Monday, March 31, 2008

Grief and Girls

Today I went to the funeral of my great aunt, Tante Mika. She was my Oma's older sister and she passed away suddenly last Wednesday morning. It was amazing to see the legacy of love and faith that she left behind. I remember every time I would see her, she would just be so welcoming, loving and caring. She will be missed by many.

At the funeral, I was overwhelmed with a mix of grief from the loss of my Oma and Opa. When they passed away, I was kind of out of it. My brother and Dad had passed away the year and a half before and so it didn't really impact me, because I already felt overwhelmed in my grief. Today though it was really freeing to be able to cry and grieve for the loss of my grandparents as well. It made me really really miss them actually and it made it even sink in more that they're gone. I don't know that I've ever given myself a chance to fully grieve their deaths, but it was good today to start. But sad and emotionally draining all at once. We sang some of the same hymns as at my Oma's funeral which always reaffirms in my heart the truth of the words I'm singing, but I have to be continually questioning myself as to whether or not I believe them. I am assured that they are true despite my logic and my feelings at times and I must cling to those truths and allow God to show them to me.

Tonight I had my youth girls over for a pizza/pool party which was pretty fun. The evening and the sunset were amazing as well.

And now I'm off to bed! Hope the last 44 minutes of March go well. (Still wondering where October, November, December, January, February and March went...)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Seattle, Soy, Snow, Swimming

This week my friend Lindie came out to visit for a few days. On Monday we went to the Seattle Zoo. I actually have an annual membership, so I like to go as often as possible. Every time it's lots of fun and the animals are always lots of fun to watch!
Last time I was there, the bears were still hibernating, so it was nice to see them this time. One of them came into the water, so it was swimming right in front of us (blocked by a glass wall of course). He kept shaking the water off his head. It was a little freaky having a 500 lbs. grizzly bear swimming right in front of you.. Made me wonder how strong the glass really is..
I didn't realize that adult male orangutans get really really puffy cheeks. Thought I'd take a bunch of pictures because it looked kind of funny.

The giraffes kept nailing each other with their heads.. it was really funny to watch.

Lindie, Kacey and I pretending to be spiders


Lindie pretending to be a Komodo dragon.




After the zoo, we found a great restaurant in Everett on the marina. It was a beautiful view and incredible food!!

On Tuesday, Lindie and I went hiking up at Cascade Falls, which was beautiful!! A great day and always fun to go sit and watch the waterfalls up there!


Thursday night, Chris and Kristen joined me to get some homework done at Denny's. Chris brought Kristen a ring pop and we thought we'd take some nice proposal pics. haha. They didn't get much work done, but I got nine pages of a paper typed, which is the most of a paper I have ever written in one sitting! Amazing!


The other day at work it started snowing which was pretty funny. I was kind of shocked because I thought nice weather was coming,b ut I think the snow stint is over and now the sun will be here!! At work one of my co-workers was pouring soy into another staff's drink who asked her to shake it before pouring. So, I started singing "shake it like a polaroid picture". The girl excitedly responded with vigorous shaking, not realizing the lid wasn't on properly. She proceeded to splatter the area with soy milk along with herself. There was quite the explosion and it was pretty hilarious!! She didn't think it was too funny being covered in soy, but that's all right. :)
And last but not least, our pool is finally open!! Okay.. so March is really early, so I shouldn't be saying finally... But I love swimming laps, so I get my mom to open it early every year (although I was a little skeptical with the snow). Every day this week I've been testing it with my foot to see if it's warm enough yet and yesterday it was! (we keep it really warm, so it's not bad in the cold!!) So I had my first swim in our pool for 2008 and swam 100 laps! it was great and i'm stoked for many more swims!
It was a little chilly getting out I must admit!! Last night I had an Easter Family Gathering with my dad's side of the family which was great. We had steak and salmon and it was SO good!! Mmmm!!!

And now I'm off to lunch with my friend Destinye where we will be planning our road trip extravaganza for the summer!! :)

Countdown:
4 more shifts at Starbucks
6 more days of school (dont' know why those two haven't gone down.. gosh)
27 more days until Guatemala!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hopeful

Sunday
March 30
Monday
March 31
Tuesday
April 1
Wednesday
April 2
Thursday
April 3
Friday
April 4
Sunny Sunny Sunny Sunny Sunny
This is the forecast for next week. Normally I like rain and weird weather, but I am excited. The sun will be nice and I can finally do stuff outside.

Only 4 more shifts at Starbucks!
Only 6 more days of school!
Only 28 more days until I go to Guatemala!!

I will post more later, but thought I'd post something for now.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Panties, Party and Paques

You're probably all wondering why my post starts with "panties", so I'll explain that one first. Last week, I was working at Sbux on St. Patty's Day and I got to be the person at the drive-thru window talking to people. This lady came through and I asked her why she wasn't wearing green.
V: Where's your green today?
Woman: (checks under pants and pulls out her green underwear) Look! My underwear are actually green! I didn't even think of it!
V: Oh, (already wondering why this woman was showing me a portion of her underwear) you must have unconsciously done it this morning.
W: Oh no, I put these on yesterday, so I wasn't even thinking about that!

