Columbus: Home

To: Stubborn and reserved hearts

As I spend more time in this city I now call home, I’ve come to realize that it took a long time for me to really adapt and feel comfortable calling it that.

Rewind five years ago to 2012, beginning of sophomore year of high school. I had just moved to the enemy city (football-wise and angsty Gloria-wise). I did not want to be here, period. I had no school friends, I went from being the youngest in our church youth group to the oldest, and there were so many unfamiliar spaces. I had vowed to myself that for the next three years of high school I would just work towards getting into UMich. Looking back at that all, I can just hear God saying, “heh. jokes. on. you.”

As you all know, I ended up going to OSU and I am oh so grateful. From high school to now in college, I am learning, growing, and meeting amazing people.

If I were to narrow down the numerous experiences, skills, and “building character” moments that I have come to know (but also still working on) they are this:

Patience For people despite their differences to myself

Selflessness To lay down my own interests for the sake of others

Risk-taking  Doing things that I wouldn’t otherwise for the sake of growth

Passion Finding meaning to all aspects of my life

Trust In the Lord that He knows the best for me

This relationship I have with this city started off rocky, but now, here I am sitting and typing this blog post with my Ohio State T-shirt on (O-H! I-O!, Go Bucks). I’m blessed with the thought of all the lovely people that I’ve met since coming here and waiting to start a new job for the summer and an internship in the fall.

I do not want to be anxious about tomorrow and I want to know that the Lord has everything in control for my life (Matthew 6:25-34).

My heart still loves Ann Arbor. However, the difference now is that I am allowing it to share the love with Columbus.

From: Changed and open hearts

Liberation of Self and then Others

To: beautiful people

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this platform and it feels good to write out my thoughts again.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my career path choice and all the anxieties and challenges that will come with it. For those of you who don’t know, I’m majoring in Social Work. It’s my second year out of the three years I’m taking to complete my Bachelors. Smart choice or not… I don’t know… I just have never liked school…ever. heh.

Anyway, I’ve been really nervous because I know that the real world is coming towards me sooner than later. In January I’ll be picking my field placement for next fall where I’ll essentially be an intern wherever I’m placed. That means dealing with REAL PEOPLE, REAL PROBLEMS, REAL LIVES that I could influence with my actions… that’s scary.

That led me to really self criticize myself. Am I cut out to do this job? Am I good enough? What if I let a person down? What if I can’t say the right things?

Out of all places and times, I heard my assurance by the time I finished my first class. The professor handed out this quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God (or a higher power of your own understanding). Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” // Marianne Williamson

Although I don’t 100% agree with Marianne Williamson’s beliefs, a lot of what she says in this quote resonates with me.

It was a good reminder that I have a higher purpose that I can achieve through my future profession – to glorify God. In order to do that, I have to embrace my vulnerabilities and have the courage to be imperfect in order to truly help others with themselves.

While I’m still a little nervous, compared to before I am so much at peace. I believe God perfectly timed this to reveal Himself to me once again.

I started out this month really dreading school but I have been reminded and need to continue to remember that I did not choose this major expecting to always be comfortable and for things to go my way. I’m learning more and more about myself.

I guess this school year won’t be that bad after all.

From: A truer to self me

Inward Growth

To: My sister and Father

I’ve been feeling empty. Maybe it’s because I’ve fallen into the rhythm of summer; many friends are gone for the summer and it might just be a sort of loneliness. Though mostly, I have been spiritually dry – unmotivated, uninspired, negative… until yesterday.

Out of the blue, a guy from my college church group challenged us to read the New Testament. Goal: to read the New Testament by August 25 (start of the school year).

I thought about it for a good minute… NOPE. “Is this kid crazy? We have so many things to do between now and then. Why should I do it? It’s not like anyone else is gonna do it either.”

Many of these negative thoughts came to me instantly and I didn’t consider it through prayer or think about why this challenge would be beneficial. I quickly disregarded the message and continued with whatever I was doing.

A little while later, a friend sent me a message. What do you know… about the Bible reading challenge. We talked about it for a very short while and without missing a beat…BAM. She told me she was going to do it. To be honest, I was kinda taken aback. Wait… what?

In a really strange way, I feel as though this was God’s way of filling the emptiness I was feeling. Her decisiveness was a reminder to me of the spirit that is alive through loving Christ.

