February

Standard

2.25.2017: There’s only 10 more months until Christmas – I hope to see snow before then! Can’t wait for it in April! Random – I saw people ice skating in the Sculpture Garden this afternoon… in 81 degree weather in DC!

What have I been doing since finishing grad school? I am learning to love myself again – maybe even for the first time loving myself WELL. I’m taking time for myself and rediscovering things that bring me joy. Things like walking around this crazy, cool (sometimes a combo of both) city, reading books FOR FUN, and day trips in my car! How can I love others without loving myself well?

Random piece of info I learned from the documentary I watched on Theodore Roosevelt courtesy of Amazon Prime Videos: Arthur T. Packard was a U of M graduate (GO BLUE!) and friend of Teddy Roosevelt. He was one of the first people to tell Roosevelt he would make a great President. The prophesy came true. What friends do you have speaking life into you?

I read The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde and loved it! I don’t know a lot about our presidents, but I was impressed with learning about the nonpolitical side to Roosevelt. Living in DC, I need to go visit Teddy Roosevelt Island. Today I went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I asked the information desk about animals Roosevelt collected – there’s a White Rhino he killed that is right inside the Mammals exhibit. It’s on the left by the Moose – you can’t miss them!

I took my final Praxis exam – and got my best score yet! Wahoo!

Less than 70 school days left in the school year – somehow THAT happened.

Excited for next school year and what that will bring. The best is yet to come!

Advertisements

Air and Space:VA + Natural History

Standard

Continuing my DC adventures of 2016 Staycation, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who is adventurous and willing to drive out to the VA Air and Space Museum. I was not sure what to expect. It was fantastic! Our adventure in the museum including seeing a plane that flew from my hometown in Michigan to Chicago, seeing the Discovery Space Shuttle (1984 was a good year), Flak Bait in the Restoration Hangar, a fun planetarium presentation, and a mock air traffic control room with views of Maryland and West Virginia. I did not know about the restoration hangar, but a friendly volunteer told me about it! MAKE SURE YOU GO TO RESTORATION HANGAR! They have one day a year when they open it up to the public – it’s on my list for next year!

I went to the National Museum of Natural History last Saturday. It was a holiday weekend and within 2 hours, I was ready to bolt. I went as part of an assignment for my grad school class, so I checked out their ocean habitat:

I was pleasantly surprised by a few exhibits. My mentor teacher told me about the Nat Geo Best Photography exhibit that included student photographers – one by an 18-year-old blew me away!

20160213_121522

Thomas Goebel, age 18. Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

What I was not expecting was the brilliant colors, patterns, and life found in the National Geographic Into Africa exhibit. Here’s a sample of the brilliance of Frans Lanting’s photography!

DC Gone Postal

Standard

I love mail.

I always have.

I hope I always will.

I hope it sticks around because I still prefer it to an email, text, or other high-tech means of communication.

When I was thinking of where to begin my 2016 Staycation in DC, it seemed fitting to start with the building I had passed a million times by now that is right next to Union Station. I pass it each morning on my commute. The stain-glass windows are beautiful at night.

The Postal Museum has two entrances. One you can see as you exit Union Station. The other is on North Capitol in their post office. This museum is very family friendly with a scavenger hunt for kids (or kids at heart) who are interested.

PostSecret had an exhibit, which I was pleasantly surprised to see.

You can learn more about the famous postal dog – and see him stuffed! (The picture is a statue; I just couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of the stuffed dog). Postmasters gave him tags that he collected, as you can see in the picture.

Queen Elizabeth – what a beauty!

Check out the costly mistake made on a postage stamp. The name? Inverted Jenny.

I really like asking people who work at museums their favorite exhibit in the area they work. A worker mentioned there are stamps from a lot of world leaders who were asked to sign their stamps and send it back to a man who organized the exhibit. Pretty cool. Also makes me realize that people like to be recognized. Some very unique countries were represented and there’s even one with a signature thumbprint from One Pound Jimmy.

DC, definitely check it out! At the end, write a postcard and make your way downstairs to mail it at the post office.

Time Stands Still

Standard

Do you ever wish you could hit pause on life? It feels like it is flying by.

I blinked and somehow this is the last day of school before winter break. Winter break… I called it Christmas break today and my students corrected me.

I found it strange to tell someone “Merry Christmas” today even though I knew they were Christians and celebrated it.

What has the world become in getting so offended by everything? Facebook has become this poisonous social media platform. If I did not use it to connect with some of my former students and friends who are living abroad, I would delete it.

Can we just slow down a minute and take some time to think about what really matters?

