How Travel Messed Me Up

How has travel messed me up? I long for places I’ve been, and places I haven’t, all while longing for my parent’s front porch and bonfire patio.

Travel. It creates opportunity. Opportunity for mind’s expansion and upside down perspective all while staring at the open road going 85 legal mph down a Wyoming interstate. Opportunity to see 27 shooting stars and 24 million people. Opportunity to meet people over all continents, multiple countries, and a thousand stories. Opportunity to be alone in the busiest place in the world and surrounded in a town of 5,000. Opportunity to relish in the simple things and work hard for luxury. Travel has made me angry, teary-eyed, laugh uncontrollably in a matter of minutes. Because life is too short not to take opportunity. Travel isn’t buying a roundtrip ticket around the world, at the ground root level it’s taking a new way to work to meet new people or gain new perspective in the scenery around. Not to take opportunity perhaps is to lose insight on something that could significantly impact your world.



Written on a Delta napkin that started with: “spill your drink. or your thoughts. that’s what these are here for.” I write best with a pen and napkin. Travel. It’s messed me up. It’s made me become unpredictable in my head. Really anything goes. Event job in Aruba? Down. Teach in Morocco? Also down. Sell everything, do yoga, and open a cafe on the beach? Already there. And as I sit on my last flight of this long ass day, I kick myself for not booking earlier flights. Se la vie? Ugh. I watch people. One reads, another watches a sitcom, one pulls out a sketch book and draws her granddaughter’s laughing eyes- full of innocence, and yet another, diagonal from my vantage point mixes music. I think he is a DJ from San Diego, at least that’s what his poster on his computer reads. And I. Well. I write. and listen to music. And think. It’s therapeutic you know. My blog has suffered this year. I couldn’t write much after writing grad school papers. I want to do better. Better at not procrastinating my thoughts, but do something about them. Dear world (a quote I read the other day) feel free to send some awesome my way.

I sense it. Something will be different soon. It will happen, maybe not this month or year, but soon. Some don’t see it, but I’m a patient person when it comes to building. Building myself for something more. Something I haven’t pictured, or allowed myself to believe I could do. But it’s real, I can feel it. I am not the same person I was 4 years ago.

Travel messed me up. It really wasn’t supposed to go down like this. It was only supposed to be one year in Korea. It was only supposed to be four months of volunteering. It was supposed to be one more then grad school and China. I can’t stop now. Not yet. I’m just not ready. I was made for this you  know. To show people kindness. To represent what I stand for: my beliefs, my country, my spirit; to show people that it’s ok to go, to dream, to see. I did. You can. I will continue to do so. I just needed to find a stronger voice. One that is more acceptable, to accept change with more ease, to not care so much and place too much emphasis on other’s decisions because ultimately it’s not my life to live for me, but for His purpose.

Maybe the disagreement is too much and the relationship changes and I need to be ok with that. And I just pray they are ok with mine. Because judgements both past and present hurt both parties involved. Some relationships (this could mean friendships too!) are stronger now, others are weaker. Perhaps a break is needed to evaluate. To reconsider the importance of that person. Are they worth it, I always pray yes, but maybe they are not. Now I know what I value and crave in friendship- in relationships- is depth, details, and realness. These days those qualities are rare in anyone and hard to find.

Travel has messed me up. Meeting people and creating those rare and valuable connections with people all over the world, has me longing to meet more. The friends I know now are rare, if you have these rare people in your life, treasure them and hold them close.

Travel has messed me up in more ways then one…it’s dared me to become vulnerable and trusting, it’s given me a passion about life. It has shown me intricate beauty this world doesn’t know and in it’s tangible form it comes as the crystal oceans, the deep white sand, the sunrise and sunset, and the vibrant sound of waves and laughter.

Stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks as I head back to Shanghai for Round 2.

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Road Trips and Reunions: (part 2) Arizona and Bend, Oregon, with some NE mixed in between

keeping cool.
teal vibes.
and all that fresh air and blue skies.

Let me back up to the first week of August..SISTERS Reunited! Fun photo session and sister laughs, really can’t beat that. A successful 18 hour road trip with the parents in the books. United States of America, you are beautiful. Your open skies provide stretching for the eyes and soothing for the soul.

 

This coffee makes shopping that much better!

 

She found a dress.
It’s really pretty.

Check out our sister photo sesh below:

 

 

Back in Nebraska: Dinner at Bison Witches and Jake Owen/Chase Rice concert. I really do have the best of friends. Love these ladies dearly.

 

 

Nothing like some sexy country men and music. 😉

So back to that LAX airport…I was on my way to see my brother for a couple days before our 21 hour drive back to Nebraska. He surprised me and arrived at the airport to pick me up right on time instead of me waiting for a couple hours until he got off work! Yay! We hiked Smith Rock, beer in hand. Stunning 360 views of the surrounding towns, Cascades in the distances, and river below.

Bend, Oregon. Places to go:

Deschuttes Brewery: one of dozens of local breweries. But this one is noted as a top one. Go here for the Chainbreaker, a white IPA. Ice-cold to perfection.

10 Barrell Brewery: an outdoor patio, but no such luck for us. instead we sat inside with the sun beaming down on us for a hot experience. thank goodness for beer, right? Cucumber crush was their summer sour.

Sunriver Brewery: a more pleasant experience. chill music. shaded and cool. and those appetizers were AWESOME. Fried avocado and bacon wrapped grilled pineapple. And the beer was pretty good too. Done and done.

Spork: omg. an array of exotic cuisine brought to America. love love love. Go here for tasty dishes. We split the Korean BBQ short ribs. And drank their twist on a G and T. Crazy food, crazy cocktails, get here early to line up. Outdoor seating available for Bend’s perfect summer evening weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

my brother is the best. love ya Jake!
Back home. Testing out brother’s variety of craft beer.

 

 

And Today? The best email. Ecstatic. THESIS APPROVAL.

 

Summer made.
Life is good. Patio sitting is the best.
And all that jazz.

 

Road trips and Reunions: (mostly) A guide to Western New York and Maine

Part 1. 

