Saturday, June 18, 2011

Somewhere In Between....

Well, it's official I suppose...I am most certainly the worst "blogger" ever. I try, I really, really fact I have started 3 blogs since the last time I actually "posted", but as is typical I proofread it, and hit delete. But not this is a peaceful, calm, and relaxing Saturday night, and what better moment to catch you all up on all of my most recent happenings than now....

So last weekend I went on perhaps one of my favorite Ireland treks so far....If you know anything about me, you know that, as over-the-top "girly" as I may be sometimes, I love being outdoors. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have my moments of "whimpy-ness" but for the most part, and with a little encouragement, I will hike, run, climb, and explore just about any- and everything I get the chance to. SO, one of the places I KNEW I had to visit when I came to Ireland was the Wicklow Mountains.....but really, they just call it County Wicklow here, because this park (that strangely no one is allowed to live in) is its own county. Lying just south of Dubln, and often referred to as the "Garden of Ireland", Wicklow is nothing short of breathtaking. Everywhere you look there is something new and captivating to behold....a vast array of different types of trees, water and waterfalls that are incomprehensibly pristine in color, and secret coves that practically beg to be explored. Looking out upon this particular landscape really does feel as if you've walked into a if the majesty of such a place could never exist in real life. This being the case, practically every movie/tv show ever made in Ireland has been filmed here....P.S. I Love You, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Camelot, The Tudors, ect. ect......Not that I get all that caught up in such things, but it was quite intriguing to see these places and experience the same atmosphere that was captured in these movies. But more than that, and like a few of the other places I have visited on my journey thus far, to marvel at such beauty at times is almost overwhelming in a sense....that the same God who created me, also created this sanctuary of sorts that is so unique in it's beauty, I doubt if I shall ever behold a more genuine sight for the rest of my life and in turn be so spiritually moved.

Perhaps on a bit of a downer note, for some reason I have found this week to be particularly trying on a personal level. It seems that my emotions have been all over the place, and I have had quite the time trying to sort them out.....I suppose this came about with the realization that my time in Ireland is rapidly approaching a close and in 20 days I will be leaving this place, this beautiful, awe-inspiring, place to fly to London where the next part of my journey will begin. I suppose I really should not have been shocked by my sense of sadness, as much as I like to seek out new adventures, I have never been one to embrace fact, I hate it. By nature, I love wide-open....People, Places, Experiences. I get attached. To gain my affection, loyalty, and trust is to posses it forever, and Ireland, and the people of Ireland are no different. I love this place. I love it for what it has shown's own secrets and beauty, as well as my own. And perhaps I feel a sense of indebtedness because of this, and for this reason I will be quite heart-broken to leave it behind.
And to go along with this, I suppose it did not help that I got my very first good helping of home-sickness this week. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I am a homebody though and through, and talking with my parents, sister, friends, and Aust, whether it be through Facebook or Skype, has become so very difficult. It's hard for me to not express how sad it makes me to only be able to see or talk to them through a computer screen, and sometimes when I find myself laughing at their jokes or just the random day-to-day updates, a smile has frequently been accompanied by several tears. I know its so overly cached, and it's a concept I thought I realized all to well, but sometimes it really does take flying half way around the world to realize that your most precious blessings were right there at home all along.

Work is still going really well and I am still enjoying it immensely....though I do suppose this week was rather frustrating. As is the case with any creative field, you are either swamped with projects/deadlines or you are sitting at your desk watching the clock.....this past week was the embodiment of the latter. Now, I suppose that isn't entirely true, I have gotten to do quite a few things this week, just not quite stayed at the same pace as these past few weeks have held me to....which in a way I should be thankful for. Some things I did accomplish, I ran several casting sessions...crazy right? Now usually I "live" in our editing suite or in the main office, tucked away for hours...perfectly content, mind you....working on my specific project, and could not be happier. But this week there were no projects to be worked on, therefore I ran casting sessions...which I must say was pretty darn awesome. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't playing "casting director" or anything like that and had no say whether or not these people got hired, but I did get to sit there for 4, yes 4, hours of auditions for an insurance commercial along side the casting director, director, and producer and watch people "try" to act....some of them were good, some of them were painful, but ya know, I guess that's how it goes. Anyway, I am running another casting session (I say this because a representative from our company has to be present for these things as well as keep track of "who's who in the zoo" type of deal for editing purposes), this one open to the public, downtown next week that is going to be 7 hours of pure madness. But hey, I am just sitting there all day, so how awful could it be?.....I may be eating those words later....but for now, I am about as excited as is to be expected.

