Goodbye Summer

dallas skyline.jpeg

I have always loved school. At the end of each summer, I would anticipate the start of another year. New notebooks, pencils, and binders gave me a rush of excitement and I’d never be able to sleep the night before my first day.

I wish I still held that same excitement for the start of my sophomore year of college. But instead of anticipation, I feel a sense of dread.

Though my excitement for the beginning of school seems to have gone a permanent summer vacation, one thing about this year’s end of summer and beginning of school remains the same from years before: it doesn’t quite feel real.

Sure, I know it’s happening, but it hasn’t quite sunk in. The beginning of classes never really hits me until that first day where I find myself sitting in that first period or first lecture. Only then does the end of summer sink in.

I have a feeling that this will hit me especially hard this year for several reasons. I’ve had a good four months free of classes and homework, which is the longest stretch of summer I’ve ever had. But even though this summer was a long one, it still managed to fly by. I can hardly believe my classes start in just one week.

My classes are also online this semester, which was the last thing I wanted. Although I made my peace with this decision a while ago, waves of sadness and frustration still hit me occasionally, especially with everything drawing so near. The influx of school-related emails flooding my inbox only adds to my sense of dread.

These emails do not excite me, but remind me of all that I am losing this semester.

Just recently, I attended a Zoom meeting for my school’s Honors College Leadership Kickoff. I am going to be a mentor for four incoming freshmen this semester. I was initially excited about this position, but after the news that APU would be switching to online, I’ve done nothing but dread this new responsibility.

How am I supposed to go about this position? How am I supposed to connect with my fellow students through a screen? How am I supposed to dedicate time and energy towards them when I already feel drained and unenthused? What if I don’t know what to say? What if I don’t know how to help them? What if we simply don’t connect?

I think all these questions and doubts boil down to a basic fear of “What if I’m not good enough?” I know deep down that I am capable of leading these students and that everything will work out if I put in the effort and trust God to work in me and through me. Yet doubt still manages to creep in.

After that meeting, I needed a moment to myself to just breathe and think and listen to music, so I went on a walk. I let myself feel those frustrations and fears once again and came back feeling somewhat better.

The next day, emails kept coming, draining my spirits once again. I went on a bike ride later that day out of boredom and need to get out of the house and found my thoughts in a better place.

They landed and lingered on my first semester in the Honors College, which focused on leadership. I found myself remembering my favorite quote by Booker T. Washington which reads, “Nothing comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work,” along with a similar quote by Theodore Roosevelt that reads, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”

These quotes reminded me of an essay I wrote during my first semester comparing Niccolò Machiavelli and Aristotle’s leadership philosophies. My thesis for that essay reads, “Ultimately, Aristotle’s leadership methods are more valuable, gratifying, and rewarding because practicing virtue is more difficult than practicing dishonesty.”

As I reflected on this paper and these two philosophers, I realized yet again the value in hard work. I remembered that just because something is difficult to acheive or difficult in practice doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. I realized that this coming semester may pose challenges that the others didn’t, but the things I will learn and the ways in which I grow will be worth the academic toil and giving of my time.

It’s been a couple days since I wrote the portion of blog post above this line (minus revising), and I must say, it’s a bit wild how quickly our feelings can change.

Only a few days ago I resonated with every word in this post. Today, and even yesterday, the thought of school starting in a week has me unphased. I’m actually looking forward to it (?!?!?!).

I attribute these new and improved feelings to prayer and time; the two things that always seem to pull an emotional and frustrated Megan out of a rut. So thank you, Jesus for renewing my spirit and refreshing my outlook, and thank YOU for reading another one of my blog posts.





Silver Linings

backyard clouds

Last Wednesday I received an email from the college I attend, Azusa Pacific University. Upon seeing the email was from the Office of the President, my gut told me the letter held the words I had hoped I wouldn’t have to read.

But alas, against all my hopes and wishes, the email informed me and the other thousands of APU students that we will be returning to an online format for the fall 2020 semester.

I was devastated, frustrated, and angered by this news.

Just a week before, I received an email from APU about my housing situation for the coming fall. Though a bit different from what I had originally thought it would be, I was still very pleased with the outcome. Not only that, but the email also meant that my return to campus this fall was secured (or so I thought).

I was so sure that a return to campus was in my future, and despite the annoyance of wearing a face mask in class and having to social distance on campus, I was excited.