HAHAHAHAHAHA. i laughed inwardly but smiled nicely at her wondering why she just shared with me about her almost two days old underwear.


My small group youth girls


Today we had a family gathering on my mom's side! We had about forty people over and as always it was a ton of fun!
Last weekend and this weekend I got to sing on worship team (and ensemble this weekend) and it was really great. Because I've been gone a lot i haven't been able to be in church that much, but it was great to spend the last two weekends there and especially today to be reminded of and rejoice in Christ's ressurection life that He gives us! So great to know that I have something to celebrate, everyday!! :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter and I will be a better Blogger soon.. hehe..

My friend Lindie is coming from Calgary tomorrow for a few days, so I'm pretty excited! Kacey, Lindie and I are all going to the Seattle zoo tomorrow so I will post those pictures sometime in the future! Have a great week!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Starbucks, Soup, Small Group

This morning I opened at Starbucks and I'm feeling slightly wired. Opening shifts start at 4:15 am, so it's pretty early. I only got about 4.5 hours of sleep, but so far i'm feeling great! I absolutely love working the early morning, because I get to be on drive-thru which is always the highlight of my day!! :) It's fun watching people's reactions (we have a camera out at drive-thru) at my cheery voice at 5am.. hee hee..

And because I woke up at 3:45, I had soup for my half an hour break at 8:30. Yummy breakfast!!

Today my small group is getting together. They are all on spring break, so we figured we'd do something fun! We were originally going to go to Cultus Lake for a picnic, but I heard it might have snowed up there, so we decided just to hang out at my house and play games and such. So it should be fun!! I have to go pick people up now, but just wanted to leave an update! Perhaps I'll have some pictures later! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cookies, Colored, Crazy

Thursday was my cousin and friend, Desiree's birthday. So, we decided to celebrate in the morning by making JamJam cookies. Lately we have decided to use different cookie cutters depending on the holiday nearby. So we decided to make little chicks. At the bottom of this post are two of our classic singing videos made just for your enjoyment. Let me know what you think! :)
And as you can tell by these pictures, I dyed my hair!! I have never really dyed it before, except for a couple streaks when I was younger, so I was definitely branching out! I have always wanted darker hair, so I figured I'd give it a shot. On Sunday night my mom dyed it, it dried and it was the same color as before. haha. So the next day I bought some more hair dye and it actually worked this time! It has a reddish tinge which I think is a result of the combo of the two dyes, but i LOVE the way it turned out! And it makes my eyes look really blue which is fun!


video video

This weekend has been kind of crazy with having to work lots and sing on worship team at church. I got called a couple days ago to fill in at church this weekend, but it's been a lot of fun so far! It's Palm Sunday and so we have a pretty stellar drumline which peps things up a lot! Listening to the sermon tonight I am once again reminded of the fact that some of my beliefs don't match up with what I know to be true in my head. I need to make it heart knowledge and come to a place where I actually believe these things. So, I am entering into honest dialogues with God. Funny how it's still so hard to be brutally honest to God, yet, I struggle with it.

Anyway, have a happy rest of the weekend!!

My latest countdowns:
Days until Lindie comes to visit: 9
Days until classes are over: 26
Days until my last shift at Starbucks: 29
Days until exams are over: 36
Days until I leave for Guatemala: 44

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hair, Heagles, and Hell


I cut my hair!! Wahoo! My mom was hesitant to cut it at first, because she didn't trust herself and wanted me to go to the hairdresser's.. But I don't go to get my hair cut elsewhere, so I said she'd do a great job and she did! (My mom was a hairdresser for like 18 years) I love it!! It's nice and light and fun!! With some fun layers! And now I'm forced to make it look nice everyday because it's harder to just put up in a ponytail! :)

There's lots of eagles flying around lately. Around the trees by our house, theres at least 10 that I've counted so far. It's incredible to watch them fly around. I love eagles-whenever I see them, my heart is at peace.

In my philosophy class (Suffering and Belief in God) we've been taking about the notion of hell and looking at arguments as to why it is either incompatible or compatible with a loving and omniscient God. Interesting stuff. Anyway, in my readings this morning I came across to quotes that I wanted to share (not directly related to hell.. but in the readings)

"Our true happiness is found in a relationship of love and obedience to God... Genuine faith is a matter of internalizing that truth in such a way that it shapes one's character through and through."

"Moral transformation involves a degree of pain that must be embraced... it is unpleasant to humble oneself to repent and accept grace and transformation."
-Walls

I am in the process of internalizing God's love for me. It's a process but it is a good one to be persistent about.