......So, I guess you could say it's sort of been a rough week. And I know I mentioned it, but whenever I get in these  "slumps" of sorts it really makes me miss Austin all the more. It is indeed a very strange sort of feeling knowing that by simply seeing a person's face can (as cheesy as it may sound) light up your whole day....and things that I am almost certain no one else would understand or "get"....he does. But I suppose the one thing that makes me miss him the most is the way he can make me laugh...really laugh....the kind that fills you up from the inside out and makes it seem as if you will never be sad again. And not just that, the way we talk to each other, and the stories and secrets we share about each other's day...I mean he is off on his own adventure evangelizing to the people of Nicaragua at the current moment (Gah! How awesome (and attractive, might I add) is that?!).....and I suppose in a sneaky sort of way, God has been laying lots of thoughts and plans on both our hearts for what the future may hold...and though being a girl, I have always been inclined to such notions...these new "thoughts" seem of a different sort, perhaps a different perspective.....but seeing as I have not wholly figured out how to categorize these "thoughts", more will have to come on that later...maybe ;). So yes, I do love that precious, sincere, praiseful, and gentle man of mine, as he does fill me up with a happiness unlike anything I have ever known. And who knows, we may just get the gumption to get "hitched" one day......a very long, long, looooong day from this one that is for sure. But for now, I like to think of him as this wonderful "gift" that God has granted me....a gift that I feel far too undeserving of at times, but a magnificent (and handsome) gift, nonetheless.

So I guess I should give an update on my running/working out progress. I am happy to say it is still going....slowly, but steadily, it IS still going. Perhaps thats why this weeks seems to have lasted so long and been so rained, more like torrential downpoured every single day which most certainly did not help in my running efforts. BUT, I did start spin classes this week which also came with 2 days of gym membership, so in that sense I guess it made up for my lack of daily running. I suppose any time you start a new exercise regimen the biggest obstacle to overcome is yourself...and in this case, the weather definitely has left me with little to no motivation. Here's hoping that this week is sunnier, and I find myself in running shoes very shortly.

Okay, last but not least, it has been a while since I last updated you all on all of the random words/sayings/discoveries I have made on my journey thus far. So ready, here they are...
*Craic (pronounced "crack") = in, "We had great Craic!", hilarious for so many reasons
*McDonalds here has the BEST food....I wish I were kidding. No joke, every McDonalds here has a cafe where you can order fresh paninis, bagels, name it, and they are all DELICIOUS! I eat there every weekend before I set off on my adventures and I love it! And, as in true McDonalds fashion, you can't beat the price :)
*I still try and get in on the wrong side of the car Every.Single.Time.
*Feck = Exactly what you think it means...the Irish swear it's not a curse word and use it in every day language...ehh, it's still too close to the line to wander into my daily vocabulary
*Oh, and perhaps the biggest thing circulating the news right now, is the fact that all, what we wold consider "Seniors" in High School, are taking the dreaded Irish Exams. No joke about it, these exams determine EVERYTHING about your future. Not only does it determine whether or not  you can even go to college, but which college you are eligible for, as well as what profession you are allowed to pursue. Pressure, much? Definitely. They advertise tranquilizers and psychiatric help on the radio every single day, because it is due to said exams that Ireland has one of the highest teenage suicide rates in the world. And you thought you had it rough?
*I still have yet to get used to the fact, that whenever I open my mouth in a public building...whether it is a gas station or a museum, everyone turns their head to gawk at me. I have yet to figure out if it's the fact that I'm an American or that I'm the only person in the room wearing hot pink tennis shoes....
*Fun story, (I wish I would have counted up to this point) but I have been successfully "hit on" at least twice every single week that I have been here. I had always heard that European men were rather forward, but it's gotten quite comical these last few times. I should say that I am in no way trying to be conceited, as I find it hilarious that anyone would find me remotely attractive. But perhaps the most memorable incident happened last weekend when I was waiting for the bus, and a 30-something year-old guy came up behind me and shot the every so clever and suave line of, "Hey Baby.." followed by a sad attempt at a whistle. My response? I turned my head from side to side searchingly, trying to catch a glimpse of who he was referring to, only to burst out laughing when I realized he was talking to me. Poor guy, I'm sure I didn't do much for his confidence that day. And so yeah, all the other times, they have been older, usually toothless and bald, men hanging their heads out the side of some utility vehicle (i.e. garbage truck, plumbing van, ect.)....I only attract men of quality, ya know, hahaha. Oh my, in times like that it really does make me wish Austin was here....