Two days later I received another email from APU that said the school was reconsidering things and that we should expect a potential move to online class for fall 2020.

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “It’ll be fine. It probably won’t happen. Keep hoping for the best!” And that’s what I did.

My friends and I talked about this email and the general consensus was that we’d all be pretty upset if we went online, but one of my friends said something that stuck with me. She said at this point, she was just trying to go with the flow.

Despite my frustrations upon hearing the bad news, I’ve done my best to adopt her simple, yet sometimes challenging, philosophy.

After reading that email, I took my frustrations out on a bike ride and cast them away into the lovely clouded sky beyond. I thought of all the things I wouldn’t get to do this fall, all the plans that would no longer come to fruition. I thought about the friends and professors I wouldn’t get to see for another five months.

I let myself sit with the sadness of it all on that ride until I found silver linings not only in the clouds before me, but also in the situation that lay in front of me.

I remembered that the only thing in my control is my response to the situation. So after letting myself process the loss of my return to campus, I began to see all the good things that will come from staying home.

For one, I get to keep working at Starbucks, which I have loved every minute of. I’ll have more time with my family and more time to read novels. I won’t have to say goodbye to biking so soon, one of my favorite pass times (and stress relievers, if you can’t tell). I’ll be able to focus more on my health and stress management at home, and I will have more time on my hands in general. I’ll also be able to go to my Aunt Helen’s memorial service in September, something that I would not have been able to attend had I been in California.

I could probably think of even more good things if I looked really hard.

I’ve learned over time that the only thing you can do in situations that are completely out of your control is to look for the silver linings and focus on them. This situation has presented me with another opportunity to put this into practice, and for that, along with many other things, I’m grateful.




Good Things in Hard Times

workout pic
the group workout all in deep squats!

I wish I liked exercising more than I do. I enjoy going on walks and I love biking, but running, lifting weights, and high-intensity workouts are forms of movement I only crave occasionally. They are often more of a chore than something I have fun doing.

Even though I feel this way about many forms of exercise, I can’t deny the wonderful effects it has on my mental state.

When I came home from California back in March, I had found myself left with a hefty amount of time on my hands despite still having classes and homework to keep up with. I filled a lot of this time doing something I didn’t do much of in California: exercise.

Not only was I biking and walking and doing home workouts, my neighbor, who is a fitness instructor/trainer, started a neighborhood group workout class called ‘bows and blessings (my brother Alexander’s coronavirus-themed greeting) that I also started attending at the beginning of quarantine.

I was one of the first few people to join this little group that’s held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I had the pleasure of watching it grow. Even though the workouts were challenging and based on high-intensity interval training, I enjoyed them immensely.

I owe my enjoyment of these rigorous workout classes to the group environment they are held in. If I had to do these workouts alone, I would either a) not enjoy it very much b) not finish it or c) not do it at all. Having others who are struggling with you really makes all the difference.

I remember one particular day at the beginning of quarantine I looked around at everybody participating and couldn’t help smiling at what I was seeing. The little community I had found amidst the pandemic was unexpected and sweet.

About a month and a half into quarantine, my neighbor’s girlfriend—who is a dance instructor—came into town and not only did my neighborhood have high intensity workouts to enjoy together, but also hip-hop/cardio dance classes that involved a lot of jumping around, clapping, and shaking our booties. These classes not only made me sweat, but also laugh and smile. They were SO much fun.

I’m not a huge fan of COVID-19, but this little workout group has served as quite the silver lining. It has brought about joy in a frustrating and unsettling time and a sense of community among my neighborhood when we needed it the most. If not for the pandemic, something like this would never have happened. My neighbors would still be strangers and I wouldn’t be in as good of shape as I am now. Despite all the madness of COVID-19, this workout group is something to celebrate.

Something else I’ve been celebrating during this pandemic is my job. Even though many are out of work or are struggling to find a job, the pandemic actually made it easier for me to get one, and for that, I am immensely grateful. And what’s better, it’s one that I like!

In my last post, I touched on my new job as a barista and—to my surprise—how much fun it’s been. I always thought being a barista would be overwhelming and stressful, but it’s been (mostly) smooth sailing since I started.

I imagined the learning curve to be quite steep, but making drinks isn’t at all difficult, it’s actually quite fun! Somewhat of an art form, even.