August 9th. Sitting in the LAX airport with the lyrics to Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA,” because seriously I hopped off the plane at LAX and it’s like I forgot to read a menu and function in US airports. Travel has messed me up. I’ll get into more of those ramblings later; but first, a recap on this summer of road trips and reunions.

At the end of July I flew out to see two of my bests from Korea. Reunited (all 3 of us) after 4 years was pretty much the best.ever. So much reminiscing, laughter, wine, and fun in the 716.

Western New York, if you’ve never been, looks a lot like Nebraska. If you’ve never been there either, let me tell you. Open skies, winding roads, fields of crops, orchards, wineries, and quaint towns right on Lake Ontario. Newfane, Olcott Beach, Lewiston, and Lockport boast quaint shops, bakeries, coffee houses, artisan ice-cream, and Eerie Canal history. Don’t forget the gorgeous summertime sunsets on the lake with Toronto flickering skyline and the CN Tower in the distance.

But first… our Traditional Wine Wednesday upon my arrival with this dear friend!

 

Our friendship started in Korea and has traveled with us across the world to Chile, Turkey, Taiwan, Mexico, Indonesia, Nebraska, New York, and China. Thank goodness for FaceTime. We could make a book of stories, plans, adventures, and memories!

Places to go:

Scripts Cafe: a hidden gem of quaintness…coffee, salads, sandwiches…a cafe’s dream.

Gust of Sun winery: this winery is along the Niagara County Wine Trail and offers wine and CHOCOLATE pairings. (two of my favorite things- together?! sold.) A lovely outdoor patio. If you’re lucky to get the bartender who plays reggae jams on a summer day you’re in for a jammin’ good time.

Schulze Winery: a lovely winery also along the Wine Trail. Go for live music most summer weekend afternoons.

Lake Effect: located in the newly restored downtown area of Lockport. This shop offers all kinds of artisan ice-cream, including local favorites like Paula’s glazed donuts, sponge candy, frozen hot chocolate, revolution coffee, and loganberry.

Orange Cat Coffee Co: located in historic downtown Lewiston just minutes from a Lake front view. They have a huge variety of bean flavors including German Chocolate Cake and Jamaican me crazy. Yum. And the smell of this place is heavenly.

Bye’s Popcorn: this popcorn stand is in a neighborhood just a few blocks from Olcott Beach. This family owned stand has been around for 93 years and counting. Get the caramel corn…or the plain! 🙂

Blackbird Cidar Works: Western New York’s Premier Craft Hard Cidery. Located in a big red barn in an orchard, a perfect quench for a hot summer day!

Singer Farm Naturals: Come in for tea and a sweet treat and browse their local food sections…cherry picking is available here too!

NYBP (New York Beer Project): A chill taproom and gastropub. You can’t miss this place! To order: Project sweet fries, forget the diets these are heaven in your mouth…sweet potato fries sprinkled with a bit of sugar dunked in brown sugar cream cheese…why I ordered anything else is beyond me. But I went on and ate a Breakfast at Tiffany’s burger and had a cold craft brew on the side.

 

 

that clear water sparkle
I could stare all day
captivated

 

Lakefront near Lewiston

 

 

 

 

sweet summer sun

 

 

 

morning yoga view on Lake Ontario

 

namaste friend, chingu, amiga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

twinkling lights in the distance

 

More stunning sunsets at Olcott Beach

 

 

Buffalo, New York just underwent a major renovation to their downtown area. However, the city has various nooks, not only in the downtown, but in surrounding neighborhoods for cafes, bars, and a plethora of local eateries. The downtown offers a variety of hotels and it is very walkable to the lakefront area. Oh and go up in the Capitol building for a 360 view of the city on a clear day!

Really, I don’t know what I’d do without them.
From Korea, to Boracay, and now Buffalo…
Who knows our next meeting point?
“mini” road trip ready
 
Places to go:


Public Espresso and Coffee: like seriously? Lux and comfort at it’s finest. Enter the hotel lobby for an open concept cafe with couches and chairs. The coffee? Amazing. Different blends and a cool (or hot) twist on some great favorites. The baristas are pretty awesome too. Don’t forget to try the coffee flight (I mean, wine tastings, beer samplers, why not coffee?)

Ashker’s Juice Bar and Bistro: Go here. Every morning. Juice bars? Only the perfect combination of fresh ingredients for a morning cleanse. And drinking out of a Mason jar makes it that much better. And the food? Scrumptious. Like I said, go here, every morning or brunch you can.

Pearl Street Grill and Brewery: outdoor patios and beer samples are a must in summertime. Overlooking the night streets provides a chill dinner atmosphere. Good food and drink.

La Cantina: a Mexican restaurant serving pitchers of margaritas, homemade chips and salsa…need I say more? The perfect start to our girls’ weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

William K’s: located on the Lakefront. Come here for a sweet sunset, specialty cocktails (the freshest spin on gin and tonic you’ll ever have), and wine. Their pizza is the perfect size to share (unless you’re super hungry like we were and ordered two). The perfect patio for stunning Lake Ontario views and summer sun vibes. There’s really nothing quite like a sailboat’s silhouette in the sinking sun…whether watching on a lake or on a beach in Boracay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niagara Falls: just a short drive from the city (check hotels and local bus schedules to use public transport) and definitely worth the brief trek to see these iconic Falls. We walked to Canada- kinda cool, eh? And continued our “two places at once” bucket list item. Definitely busy on a summer’s day, so go early and expect lines. Don’t forget your passport to see the touristy Canadian side. The US side has a nice nature walkway above the falls. The walking bridge offers great views of both Falls as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…And we got to meet up with my good friend, Enoch. The last time we saw each other was in 2007 when we were studying in Kenya, so wonderful he was able to drive down to spend the afternoon with us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My reunion trip continued with a flight to Bangor, Maine. Never mind Delta cancelled my flight and I had to fly out the following day. Crazy flying troubles. That was after being delayed almost 9 hours on the way out to New York from Nebraska. I may be *slightly* hesitant to fly Delta on my next trip.

