.

Anyway, we went to Wal-Mart, and each purchased a $6 50x32" world map, which we promptly brought home, laid out on the floor and admired while drinking blue kool-aid jammers and enjoying Busta Rhymes' skillz in "Look at Me Now."

No, it's not the vintage wonder I had imagined. But I am still excited to put it on my wall and remember that, although I'm here now (and I love it, and I'm supposed to be here), my home and my heart are still there. I've learned to love small-town America, but I also love the coffee-smells and rickety taxis of Ethiopia and the bike paths of England. I love the crowds and clutter of the street life of a foreign country and getting to be in a place that you've heard so much about or that is so far away.

Some of you might know that it's my goal to go to as many countries as I am old. I'm at eighteen -- down by two right now, and although I really am excited to be here in Charlottesville for the summer, at the same time I'm itching to just go somewhere. Hearing other people's crazy summer plans coupled with a long trail of travel blog perusals a few days ago had me looking up flight prices to various locations around the globe on, thinking to myself...maybe I could go somewhere for a week at the end of the summer? Is it possible? Where would I go? Who would I go with? How much would it cost?

The thing is, this is probably is not going to happen. And maybe it is for the better. It's true that I love exploring, roaming around different corners of the globe -- but can I also be content with where I am right now? Traveling and being a foreigner comes easily to me, because it was how I was raised -- but what lessons and growth is there for me here in Charlottesville this summer? In an ordinary work day? These are the things that I'll be exploring this summer.

P.S. Ironically, the amazing Kaye Stansbury just let me know that she's started a blog about her summer project in San Diego -- and the blog's title? Wanderlust. Um, hello, girl after my own heart. (And everybody please stalk the heck out of her because she is just that wonderful and is going to have all sorts of adventures in the next few weeks!)

[image source, via Pinterest. Quote by Seneca]

May 29, 2011

Third Year Memories

I feel like I went running straight into summer with no real transition from school. There were no days at the beach, no break from work, no change of location...and it made me realize how necessary that transition is. Going somewhere different at the beginning of the summer (for the last two it was Hilton Head) gives you a chance to realign my thoughts, think about the past year, and maybe make a few goals for the summer -- you know, what books to read, that kind of stuff. (Although last summer my goal was to learn to do the worm. And I did.)

The point is, I need to pause life for a moment, to think, to appreciate and to anticipate. the lovely Kate Kronau's blog (so beautiful and so vulnerable -- the blog and the girl) inspired me to do just that for a moment and just remember all that happened this past school year -- because it was a full one. 

Thus, some third year memories (in no particular):
  • Tuesday lunches (and Thursday fallback lunches)
  • Country dancing in Texas with my bff
  • Wedding dress shopping with my sister
  • My family's new house in Crozet! (And Easter lunch with everyone there)
  • Watching the girls in the small group I lead grow during our second year together! (So many challenges, but soooo many blessings)
  • Christmas in Kenya
  • Emceeing for Agape
  • Getting my nose pierced
  • Laying across Kathleen's lap as she repierced my third hole with a safety pin, Parent Trap style
  • Glee at the Octagon
  • A long, long winter
  • Brittney's Disney princess birthday party/Halloween (and dressing up as Ariel)
  • Learning to cling to God's promises
  • 2 hour & 45 minute Curry classes
  • Carrying a giant paper chain down 14th street
  • Grassy Knoll picnics
  • The Great Jungle Juice Flood of '11 (10 minutes before our small group was about to start)
  • Getting rear-ended as I was about to turn into my driveway...and getting the car fixed/dealing with insurance/driving to Pennsylvania on a not-fully-fixed car
  • Football games (girls in pearls!)
  • Hilton Head and Charleston with Hope and Allie
  • Walking to class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Margaret, Monique and Abby
  • Thanksgiving dinner with the Mangrove
  • Realizing time and time again how much I fail and how much God comes through
  • Sitting on the porch swing at 206
  • Para Coffee
  • Being the designated driver for sooo many 21st birthdays (my time will come soon enough...)
  • Joshua Radin and Brooke Fraser concerts!
  • A ton of job interviews, a ton of rejections, and finally starting a job
...And so many other things.