Okay Loves, that is all for now, I will leave you with some pics of last weekend's journey through Wicklow, and hopefully you will be hearing from me soon

Blessings & Grace,
County Wicklow

Admiring Guiness Lake


Monastic ruins at Glendelough

Monastic Tower and Cemetery at Glendelough

There aren't even words...

Favorite Picture? I think so

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A New Day, A New Adventure

Well Lovely Followers, this does seem to be a recurring theme now doesn't it? I say I will do better about posting, and yet here I find myself again, a full week later, catching up with you all. But as it seems, this may be the case for quite awhile, at least as long as I am in Ireland, just because my days throughout the week are extremely busy with work and such, and the weekends are when all the fun stuff let's hop right to it, shall we?

I really do feel as if this one post could encompass about a million different mini-posts just because this past week has been full of so many new realizations and adventures that I have had quite the time trying to process it all....
Let's start with work...It has been truly incredible. I honestly look forward to going every single day, for the simple fact that I never quite know what I will be doing next or what new project awaits me. That being said, it is definitely not...oh how do I describe this?'s not all "kicks and giggles" if you know what I mean. I guess what I am really trying to say is that having just very recently learned that most international student-interns do not get the same type of incredible job opportunity as I have been allowed, and as honored as I feel to have been deemed "worthy" of such, that doesn't mean that there aren't times that I have to wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into. I say this because I work under the most talented and (in Ireland/UK) the most noted production company I have ever had the opportunity to encounter, much less learn from, and along with that the expectation for me as their intern is high. Extremely high. Don't get me wrong, I take great pride in the successes I have achieved thus far (definitely nothing close to what I would have been able to do in the States), it's just that being under the pressure of major companies to fulfill their demands is well, to say the least, challenging. This past week was the epitome of just that. As with most creative fields one day you could easily find yourself sitting around the office one day searching for something, anything!, to do, and the very next running (literally) in order to knock out one project after the next trying to make deadlines. But as frazzled as I find myself trying to keep up with the chaos, I also cannot help but find myself sometimes more frustrated by the fact that there are some things that I simply don't know yet. I know this sounds sort of silly, but really. There is nothing that can make me more mad with myself than when something is asked of me that I simply do not how to do. OR if I have to ask a million questions.....It is definitely during those times of ignorance that I just have to ask myself "What in the world am I doing here?". Being "THAT" intern is not how I work - I always know the answer, and am always there to please....but not this week. This week was about humility and observance of the fact that (shockingly) I do not know everything. But alas, as with most of the life lessons that I am constantly journeying through, I know that there is indeed a purpose. However, in the midst of this "inner-turmoil" of sorts what is an even greater realization is the fact that my bosses don't seem to be phased by this. They somehow (and for some strange reason that I cannot understand) have this tremendous faith in me that I am baffled to understand. And just like that, the projects I have been assigned this next week are as follows:
*Co-Coordinate Production/Web Cast for Microsoft featuring their yearly conference based here in Dublin (it may be 8 hours long, but I'm sure you could find something entertaining about watching it. I mean I have to, haha)
*Edit 5 information-based productions distributed by Pfizer to all public schools in Ireland concerning the needs/provisions of students with chronic illnesses...asthma, epilepsy, juvenile diabetes, ect.)
*Co-edit promotional video/commercial for Ireland's airline, Aer Lingus, to commemorate their 75th Anniversary.
.....yes, this could potentially be the longest 4-day work week of my life.