Back to the trip… Laura is a travel nurse out in Maine for the summer so I decided to make it a joint trip with New York. Bangor is a smaller airport in the Northern part of Maine, we drove from Bangor down to Bar Harbor for lunch along the coastal highway and detouring through Acadia National Park. Our final stop of the day was in Lincolnville. We stayed the night at a charming inn. The next day we hopped in the car and drove to Camden for lunch at the harbor and then continued our scenic drive to Portland where we spent the rest of the day tasting craft beer and exploring the quaint downtown. We concluded with dinner on a yacht. Exquisite crab crakes and chilled white wine to end this summer getaway with my dear friends!

Places along Bangor to Portland route…

Bar Harbor: explore this touristy town for good eats and drinks; right on the Harbor of course. Try Jalepenos Cantina and Mexican Grill for margaritas and lobster tacos.

Acadia National Park: gorgeous forested drive. Get off at stunning visit points of the ocean and lakes. Stop by Thunder Hole for a cool view and rocky coast.

Lincolnville: this fishing town is home to the Lobster Pound. Pick your own Lobster and fixings. Step outside and pick your patio spot to chill, eat, drink, and watch an oceanic sunset come down over the boats. This town hosts multiple bed and breakfasts and cozy inns. Summertime is busy though, so book early!

Camden: could these towns get any cuter? Grab a coffee and tour the shops and walk the streets before strolling down to the water for lunch at Peter Otts on the Water. Perfect patio spot to sip a cocktail and watch the boats and waves.

Portland: the bustling capital city boosts a brick laid downtown area booming with bars, restaurants, cafes, and local artists shops, but if you can walk along the water for more lobster dining and views. Go to DeMillo’s on the Water. It’s a Yacht anchored, but every now and then you feel the tilt of the waves underneath the surface. The second floor deck has a stellar harbor view at dusk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers~~~

T-11 Days Til I’m Back in Asia!

First…Picture Updates…

sistertime in Houston

Love this road home.

when Timmie picks me up at the airport.
Venezuelan food.
Coffee.
Paleo-chocolate chip banana bread.
She’s amazing!!! 

Met her in Taiwan.
Reunited in SoCal.
Eating Taiwanese food.
Yay life!

studying…

beach day. 

focused.

The first six weeks of grad school are complete. All As. I’m thrilled. It was a challenging six weeks living in dorms, going to class for 8 hours or so a day, plus group work, studying, and dealing with reverse culture shock from Indonesia. But I survived. I cannot thank my classmates, professors, and friends and family back home for their support. Everyone was supportive beyond what I deserve. It’s tough to manage time for class, studying, health, and expectations for myself. A good friend of mine recently sent me this article. Ironically since being back from Indonesia sometimes I will freeze out the shower. Just to remind myself how lucky I am, that many people don’t have these luxuries. That the minor discomfort was something I had struggled with for seven months. Pushing your comfort zone is indeed the key to self-betterment. I agree. The top “uncomfortable” things that stood out to me, that I do, or that are on my radar to improve are as follows:

2. Be honest. Honesty is probably the most humbling, scary, and rare things a person can be. Honesty is the most challenging. Because not only is honesty a reflection upon a person’s inner self, but their outer self as well. It’s something I strive for time and time again, but more often than not I keep just a small part of the whole truth to myself. So again I try. The experience of being fully honest with someone, no matter how painful, is usually the most relieving and uplifting feelings. 
3. Wake up extremely early.  I nailed this in the six weeks in grad school. 🙂 I find myself waking up extremely early when I go to bed at a decent hour. I find myself waking up extremely early when I have a dedication to do, like yoga or studying. I am most productive throughout my day when I wake up extremely early. I need to continue on this path if I want to achieve more and become a more productive person.
6. Eat only nutritious food.  Because I have such a sweet tooth. When I gave up sugar, gluten, soy, and caffeine for 3 weeks it was the best I have felt in a long time. So why don’t I continue on this health track? Laziness. And I give in to cravings. Or I get nostalgic for a food I miss. Like the article said…it’s mental too!
7. Practice public speaking. Not many people realize how nervous I get when teaching. But with practice, I have outgrown most nervousness. In front of groups, I am getting better. I am not as confident that I can get up in front of people without having practiced my script…but it’ll come.
8. Accomplish an almost impossible goal. Done and done. On repeat. Because living and working abroad used to be impossible…a daunting year ahead that used to lay before me. I didn’t come home. I acclimated well and integrated myself into the culture, made friends, and excelled as a teacher. Perhaps this “uncomfortable thing” of accomplishing an almost impossible goal was the easiest for me. I know I’m not a quitter, I don’t give up that easy. And I have Jesus. And He makes All Thing Possible. So a near impossible goal will always be possible. 
As I fly back to Asia for another year outside my comfort zone, my goal is to add these challenges to my year, to make this year in China, one of the best.
MAIS COHORT 11

Moved Abby to Houston after arriving back from California. Am so proud of my little sister moving to Texas to start her teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher. Will get to see my Aunt and her family in Dallas on the way home. Back in Nebraska before departing for Asia on the 17th! An intense August of travel, but I am ready!

Six Weeks in Southern California

Sunshine and summertime and studying (besides today’s RAIN!) This pretty much has summed up the last three weeks. I’m just over halfway done with the six week summer intensive program before heading to Shanghai to continue online courses, research, and teach. Phew! Has the past few weeks been a whirlwind, or what?!! Here’s my top ten about life right now:

1. I found yoga…$50 unlimited. This has provided essential me time and relaxation in between class and studying. I am able to rent a bike from the University, so I bike the 2.5 miles up and (down) hills to the studio. The studio is surrounded by eateries, a juice bar, a coffee shop, and Trader Joe’s. A lucky find indeed!

2. My roommate/suitemates are fabulous. My roommate is from Chicago and is in the International Development track, one of my suite mates just arrived back from teaching in Shanghai and is doing International Education like me, and the other suite mate is from California and is doing International Business. We all get along really well and have a lot of fun!