So yes, I decided to start the New Testament challenge with her. 260 chapters in 50 days. Roughly 5 chapters/day. The countdown is too real.

I’m not posting this to impress or pressure anyone with this goal. It’s to keep myself accountable. I know this will be a bit of a struggle because I’m honestly not used to reading this much of the Bible daily. However, I pray that this would be a growing experience in Him. Without coming to God while reading, there really is no point.

I’ve already been rejuvenated in the first two days of this challenge. It is so interesting how something I have already read before can be refreshing and new in a different way. God continues to surprise me and I learn to grow inwardly while pressing on towards the goal.

so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
Colossians 1:10
From: Sister and Daughter

Day 6 & 7: Netherlands

Day 6 was not so eventful, so I decided to combine it with day 7 in the beautiful Netherlands.

Yesterday, we drove from Worms, Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands. This took quite a while so by the time we got to Amsterdam we were pretty tired. We took the tram downtown where we got some Dutch food: peppered corn-fed chicken, stamppot (potatoes mashed with carrots and bacon?), steak with a cream sauce on the side.

After lunch, we bought tickets for another hop-on, hop-off tour boat like we did in Paris. We circled the whole city once down the canals as the recorded audio narrated the history of major sites. From what I remember, there’s a cool ice bar where all the furniture is made out of ice, a huge floating Chinese restaurant, Rijksmuseum (art and history), Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank’s house, diamond museum, and torture museum (I was weirdly curious). Since most of the attractions were closed, we hopped off the tour boat and explored Amsterdam. We eventually ended up at a bakery where we got strawberry and banana crêpes (mostly cause we missed the opportunity in Paris) and churros.

This morning, we traveled to the more rural parts of Netherlands. We first went to Zaanse Schans which is a place with a bunch of colorful windmills with different functions. There was also a little store there where we sampled different cheeses and chocolates. 🙂

I also did more people watching there. Some of my favorites:

  • Asian fob wearing a shirt that said, “No fcuks given.” There is a reason why you should never get tattoos or items in a different language. We laughed pretty hard at this and I tried so hard to get a picture, but unfortunately failed.
  • Little British girl goes, “The problem is… I backwash” while she holds a coke in her hand. Other boy goes, “Do you now…” while giving her a weird look.
    That’s pretty gross but hey, it’s a way to keep dem boyz away.

After lunch, we walked to a harbor where there were beautiful sail boats lined up one after another. Local vendors selling their delicious seafood and desserts. I ended up getting a waffle that tasted heavenly. It was a nice crunchy waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar, a scoop of jam, topped with raspberries and blackberries, melted milk chocolate on top, and whipped cream on the side. ❤

We were really looking forward to going to Keukenhof afterward where there are supposed to be millions of tulips. Unfortunately, when we got there we realized that they were not in season. Fortunately, when we were filling up our car, there was a private farm next to it. The kind owners were nice enough to let us check out their garden. They had SO MANY beautiful purple allium bulbs. I felt like I was in a dream.

Our last destination of Netherlands and Europe was Madurodam. It’s an outside museum filled with replicas of the major cities in Netherlands. While you’re walking through it, you tower over them like giants. It’s incredible how detailed and accurate they are.

Our Europe trip has now come to an end. I will definitely miss it but at the same time I miss home. There is something about home that is special. I long for familiarity in places and people. I miss my bed, cheap food, no charge on water and bathrooms. I especially miss my friends and being able to communicate in 100% English. I’ll miss the beautiful architecture, rivers, mountains, and culture here. The experience was wonderful and I will remember it always.

Day 5: Interlaken, Heidelberg, Worms

I am not a morning person. I can do all-nighters and stay up very late, but waking up early is something that I struggle with tremendously. This morning, we rose early to get “early bird” tickets for cable cars that go up the Schlithorn mountain.

To get to the very top, you have to take three or four cable cars. While going up, you see little towns, cows, sheep, and the vast array of mountains while your ears pop because you’re going up so high. When you reach the top, the altitude is 10,000 feet. Since it had rained that morning, there was a lot of fog but we were still able to see a little bit of the snow caps. This is where a 007 James Bond movie was filmed a while ago. There’s a rotating restaurant that oversees the mountains. It was funny because my dad wanted to check out this restaurant and went to explore. He didn’t realize there was a step down to the rotating part and tripped onto it. Of course, the restaurant waiter asked him if he was okay, but the rest of our family just laughed at him.

