If you are interested in receiving these blog posts via email, you can enter the email address you check the most often in the subscribe box on the right hand column of this post. I sometimes have the tendency to create a blank post solely because I wanted to make sure I had a certain number of posts published each month. However, once I have a few people subscribing to this blog, it will keep me accountable and help me to break that bad habit. Besides, who wants a blank email coming to their inbox late at night? Yeah, didn't think so, haha!
Now, without further ado, some updates way back from the month of March. It's hard to believe that my surroundings are completely different now than they were just one month ago.
Some big events that took place in March 2014...
- Traveled to Southern California with my brother (first time in 12 years!)
|Nathan and I at Pacific Beach, California (San Diego area)|
Until next time, Cali! You left me California dreamin' as always...(but for the mountains this time! :P)
2. I moved out my college city! --> Jacksonville, FL
|At the Metropolitan Park entrance to the St. Johns River, October 2007|
|On the Main Street Bridge in front of the Jacksonville Landing (Downtown) in March 2014|
As someone who had never been to Florida before her college orientation weekend, I didn't see myself staying in Jacksonville for as long as I did. I lived there for almost 7 years (off-and-on)! I cherish my time there and all of the ways I grew personally, emotionally and spiritually there. I met and go to know so many wonderful people from all different ages, backgrounds, languages, faiths and cultures.
|Sitting on the JU side of the St. Johns River in December 2009.|
|With Matt and Jamie Wilbanks outside of MissionWay. Wonderful friends and mentors!|
|In front of the Three Lions Fountain in Historic San Marco. I had so much fun living there!|
3. I finally visited two iconic St. Augustine landmarks
There are still a few things in the Jacksonville area that I have never done or been to before (the Cummer Museum and Gardens to name one thing) but I managed to cross two things off my Jax bucket list before I moved out of the area. The top of and the inside of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the inside of the Castillo de San Marcos (affectionately known as the Fort). I got to do the first thing by myself and the last thing with family. And for once, it didn't rain on us in St. Augustine like it had during our past visits there. I couldn't have asked for clearer, sunnier or more arid weather that last day in Florida.
After seeing a pictures of a couple of friends getting proposed to on top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse (and okay, also after seeing Ted Mosby propose to the mother on HIMYM on top of one--on TV--the month before, haha), I figured the view must be spectacular and that I should make it a point to visit the lighthouse closest to me for a long time before I left. So, in a skirt and in flats, I climbed up and down all 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and was rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean and St. Augustine itself. It was very windy up there but the sun was shining brilliantly and I could see for miles. I also saw my dad and brother below and arranged for them to come over to that area beneath me so that I could wave to them. And though I went up alone, I met a nice male tour guide who kindly took a few pictures of me at the top. I felt like I was going to fly off the thing and my unruly, windswept hair was going to ruin every single picture but nothing extreme happened. He even waited a few seconds for my hair and the wind to cooperate! What a nice guy!
|On top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse facing the Atlantic Ocean. March 30, 2014|
Lastly, I finally went into the Castillo de San Marcos. I have been to many castles and fortress like structures in Spain but I had been dying to see the inside of the Fort. I love all of the Spanish influence in St. Augustine now more than ever primarily because I have been to the "homeland" a couple of times and love the Spanish culture and architecture even more. I was really impressed with the condition of the inside of the Fort, how beautiful the inside courtyard and outer grounds are and the fact that people reenact the blowing of the cannons off of the Fort a few times everyday. The commands are rattled off in [broken] Spanish by gringos (white people) and that alone really enhances your experience at the Fort. I was particularly pleased to recognize some architectural similarities between the Fort and a small castle I had visited in Cádiz, Spain about four years ago. Our entrance tickets to the Fort were good for one week but unfortunately we weren't going to be there within that time frame to go visit it again. It's good to know for the future though and we'll have to plan ahead to visit it multiple times if we can!
|Just hanging out in a little cove on top of the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL|
4. I moved back to my hometown! Dayton, OH <--
|All of the room I had during a 15 hour car ride home from March 30-31, 2014!|
Yes, I did what every young Ohioan (or anyone who has ever gone away to college or moved out of their parents' house) prays they won't ever have to do: move back home with your parents. I certainly didn't see this becoming part of my post-college plans but it did. It's not for an indefinite time because I have a move-out month coming up! Let me explain.
One of many things that I was praying about and making decisions about was what I wanted to do next in my career. I know I'm just getting started with my career and have plenty of time to "figure things out," but there was one thing I was certain of. I didn't want to be tied down to Jacksonville, Dayton or anywhere else in America to be honest. I wanted to live overseas and keep traveling but there were several things holding me back. The first was spending so much of my time and money to afford to live in Jacksonville on my own. I was unhappy with the way some things were going there but overall, I felt that it really was time to move on and start a new chapter of my life. I knew that I couldn't move home on a temporary basis without presenting a plan to my parents. I got all the plans squared away and then worked on a move-out date. Things pretty much came together rather quickly (including selling some of my large furniture items) and before I knew it the last week of March was upon me.
At that point, I was working on getting all packed up and saying goodbye to friends. The most important plans were already set and out of my mind. Chief of all of my plans was what I will be pursuing in the fall. I am very pleased to say that I will be going to Northern Spain (hopefully) from October 2014 to May/June 2015 to teach English in a primary or secondary school. I was accepted to the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program in late February 2014 but I do not know my exact placement yet. I am very excited about this next step in my life, my move overseas and the opportunity to become fully bilingual in Spanish as well the chance to act as a cultural ambassador for both the English language and the United States in the school I will be assigned.
However, there were still a lot of unknowns before me. I still don't exactly know why God has called me back to my hometown for this short period of time, what He has planned for me personally and spiritually, or how living at home will be as we transition back to having everyone under the same roof. I certainly don't know what kinds of people I will meet, re-connect with or get to minister to while I'm here but I am convinced that, based on recent events, they will be the kinds of people who will bless my life and that I in turn might be even a blessing to them.
Stay tuned for the next update!
Hasta la próxima, (Until next time)