3. Class schedule thus far: Culture and Society, A; Research Methods, A; and so far in Mandarin- 105 on my midterm. Phew! Studying has definitely paid off. On the weekends I usually get up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday to study for a few hours before yoga at 8 or 9, then back to studying for the afternoon. Sundays are saved for beach time and group work and organization for the upcoming week. My concentration (Education) course starts this week…for the last two weeks. I also had a conversation with one of the final thesis evaluators about my topic, I am leaning towards something with study abroad…so if anyone has any ideas let me know! 🙂

4. California sunsets are stunning. So are their sunrises. Pinks, purples, yellows, oranges…

5. French Hill on Campus is a super steep climb, but the view of the valley is incredible- especially at sunset and the seductive lighting or at dark with the twinkling lights of all the surrounding cities and the Fourth of July fireworks shows.

6. THE BEACH. The shuttle drops us off at Corona Del Mar for a few hours. There’s a good wine bar, Mexican restaurant, and frozen yogurt place…and good beach walking. You all know how much I love the waves.

7.  Mandarin. On Sundays, I get private one hour Mandarin tutoring sessions thanks to the TA. I am taking full advantage. It’s really fun and cool to see how much I’ve remembered from my Taiwan tutoring sessions. I’m getting better… ha! I really enjoy the sessions and class. My professor is very nice and so funny…she loves her jokes! We will perform this song and dance at our final banquet (we are attempting to learn the chorus…(This is the second dance I’ve learned for a class or work this year).

8.  Concordia University. This campus is beautiful. It’s small, but nestled off the main roads so we can see the valley below and mountains surrounding. It’s quiet, the roads are wide and have lanes for bikes. There is a Farm Direct (a Korean supermarket- which is super fun because I can read some of the signs and they have my favorite “fish ice-cream” sandwiches!), a coffee shop, a Vietnamese restaurant, and a Korean BBQ place all within a 15 minute walk.

9. My classmates. They are the best. And I don’t know what I would do without them. Through group work and studying for final exams after learning semester long material in a matter of hours. Their motivation and encouragement get me through the tough days. And bless them for putting up with their hot mess of a culture shocked friend. I am still battling with rough days of being back. It’s so refreshing to hear their stories, challenges, dreams, and inspirational talks. I really could have asked to be in a better Cohort. Even though I may not talk to everyone on a daily basis, everyone is supportive of one other’s goals. Being a TA for TESOL is also very rewarding, because I get to help my classmates prepare for their first teaching experience! I truly enjoy sharing my own personal experience and giving them advice for their projects and classroom lessons.

10. Professors. The professors at this University are awesome! They make the time to speak one on one about projects. They are supportive and want us all to succeed. Three of them will be with us in China which I hope will be a great asset. The professors here are enthusiastic about the subjects they teach and live up to the Christian principles the University holds.

stunning.

 

So grateful for this girl! We got through Research Methods together!

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

 

perfect chill spot.

 

Dr. Schuler

 

Professor Yu

 

MAIS!

 

view from Campus!

 

Welcome dinner

 

 

First Day of Class

 

Roomies!

 

New friends!

 

 

 

my favorite place!

 

study session at a cafe…

 

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud…" -Cold Tangerines

I must share these two travel quotes that remind me why I travel…

and this ad… http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7NVK/mastercard-onemoreday-of-travel-priceless

September 30th- Where did this month go??? Someone please tell me, it feels like it was yesterday that I was in Taiwan and Shanghai, and sitting in the Seattle airport waiting to come home. 

Somewhere between the 4th and today life happened. Schedules changed, visits made, and I got into a home routine that included cutting out 1800 stars on a cricut machine and drinking wine in the evening. Oh yes and did I mention I also spin at 5:30? Ok, I’m not slacking off too much. Research has to be done for Indonesia too, right? Right. And today’s lesson was… Indonesians drive on the LEFT side of the road.

4 days until STL for sister weekend with Timmie. 8 days until Boston and seeing Brit, Jen and Jay, Neil, and Sarah…and celebrating Brit’s wedding day! Needless to say I am so very excited for these upcoming days!

October 7th, 2014

Today’s fun fact of the day…actually from a couple days ago when I read the article about 22 safest places for solo women travelers and Indonesia was included. Sweet.

I’m sitting at my second cafe of the week sipping a Thai Iced Coffee from the Coffee Cartel. And sitting outside soaking up the gloriousness of fall and sweet crisp air and feeling the ever so subtle breeze on my patio seat. Thoughts creep in and I’m not sure if this is supposed to be real life. As I read the book Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist and let the celebratory thoughts sink in and become my reality. A bit of guilt hovers over me as I know so many at desks, in meetings, swamp to the brim, scurrying from place to place…and I just sit and watch others’ day unfold. I see families out for an afternoon walk, businessmen out for a quick lunch meeting, women out for an easy latte, joggers navigating around the noonday strollers.

Reflections…and Recipes of the past few days…

Saturday morning I flew into STL. Timmie picked me up and we drove on winding roads to the river bank across from Grafton, IL. Here we boarded the ferry (in her car!). This was fun as I had never been on a transporting ferry in a car before. After unloading on the other side we drove up to Eckert’s Orchard to pick apples! I had also never been apple picking before…what a day of “firsts.” Picking apples did not take long as we picked about 8 lbs in like 10 minutes so we headed out, but not before buying a bag of fresh kettle corn. There’s definitely something about eating crunchy kettle corn on a fall afternoon. Delicious. After apple picking we did a scenic drive back down the hill to the Grafton Winery and Brewhaus for lunch. A pinot gris with apple and pear flavors, touched with crisp almond and vanilla complimented scrumptious crab cakes and sweet potatoes fries. Though we sat indoors, the outdoor patio overlooked a beautiful view of the river and bluffs. The fall leaves shimmered, almost ready to changed, but hadn’t found their fall colors yet. Driving along the river was refreshing with the windows down, music playing, and laughing with my dear sister. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, walking through the park, making pumpkin ice-cream, and watching Despicable Me 2.