The job is also not as stressful as I imagined. In my head, a barista is a job full of hustle and bustle and screaming customers and intense pressure to get drinks out in a timely manner. And while that happens occasionally, amidst a pandemic people are less inclined to go out, meaning business hasn’t been as hectic as it could be, which is great for someone like me, who is a bit new to the job.

I also have great coworkers. We talk and laugh and try different coffees and specialty drinks together and understand the struggle of coming in at 5:00 am to open (which really isn’t as bad as you might think).

I’m also grateful for my free time. Even though there are days when I feel like I have too much, I try to embrace this lack of busyness because it will make itself my friend again once school starts up. For now, I’m going to prop my feet up and enjoy the abundant rest I am blessed to have.

The world is a crazy place and I often get overwhelmed with all that is happening. One of my solutions is to focus my attention and energy on the good in my life and take note of what I’m grateful for.

A little gratitude goes a long way.

A Lil’ Update

mack and me

As time goes on, it seems as though each of my blogs gets more and more spread out. When I was away at school, I had the somewhat lazy excuse of being busy with homework and writing papers. But my semester finished on the first of May and the only thing that’s been keeping me from writing this blog post is feeling like I have nothing to say. 

Running my blog while in Slovenia, especially at the beginning, was about easy as anything gets. There was so much happening all at once and I had more ideas than I knew what to do with.

Now, with school being out and me being home, I’ve struggled to find inspiration. I think part of me dreaded the thought of writing something after spending my days poring over essays for school, and not having a specific idea in mind made my desire to write diminish further.

Another reason I kept my distance from the keyboard for so long was Harry Potter. Over the course of May, I spent a large sum of my days reading the series for the first time. I had high expectations for this series (how could I not?), and was delighted to find that it is one of the few things that lives up to its hype. I cannot tell you how many books, TV shows, and movies I’ve heard others rave about only to find them not living up to my expectations.

Not only did I become a Potterhead during the month of May, I also became a barista! That’s right, I’m a certified barista at Starbucks and work at the location inside Market Street.

This job has been nothing short of a blessing. It sort of just fell into my lap. I knew I would need a job this summer and I had my doubts that I would be able to find one amidst the pandemic, but God is faithful and never fails to provide.

I never pictured myself as a barista, in fact, the prospect of being one was a bit frightening to me, but I have loved every minute of working at Starbucks. I don’t know what it is but there is just something so fun about making drinks!

Now it’s June. I’ve finished reading Harry Potter and watching Downton Abbey, and the only thing left to keep me occupied is my job. While I wait on the library to process my request for the Lord of the Rings, I am hoping to write more and I hope you’ll be hearing more from me on this blog in the future.

As much as I love writing, keeping up the blog remains challenging. I find it hard to not beat myself up for “slacking.” It’s hard to find a balance. Do I let myself off the hook or should I be more disciplined in honing my craft? Should I force myself to write or wait until inspiration strikes?

I’ve come to realize that waiting around for something to write about is not the solution. I keep believing that I have nothing worth saying at the moment, but this is simply not true, and I’ve let this lie keep me from putting words on screen for far too long.

Even in the mundane moments of life, there are lessons to be learned and truths to be discovered. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

All that said, I plan to blog more consistently from here on out. This post has reminded me how much I love writing and has renewed my desire to stick with it even when ideas aren’t flowing as naturally as I would like them to. I know I won’t always be perfect, but the prospect of more writing in the future has me excited!

If you made it to the end, thank you for reading. It means more than you know!

Ups & Downs

bixby bridge
I have a lot of amazing pictures from Big Sur, but this is one of my favorites!

It’s been almost four months since I posted a blog and the reason it’s taken so long for me to write another is a) college means I’m busy almost all the time and b) I didn’t really have much to say between then and now.

I’m still busy, but a lot has happened since I last posted and I wanted to give you all an update. This semester of college has been somewhat of a roller coaster.

I came back to APU excited to start a new semester and see friends again. I thought it would be smooth sailing, but truth be told, I had a rocky start to this semester. The first two weeks were filled with anxiety. I had no idea the change in my schedule would have led to the difficulties that it did. New classes, new professors, new people, new syllabi. I felt overwhelmed and unmotivated. The mountain that lay before me seemed a bit too tall to climb. Not only was school itself stressful, but my friendships were too.

I started going to counseling to help manage my anxiety, and I think a mixture of this and the fact that I started adjusting helped tremendously. Also, about three or four weeks into the semester, I made more friends (an answered prayer), the lack of motivation had melted away, and I established a new routine.

