Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Shakespearian Epistle from Home

Hark thou, my dearest sister who is residing across that which separates the old from new; where art thy letters abundant for our aching ears? dost thou render them to pieces ere they leave thy pen? dost thou, o sister, forget thine (across that which separates the old from new), and leave all records for weeks on end, till they be but a passing glory in thy memory, which fades slight, with words clear, but a portrait ever fading? wilt thou not share with us thy joys of present, so that, when thou returnest hither from yon, we too may have a portrait of those places which thou hast been? and wilt not thy words of the now be better than those of a later date, more attuned to the time, place, and atmosphere, than a fleeting memory?
Harken thou my words, o sister fair...else it be sore with thee when thou returnest (which thou must do, or shalt I not ever see thee again?)
Hasten thy reply! We are in sore straits!
Thy brother who is named by the color of his curls upon his head...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Super Students

It is past midnight. Full-length windows open, the sounds and air of Paris are blowing into our window as Charae and I chat and keep telling each other to go to bed. In eight short hours, we have to be packed, dressed, ready for service at Notre Dame, and set to leave Paris for our next destination, Noyon. As I am typing on an iPad (very creative keyboards I've been using, of late!) and have no new pictures uploaded, I find myself rather uninspired to attempt the tackling of all that has passed since last I "signed in". There is so much....

However, I have here a treat that will make up for all that I lack in inspiration, and then some! Have I ever mentioned that I have the coolest music students in the world? Yep. I truely do. In fact, that was the real reason behind this trip: to search the world over and see if there were any students more fun, cool, and amazing than mine. You know what? There aren't. Just to touch the tip of the iceberg in proof, here's a fantastic video that showed up in my inbox the other day:

These girls are super students. Be inspired. Happy Saturday!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Piece of My Heart

Kaytra, me, and Charae at Chateau Chenonceau

It's hard to believe we have been gone six whole days already.

It's hard to believe we left only six days ago.

I find it nearly impossible to describe our time here. Descriptions do not - cannot - do justice to the last almost-a-week we have spent here.

The three of us at Chateau Montrésor
Were I to sit here deliberating for an hour, I still would be unable to find the words that could generate the sweetest of first-impression-feelings in your hearts that I felt our first morning, when Aunt Jenn gave us a walking tour of this precious town of Loches.

Were I to wax eloquent for paragraphs, I could not make you feel the reaching I feel as I try to grasp the crowds of years that have stretched, the thousands of stories that have been, the lives of the people who were - life & death, blessing & curses, good & evil - in the places we have seen.

We have been here four days, and have one more full day in Loches; I feel tied here. I will hate to leave, even as I look ahead to all the wonderful days to come. I love being here with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I love the way of life here, as I have seen it in these last (albeit few) days.

There is something indescribable, beautiful, and wonderful about this place. And it's not just the abundant roses and window boxes, rich histories, or cobblestone streets. Kaytra put it well this morning: "We love this town because God loves this town, and He is doing wonderful things in this town."

We have toured amazing chateaus, heard incredible stories, and met Christians with whom we share no words, but something - someOne - more beautiful: a Savior. We have marveled at the 11th century architecture, sampled delectable macaroons, and learned much from the wisdom of those around us. We are bound for more adventures, but we leave a part of our hearts here, in a tiny town in France.

I will be back, someday.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Welcome to France

side & top: Portland Airport!

I don't know where to start. Let's begin with the keyboard I'm typing on. In the first place, there's a "Q" where I usually have an "A," a comma where I'm used to an "M," and a "Z" where I want a "W." In addition, the exclamation mark is it's own key (if you capitalize it, it looks  like this: §), the parentheses symbols are keys apart; and you have to capitalize a key for the period.

"Welcome to France."

Side: picture for Maddy, Top: Seattle Airport!

It's a phrase I've heard several times in the last two...or three...days since three little travelers left a quiet airport in Portland, and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. Since three starving American girls journeyed to the back of a plane flying over the Atlantic and begged to be allowed to purchase an $18, airplane-food-meal (bleh).Since las trés amigas (that's us) marveled the never-setting sun over 10+ hours of flying.

"Welcome to France."

Icelandic Airport!

It's a phrase we heard in our heads as we reclined, observing the dawn of an Icelandic (obviously, we were not quite in France yet) morning, waiting for our delayed plane, as the air-traffic-controllers in Paris had apparently decided it was a beautiful day for a strike.

"Welcome to France."

out hotel room

It's a phrase we spoke to each other as we swung up our backpacks in the Paris airport, proceeded to wait in the wrong train ticket line for 30 minutes, crammed ourselves onto several packed metros, and staggered marched down the streets of Paris.

"Welcome to France."

 It's a phrase I felt when we finally arrived at our cute little hotel room and received a hug from Aunt Jenn. A phrase I grinned at when we got up this morning and walked to a bakery for breakfast. A phrase that made me laugh as we stood, shoulder to shoulder, on the hour-long train out of Paris toward Loches. (Why was the train crowded, you ask? Because today it was the rail-workers' turn to go on strike, and there were half as many trains for just as many travelers.)

"Welcome to France:"

We are here. As unbelievable as it seems, I am sitting in a beautiful old house that was used for a short time as a hiding-place-stop for soldiers escaping Nazi-occupied France. I have gone to a French prayer meeting, am typing on a French keyboard, and am making ready to spend my second night abroad.

"Welcome to France."

Monday, June 10, 2013

One Day More

One day more, and I'll be waking up with a mile-long list of all the last-minute items I need to remember. One day more, and I'll be loading my backpacker's backpack into the car, swinging my other pack over my shoulder. One day more, and I'll be hugging & kissing my family goodbye for the next 7 weeks. One day more, and I'll be going to the airport to meet up with Kaytra and Charae. One day more, and all that I've been planning for the last seven months will begin.

Yes, it is here. One more door. One more day. One. Day. More