Sunday morning brought more sunshine, pumpkin-bacon pancakes, church songs and sermon. We worked out, hiked at Castelwood Park, made pumpkin chili for dinner, and watched Pitch Perfect (a favorite of ours). We pretty much are obsessed with pumpkin, which is good because I totally missed out on all things fall last year, and there’s something about being in “fall-like” places for fall. I mean Taiwan and Indonesia don’t exactly boast fall colors, crisp air, and pumpkiny things so I am taking full advantage. I know I have mentioned before, but I just want to reiterate how much fun a fall vacation can be…I love the beach as you all know, but maybe it’s the coziness and comfort of family and friends that makes these fall places magical.

Monday came all too soon. Timmie had class all morning so I went to Six North Cafe to read and sit in the sun. I worked out at the small campus gym then walked aways to the cafe. The baristas were delightful…I can’t do too sweet of drinks anymore so they lightened up the sugar in my Salted Caramel Mocha with Almond Milk. Yum. When Timmie finished her morning of class, we headed to the mall to walk around. She bought me a Bubble Tea. Almost like Taiwan. Almost. Then back to the house to make this Apple Crisp with our freshly picked apples! (Note: we did not add in blackberries.). Divine. Lovely fall evening walk to cap off the day.

And now Tuesday. I can’t get over this weather. I don’t know how I got so lucky with how gorgeous it is outside. And to all of you in not-so-pleasant weather, I really do wish I could send some your way so we could share it! For dinner we went out to Bailey’s Range for burgers. Excellent. Leaving for Boston tomorrow morning. Get ready 친구s.

October 11th, 2014

Arrived to Logan International Airport 20 minutes early via Southwest Airlines on October 8th. Was greeted at the airport by Brit, Brianna, and Neil. What a wonderful airport pick-up! After lunch and a drink and sending Neil’s Canadian friend off on her flight home. So happy to be reunited with my Korean friends! That night we met up with Jen and Jay at 서울, A Korean restaurant in Downtown Boston. Great 비빔밥 and 김치 전. 
On October 9th, Neil and I helped Brit put together last minute things for the wedding. To get to Jen and Jay’s for the evening I took the “T”…check another subway system to navigate off my list. 😉 They live in South Boston…borderline of the crazy area and posh area…near the beach and a hill which is beautiful for views of the skyline. This city has such character. For a quick afternoon pick me up Jen, Sarah B, and I walked to P.S.- a Gourmet Coffee shop for a coffee and continued walking…we bought wedding cards at a boutique shop called Neatly Nested Decor. Took the “T” into the city for dinner at Parish Cafe. Love the city parks. Love the twinkling city lights. Glowing lights of office buildings and domes into the darkening blue fall sunset, crisp air…the kind that clears your lungs of exhaust. 

basketball while waiting for luggage…

flying into Boston

yay crafting!!! 

Brittany and Bryan wed on October 10th at Labelle Winery in New Hampshire. The wedding took place outside overlooking the vineyard at sunset. She looked absolutely stunning…a truly gorgeous bride and I’m blessed to call her and Bryan my dear friends. Brit and I had Monday coffees at a cafe in Korea called Cafe Muse…so we named the time “Mondays at Muse.” Since arriving stateside she and I have maintained this Monday time to Skype…she has skyped me most Mondays while being in Nebraska, Chile, and Taiwan. Being in Boston to help them celebrate their special day meant so much to me. After the ceremony, they hosted a cocktail reception, cupcake treats, an open bar, and warm cookies and milk at 10pm. What a fun night of dancing and drinking with friends! Congratulations Brittany and Bryan..I wish you all the happiness and love in your marriage!
Here are some photos of the evening. 

Today. the 11th. Woke up a bit hazy to rain and fall chilliness…a definitely gray day of driving back to Boston and an afternoon of relaxing with tea and toast at Jen and Jay’s. We are maintaining our tradition of Indian food after a night out…Cheers to reminiscing Korean times and catching up! We ordered in from India Quality.

October 14th. Back in Nebraska…Landed 20 minutes early…Allison was flying in from a work meeting in Denver at the same time I landed so we were able to see each other for a bit…Dad picked me up…Sunset and starry night ride home…

On the 12th we worked out…a killer workout of squats, kettle ball swings, dumbbell rows, overhead presses, deadlifts, planks, and reverse lunges…so help my body. Then we ate in the parking lot where a bunch of food trucks were parked for a Sunday lunch. We opted for a brown rice Vietnemese rice bowl with coconut chicken and iced coffees from the Bon Me truck. Toured a local goods market after and browsed through More Than Words which is a used bookstore. More Than Words is a Youth Empowerment Tool whose Mission is: “More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.” We found a nonexistent country’s travel guide…and I bought the real travel guide on Borneo. Spent the afternoon lounging in a hammock playing travel trivia in National Geographic Travelers. That night we went to go see Gone Girl.

Yesterday, the 13th. Jen and I walked about 9.5 miles (total) around Boston…through the Espanade, Harbor Riverfront, Little Italy…at night we walked along the water and all the city lights shimmered on the river…We explored every nook and cranny of this city…so wonderful to catch up and see sites, and eat pastries from Mike’s Pastry Shop in the North End/Little Itlay and sip peppermint tea in the evening air. Earlier that day we met Brit at Diesel Cafe for a coffee to celebrate our American version of “Monday at Muse.” (in person!)

Boston in the fall is beautiful…full of color and activity!

“…I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down and I want my everyday life to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift, who will use it up and wring it out and drag it around like a favorite sweater….” Cold Tangerines

News from Nebraska…

September 16th, 2014
Flashback about 2 months ago. I’m guessing it was a rainy lazy day in Taiwan and sometimes I get these slight panics of “oh my goodness what am I gonna do when I get home…” To ease these thoughts I apply for jobs. Anything and everything goes during these searches including places I have never considered and jobs I may not be qualified for. I trust that God is in control and whatever happens during these frantic searches is a plan being devised. 
And so it goes. I got an email from a lady in Indonesia asking if I would be interested in an interview. Keep in mind they prefer teachers with a background in education and sign teachers for a year contract. None of which I could offer. However, I do enjoy speaking with people in other country’s and I wanted to see what she could offer me as well. 
We had a great conversation. And she offered me the job on the spot. I knew that EF Indonesia had schools all over the archipelago. I was unsure where my location would be until she told me. Makassar, in South Sulawesi. 