Most of the day was spent driving since we were traveling to Germany and we ended up getting a little lost. When we stopped to ask for directions, it happened to be a grocery store. My family probably looked like kids in a candy store because the prices were so CHEAP or normal priced (relative to American prices). Haribo gummy bears and other German chocolates were 0.69 euros!

We finally got to Heidelberg, Germany where we visited ruins of a castle. The castle overlooked the town and had a nice little park with a fountain. We were just strolling through the park when we saw a guy with his pet dog. Wait, that dog looks different… Wait, that dog has a really bushy tail… WAIT, that’s a pet fox. I wish I could just chill with my pet fox on a leash in a public park.

Our eating schedules are really whack right now and we’ve just been snacking a lot. By the time dinner came around, we weren’t sure if we were hungry or they just felt weird because of all the junk food. We eventually settled for some authentic German food. It ended up being that we were very hungry. Our dinner consisted of a homemade cheese pasta with fried onions on top, a chicken cutlet, pork cutlet, and smoked salmon. For dessert we went to the neighboring store to get some gelato. We got yogurt berry, mango, and oreo; it was so delicious. If gelato was this cheap in America (1.20 euros), I would be ten times the size I am now.

Currently we are at our hotel in Worms. So happy to be in Deutschland 🙂

Day 4: Leysin & Interlaken

My morning started with the sound of a rooster cock-a-doodle-doo-ing. Thankfully it wasn’t that early in the morning or else I might have been really annoyed. Growing up in the city all my life, that was a very unique experience. My parents had bought some eggs, sausage, baked goods, and orange juice from the market so we prepared breakfast and ate it on our balcony overlooking the Alps. It was the most beautiful and relaxing meal that I’ve ever had.

We then drove to Interlaken, Switzerland because we needed to check into our next hotel at a certain time. Going down the mountain was kinda like being on a roller coaster with all the turns.

When we arrive in Interlaken, we walked around the town a little bit. There’s a beautiful river that goes through the city with water that is a turquoise color (pictured). At lunch we tried cheese fondue for the first time. I think I might have liked it if the swiss cheese wasn’t as salty.

Since we were in Switzerland, we had to make the most out of being around these beautiful mountains. We stopped by Trümmelbachfälle, which is ten waterfalls inside the caves of the Alps. The waterfalls are from the melting ice on top of the mountain which is incredible because the water comes down so fast in such large amounts. The caves have also been formed because of the force of the water.

The weather was getting kind of muggy and there wasn’t much to do in the town, we went back to our small hotel room. Every hotel we go to is a different surprise because we booked them all online with the pictures as our only source. This time, it was not a very good surprise because the room had two bunk beds in a really crammed room that smelled foul every time you opened the tiny bathroom. It was an interesting experience and we finished off the night by watching Still Alice on my dad’s computer.

Day 3: Avallon, Genève, Leysin

I started the morning by taking a bath. Yes, a bath. The hotel that we stayed at did not have a standing shower head or shower curtain. At first I thought that it would be annoying, but it ended up being really relaxing. I might start taking more baths when I get back home, haha. The outside of our hotel was like the ones you see in the movies. A gated building with ivy up the walls and a flower bed outside of every window. Avallon is a very petite and cute little town.

We packed up our bags and drove three and a half hours to Lake Geneva in Genève, Switzerland. We got lunch at a Chinese restaurant because there really weren’t any other restaurants in that little town. I’m starting to appreciate how cheap/affordable food is in America. We got two little carry out containers for about 25 francs (~$25). I could get the same thing in America for probably $10 or less.

Most of the day was uneventful as we had a late start and just drove through Switzerland most of the time. Once we got to Leysin (Swiss Alps) though, the long drive had been worth it. The view was AMAZING. The mountains stretch all around you. Some are covered in trees, others with snow, and there are even small villages. We got to our hotel in one of those villages 1266 meters (~4153 feet) up in altitude and we were wonderfully surprised. The inside of the hotel room was like an apartment. It had a full kitchen filled with utensils and dishes we could use, bedroom, dining room table, and balcony. As cliché as it sounds, words can not describe how beautiful the view was from the balcony. We relaxed on the balcony while eating our cup ramen and enjoying the view.