Though the beginning was rough, this semester has truly been a blessing so far. I’ve already learned and grown so much.

One of the most challenging but also most exciting parts of this semester is the converged journalism workshop I’m in, which is another way of saying I’ve been writing for APU’s newspaper and magazine while also creating podcasts and video packages. This class is demanding. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions. But this class has also revealed to me that journalism is where I’m meant to be.

Though it was rare, I had moments of doubt last semester about my major. I debated if I should switch to something else (even though I have no idea what that would be), but being a part of ZU Media has shown me I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Not only do I love contributing, but the positive feedback I’ve received from the other students on staff has been so encouraging, affirming, and uplifting.

Another meaningful part of my semester is the friends I’ve made. To be honest with you, coming out of the first semester I had about three solid friends and a few acquaintances. It’s completely different this semester. I actually have people to eat dinner and watch movies and go places with! That sentence makes my first semester sound incredibly lonely. I promise you it wasn’t that bad. But this one is a heck of a lot better.

I prayed hard for friendships last semester and I was so confident that God would provide amazing people for me in due time, and He did! I deepened the more shallow relationships from last semester and have made new ones altogether. Yay for new friends, yay for adjusting to college, yay for feeling like I’m in the right place, and thank you to my three friends who kept me company last semester.

Now that you’re all caught up on my first half of the semester, I’ll update you on spring break, which happened last week. It was an incredible week, to say the least. I know I said Thanksgiving break was one of the best weeks of my life, but this one was too, hands down.

But before I get into that, I turned 20 on February 27! Crazy, I know. I’m no longer a teenager, and it’s a bit odd. But cheers to my 20s!

Okay, back to spring break. My mom came into town, got a rental car, and we drove up to Sacramento to visit some family friends. (The same family I went to Oceanside with for Thanksgiving!) It was wonderful to see them again and just hang out. We also went to Lake Tahoe for a day! It was my first time, and hopefully not my last. Such a beautiful and peaceful place.

On Wednesday, my mom and I drove back down to APU, but we stopped in Carmel for 3 hours, and drove on California’s Highway 1 through Big Sur, and WOW. I have no words. Big Sur had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and I could not recommend that you go more. Seriously, if you have not been, you need to see it. After it got dark, we went back inland and drove four hours and finally made it back to home sweet dorm.

The last two days Mama and I had together we spent at the beach, in West Hollywood, and stuck in LA traffic. We listened to a lot of podcasts about the Enneagram—we’re both type 1 in case you’re wondering—since we had all the time in the world going to and fro the beach each day. (It takes about an hour to get to the beach from APU, and two hours if traffic is bad. Yikes! But totally worth it.) The beach was lovely, as always. We also got to eat delicious food and meet up with another friend!

It was so sweet to have a whole week with my mom. Such precious time and such fond memories were made. I really could not have asked for a better week!

This post is getting a bit long, but I have one more update for you, and surprise surprise, it has to do with the coronavirus.

My school has decided to switch all its classes to an online format for the remainder of the semester. I really did not expect this. Not at all. I came back from spring break excited to see my friends again and finish out the year with them. I even got sad at the thought of leaving them all behind in eight weeks. Though most of us are staying as of now, some are deciding to leave and I won’t get to see them until the end of August.

Online class is not ideal, but it is what it is and I can’t say I’m too upset or scared. Still, it’s crazy how quickly things can change. Two days ago I did not expect any of this. Things don’t always go as you plan, I guess, and that’s okay.

What’s funny is that I was just starting to really appreciate where I was. My school, California, the people around me. The past week has been blissful despite the stress because I finally feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. And now it’s all changing. Not forever, of course, but still. It’s also been raining here in SoCal, a rather odd occurrence, and it’s been adding to the apocalyptic feeling of all the corona madness.

All that said, I’m honestly more stressed about my research paper due on Wednesday than I am about the coronavirus. I feel like this blog post could have said a lot more or maybe said things more eloquently, but I’m a bit stressed about life right now, so I’m just gonna have to be like Elsa and let it go.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

A Better Place


In my last blog post, I discussed my homesickness and came to terms with the fact that my family life will never be quite the same again. It was hard to process, and some (okay a lot) of tears were shed. But it was necessary, and I’m in a much better place now.