I negotiated a 7-month contract. What this means is…I have another teaching job from November until the end of May 2015, a paid flight home, and I still get 2 weeks paid at Christmas! 

I booked my ticket today. It feels a bit more real now. I leave near the end of October. I am excited for my layover in Chicago to see a dear friend and then off from Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Jakarta. Had to book a separate flight (it was way cheaper this way) from Jakarta to Makassar. 
I’m not sure how to feel right now. Of course I am excited, nervous, scared, freaking out, thrilled, anxious etc. So whatever that emoticon for those emotions is I’m not sure…

Before arriving to Indonesia a “telex” was arranged. Since I am from Nebraska, I am able to either send in my documents to the Chicago consulate or take care of the paperwork in person. The process takes 3 business days. Because I like to plan ahead I am attempting to take care of the paperwork prior to arriving in Chicago on Monday as my flight to Jakarta departs on Thursday.

September 19th

Have you ever looked at a starry morning sky? Pitch black with night lingering and the sliver of shining moon and a thousand stars are your only light besides the fading street lamps and blinking caution light at the major town intersection. 5:30 a.m. the stillest part of the day. The most peaceful moments. No emotions to feel, no anger to hold, just motions of driving and working out. The brain is still trying to figure out what’s going on, but no to do lists have filled it yet, just dreams fading from thought trying to process the night’s sleep. This stillness is not felt everywhere…only found in quiet places, no traffic, no people, no noise, no distractions. It’s where to go to feel, to gather thoughts before immersing into the busy-ness of cities and foreign lands. It’s needed to refresh. reenergize, and just Be. Much needed to know this feeling this morning. Relish in these moments to know the stars, the moon, the dark, and the quiet, to distinguish this feeling from light, tasks, busy-ness. From noise and characters. From languages not heard, from clouded skies, and crazy traffic.

Cheers to another month in the states~ and the next adventure!!!

September 27-28th

Fam jam weekend.

Spent the weekend with the whole family. Timmie drove up from STL to meet us in Lincoln. It was great to get everyone together after being dispersed around the country and globe. Attended the Husker game (we won!!!). Took pictures. (See below.) And just chilled out together. Sunday morning we went to brunch at Dixie Quicks…a restaurant featured on the show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. It was delicious and everyone should go here asap. Menu items included: Oatmeal topped with vanilla bean ice cream, Sexual Chocolate french toast ((chocolate syrup, banana slices, nuts and whipped cream), Dixie Scramble, Biscuits and Gravy, and Chiliquillas. True Fuehrer fashion…amazing food (don’t worry come Monday we will be at the gym!), laughter, and jokes… (If you’re wondering…yes! we do have our disagreements…but we try and make the absolute best of our short time together…I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family!) Love them.

Dixie Quicks Food!!!

March 21-31st, 2013

Easter sibling pic!
March 21st

Snowy in Lincoln…driving scares me, but I went slow and finally made it to Omaha. Luckily there is no snow here! My dear friend Ann and I met for coffee…Nebraska, Korea, Nebraska, who knows what city we will meet in next! It was good to catch up and as always exchange stories and thoughts about life back home. What a delightful morning!

Met Liz and her friend from California to get our nails done. Pretty nails and toes; it was relaxing and fun to chat with her and her sweet friend! Rehearsal at the church tonight and a fun girls’ evening in at her mother’s. 

Two weeks from today I will be boarding a plane to Santiago. Oh my goodness!!! 🙂

March 22

I was reading my devotion for today… 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Today I must be thankful for my broken car. For if I didn’t have something to rely on God for, to cling to His strength, then my day would be incomplete. My anxiety over driving and being in a car is a constant reminder that He will protect me. He will ultimately bring me safely from Point A to Point B. I am also thankful for my grandparents help in this situation.

Tomorrow my dear friend gets married…yesterday the rehearsal went very well and the girls’ evening in hosted by her mother was so much fun!

Liz and Austin

the soon to be bride!

Beautiful Bridesmaids and Liz

my new friend Christieanne!

delicious food~

March 23

FABULOUS Wedding Day!!! Congratulations to Austin and Liz Beber; you are a beautiful couple and I wish you all the happiness and love in the world! I had the best time dancing and singing at the reception!

March 24

Mandy made us breakfast today! So yummy- blueberry pancakes and turkey sausage! It was Jeremy’s birthday. Hung out and had lunch at Panera with Lori. I headed home after a fun filled week and a half. Despite a hectic interstate I made it! Yay for wine and leftover pasta dinner watching The Blindside on my couch this Sunday evening.

March 25

Happiest Birthday to my dear friend Sarah! Wishing you a wonderful day on the coast!

This is the start to my last full week in the states. Eeek! Spin class and an hour long walk and talk with Angie. A much needed catch up! 🙂 Off to lunch with another dear friend and then back home to finish unpacking, do laundry, and start sorting out my things to pack back up! More wine and leftover pasta, and an episode of The Big Bang Theory and Rules of Engagement. Quick skype with the lovely Brit. Love laughing at the end of a busy day!

March 26

Great interval training today, 8:14 mile, killer ab workout and heavier weights for my shoulders and back. Hope I can find a gym or weights somewhere in Chile so my hard work doesn’t go out the window…Last Tuesday getting groceries with Dad. Quick trip to Target in Kearney too. Back home and sorting out my to do list.

March 27 

Received my placement today!!! YAY! Región de Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins. It’s right in the middle. So excited! I know nothing else, so I booked my hostel for Friday to Saturday night just to have some place to stay. Google it. It looks beautiful…could be coastal or mountain town, the weather is supposedly a Mediterranean climate, so not too hot or cold…though winters anywhere are probably somewhat chillier than I’d like…oh well! Having 2 winters in one year is kinda cool to say.