This week has been good. I miss being in Cuba mind you!! I have been working a fair amount at Starbucks and I also went to a wedding on Saturday which was kind of fun. Yay for only five weeks of school left!!! :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cuba, Communism, Caves, Cigars, Cars, Crazy Swimmers

I'm back!! Blogger doesn't seem to be letting me post any more pictures, so this will do for now (actually it's a lot of photos i think), but maybe I'll post a couple more in a future post! I had a great trip!!

We left last Saturday night and arrived in Cuba at 6am, just in time for the sunrise! Unfortunately they didn't let us into our rooms until 3:30 which was annoying, but we were able to enjoy the beach and everything else around there while waiting.. Pretty much we just ate and drank for 9 hours.. hahaha.

The resort we stayed at was beautiful and had an amazing beach!! Lots of really great pools too! We were able to go paddle boating and snorkelling and go for some great walks along the beach.

It was super interesting being in a communist country. You don't realize how much your views and opinions of things are formed by the government system you come from. It was actually pretty crazy to see how certain things are run and to hear from some of the locals their views on it. Anyway, here follows a lot of pictures and stories, Enjoy!!
Here's the view of our beach from the hotel. I didn't really take any pictures on the beach because, well I didn't.. oops. I think the other people I went with did so when i get their pictures I'll post some!! One day when Brooke and I were swimming, there was this little fish that kept following us. it was the weirdest thing, because usually fish are scared of people and dart away, but no matter what we would do, this fish stayed right next to either one of us-it was hilarious!! It hung out for like forty minutes.. and we were darting around trying to get away. I think people watching us thought we were a bit crazy... this one woman was standing on the shore smiling at us and I was like "there's this little fish-he keeps following us." and she just nodded and was like "Yah, there's lot of little fish in the ocean.." HAHA.. i really do think she thought i was a bit insane or something. :)

Swim up bar at the pool!! So fun!



These pictures are out of order (sorry!) On our off-roading tour (see pics lower down), Manuel was our driver and we had a ton of fun with him the whole day. He is super smart and a lot of fun as well. It was really interesting to hear about his thoughts about government stuff and also to hear a bit of his life story. Anyway, he invited us over to his house for dinner in Matanzas (a town about thirty minutes away). So we went there and he cooked us a full bore Cuban meal-it was amazing!! Probably the best meal I had all week. It was fresh lobsters, shrimp fried in rum, fresh pineapple, rice and beans, and some good Cuban drinks to go along with it!! it was a great night and it was really neat to be in his home.


Brooke and I caving



They have old cars EVERYWHERE there-it's crazy!! So cool though!



This is at the Che Guevara memorial. He's a huge national hero there because he helped the revolution happen. It was interesting to see how many billboards were everywhere with his face on it and different quotes from it. All the other billboards were ones talking about how socialism is so great, etc. Very interesting...


I wanted a picture of the military men.. so i got Brooke to pose by a sign and then used my zoom lens to capture a shot of them!!

These pictures are from Trinidad which is a historical town in the south of Cuba. Beautiful city with cobblestone streets and lots of really colorful houses!

Another sneak zoom lens shot where he didn't know i was taking his picture..
















This is in Cien Fuegos, a beautiful town we stopped at on the way back from Trinidad.


We went on a jeep safari where we got to fly through a lot of huge mud puddles (it had rained the day before). It was hilarious all together because our driver, Manuel would fly through the puddles at top speed and splash everywhere. He kept trying to get me muddy by keeping my window open and locking it open, but he did not succeed! haha..




We also got to go down the river on a powerboat-was kind of fun


Eating fresh lobster!! MMMM!! so good! and big too!!


Drinking mojitos with our lobster



The other jeep ran out of gas so we had to pull over and cyphen gas out of our tank for them.. thought it was a great picture opportunity

We stopped at an old coffee plantation. It was 109 hectares.. When the revolution happened, the farm got taken away from the owner and became the property of the government (like everything else in Cuba). The old man who's grandfather used to own the plantation still lived on it (the government let him stay in the house) and he gave us a tour in Spanish. it was neat to hear a bit of the history from him.









Posing by our muddy jeep


This is a huge water tower-beautiful!





We stopped at a cave to go snorkelling in a natural lake-so refreshing!! It was stunning to see all the stalactites and stalagmites in the water!


View of Havana from our hotel room





Balconies of Havana




St. Colombus Cemetery. I think I could have spent days wandering around. I absolutely love cemeteries and I was sad we only got ten minutes there, but I got some good shots nonetheless!








Rum Factory





This man (and many others) would follow us around drawing pictures of us and then try to sell them.. I took a picture of the portrait he drew for Brooke.






My mom and I enjoying mojitos at the restaurant/bar where Ernest Hemingway used to always go






Tropicana is a world famous show under the stars in Havana-it was awesome! Over one hundred dancers and singers. The costumes and everything was spectacular.

We also went on a Catamaran tour one day and went to a beautiful beach, but I didn't bring my camera and so I have no pictures. But once again, once I get them from other people I will have them and post them!

And that's my update from my trip!! Was lots of fun and now I have a nice burn!! Would love to go back! :)