It’s been some weeks since then and I’ve noticed how my feelings towards going to college far away from home have changed. Recently, I’ve remembered why I like going to school far away from home and why I wasn’t afraid to do it in the first place.

In the weeks since my last blog post, I went to Newport Beach, visited the Griffith Observatory, and am now currently in Oceanside for Thanksgiving break with family friends who were so kind to let me join them.

In all these experiences, I felt so much joy and contentment. If I went to school in Texas, I would not get to experience all the new and wonderful things I’ve been able to as of late. I would not be going to the beach in November or swimming in the ocean with a wetsuit on.

The day I went to Newport with my roommate and a couple of her friends was such a fun and relaxing time. I remember thinking how awesome it was that I lived so close to the beach. And not only that, but also that it was warm enough to go in November!

I remember going to Griffith and thinking about how awesome it is that I live so close to this tourist attraction that people come from all over to see. If I didn’t go to school nearby, who knows when I would get to go, if ever. The view was pretty sweet, but I was more in awe of the fact that I lived so close to Los Angeles, to the ocean, and in California, of all places. I remember thinking, “This is why I’m so glad I go to school far from home because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get to experience new adventures like this.”

And the week I’ve spent here in Oceanside has just been perfect. The beach here is amazing and actually getting to go out and swim in the ocean has been so much fun. Playing in the waves is one of my favorite things to do. There’s nothing quite like it. Being on the beach in general is such a special thing for me. Whether laying around or playing spikeball or swimming, it’s hard to be stressed or discontent when you’ve got an amazing view of the Pacific right in front of you.

I’ve also gotten to enjoy going to the cinema, walking down the pier while on a casual evening stroll, a milkshake and french fries at Ruby’s diner, many rounds of Dutch Blitz, a cozy coffee shop, boogie boarding, hot-tubbing, and the sweetest company! Honestly, it’s been one of the best weeks of my life.

Even the colder rainy days haven’t put a damper on my mood. Each day has been so well spent regardless of the weather. This morning while out at breakfast, we talked about our highs and lows for the week and I thought of many highs but struggled to come up with a low. This week truly has been the break I needed.

All that to say I’m enormously grateful to be where I am. Some weeks ago I found myself still discontent and longing for home. Some weeks ago I was saddened at the thought of everyone getting to go home for Thanksgiving but me. Some weeks ago all I could think about was Christmas break.

Now, I find myself content with where I’m at, I’ve loved getting to spend Thanksgiving in Oceanside, and while I’m still looking forward to Christmas, I’m not consumed with the thought like I once was.

As I write this blog, I can feel in my chest how grateful and happy and content I am. That may sound weird, but it’s true. The same thing happens when I’m sad or anxious or frustrated, and apparently, it happens when I’m bursting with gratitude as well!

Or maybe it’s just the caffeine in the coffee-flavored milkshake I drank tonight, who knows? Either way, in this season of Thanksgiving, I’ve got A LOT of thanks to give.



Transitions & Changes


some photos of downtown los angeles

“My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings.”  –E. Y. Harburg

When I first read this quote on someone’s Instagram caption about a year and some months ago, I screenshotted it because I related to it so much. And recently, it’s been hitting home again.

I love to travel and visit new places and experience new things. It’s part of why I go to school out in California.

But recently, I’ve started to see the value of going to a university close to home. In other words, I’ve dealt with my fair share of homesickness here in college. Shocker, right?

There have been days where I find myself jealous of each commuter or my roommate who’s only a 20 minutes drive from her house. At times I envy my brothers who go to the University of North Texas because it’s only 30 minutes away from home.

I actually considered going to UNT for a bit, but no! It was too close. Plus Alexander and Taylor go there and I just have to be different.

It sounds like a rather nice option now.

Recently I’ve found myself asking, what am I doing here? As much as I love getting to experience something new and different here in California, is it really worth it? Why am I here of all places?

Sometimes I feel like I would be happier if I had just stayed in Texas.

But would I be?

If I was in Texas right now, would I have regretted not going somewhere further away? Would I have regretted not taking the risk of going to college in a state I’d never been to before?

It’s hard to know. I love a good adventure, but I also love my family.

Actually experiencing homesickness has humbled me. I’ll admit that I looked down on all my homesick friends last year because I was in a whole other country and was doing just fine. Now I know just how difficult the college transition is! And I don’t blame them for going home as often as some of them did. In fact, I’m jealous of their ability to do so.

