Wondering about Wandering

I can’t help but think about the adventures we could take in life. Now we’ve started thinking about investment and retirement and saving for a house and all the things that grown-ups should think about. I am so grateful for that, but I don’t want to lose out on the here and now while saving for the future.

We just moved halfway across the country and to many, that’s enough adventure for a long time. But to me, that was enough for the time it took to get there and settle in. We’ve both found jobs now and are starting to create a new life here. It’s good, and I’m glad we did it. But I’m also interested in what’s around the bend, not in 50 years, but in the next five. I dream of someday kids and a house, but before all of that, I’m dreaming of a trip. A trip that the two of us can take. Time to explore another country and grow deeply together. Other than a short jaunt to Germany to play at a conference and our short honeymoon in Mexico at the beach, we haven’t had that opportunity yet.

We don’t know what the next few years will bring, but I’ll be hoping and praying that we can somehow manage to take a month in another land far away. I don’t know where yet or what we would be doing, but I’m looking forward to it.

How do you say…”I don’t know German”?

So, the blogging has been lacking, but let’s face it…we aren’t overseas to blog and internet is hard to come by. But the short of it is, all is well. After a long and sleepless flight, we made it to Frankfurt where we waited another three hours to ride a bus for an additional two and a half hours. After a little orientation to our surroundings, we called it a night.

Since then, each day has looked a little different, but we usually start out by prepping the music for worship. There are about 300 missionaries here from all over Europe and we’ve had the chance to speak to some and hear about what they are doing or how they feel music is such a great way to bridge the language barrier in missions. One of the first days was a day of worship and fasting. Many of the songs were played a bit on the fly in order for the music to go along the lines of what was being said and prayed for at the time. All in all, it seems to be well-received. Scott even got to do a quick Beatles tune (by request) to tie into the message about finances… “Can’t buy me love…no, no, no, no, no!”

In other news, we are still adjusting a bit to the jet lag considering we are 7 hours ahead of Iowa time. I’m sure we’ll adjust just in time to turn around and go home, but what can you do? All of our food is provided through the conference at the hotel, and it has certainly been up to par. Unfortunately for me, it’s all my favorite things that I should probably avoid. (As a sidenote, my recovery is mostly going well. I was a bit sick for a day or two but that’s to be expected.)  Scott however is chowing down on meat and potatoes, fancy cheese and chocolate mousse while I salivate in the corner. We wandered into town during our free time yesterday and got a small taste for German trends. We also quickly found that in this small town, English does not go far. But it’s always good to remember that the world is bigger than Iowa and what we’re familiar with is not all there is. And it’s good  to have the reminder that there are people on every continent who have goals and needs and dreams.

Wait, what?

Scott called me this morning with one simple question. “What day are we going to Germany?”

What kind of question is that? We’ve been planning on going for months. August 10th, silly. That’s ridiculous.

To which he replied, “Not according to our plane tickets.”

NO WAY. I looked up the flight information in my email. There it is – AUG 9. They say you become like your spouse when you get married but this is outrageous. I am all about my planner (and no, it does not consist of a smart phone but the good ‘ole pen and paper), am already starting to look at Christmas plans and HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

The only thing I can imagine is that originally, yes, it was August 10th but then the flight was booked and it worked out for the day earlier but we never took note. In our minds, it was always August 10th. And then with other life happenings like birthdays, holidays, weddings and all things summer, not to mention having surgery last week, we never checked back. It’s a good thing I am in between jobs, because I have no idea how one would explain needing that extra day of PTO the day before leaving the country. Or what if we hadn’t found out until it was too late? How do you explain that?

So, everyone, new plan. We will be leaving the country the day after tomorrow. News to me. But you better believe my to do list just exploded and my missing gallbladder better get with the program, because we’ve got a plane to catch!

Off We Go!

It’s been a loooong time since I have given this blog some much needed TLC considering this is my “travel blog” and to be frank, it’s been awhile since I’ve gone much of anywhere. Since studying abroad in China and Greece and traveling all over Europe I have done the following major life things:

  1. Graduated college with a Bachelors degree in journalism and mass communication.
  2. Worked my first “grown-up” job complete with my own salary, health insurance and nowhere near enough vacation time.
  3. Got married in October 2010 to my wonderful husband Scott (and of course, blogged all about it).
  4. Mysteriously spent months and months being very sick and having all sorts of medical tests to figure it out.
  5. Had my first real surgery (other than wisdom teeth) to remove my gallbladder yesterday.