So I say "4-day" work week, because this week is what Europeans call a "Bank Holiday" (they fall on different days for each country)'s not really to celebrate anything in-particular, just a time to be off of work, and as will be the case here tomorrow, enjoy Dublin culture through a wide variety of festivities across the city. That being the case, I have taken the opportunity to book myself two day trips so that I can somewhat separate myself from such "festivities" (or openly accepted all-day-long intoxication as I like to call it) in order to have a "real" vacation. So, this past Saturday (or yesterday) I took a trip to Blarney and Cork (the Southwestern portion of Ireland) and had an absolutely wonderful time. Living in Dublin, one definitely gets a good dose of the Irish culture, but nothing compares to being in Ireland's country side....for me, that is where the true culture lies. Everything here is so much more vibrant and beautiful....things taste, smell, and "feel" different, and I am in constant awe of the majesty of the landscapes here. And then tomorrow, I will find myself on the road again. This time to Gallway, or Western Ireland, to see more specifically the Cliffs of Moher on the western coast. I am so excited, and will be sure to post pictures...which I am actually getting alot better at. So yes, all of these activities should be fun, and no worries, you all will be the first to know how it goes ;)

But let's see, perhaps a little update on me specifically (as if this whole blog isn't)....I have started I new hobby this past week - Running. If you have known me for any amount of time you also know how much I loathe such a sport. I have never been any good at it (really, I am as slow as they, fat kids can beat me), and as such I have always chosen sports in which I could sprint (swimming and tennis) because I guess that's just how I'm wired. And not to mention that running being the one athletic area that I couldn't at least ever become "decent" at, I left my ambition to do so a long time ago. But then I got here, and something strange happened. I dunno, I just got this urge to go running one day last week, and have been doing so ever since. Who knows how long it will you have probably picked up on, I tend to get frustrated by things I don't succeed at right away. But we'll see. I am enjoying it for now, and am really enjoying the fact that I have noticeably lost a few pounds already, and feel great! Here's hoping that I can stick with it....ya never know, I could come home a regular "skinny-minnie", though I highly doubt it.

But I suppose that is all for now. I am hoping (yes, hoping) to write more tomorrow once I return from Gallway about that trip as well as more about my excursion from yesterday, but until such time, here is a sneak peek at what a wonderful day I had yesterday....

Grace & Peace,

Beautiful, just beautiful
I think this is my absolute favorite from yesterday

"Land of 40 Greens"

Blarney Castle

Rock of Cashel

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ireland, thus far!

I know I can already go down in history as the worst blogger ever....seeing as I have been in Ireland for a whole week and have neglected to post a single thing. But hopefully after you read this post you will understand why it has been quite the eventful past few days, and practically anything outside of collapsing as soon as I came in from work was not on the agenda. However, as I am quickly getting more and more acclimated to living in this wonderful new place, I promise I will do better.

I mean, I could go into the chaotic details of my trip over here and what an utterly exhausting experience that was, but I feel like that journey has long since passed, and it's time to catch you all up on what's been happening in the present.
It really is an absolute understatement to say that I have already learned so many new things in my short time here....things about this magnificent city and country, of course, but a lot about my (slowly, but surely) metamorphosis into the "A- word" (or adulthood, as most people refer to it), and just many new things about me in general. As many challenges as I have been faced with this week, I couldn't help but notice how not only calm, but just determined I have been to figure things out for myself (more on this to come)....this is a new one for me, just because it has always been in my personality to lean on those I am closest to and be so keen to inquire about the the help/opinions of others. But I suppose having been sort of stripped of all my security blankets this week, (too be much too overly dramatic in saying so) I've sort of had this "do or die" mentality. With that being said, let me think back to what I can remember about this whirlwind of a week....