I wrote all this about 2 weeks ago and am feeling much better now. But five weeks ago I could have said the same thing. Emotions fluctuate, and some days are better than others.

I’m still waiting for California to feel like home. Just like with Slovenia, the architecture and vegetation here are so different from what I’m used to in Texas. But I know as time goes by, things will become more familiar.

I am about to start week 9 of the semester (out of 15!!!) and I just can’t believe how fast it’s gone by. Seriously, where did the time go?

I can’t say I’m too upset about this because I’m looking forward to seeing my family again. But I also have to tell myself to be present where I am even if I’d rather be somewhere else, which is hard. But as I mentioned, time goes by fast. Too fast to not appreciate all the good things in front of me.

Still, it will always be difficult living far from home because of all the things I’m going to miss. When will I be around for my siblings’ birthdays again? When will I get to spend Easter with my family again? Sometimes it makes me sad to think about how I won’t be around for my sister’s last couple years of high school. At least if I’d gone to school close to home I could be around a little more.

Going to college far from home has made it abundantly clear that everything is changing within my family. We’re all growing up, and my childhood is coming to an end. My siblings and I will never really live in the same place ever again and all that time I took for granted with my family now feels out of reach.

Maybe I sound a bit dramatic, but it’s the truth. I know I still have summers and Christmas, but not for long.

I never felt this way in Slovenia because it didn’t feel permanent. It was only nine months, after all. College is four years. My life beyond this point spans decades.

I guess I’m not really adjusting to college. I’m transitioning out of childhood. And that’s a little scary sometimes! But I know with the Lord by my side, I have nothing to fear.

The one thing I keep reminding myself of is that the Lord led me here for a reason. I need not doubt or question, but simply be patient and pray.

And wait for him to work.


Go West Young (Wo)Man

Rose Garden in Balboa Park in San Diego

I have really been looking forward to writing this blog post. It’s been a busy, hectic, overwhelming, stressful, and emotional two and a half weeks. Now that college has started and I’m no longer wasting away at home, I have blog content!

August 17 was the day I left Texas with my parents and oldest brother, Alexander. We hit the road at 5:30 am sharp. Not bad. The first stop on our trek to California was the Grand Canyon. It was grand, to say the least, and there’s really not much else to say about it except that. Not even the pictures will so much as whisper to tell you about how awe-inspiring those views really are.

I will still tell you about the hike we went on though. Hiking the Grand Canyon is weird. Unlike a mountain where the hard part comes first with a casual stroll that follows, instead, you begin with a casual yet somewhat precarious walk down into the canyon with an uphill battle awaiting you. And also, unlike a mountain, there is a sense of dread that follows you down with each descending step.  How hard is it gonna be on the way back up? If I go further will I regret it? Will I be able to handle more? I mean, I know I can do it now on the way down, but what about when I have to go back up? Should I just turn around? But I really wanna see more. But… That was basically my thought process throughout the duration of the hike, minus many oohs and ahs. All of that aside though, the hike was pretty incredible. Actually going down into the canyon presented new views of the canyon that cannot be seen from above. And the way up ended up being pretty manageable.

Something that surprised me while at the canyon was the number of foreigners I saw. I was really not expecting it. I heard French and German being spoken on multiple occasions, a few English accents here and there, maybe some Italian? Or Portuguese? Or maybe just Spanish? Who knows. What I found amusing is how nice all of them were dressed. As I’ve learned from my time abroad, Europeans dress nicer than Americans. Even at the Grand Canyon.

After our little detour, we headed down to San Diego, where on the way, we were stopped at the California border and had our fruit stolen because it was from Texas. Still not sure what that was all about. We stayed with our friends in San Diego for two and a half very relaxing days and got to celebrate my mom’s birthday as well. The weather was beautiful, even a little chilly at times!

On the 22nd I had to say goodbye to paradise and head on over to Azusa! I was full of excited/anxious/nervous/jittery feelings on the morning drive up that didn’t dissipate until I arrived on campus for the first time. We (and by “we” I mean mostly my mom and me) moved me in and made a target run to get some other essentials.

I had two honors college orientation sessions, one that same day and another the next morning. After that, welcome weekend had officially begun. I found myself both alone and thrown into various activities throughout the weekend to help connect me with other freshmen. At times it was overwhelming, other times fun, exhausting, exciting, and lonely.