My brother was really having fun watching shows in different languages (French, German). He was trying to figure out what they were trying to say by their actions. It was even funnier because he was watching some German soap operas and The Land Before Time in French.

Even though the day was not that eventful, the view made up for it and it might be my favorite so far.

Day 2: Paris & Avallon

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting daily. Day 2 we got to our hotel at about 1 a.m. so I was way too tired. Day 3, we didn’t have the internet password for our hotel.

From the experience of Paris the first night, I was a little bit unsure if I would like the rest of the city. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with downtown Paris and I’m even a little sad that I had to leave.

We started off our day taking the subway downtown. I really enjoy riding the subway because where I live, there isn’t one. It’s so convenient and a really fast way to get around the city. Once we got downtown, we passed a bunch of shops and bakeries. I got my croissant (hon hon croissant, hon hon baguette). To be honest, it pretty much tasted the same as one I could get in America but hey, it’s the experience that counts.

Our second mode of transportation were boats, Botabus, that went up and down the Seine River. They would stop at all the major sites in Paris where you could hop on or off throughout the day. The short rides were so relaxing and they it was a tour of the city in itself.

The first destination was the world renown Eiffel Tower. I didn’t realize that it was so tall until I stood right next to it. It’s about 301 meters (988 feet) tall. To save some money and have the experience we walked up the stairs to the second level. The second level is about 116 meters (380 feet) up and about 650 staircase steps. It was a not so pleasant reminder of how out of shape I am. After that, we took an elevator all the way to the top. The view was breathtaking, you could see the whole city from there. Of course, after going up the stairs you have to go back down, right? It should be easy, right? At first it was a piece of cake, but then I started to realize how high up I was. Well, when I was in first grade, I fell down a flight of stairs. From what I remember, it was probably around 20 steps. I mean, it was kind of startling but I didn’t know that it would affect me later in life. It must have been a little bit traumatic because every time I go down stairs I am extra cautious, slow, and have to watch my feet so I don’t fall down. I’ve diagnosed myself as climacaphobic (fear of climbing stairs; I didn’t make this word up). Sorry, tangent, other than that the experience was super cool and a great first attraction.

We got lunch at a French restaurant where we ate salmon covered in olive oil with mango pieces sprinkled on top, a side of mashed potatoes, steak, French onion soup, and a baguette sandwich that had egg, tomato, lettuce, onion, and some other things in it (I should have written down the names of the foods in French). For dessert, we tried crème brûlée for the first time. My mother is inspired to get a torch to cook with now. We also had a strawberry-raspberry cheesecake. Yum.

We continued to the Louvre. In my heart, I fangirl-ed so hard. It rekindled my love of architecture from when I was in middle school when it was my dream career. Then I realized that I wasn’t good at drawing and I didn’t like math that much, haha. The whole museum itself was BEAUTIFUL. The high ceilings, intricate designs, staircases, etc. We saw some incredible paintings and ceiling murals. We got to see the small Monna Lisa in the crowd of all the people surrounding it. It’s true, wherever you’re standing she’s looking at you. Pretty cool and kinda creepy. I don’t really appreciate paintings that much, but I do really like 3-D art or statues. The Greek and Egyptian exhibits were some of my favorites. I could have stayed at the Louvre forever if my feet didn’t hurt after walking so much.

We finished off our day in Paris by going to Notre Dame. Again, I was squealing with joy inside as I gazed at the amazing architecture. Such well thought out, beautiful designs made up this cathedral. If I lived in Paris, this would be my number one hang out spot. It’s so relaxing, close to the Seine, and a big area with little bakeries and restaurants all around. To top it off, near the cathedral there was a group of guys who decided to do a impromptu show. It was mostly breakdancing, which gathered a crowd because they were really good. They brought joy to the people around them and brightened the mood. I wish I saw that more in America because it really livens up the city.

That night, we drove two hours to our hotel in Avallon, France on our way to Switzerland.