Last weekend is pretty much an absolute blur. Having been so delayed flying out of NY our plane arrived late into Dublin (not that I suppose it made much different), but to have gotten here and been so deliriously tired, was not the best way to start my trip (However, those of you who have ever traveled with me know what a HUGE accomplishment it was that I did not get out-of-my-mind sick on the plane ride over's the little things ya know, haha). Anyway, I don't believe my body has ever been that utterly drained in all my life, and as hard as I tried to get out and do things my first few days here, I just couldn't. I found myself so fatigued, and just thinking through the smallest of tasks made me indescribably tired and downright loopy. I always thought Jet Lag was sort of "it's all in your head" sort of thing, turns out that would be entirely false. It kicked my butt - majorly!

Anyway, so Monday rolled around and it was my first day at work! I can't really describe how many emotions I had rolling through me that day...excitement, nerves, and just the general anxiety of trying to "feel out" the unknown. Turns out, it was an awesome day! First let me say that I have the most beautiful walk through Sandymount (sort of the "Upper East side" of Dublin if you know what I's VERY residential, and super family-oriented, but to live here you have to be making bank like none other, so in that sense it's a great area! Lot's of parks, and kids everywhere, and it also doesn't hurt that the beach lies just at the end of my street!)...So anyway, back to work. My very first day was all too typical...meeting everyone, getting familiar with the office and such, and then something I absolutely was not expecting (though, I guess I should have been)...I got assigned a desk, and a computer, and clients (like, as in real people that were having me do their corporate work for them...WHAT???). That's right, (and to be more specific) I was assigned one of my company's biggest clients, Ulster Bank (think Bank of America, the Ireland edition), and their need for 9 (yes, 9!) commercials to be completely cut and edited by the following Thursday. So that's what I did, all week. I came early, and stayed late, working on these commercials, and ya know what? It was awesome! Though, I'm not even sure awesome is the right word, just inexplicably rewarding to be doing something of value and of worth...something that has a true means to an end I suppose. My boss and I worked tirelessly on these things, and come Friday, I was put on a train to Belfast (which is literally across the country) to go and present my work to them and return the same day (think about flying to NYC one morning, staying for three hours, and turning right back around and coming had that same sort of feel) and then have to come back in to work to finish out the day. Whew! Thank goodness that is done, now I get to go in tomorrow and do it all over again - Awesome!

But let's see...outside of work, what has happened?.....
   Like I mentioned before I am learning so many things, so perhaps it best if I just list them. Reflecting upon what all has happened seems so much easier that way...

*So my company, The Courtyard Studio, is the only production agency of it's kind in all of Ireland. They shoot/produce/edit commercials, television shows, and even have the first-obligation to produce any/all movies (and tv shows) in both Ireland and Scottland...that being said, my bosses (they are co-owners) have produced "Braveheart", "Saving Private Ryan", "Ella Enchanted", "The Tudors", and "Camelot" just to name a few.....let's not even get into how inadequate I feel watching them work

*Everyone is SO nice here, and jumps at the opportunity to help you...they just seem so intrigued any time I open my mouth to say something. Ironically, the only rude people I have come across were found in the tourism office....strange.

*Practically all of the websites that I am such a huge fan of will not work in Ireland due to copyright issues...that's right, no HULU for me (I had to rent the season finale of "GLEE" on iTunes", and even "Google" is called "Google Ireland" and just doesn't seem to be effective as it is at home.

