Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The End and A Beginning

Friends, this is both a "goodbye" and an invitation to a "Hello!!" - This will be my last post here at Faint Hue of Grace.

Ah! Wait!  Don't panic! (Because I know you were... ;) )  I'll still be blogging.  I'm just moving over HERE.

Why the move?  Well, since August 19, 2011, when I began blogging at FHOG, I have written 154 posts and received over 19,000 views.  Some of you join me from Russia, the UK, Turkey, and Indonesia.  What began as a simple way to keep my family and friends updated about my life as I moved on to college has turned into something much more.  

I never thought that I would write as much as I have, and never in a zillion years did I think that anyone would read what I had to say.

My hope for my new website is threefold.  One, to write frequently.  Two, to write deeply.  Three, to write passionately.  Whether I'm writing about my classes, a conversation with a friend, or a recent thought, my desire is to share something real.  In short, I hope that this move to what I consider a more simplistic and professional blog layout will allow me to focus my writing and be more motivated to continue after college.

I've moved all my meaningful or personally important posts over to the new site, as well as all my posts about Crossroads.  This blog hosted on Blogger will still exist, but I will no longer be updating it.  You will notice new sections to my new blog, including a "Blogging for Books" page!

Thank You from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have popped in for a visit over the last 2 years.  It's been such a blessing to write and know that someone out there finds it a little interesting!  And please join me over on my NEW BLOG and let me know what you think!

In Him,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Musings: Vol. 6

Time and Place: my room at home, 8:51 pm

What I can hear... the breeze through the open window... and that's about it

This past week... I've been concentrating on unpacking and getting my room organized.  It's nowhere near being done, but I'm closer than when I started!!

I've been reading… On Heaven and Earth by Cardinal Bergoglio (aka Pope Francis).  

Recent realization... that since my Austrian campus isn't reachable, main campus is the next best thing.. I miss it! I'll be there in 3 weeks, and it will be a delightful 'homecoming'.

I'm oh-so-grateful for... all my friends being done with school! Let the catching up begin!

Next week...  when I'm not talking to friends, I will be continuing the organization process!  (and I'm also getting a long-overdue haircut.  Call me crazy, but my hair's been driving me nuts for the last 2 months! Thursday it will be chopped off, and I can't wait!)

I'm looking forward to... just being in each and every moment this week, whether that's cleaning, talking with friends, reading, or whatever.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 10)

Oh, hello from the United States!  I returned back home this last Monday after a beautiful 3 days in Ireland.  I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I'm not just on a long weekend to Virginia and won't be returning to my room at the Kartause tomorrow.  As much as I don't want to admit it, I really, really miss it.  I've grown so attached to a European way of life!

They say that jet lag is a lot easier "coming this way" (from Europe to the States).  I'm not so sure about that...  I mean, when my family and I went to Europe 3 years ago, I found it very easy to come back to the States.  2 days of being tired, and I was back on track.  This time, though, I get hungry at Austrian meal times, and I'm pretty ready for bed at 6.  Thankfully, I just grab a little snack and always get a second wind to stay awake 'til 11!

I love organization.  Maybe too much?  That's questionable.  While I was gone, my parents began construction in our upstairs, which meant that my bookshelf and closet were emptied, and all the 'surfaces' in my room were cleared.  (By "my parents began construction", I mean "the workmen began construction..."

What does this mean?  That I'm starting completely from scratch!  It's great!  I'm getting to go through all the little papers I've kept since forever, and look at each piece of clothing before I put it back.  I'm realizing I don't need to keep all these things, which leads me to say...

...I think I've come home much more 'detached'.  Because we didn't have internet in our dorm rooms, and my cell phone didn't work, and I only had 2 suitcases worth of clothing, I've found that I don't 'need' as much to be happy.  Yes, of course it's nice to have more than 3 skirts to choose from, and I was anxious to wear sandals again instead of black sneakers, I've realized that it's not necessary to  have these things to be happy.  Of course, I knew this in concept, but living like that for 4 months helped solidify it in my mind.

I have 3 weeks at home.  There's a lot to do in that time!  Today was my niece's first communion, I have friends to see, birthdays to celebrate, coffee to drink, organization to finish, and packing to do before I leave for Steubenville!!!!  I am really looking forward to working on campus this summer and getting to know the other student workers who I otherwise wouldn't be able to!

I am getting ready to move my blog to a different host.  Blogger was great for getting this started, but as I near the 2-year mark of blogging (yikes!), I'm realizing how different I want my blog to look/be, and the best way to do that is to move it altogether.  It's about 95% set up, and I hope to share the new link with you in the next week or so!  

whoops... I'm a day late in posting this... That's what happens when I try to do too many things in a day, and get carried away with all of them. :P

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

europe reflections

Whew.  So, there’s a lot going on!  Spring is finally here in Gaming, after a record-breaking sunless winter (least sun in 100 years. Vitamin D deficiency, anyone?)  The bikes are out, the birds are singing, and we as a student body are significantly happier! :)

It’s hard to believe that I have less than a week left in Europe.  In 5 short days, I’ll be back in Virginia.  Yikes!

I am both looking forward to and dreading it.  I am, of course, anxiously waiting to see my family, to spend time with them, to tell them about my adventures, to give them the little things that I may-or-may-not have picked up around Europe :)  I also haven’t seen my friends in a very long time (some in over a year!), so it will be nice to see them too.  I want to eat chicken, be able to read signs in the grocery store, and listen to the radio.  As many little issues that there are in American culture, I miss it as a while.

So, what will I miss from Europe?  I’ll miss the beautiful buildings, the historic churches.  the easy public transportation.  The nature here in Gaming.  The culture and the food (granola! wienerschnitzel! wine!)  Traveling virtually anywhere I want.  Experiencing these countries with wonderful friends.

I’m afraid that I’ll be overwhelmed at first, with the airport and the grocery stores and the traffic.  I’ve been to 3 international airports while I’ve been here- each of them has had a maximum of 50 gates, I believe.  Grocery stores? Ha.  The one we go to here in Gaming has maybe 8 aisles and 2 checkouts.  I’m used to stepping into the road and having all cars, trucks, and buses stop for me instantly.  (Last week, I rode in a car for the first time since January 13.  So strange!)

And what am I returning to?  Well, my first stop in the states will be the Chicago Airport, which essentially has 3 different buildings depending where in the world you desire to go.  Gone will be the days of 10 airline counters, all of which do check-ins for the other airlines.  Macy’s at home is the size of an entire mall in the town of St. Pölten here (which is about 40 minutes away from campus).  In Virginia, I wouldn’t dare cross the street except on the sidewalk, and I have to wait for a break in the traffic to do it.  Otherwise, I’d probably get run over.

This week, I have been very grateful that the rest of my family has lived in Europe before.  Because at least they will have some idea of what it’s like to return to the hub of civilization after living in the middle of the Austrian mountains for 4 months.  (My family didn’t live in the Austrian mountains, but they lived in very-small-town Belgium.  You know.  Same thing, right?)

So, next Monday, I will board a plane and fly across the ocean, leaving what has become “normal life” and return to what is really “normal life”.  And next thing I know, my “normal” will probably change once again.

Because life tends to happen spontaneously.  And know what?  That’s ok.