Gave a “Career” presentation today for a group of middle schoolers. I spoke of college, post college jobs, teaching abroad, and travelings. I think it went really well and I had so much fun speaking about something that I’m so passionate about! They asked intelligent questions…very impressed at this group of kids.

Tonight Angie and I are going to a church speaker. I’m excited to hang out with her before I depart.

The worship service was amazing…singing and a great speaker who spoke of being more aware of God’s presence wherever you are…He is Everywhere. Do you feel anything? He spoke of his recent revival week in Mexico and how so many were healed…and how so many felt God for the first time. When I walked out of the church that night there was this overwhelming calmness that could be described as an eerie peace…where I didn’t know if the peace, calm, and lack of a knotted stomach was real. But it was.

I love this verse in “One Thing Remains:”
Your love never fails
Never gives up
Never runs out on me

March 28th

Mom and I head to Omaha this afternoon to pick up Timmie for Easter weekend. It will be so nice to have the whole family together one more weekend before I leave the country and Timmie goes back to school.

March 29th

Last spin class today at the Y! 😦 I said my good byes…gonna miss that class!

After one week…I will be landing in Santiago. I’m so excited! I still don’t have any orientation information or further information regarding anything really. All I know is I land around 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Central time…I will be ahead 3 hours. So 6:30 a.m. your time. And I’m staying at this super cute hostel with bikes and tours. And…their breakfast looks amazing! Don’t worry they have wifi so I’ll keep ya’ll posted when I arrive…I won’t have a phone or an address for a bit.

My thoughts today…I keep translating what I’m rehearsing to say to taxi drivers in Korean instead of Spanish. I’m dead serious. I’m talking to myself as always and I keep saying 아니. Megan, the Spanish translation of the word no, is…no. Then I’m saying “yes” and all that comes out is 네…Si. Forget counting…I’m having market day flashblacks of saying 한 개, 주세요. (“One, Please”)…So now I have simple Korean, a medium level of Spanish, and fluent English buzzing in my head!

I’m going to try really hard not to say 감사합니다, 안녕히 가세요…thank you, good-bye…gracias, adios.

Whole family home tonight. Paninis and Bonfire. And Shrek.

March 30th

All packed up. 1 suitcase. 47lbs (ish) and 1 backpack. Goal accomplished. Far cry from my two 50lb bags and still throwing things out at the airport. Printed out documents and hostel directions.

Quality family time…even though there are tense moments at times I still love my family. They’re pretty great!

Margaritas and quesadillas tonight…delish! And The Big Bang Theory that somehow our whole family got addicted to.

March 31st

Happy Happy Birthday to my dear cousins Jodi and Allison! love you both so much!

Sunrise service at church. Back home for a yummy breakfast lasagna that Timmie and I put together. On the road to Omaha to have Easter dinner with the rest of the Jacobsen clan. Wonderful time spent with the family. Said good-byes to Mom, Dad, Abby, and Jake. Timmie leaves tomorrow to go back to St. Louis.

Tonight, Grandma, Timmie, and I are going to Silver Linings Playbook.

Happy Easter!!!! Christ has RISEN… love this post. Goosebumps.
http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/03/25/a-broken-hallelujah


March 11-20, 2013

March 11th


Happy Monday!

Usual routine of spin class, but afterwards I was starving. We didn’t have any bananas so I couldn’t make a mug cake; instead I decided to make a breakfast burrito. Whole wheat tortilla, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and egg. I spread an avocado on the tortilla before mixing up the other ingredients on the stove. I used coconut oil instead of butter. It’s supposed to be healthier and apparently boosts your metabolism. It was delicious!

Went to my first Zumba class…I only laughed a couple songs and only tripped maybe one time. It’s a fun way to exercise especially with a good friend!

Received word from the Consulate of Chile in Chicago. My visa appointment is scheduled for this Friday. I’ll be flying out Thursday to stay with my friend Sara. I’m excited to see her and her family before I leave and shop in the city too! Nothing like a 4 day notice for a visa run. Luckily flights weren’t sold out. They definitely weren’t the cheapest though. Thank goodness for other people’s flexible schedules…borrowing cars and staying with others’ on such short notice. Thank you all who have been a huge support in these last minute situations! 🙂

March 12

Had a kick-butt interval and ab workout this morning. I’m finally able to push myself past the burn and challenge myself to actually become fit rather than having a lackadaisical workout. It feel great!

One of the last times I’ll go grocery shopping with Dad. It’s become our “Tuesday thing.” It was nice to meet up with Abby at Walmart in Kearney this time too.

There is a bigger picture. A greater purpose. Outside my own little world.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Yasgzjc0w

March 13

Focus. Focus. Focus. Checking things off my many to-do lists. 5:30 spin- check. 7:20 Southwest Airlines check-in. (Thank goodness for boarding group A on this sold out flight!)- check. Straighten hair for the next few days of travel- check. Also! I got new lipstick and mascara. I’m telling you it is the little things when I have a massive to-do list and a lot on my mind. Love MAC. My friend Taryn introduced me to their 2-1 mascara last year in Korea and now I’m hooked. Thanks to my trendy make-up friend Laura I branched out and got an orangeish-red lipstick- not sure how I feel about it, but I’m trying it out! Bake mug cake and make coffee- check. Except I failed at the cake today and mistook 1/4 tsp for a solid 1 tsp. Nasty. Had to throw it out. Thank goodness I didn’t ruin my coffee. I need it today. I don’t sleep very well the night before I travel or a major event is about to happen. Next on the list is to pack for the next few days to finish this week as I will be in Chicago, and for the following week when I will continue my stay in Lincoln and Omaha.

March 14

my super quick visa run to Chi-town!