*I know this is a blanket statement (but it's true), the Irish are OBSESSED with America...I mean absolutely everything. You can't turn on the radio here (which is still preferred over tv, who would'a thought?) and not hear about something going on in "The States"...any and everything from political matters, to celebrity gossip, even historical matters that you would think they wouldn't possibly care about, the Irish just can't get enough of it. Speaking of such, Pres. Obama was here the first Monday I was and they had to shut the entire city down....people were crying listening to his speech....very strange indeed. Not only that, I can't help but notice a sense of jealously, envy really (just from the people I have talked with) about how they wish they lived under the same type of rule as we do in about a real eye-opener. What's so strange is that they seem to have no sense of what numerous problems we do have in America....and I just have to wonder why this is

*I suppose along with the previous statement it seems somewhat obvious, but Ireland, Dublin specifically is extremely liberal, and as such everything (media, newspapers, ect.) is as "politically correct" as any country could ever possibly hope to be. I mean this of course in terms of homosexuality mostly. And along with that I have seen more homosexual couples here than I have in my entire life. Not that I wish to get into that argument, seeing as I'm not quite sure how I feel about the whole issue myself, but what I have observed is that homosexuality here is something all-together different than what I associate it with in America...."couples" here tend to be older, are established, raise families, and are completely accepted members of society. Needless to say, this is one area where the Irish think America is entirely nuts for not allowing such a thing.

*So I kind of imagined such would be the case before I got here, but "church" just doesn't seem to be in the context of most people's way of thinking here. But I mean, if you think about it, Ireland is a country that has been so torn apart...literally (Northern Ireland is it's own country and belongs to the UK, while the Republic of Ireland is considered part of Europe) over the sentiments of religion, that many people have mixed feelings about the church's place in modern Irish society, and with that there really aren't that many churches outside of Catholic ones, though there are some that I would foster a guess at leaning more towards Episcopalian....and as such, I find myself listening to ISBC's live sermon each Sunday, though streaming anything over the internet here is a ginormous pain.

* Street pigeons, you know the disgusting ones you find in larger cities in America, well imagine those birds on body-builder steroids and that is what the pigeons here look like....they are practically chicken size and just as disgusting.

*I have gotten lost more times than I care to count. Something I suppose I was not expecting is the fact that roads here really don't make any sort of sense, because there aren't really "stopping points", they all just sort of curve into one another or randomly are called another name, not to mention once the Irish find a name they like for a road, they decide to name 5 other roads the exact same thing.....I know my way around pretty well at this point, but I never leave the house without my map...for what little good it does me.

*I find myself missing my family, friends, and Austin more and more each day. It's not so much an unbearable longing, just more of an awareness of their absence from my day-to-day life. I absolutely do not know what I would do without Skype, because I'm not entirely sure I would have been able to stay as positive as I have without their sweet encouragement and praises from day to day. I suppose sometimes it takes traveling half way around the world to realize just how many blessings are right there at home waiting for you.

*And lastly here are some quite humorous names for things, that are slowly but surely sinking into my vocabulary of "things to know":
Saran (or plastic) wrap = Cling Film
Holidays = Hols
College = High School
Dart = Subway/Train System
Um, "private parts" = Bits (hahaha, it still makes me laugh, but the story behind this will have to come later)
"Cool" (in an affirming sense) = Brilliant
   ...and there are tons of others that I can't think of right now

There is much, much more to come, I promise, and indeed I will do my best to be a better "blogger". I have booked two trips for the upcoming holiday weekend next week to both Cork and the Cliffs of Moher, both of which are said to be two of the most beautiful places in all of Europe, so stay tuned to see how this week goes. God is continually showing me so many new things, and to think of where I find myself now, I am simply in awe of his goodness.

Lastly, here are a few pictures I've taken so far (I don't have very many just because I'm at work throughout the week, so the weekends are my only time to explore), but enjoy nonetheless :)

Peace & Blessings,

On the train ride to Belfast

Belfast - I'm thinking I am going to go back one weekend. It was just such a beautiful city.