And now Madeline and I are off to Wal-Mart to buy world maps and then we are going to fingerpaint. 

May 27, 2011

Friday Five

Here's the thing: I don't usually listen to country music. But there is just something about summertime that changes that. It's just the perfect background to cruising with the windows down or sitting on the porch long past midnight, wouldn't you agree? So, here are:

My Top Five Fave Summertime Country Songs

1. Fast Cars and Freedom, Rascal Flatts 
(You don't look a day over fast cars and freedom, that sunset, river bank, first time feeling...)

2. Why Don't We Just Dance, Josh Turner
(This music video is just so wonderful. Basically that's going to be my future.)

3. Nothing To Lose, Josh Gracin

4. Water, Brad Paisley
(Soo I don't actually know if this is my favorite Brad song, but it is certainly summer appropriate, and I couldn't not have Brad Paisley on this list..)


5. Get Out of This Town, Carrie Underwood

...Aaand because narrowing it down to five was actually really difficult, here are some other faves:
Happy Summer.

May 25, 2011

To My Sister, A Graduate

Currently Listening To: For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver. (Especially Skinny Love) (Inspired by last night's porchtime with Linnea and Leah)

Dear Linnea,

I remember when I first came to college. I was fresh off the plane from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I had graduated in a class of eleven friends, and was suddenly at a college where there were almost more people in my dorm than my entire K-12 school. I was still having culture shock about things like free drink refills and the fact that I could buy a pair of jeans whenever I wanted.

You, however, had already been here for a year. You knew what was up, and you passed some of that knowledge on to me. I remember that we went to Ohill for lunch with our cousin Jessi on the first day of classes, and then about an hour after that I was calling you frantically because I realized I had just accidentally skipped my first college class ever. You told me it would be okay because it was a big lecture class and they were probably just figuring out enrollment stuff anyway. (You were right.)

You took me to the first Agape large group (where I met Liz, another MK, who just so happened to be my roommate this past year) and made me come to the root beer kegger that weekend (where I met several people I am friends with now). You would drive me places and I would cry in the car sometimes, because living in a dorm with a roommate is not always conducive to that, and you were the only familiarity I had.

After those first few months, I began to figure stuff out. But it was still nice having you around, seeing you several times a week, and especially this year when we lived a few houses down the street from each other, so if I was on my way home and you happened to be on your porch I could sit and join you. It’s also been…fun? working out how to share a car (especially when someone had a boyfriend who lived an hour away.. ;] ) but the upside of that was that we were often in constant communication...

All in all, who would of thought three years ago that we’d be sitting on your porch two nights after your graduation stuffing wedding invitations into envelopes?  You have so many exciting, wonderful things going on these days! You’re getting married, moving to Maryland with your husband where you'll be doing public health-y and grown up things!

And I’ll be sticking around here for another two years. Funnily enough, it’ll be the first time I’ve been at this school without you here, too. I’m pretty confident I can handle it, but I know that’s largely because of the way you were there for me from the very beginning. And if you ever want to come back and visit next year, you can definitely sleep on my floor.


Your Schwesder

May 24, 2011


May 20, 2011

This Has Gotta Be The Good Life

It's graduation weekend! That means that while I was at work/walking home I saw several college kids walking around with a parent in tow, that my own grandparents (PJ & MK!) are in town, and that at dinner we were handed a schedule of the weekend's events by our very own graduate, my sister Linnea. (Yayy Linnea!)

[me and Linnea being oh-so-UVA]

My tomorrow is: bridal shower, lunch with the fam, work, graduation party, graduation party, birthday party. I am blowdrying and straightening my hair tonight to prepare for this onslaught of activity. (Also, you can tell that this is a big event weekend because that whole blowdrying/straightening thing does not happen often. I have too much hair to deal with that.)

In the meantime, this is the song I've had stuck in my head all day (thanks to Margaret, who plays songs she loves on repeat, it was the backdrop to our conversation for a few hours last night):

Do you any of you guys do that? Put a song you love on repeat? Or does that ruin the song for you?

May 18, 2011

You Had Me At Mixed Media

I am loving Mae Chevrette's mixed media paintings. (Check out her Etsy shop here!)