In 2008, I heard a message that has me constantly thinking about taking life at a slower pace. The speaker, Mark Yaconelli, talked about being in the “Slow Club“. It is something his son made up and there’s only two rules: No running. No hurrying. So while Mark is trying to get his son to places on time, his son does not rush through life. He is able to notice things others miss because they are too busy.

I get this.

Living in a city is great most days. But there are times when I just want to hit pause. Can everyone slow down? Can you wait your turn for the crosswalk sign or another car to pass you?

I think that’s why I love winter, especially in DC. People slow down, stay inside with their families, or make time for what really matters – spending time with the people you love the most.

Merry Christmas.

South Africa: Meet Steven

Standard

It’s now been a month since I returned from my trip to South Africa. It’s kind of unreal.

The highlight of my trip was meeting this man:

DSC_5114

His name is Steven and before I took the picture, he said he hoped his picture wouldn’t break my camera.

I met Steven while watching the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. I missed the actual sunrise because I was talking to him, but it was worth it.

Steven is homeless.

I don’t know how old he is. He told me when I met him he was 41, but he told my other team members he was in his 50’s.

Steven told me his story. God knows his story and cares for him.

The story he told me was that he was born in Italy (seriously?! God sent me an ITALIAN to meet in SOUTH AFRICA?!), but he was sent to Cape Town to live in a children’s home when he was eleven. He has been homeless since leaving.

Steven is just one of the many homeless people in the world. Homelessness is a worldwide challenge. He has his own struggles and addictions. He told me the first time I met him that he was searching for rest. He said he has to sleep with one eye open because it’s not safe sleeping on the streets.

The last day we were there, as we were coming back from watching the sunrise, we saw Steven sitting on a stoop with his hands over his face. He was covering up wounds from a fight. My teammates asked how he was feeling. He said, “Empty.” He prayed with us to receive Jesus. I pray that his life changed forever in that moment.

The awesome/relieving thing is that it’s not my job to save people. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried. But I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit works on people and it’s not all up to me! It’s my job to point out Who can help with problems, Who cares ALWAYS, and the Person who will be with them always.

I don’t know if I will ever see Steven again. My thoughts and prayers are with him. He has opened my eyes to truly look at and notice the homeless in DC. They all have their stories, and I’ve been forever impacted by one.

DC Living: DC Culture

Standard

Like I’ve said before, I’ve lived in DC for a little over a year now.

There are just some things that are a little bit different than what I am used to. It seems normal now (for the most part) but was strange when I first got here.

  • On escalators, if you value your life, you will stand on the right so people in a hurry can walk up the escalator on the left.
  • Charges for plastic bags. Bring your own reusable bags. Otherwise stores charge five cents/bag.
  • Happy Hours and Brunches are big things here. (This might just be my personal preferences, but I am not really into either).
  • Running and biking are normal — year-round. Yes, people bike in the snow.
  • But when it DOES snow and things close, the city SHUTS down. For northerns, it’s a great time to explore the museums brave enough to stay open. It’s GLORIOUS because no one is on the roads.
  • DC sidewalks – dangerous in all kinds of weather. In the summer, you figure out what side is mainly shaded because it’s dang hot. In the winter, you figure out where the sliver of sunlight can shine through to melt some of the ice. (*sidenote: someone yelled at me for walking on the sidewalk last winter… they said I should walk in the road, which is at least plowed a little bit — DC doesn’t clear their sidewalks — it’s up to residents) Rain, well, it makes it slippery.
  • Speaking of rain… it’s just as bad as snow in DC for shutting things down/not motivating people to GO ANYWHERE!

DCers — what else am I missing?

DC Living: Travel (Cars)

Standard

Having a car can be a good thing.

But then you weigh the pros and cons and notice that it’s ok to live in DC without it.

Pros:

  • You have freedom to explore the DMV* more than a few miles.
  • You can escape the city at any given point.
  • Group outings
  • Can lessen travel time

Cons:

  • Registering your car at the DMV** (I hear this is nightmare-ish)
  • Tickets (our church actually budgets for tickets for their church van)
  • Gas prices
  • Tickets
  • Parking (usually metered or parallel or zoned two hour parking)
  • Did I mention tickets?

I’ve lived for over a year without a car. I’m not great at asking people for rides, but my roommate definitely is. Now that I’ve figured out more bus routes, I am better, but you definitely want to make friends with people with cars. 🙂

*While most places DMV stands for Department of Motor Vehicles, in DC DMV stands for DC, Maryland, Virginia.

**In this instance DMV actually does stand for Department of Motor Vehicles.