Day 1: Brussels & Paris

First off, I would like to start out by apologizing if any of this doesn’t make any sense. Right now I’m running on three hours of sleep within the last 37 hours. My body is so confused. I guess this post should actually be titled “Day 1.5” because the start of our vacation began by taking a plane to the JFK airport and then transferring to our flight to Brussels. In total, we were in the air for nine hours. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with flying. The view is incredible and it’s so amazing how we can fly above and through the puffy clouds. The only bad part about flying is that I get headaches easily and the food I ate on the plane did not feel good. Another thing that I realized on the plane is that I like people watching. I’ve always wondered how people thought that was fun, but after spending so much time sitting next to the same people, I started to see aspects of their personalities without even talking to them:

  •  The little European lady sitting next to me. I couldn’t tell what language she spoke, but it was so interesting to see how something as simple as cream cheese was foreign to her. She struggled to rip the little package. Once she got a tiny bit out, she tasted it with her plastic knife, started to spread it out on her bagel after watching her son(?) or my brother do it, then squeezed it directly into her mouth afterward. I was kinda disgusted at first, but just giggled to myself after because I’m sure I do things that are weird to others.
  • The old man sitting next to my brother. Near the end of the flight, I saw him watching Planes. A movie made for a kids was plenty interesting to him and it made me happy thinking that there is still the spirit of a little kid inside of each of us as we grow older.
  • The African woman carrying her crying toddler up and down the aisle. Thankfully it only lasted about a couple of minutes. I could tell that she was trying so hard to keep her kid quiet for the sake of others on the flight.

When we landed in Brussels, we got our rental car and drove to meet downtown at the Grand Place (pictured) with a friend of mine who used to live with us as a “foreign exchange student.” Unfortunately, it took us over an hour in all the traffic. The streets here are INSANE. I don’t know how people manage to not get into constant car accidents. After that grueling slow traffic, it was so relieving to see that she and her friend, who is currently traveling around Europe with her, were still waiting for us. When we finally got to a restaurant, we ate lots of mussels (Brussels is known for), seafood, and some kinds of meat. Maybe it was because it might have been a tourist trap, but other than the mussels I felt like I was in an American restaurant. We looked around Brussels’ downtown a little bit more. Then said our goodbyes to my friends. Even though we were dead tired, we ventured toward Paris in our car for another three hours. We didn’t get to do much in Paris today because it took so long to settle down in our hotel and find parking. Once we got that all done, it was nine so we just wandered around the streets and eventually found a Turkish restaurant. It was pretty good (haha sorry, I’m not good at describing food). So far I’ve decided that I don’t really like Paris. It’s just really dirty and I know that there is a lot of crime here. Maybe my perspective will change tomorrow though after we visit some stuff. I’m currently in my hotel room about to fall asleep. There’s no air conditioning so it’s a little warm, but we kept the windows open a bit. I’m a little bit scared that someone could come into our room through the balcony, but whatever. Goodnight everyone. I’m about to CRASH.

Broadening Horizens

To: Wanderlust stricken hearts

One of my dreams has always been to travel around the world. There is so much culture and diversity. It’s astounding at how many different people, languages, foods, traditions, etc. that exist in this miniscule part of the universe, Earth.

Starting tomorrow, I get to continue chasing this dream of mine. From June 10-18, my family and I will travel to Europe. It will be my first time there and I’m incredibly excited. The plan is to fly to Brussels, Belgium tomorrow and land on June 11. From there we will rent a car and travel in a circle of countries. Meaning, Belgium -> France -> Switzerland -> Germany -> Netherlands -> Belgium.Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.58.58 PMThus, starting on June 11, I will try to do daily blog posts for the duration of the trip. It will be like you are all going with me on this adventure. 🙂

However, for those of you who usually follow these blog posts through Facebook, I will not be sharing them there like I usually do for particular reasons that I will not disclose. Instead, I will be posting daily pictures on my Instagram with a link to this blog. Sorry for the inconvenience. (You could also just follow this blog directly 😉

It is very unfortunate that I can not take you (physically) with me on this journey. However, there is another adventure that you CAN join. From June 10-14, The ViOS Project will be touring in five cities in five days around the Great Lakes area.

VIOS breaks through the norm of contemporary musical genres in an eclectic fusion to reveal the wonders of God through the art of sound.

Admission is FREE. These concerts will be unique, inspiring, spiritual, and fun.

For those participating in Gospel Odyssey ’15, we pray that God will be with you in your travels and outreach. I sincerely wish I could be there with you.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

From: The adventurer inside