I'm thinking about getting a print for my room next year -- they're all about $20 each (except, unfortunately, the last one). But then the real question is, which one do I choose?

May 17, 2011

Life at The B: Summer Edition

Currently Listening To: Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People (Thanks, Margaret, for the recommendation!) 

These are my housemates (one of only like two pictures taken of the six of us ever):

But for the next few weeks, we'll be operating at half-capacity here at the B, because only me, Madeline and Abby will be around. Mads and Abby are both taking summer classes (which started the Monday after finals finished -- how awful for them, right?) and I'm here in Charlottesville this summer working and whatnot. It’s funny having just the three of us here, and we kind of only just realized that it means we’re going to be spending a LOT of time together…

But that, of course, still doesn’t stop us from a 3-way gchat:

…even though our rooms are all about 5 feet apart and when I’m sitting on my bed, I can SEE Madeline sitting on her bed.

Meanwhile, Abby is dogsitting for the week, so we have Otis (who I keep accidentally calling Milo) bouncing around the house/taking over my bed this week too:

Last night, the three of us and Milo Otis, were watching Gilmore Girls and it felt like we were a little family.

It’s going to be a good summer.

P.S. While I’m documenting life at the B, this is what my room looked like when I got home from Lexington on Sunday:

Talk about a line down the middle of the room. Poor Liz who had to move all of her stuff out around my mess over the weekend...

I Haven't Quite Wrapped My Head Around

The fact that it's summer.



Even though I finished school last Thursday, work and busy-ness mean that my mind is still all go-go-go and to-do-lists, but no more. I have tomorrow AND the day after that off work to do nothing and get in that summer mindset, and it will be glorious.

P.S. we didn't make it to the Outer Banks -- thunderstorms all weekend meant a last-minute change in destination to Lexington, VA. But it was still wonderful!

[all images via Pinterest]

May 13, 2011

Done With Finals/Work/BEACH Insanity!!!!!

Alright friends. Blogger's been down for a while, so I wasn't able to post yesterday about my excitement at being done with finals. 

Here's a taste though: there was celebration (almost more than poor little PhotoBooth could handle), followed by a celebratory slurpee run...

And now I have to leave for work in 7 minutes, but that leaves me with just enough time to tell you the game plan for the weekend:
  • I go to work, now until 9pm.
  • At 9, Abby and Madeline will pick me up from work, and we will start driving to THE OUTER BANKS!!! (ETA: about 1 am?)
  • BEAACCHHHH! ...for about 40 hours.
  • We drive home on Sunday night
  • Abby and Madeline begin summer classes on Monday, I go back to work.
It will be insane. It will be the longest day of my life. But really, this is the kind of thing you can only get away with in college right?

Be back Monday!

May 11, 2011

So. Close.

I’m in home stretch of finals right now. That last little bit where you just have to keep trucking on with what you’re studying, even though you’re just tired. Where you spent 6 ½ hours in a library going through Shakespeare tragedies, and you don’t even like Shakespeare. Where you keep picturing tomorrow at 5pm when it will all be over. Where you get a little jealous of all the people you know who are already done.

Maybe you can relate?

In other news, can’t believe I’m less than 18 hours away from being done with third year. Reminisces to follow, I’m sure, in the next few days when I can have a moment to collect my thoughts (about the entire year, ha).

P.S. Here’s a sample of my study playlist (I've been alternating between these and my Mumford & Sons Pandora station for the last 2 weeks):

[image via We Heart It]

May 9, 2011

Thought Of The Day

Currently Listening To: Somwhere Only We Know, Glee version
Currently Avoiding Studying: Shakespeare

(This is going to be my justification for why I felt that it was okay to have pancakes 
and sausage for lunch, lay in the grass drinking a mocha coconut frappuccino
 (half off because of Starbucks happy hour), with Marg, Taylor, Kelly and 
Caroline, lay in a hammock, paint my nails hot pink, sit on a bench eating 
ice cream with Brecklyn, and postpone studying for a little bit longer.)