At this point, I’ve finished a week’s worth of classes and it feels like the calm before the storm. You know how the first week of school is, there’s maybe some stuff to do, but overall you know it doesn’t represent what your actual workload is gonna look like. At times I get overwhelmed just thinking of all that’s to come. Not just school work, but also a potential job, volunteering, participating in a club, and chapel THREE times a week, all while trying to get 8 hours of sleep each night (something I am very committed to).

As I sit here and write this though, I feel very calm about it all. The calmest I’ve felt in days it seems. Not sure if it’s my music, lack of homework, or just the fact that I’m finally getting to blog again. Whatever it is, I’m grateful.

The transition to college hasn’t been nearly as smooth as I imagined it would be. A year ago at this time, I was about three weeks away from my move to Slovenia. That transition was quite easy for me, in fact, it wasn’t even an issue. I had family, I made friends immediately, and there was no pressure. Coming here, I figured moving far away from home again wouldn’t be a big deal.

I was wrong.

I’ve discovered that the transition to college is very difficult, and also very different. Being so far away doesn’t make it any easier. But moving far away from home again has taught me that I’m not invincible. I’m very humbled by this experience, this rough transition. I definitely went into it with the mindset that it was going to be easy, breezy, beautiful, cover girl. Because I had done it before, right? I moved halfway across the world! Surely moving halfway across the country will be just as easy if not easier!

Again, wrong.

I miss my family. I miss the comfort of what I used to know. I miss eating food that isn’t from a dining hall, restaurant, or package. My mind has been full of images and memories from Slovenia, home, and even San Diego! Being thrown into this uncomfortable situation has caused me to long for the times when I was comfortable.

But it’s only been one week. I know things will get better very, very soon. The friendships I’m longing for will come. I will learn many new things this academic year. I will gain insight and new perspective. I will grow as a person and in my faith. I’m confident in all these things because I know the Lord is faithful, and He answers our prayers.

So when I’m feeling scared or sad or lonely or overwhelmed or anxious, I remember that I was led to this school for a reason, it just needs to come into focus.






me and my bestie (:

I know it’s been a good month and a half since I’ve posted a blog here, but what can I say, summer’s been rather ordinary. For the most part. I did get to enjoy the company of sweet friends, good books, and sunny bike rides. I was also stuck in a hotel for half my time here and got my wisdom teeth out two weeks ago (plus an implant!). That was quite the adventure.

While summer was about as ordinary as last, I have seen God teaching me a few things throughout the course of these couple of months. The first thing being patience! I mentioned in my last post how naturally impatient of a person I am. Not only that, I get worked up over the smallest of things. So I’ve been praying that I might learn to be more patient along with letting go of stuff that doesn’t really matter. God has definitely come in clutch with circumstances and situations for me to practice patience and letting go. I’ve been far from perfect in all of them, but I’m learning to recognize them and rely on God to help me through it.

In general, I’ve been learning to rely more on God. For anything and everything. Through some of the more difficult times in my life, I’ve come to realize how weak I am, how human I am, how broken I am, and how much I need Him. And through some of these rougher patches, I’ve discovered that the difficult things I have to endure are actually really good things because they all lead me back to my savior and draw me closer to Jesus. Through various trials, I’ve learned to resonate with 2 Corinthians 12:9 which reads, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Something I’ve noticed that happens when I’m going through a season of growth (or pain), is I start to resonate with verses that I used to read but never really internalize. Second Corinthians 12:9 used to be one of those verses. I used to read that verse and sort of half-heartedly agree with it. It wasn’t something I truly believed deep down. But this summer has taught me through various circumstances that Christ’s power truly is made perfect in our weaknesses, imperfections, and humility. When life is good all the time, it’s easy to become prideful and feel as though I don’t need Jesus, which is a lie. The truth is that I’m weak, and when I surrender fully to him, he is able to replace my weakness with his strength, my pride with is humility, my impatience with his patience, my selfishness with his generosity. I could go on.

Last summer I had a similar experience with a different bible verse. One that I used to read but never really believe. Philippians 3:7-8 reads, “But everything that was gain to me, I consider to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in the view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” About a year ago there were still things I held higher than Christ until the pain of a break-up opened up my eyes and showed me that there is truly no greater joy than knowing Jesus. In a journal entry from about 11 months ago, I jotted down this verse and underneath wrote, “It’s so great to read these verses and fully agree with them.”