Up at 4 a.m to workout before heading to the airport for my 7:20 a.m. flight. Sat by the window with an empty middle seat, but at the last minute a businessman squeezed in the middle seat. Usually I am a bit annoyed, however his catchy comments caught me off guard and I thought he could be pleasant to chat with for a bit…or until our flight landed as it ended up. We chatted about the life of his prissy 40 year old West O housewife, his spoiled rotten conniving children, his business, and Chicago. I don’t make these words up…he used them himself. I am patiently waiting for the bottle of wine that he is supposed to be sending me for my help on his marketing plan. Honestly all I did was ask him if he knew his client’s drink of choice and he hadn’t thought of that so he was going to send scotch. I don’t really drink scotch; I opted for the wine.

I found Sara’s place without a hitch and her baby greeted me at the door, then cried when I left. (Aww!) Met up with Sara for shopping and lunch. When she went back to work I wandered around then took the train to Irving Park to meet with a TEFL Institute adviser to chat about my experience abroad as well as the certification program. I am so passionate about experiencing life abroad and I truly wish everyone had the opportunity; one of these days I’ll be an adviser or recruiter to assist others with the process! 🙂

Later that evening Sara and I had one of the best talks over margaritas at ZED451 Lounge. Our server was the best~ and the atmosphere was great. Indoor fireplace, comfy couches, perfect for a relaxing night out. I am so blessed with her encouragement, support, and humour.

March 15

GOT IT! I am officially a temporary resident of Chile. I feel like such a city slicker taking trains and finding my way around. haha. Found the Consulate with a little help from the lady at Starbucks. The Consulate was in an older building, but nice. I was early so i took a seat and waited, when the lady came out she greeted me with Buenos Dias- I managed to stammer through my own response. The appointment itself only took 10 minutes and was super easy. Just signed a few papers, stamped my thumb print, picked up a few documents for the airport. Done.

Made my way back to Sara’s and headed to Michigan Avenue for some shopping. I found black pants at Banana Republic. They fit perfectly. Ankle length, no hemming required, and a size 00. I’ve worked so hard for that…still a little shocked though. And they were 30% off. Score. Found the most charming local cafe for lunch and coffee. It was a rainyish day and rather chilly. A perfect afternoon for blogging on a napkin and sipping hot organic locally roasted Tanzanian coffee. They get their beans from a roastery 4 blocks away. The cafe is Sunny Side Up at 42 East Superior Street in Chicago, and the roastery is called Sparrow. Both companies are organic, sustainable, and green. They have beans from all over the globe. How delightful! I miss my local cafe days and this just made my day. And free refills make it even better. The cafe owner was entertaining to talk to as well.

Sometimes I like the coffee solely based on it’s name. It’s like traveling to an exotic place in a cup and with a sip.

 My flight departed around 7:20 and I arrived back in Omaha around 8:30p.m. I sat next to a mother and her daughter who were traveling to Lincoln for a college visit. It was a nice chat.

March 16

Today was my lovely friend’s bachelorette party! What a wonderful evening of celebrating her! I am so excited to be a part of her special day in ONE WEEK!!!!

March 17

Went to church today with Mandy and her husband. It was good to be in a church. The music and message were much needed. I listen to sermons online and youtube videos of worship songs, but actually being in a church is special. Hung out the rest of the afternoon and worked out. I enjoy spending quality time with my dear friend and am going to miss her dearly when I go abroad in a couple short weeks.

March 18

Rough morning at spin class. Sometimes I just drag and can’t get my butt moving! But I made it and stuck the class out…

Now at a cafe in downtown Lincoln catching up on my blog and organizing for my week! The cafe is Indigo Bridge Books and Cafe. It’s a quaint cafe…locally made pastries and hand dripped coffee…the bookstore is small, but hosts a variety of new and old reads. Today’s hand dripped roast is from Peru.

March 19

Happy Birthday to Mandy!!!

Killer 3 hour workout today…whoever thought that yoga was relaxing and easy is wrong. This instructor is intense! Lifted weights and also weight to a friend from high school’s Zumba class. She is very energetic and a lot of fun.

Ran errands and went to Starbucks in the afternoon for a Chai Tea Latte. That evening we celebrated Mandy’s birthday with a delicious meal at Bread and Cup, a local restaurant in the Hay Market. Cheers! $4 glasses of wine- a stellar Shiraz, Tomato stir fry with zucchini noodles, and homemade vanilla cheesecake with caramel. Delicious.

March 20

Well I stayed in bed til 11:00 today. I don’t do this very often. I make myself get up and get going for the day. I’ve been rather tired lately and it felt so good to just lay in bed! Got dressed, ate some chili, and headed out to go to a local cafe.

I ended up at Meadow Lark. An artsy cafe in a strip mall. Inside there are plenty of chairs, tables, and a few booths along the side, big front windows. The gentleman behind the counter helped me decide on an iced caramel macchiato with toddy (a cold brewed espresso) and almond milk. Amazing. Seriously the best drink I’ve had in a long time. And a piece of homemade cherry coffee cake. Swear I’m going to spin class tonight! 🙂 They have a sister cafe in Xela, Guatemala. I’m thinking a trip there in the near future is a must!

This day is sunny, but chilly. I can’t wait for warmer weather. I want to sit outside on a patio with a cute outfit on and indulge in the sunshine. I really just enjoy sitting and eating decadent meals and sipping on wine or coffee…if I could get paid to do that I would be in heaven. I’m laughing to myself as I type this blog. I was recently asked what my hobbies were and I almost replied…sitting. But I didn’t…I have a lot of hobbies…writing, running, yoga, taking photos, reading, practicing Spanish, wandering around new places, listening to music, helping others, teaching kids…I would like to say my job will be my hobby- helping others accomplish their dreams to go abroad since I have been so many places, then on my vacation I will go explore new places. That’s what I would like to do, when I “settle down” and have my own apartment.

I overheard a gentleman on his phone say “Happy Equinox” aka Happy First Day of Spring!!!

new lipstick color

Chicago “L” stop!

my new best friend!

Cityscape
my purse was her entertainment!

Meadow Lark Cafe

Sunny Side Up Cafe

my iced caramel macchiato and cake.

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