[image source unknown; quote by Jostein Gaarder]

May 8, 2011

To My Mom


To my mom,

Who loves Jane Austen novels and the 6 hour BBC version of Pride & Prejudice,

Who drinks about five cups of (proper English) tea a day,

Who loves collecting recipes almost more than making them,

Who has a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups,

Who is more organized than I will ever be in my entire life,

Who has a PhD in Biblical Greek grammar and is an ordained Presbyterian minister,

Who raised me on three continents and might spend the rest of her life in Africa,

Who has taught me to love Jesus and basically every other important thing,

I love you.

And Happy Mother's Day!

May 6, 2011

Beaver Creek

Currently Listening To: the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack
Quote Love: "I think part of faith is having to be reconciled with a flawed community." - Sufjan Stevens

Dear Agape Third Years, 
You are the coolest.

Not to mention the cutest, too...

Love love love.

p.s. (several days later...) You look really good in black & white.

[photos taken with Kathleen Atkinson's snazzy camera, by Chris Smith and Bryan Layman]

May 5, 2011

Brooke-Obsessed (Still)

Disclaimer: I have been working on my final paper for my seminar for the past few hours, so please forgive me for the fact that all I can currently think about is multiculturalism in Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita.

Yesterday was lovely but busy: a few hours relaxing lake-side at Agape's end of year cook-out, then driving straight to my professor's house on top of a mountain (with some adventures involving trees obstructing the road on the way and my professor's husband - also a noted professor at UVA - arriving with a chainsaw to hack it to pieces. P.S. if anyone is interested in taking one of Professor Ramazani's classes, just know that he has prowess not just in poetry but also in wielding a chainsaw.). Anyway, at my prof's house we workshopped part of papers and had Indian food and it really was just nice...and then I went home to get ready for BROOKE! (I apologize for how Brooke-obsessed my blog has been recently. But let's face it, my life is a little Brooke-obsessed...)

Y'all, she was beautiful, and she was good. And she has the best Kiwi accent, of course. She sang a lot of songs from Flags, and also a few of her classic older ones (C.S. Lewis Song, Deciphering Me, Albertine)...SO GOOD. It was so fun to be there with a group of about fifteen people I knew, and basially, it ended way to soon.

That being said, y'all can watch a little bit of Brooke's concert for yourself, as my friend Josh managed to capture just about all of it on video. (You can explore the playlist of videos from the concert here.) One that really stands out, however, is cover she did of Coldplay's Violet Hill. Because of course her songs were all spectacular, but they sounded similar to her CDs. This one was just so different and well done that y'all just need to watch it:

[pictures and video by Joshua Tran]

May 3, 2011


I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

So excited to see Brooke tomorrow evening!

(And to have a cook-out/picnic for lunch. And that today was the last day of classes. 
And that I got to have dinner with my family tonight. And that I don't actually 
have a final for Exceptional Learner! And that, after being gone from home from 
9:15am - 11:30pm, I get to go to bed right now!!)

P.S. This video/song make me love Brooke even more, and it reminds me just how much
I really miss Ethiopia. Because sometimes I forget.

May 2, 2011

To Do

Currently Listening To: Love Song for a Savior by Jars of Clay
Quote Love: ‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr

My To Do List, now through next Monday:

  • Final project for Exceptional Learner due tomorrow
  • Final paper for EDIS5030 due tomorrow (max 12 pages)
  • Last day of classes tomorrow (and Tuesday lunch!)
  • Birthday dinner for my dad!
  • Agape end of year picnic
  • Paper workshop/dinner at my professor's house
  • seven hours of work on Thursday
  • seven hours of work on Friday
  • Exceptional Learner take home final
  • Swing Dance!
  • My sister's bridal shower (hosted by ME!)
  • EDIS3880 coda
  • ENMC4500 final paper due (12 pages)
  • (More than a week away but I'm still putting it on this list:) Shakespeare final
So, yes, half of this is fun stuff. But it is still just so much happening that I feel a little daunted. Ever since I started work, I've been holding out for summer, for when I only have one thing (work) to focus on and life will be way less complicated. But at the same time, I'm scared that I'm going to get to summer and then wonder where it all went and be a little sad that everyone's gone. (And really. How is it the last day of class tomorrow?!) 

But right now I mostly just feel like this week is going to be crazy either way. And there's nothing to do but dive on in. And go finish my 5030 paper right now.

[image via Pinterest]

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