This is exactly how I feel about 2 Corinthians 12:9. It’s so great to read this verse and fully believe it. To actually experience it.

A few months ago while I was still in Slovenia, I prayed that God would strengthen my faith. This was sometime in early April the week before a church retreat in Croatia and a hospitalization that ultimately lead me to my college decision (you can read about those two events here and here). While on the retreat, a sermon about faith was preached. Towards the end, we were given six specific tips on how to increase our faith, one of them being to simply ask, and then expect to go through a difficult time or for your problems to get worse (which indeed happened that weekend). As I prayed again this summer for my faith to increase, I found myself in difficult situations, reminded of my shortcomings, turning to God, having him reassure me that he’s in control, and at the end of it all I found myself firmer than ever in what I believed.

This has also led me to resonate with Philippians 4:4 which reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Life often takes a toll on us. Sometimes it feels as though I have nothing to rejoice about. But because I know Jesus, there is!

On another note, I leave for California this coming Saturday and could not be more excited! The Lord was faithful in leading me to Azusa Pacific and I cannot wait to see all that’s in store. I will do my best to post updates about our road trip out to Cali along with all that’s happening with move-in and orientation, so stay tuned! (:


The Waiting Game

From one of my three plane rides home!
I’m obsessed with clouds, this is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen!

I feel like I’m in limbo. Slovenia is over and California awaits, while I find myself stuck in the in-between feeling somewhat out of place here. You expect everything to be the same when you get home, but it’s not. My former classmates and I have all gone in different directions, our lives no longer following that same old routine of going to and fro high school each day, stuck in that jam-like traffic. We’ve moved far and wide. Made homes and friends elsewhere.

I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same as before, but I wasn’t expecting it to feel this different either. I was pretty excited at the thought of coming home but now that I’m here, I feel pretty “meh” about it. Don’t get me wrong, being with family and friends has been wonderful, and the initial homecoming brought about no strange feelings either. After all, I came home. Home is familiar.

But WOW have I been bored. In my head, I imagined coming home to be filled with going to all my favorite restaurants and seeing friends 24/7. And while there’s been some of that, I’ve mostly been stuck in a hotel wasting away (due to floors getting redone, thank you air conditioning leak). I don’t have the money to go buy food all the time and coordinating friend dates is not as simple as I’d like it to be. I’ve also been on a job hunt, not a very successful one, but I’m working on it!

I feel so ready for California. I’m ready for a routine and going to school and writing papers and reading books and making new friends and nice weather and oceans and mountains and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

I’m also ready to get out of this hotel. I was home for only two nights before we packed up again and came. It’s definitely not the worst, not bad at all actually. Buuuuut it is a bit cramped, I’m quite over the continental breakfast, and we’re staying here a week or two longer than we were originally told (disappointed but not surprised).

Up until this morning, I had also been anxiously awaiting my doctor’s appointment. I have some minor health issues concerning my thyroid among other things and was excited to see what was going on in my body so that I might start feeling better! I went at 10:30 earlier today and found that I only need some minor adjustments (thank you Jesus)!

Through all this waiting the Lord has been teaching me a fruit of the spirit that I tend to lack: patience! Yes, I’m naturally quite an impatient person. Just two days ago before I sat down to work on this, I got all worked up about having to wait at Target for my sister to look at swimsuits because I’d really been wanting to go to a coffee shop to work on this blog. I did my best to not let my frustration show, but I’m not so skilled at this either.

Each day that passes by, I find myself having to exercise my patience muscle. Whether it was waiting for lab results, waiting for our house to be finished, waiting to go to California, or something else. Even as I sit here writing this, I can feel the frustration of having to be in this hotel for another nine days stirring in my chest. It’s moments like this I have to remind myself to just be present. Just enjoy where I am right now, trusting that the Lord can work in my life no matter where I find myself. There will never be another time in my life like this one, so take it all in.

I take deep breaths. I try not to get upset. I remind myself that I have no control. I try to be less selfish, but it’s hard. Every day I get slapped in the face with how self-centered I truly am. How lazy, how rude, and how human I am. Being a servant isn’t easy. Denying yourself is no easier. It’s hard to be like Jesus. I try and I fail every day, beating myself up over lack of perfection. But His grace reminds that I’m loved and accepted no matter what, and encourages me to keep running, asking for His help along the way.