On the train ride home from Belfast...Probably my favorite picture I've taken so far

And if you walk to the end of my street....

Beachfront property, anyone?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'll Be Seeing You...

   So yesterday was not the say the least. But as much as I hate it, Austin and I leaving each other has almost become second-nature, and wallowing in sorrow after the fact just doesn't seem to be worth the heart ache. And after all, with us there really are no "goodbyes" only "Until next time" and "I'll be seeing you". As hard as it may be, life goes on, and with my trip quickly approaching, so must I. There is so much to do, and so little time....and with that, packing has since commenced. 
   Initially I did not believe that packing for this trip would be much different from any other international trip I've taken over the past few years...and as usual, I was terribly wrong. Since part of my trip will consist of a professional internship, part as an everyday student, and part as European explorer, trying to plan out appropriate attire is proving rather challenging. Aside from that, the all-too-common pre-travel panic set in today. Not so much worrying about the trip, just trying to tie up every loose end imaginable before I set out in two days, as well as trying to convince my family that I WILL NOT die while I'm overseas....I only wish I were joking. 
   Anyway, flying around like a crazy person today really made me miss Aust...alot. He's always so good in those situations to keep me calm and not completely lose my mind in the midst of my (ever-so-wonderful-and-incredible) family's overly dramatic ways (again, I really wish I were joking). 
    Since tomorrow is my last day at home, this may be my final post until I find myself in a new country....let's hope me and my luggage all get there in one piece, shall we? In the mean time, I'll leave you with some pics of my slow-but-sure packing progress.

I LOVE ZIPLOC BAGS!!!!....I never have really bothered with "cometic bags". These are cheaper, and I can see absolutely everything before I start digging and creating a total mess of things, which is obviously the tendency. I am always in favor of plastic-chic!

So I NEEDED them...every single one. Or at least that's what I told myself in the midst of purchasing them. Yes, yes, I know there are all extremely similar, but well what's a girl to do when she needs a specific shade? I LOVE SANDELS!

This is all for now. I hope to squeeze one last post in tomorrow night, but we shall see. Until next time, "I'll Be Seeing You"

Amanda Joy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Introduction...

       Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. One way or another I always swear up and down I will not succumb to the latest trend sweeping the social media circuit, but alas, here I am. Several of my close friends have encouraged me to start one of these for quite some time, but self-admittedly I just do not see myself as your typical "Blogger".....First of all, I in no way find myself inspirational, nor do I have any sort of savvy forward-thinking advice to offer...I don't even have a rallying cause/point-of-view worth your concern. I do however, like everyone else, have a story to tell. And well, seeing as I have always had a heart for others' stories, I decided to take this opportunity to share my own.
      So needless to say, as you've probably picked up on already, I will find myself traveling abroad this summer - First to Dublin, Ireland for a truly incredible internship opportunity with the Courtyard Studio Production Company which specializes in the production of corporate commercials for not only Microsoft, but the drug company Pfizer, as well as numerous other UK mega-corporations....they even produce a little show on the STARZ network called "Camelot"....I hear it's kind of a big deal, but outside of GLEE and "Grey's" this chick isn't so in tune with the vast array of TV shows out there. Regardless, trip #2 is set to happen in early July when I will leave Ireland to join my school group in London to begin classes at Kings College studying British Media as well as the personal lives of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as travel across the UK and into Europe seeing what this fascinating part of the world has to offer. No big deal, right?....geez, just describing it makes me that much more excited!
     Anyway, however your want to package it (Study Abroad, Internship, or even a "fixed" vacation) this trip is certain to prove itself nothing short of incredible in every sense of the word. So I suppose with all of that background it would probably be best if I introduced all of you to a few things you will probably want to be "clued" into in order for all of my ramblings over the next few months to make any sort of sense. So ready? Here we go :)

1. AJ = Amanda Joy. Other than the fact that even as a small child I despised the name "Amanda" (I still remember begging my parents to change it to "Amy" as a preschooler....that's a whole different story), I really have no idea why this nickname came about nor when it really started to stick, but what I do know is that I never have been an "Amanda"....AJ is just, well, it's me :)

2. My Passions: Living a Christ-Centered Life, Becoming all that God wants me to be, Learning from my faults, Loving Wide-Open, and being the best Friend, Daughter, Sister, and Girlfriend I possibly can be....anything outside that well, I just try to be at peace with what is and isn't in my capability to change and respond accordingly.