So what’s next? Well, a week from today, that wonderful husband and I will be boarding a plane to Germany. Scott works full-time with the music and creative arts team at  Valley Church in West Des Moines, IA and they have partnered up with an organization of missionaries around the world called ReachGlobal. Scott and I, along with a team of a few other musicians from our church will be going to Germany to lead worship for ReachGlobal’s yearly missionary conference. We will be there for only a week, but are looking forward to the opportunity to minister to others. Additionally, this will be Scott’s first trip across the pond, which will be an exciting journey for us to share as a couple. For updates on how it goes, feel free to check back at this blog to hear the latest. In the meantime, here’s a few ways you can pray for us:

  • As mentioned, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder yesterday, which wasn’t exactly something we had planned on facing this close to the trip. Please pray for a quick and full recovery.
  • We will be traveling from Des Moines to Chicago to Frankfurt with both luggage and instruments (and I’m not allowed to lift anything over 25 pounds…good thing I pack light!). Please pray that everything arrives safely and without any damage or theft.
  • Pray that while we are there that we are able to serve and encourage these missionary families that work so hard year to year in isolated areas far from friends and family.
  • Pray for us to all grow in Christ as we minister to others and adjust to a different time zone, a different language and different routine.
  • As we spend time in Germany, pray that we are all open to the Lord’s teaching.

We really appreciate your prayers and know this opportunity would not be possible otherwise. We do still need to raise some more financial support, so if you feel led to give you can do so by sending a check to Valley Church 4343 Fuller Road, West Des Moines, IA 50265 written out to Valley Church with our names in the memo line. But more than anything, we feel blessed by your prayers.

Life’s Update

After three months back in the U.S. my life is obviously different. My weekends are spent visiting exotic places like Des Moines and Ankeny. Just the same, I am happy to be where I am. As much as I hate the snow and cold, the people I am surrounded by make it worth the while.

While I hope to never say my travels are over, they may be on a serious hold for a while. I am happy to announce that I am engaged! I am embarking on a completely new and different adventure, but could not be more thrilled.

As with all things in my life, this calls for a new blog. Here you can follow my wedding plans which takes more courage than I thought (something I recently realized shopping for my wedding dress). Feel free to follow along. Otherwise, I hope this blog has inspired you to travel and see the wonderful things of the world, but more importantly, I hope it has inspired you to grow. I certainly have grown in the past year and am so thankful for the opportunities it led me to.

Almost There

Strolling aimlessly through the streets of Florence, Italy, it finally felt like Christmas. Trees were lit and lights were hung. Shops bustled with excited shoppers as Christmas music played. Lastly, it was actually cold outside! I loved every minute of it. Florence was beautiful with all of its “little Italy” charm. We did happen to sleep outside in Milan the night before, which may make anywhere seem quaint… but that is another story.

Today, my friend Erica and I packed in as much of Rome as we could. Started out the morning right with bread. Then we ate pizza followed by gelato. Had some pasta and later a raspberry tart with a glass of wine and called it a day. Okay, okay, we did do more than just eat! We managed to fit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Roman Forum into our busy schedule as well. Tomorrow we will head to the Vatican to see what all the fuss is about before going back to Greece.

As we rode around in the train, bus, and plane I have gotten the chance to reflect a bit on my semester and all my travels. It has been a good three and a half months as I have gotten to see more of the world. Throughout it all I’ve picked up on qualities and characteristics of others and myself – good and bad. It’s given me plenty to ponder and evaluate since leaving the States. Maybe I’ll give you more of a glimpse into that reflection next time. For now, I have 16 minutes left of internet and four days until I come home!

Like Nothing Else

I travelled to Turkey with some friends on an overnight bus ride this past weekend, which took somewhere around ten hours. We had to buy a visa just to get in (which thankfully is far less work than getting a Greek visa… all I had to do this time was pay) but got to see a bit of Muslim culture while there. Mosques are everywhere in Turkey. Five times a day people go to pray and the loud singing/chanting is heard throughout the city.

Turkey not only has a crazy unique name (shared with a beloved Thanksgiving dish), but holds a culture unlike any other. Istanbul, where I was just this past weekend, is split by a body of water and somehow belongs to two continents! So, doing the only reasonable thing I could think of,  I casually boarded a ferry to Asia last Saturday.

In Turkey I experienced something else that I’m not sure I’ll ever find in the U.S. (It is a bit controversial, so please send small children away from the computer).  For a whopping 50 lira (roughly $33.45) I paid to get washed.

Turkish baths are a culture all on their own. I went there and was scrubbed down in an open room – where everyone was naked. Quite the experience, and for the sake of seeing your facial expressions, I’ll let you ask me more about it once I return to the States. But, I think this may fall under the growing category of  “doing something I’ve never done before or EVER imagined myself doing“.