3. I am in a constant state of growth and learning, and I suppose it's pretty much been that way since I started college. I never really have been one to be stagnant in anything I do, and well, as hard as I've tried, sitting on the sidelines has never really been how I play the game. Don't get me wrong, being born with a heart for service, adventure, and seeking out all that this life has thrown my way has been a blessing in so many ways, but it has also come with it's name a few, I often spread myself too thin, am always seeking the approval of others, and even I can be a little flighty at times, not to mention the times where God has called me to be still and wait on Him have proved rather disastrous  on my part.....all of these things you will come to observe.

4. Austin. I wish there was a better way to describe us, but there just isn't. I suppose ever since we started dating in high school under unorthodox pretenses (he having just dated/broke up with one of my very best friends...not to mention that I was a Senior, He was a Sophomore...I did marching band, He was the infamous "Kicker" and soccer star....I went off to college, while he stayed home.....the list goes on and on), nothing about our relationship was ever meant to make any sort of sense. But ever since Dec. 15, 2007 we have been content to deal with the chaos of "us", and after 3 and 1/2 years of on and off long-distance, here we are. Sure, not everything has been perfect, and just having relished (myself, celebrating!) in the closure of this past, extremely trying year for us both in which we broke up for 6 months, we are so on fire for one another and I could not count myself more blessed.....seeing God's grace and promises come to fruition in the midst of that hurt has been truly incredible. Anyway, to say that he is my very best friend is truly an one can make me think, pray, laugh, or love the way he can. As cheesy as it may be, he encourages me, he protects me, and he pushes me to never let my own self get in the way of what God has in store for my life. Yeah, best friend, just doesn't really seem to encompass it.

5. I am SO extremely excited, nervous, anxious, sick-to-my-stomach, crazy in love with all that this summer has to offer. I don't really know if other people try to find ways in which Sunday-morning sermons are applicable to their lives, but for myself something that has pretty much been the over-arching theme of my life for the past few years is the fact that the greatest blessings are the result of the most tremendous sacrifices. So yes, as excited as I am, it is not without recognition of what is on the line.....time spent with my family, yet another summer job to save money for the future, precious, precious time with Aust before school in the Fall....all of these things and a whole lot more are the humbling forces keeping me grounded in the reality that this trip is not simply that. It is a sacrifice. But how encouraging is it to know, that if it were not for my Savior there would not be a blessing to follow :)

    Okay, so I suppose that's basically me in a nutshell. I mean, I only have about a million other quirks that I could write about, but for now this seems sufficient, and hey, you are probably going to get to know me pretty well by summer's end anyway, right?
        On a bit of a sad note, today marks Austin and I's last day together until August. Though I am leaving this Friday for Dublin, my amazing guy is leaving Tuesday for Chinendega, Nicaragua to serve as an Intern for Crosspoint Ministries at the Missions house they have stationed there. It's definitely bitter-sweet because on one hand I just cannot help but be so incredibly proud of him. I mean, how lucky am I to have such a wonderful man not only in love with me, but in love with the Lord as well and be willing to serve Him in such an inspiring way, however my selfishness wants him with me as I always do. Having been in a relationship in which our days apart far out-weigh our days together, has put us both in the situation of constantly yearning for the other's time. Sure, we have been doing long-distance for several years now, but this is different, much different, and going such a substantial amount of time without contact is far too unbearable to think about for now. Regardless, no matter how many times we find ourselves in this position, God always seems to supply us both with an inner peace....but for now, sadness it is. 

    Until my next writing....
                                         Philippians 1:27-30