Summer

IMG_2845.jpg
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! (:

 

Advertisements

The Waiting Game

IMG_7904
From one of my three plane rides home!
ajEbhhb2RKikRnC1e+GJ1Q
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 hardEvery 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.

Life

IMG_7836

Every morning guests flood the apartment. Cousins and aunts and uncles all sitting around a small table, coming and going as they please, while my mom takes the role of barista and makes everyone coffee. Most days I wake between 8:30 and 9:00, I hear the loud chatter behind a closed door. I stay behind in my room because the interaction is a bit awkward for me. But I know I should make an appearance, so I get up and make the bed. Change out of my pajamas and into more presentable but still comfortable clothing. Brush my hair a bit, maybe the contacts go in, maybe they don’t.

I quietly walk into the kitchen and am greeted by multiple people. “Dobro jutro Megan!” “Hello!” “Ohhh, Meggie!” I smile somewhat uncomfortably and reply unintentionally timid, “Dobro jutro.” Mama knows not to offer me coffee by now (I like coffee, but I found out recently I have a caffeine intolerance). I pour water and look for an open seat. If I don’t find one, I stand for a bit before going back into the room. Even when I do find a seat, I only linger for a few minutes before retreating again. My appetite is usually low, so I eat something small. Lunch comes soon enough anyway.

Most afternoons, at 12:30, my mom, grandma, and I watch an episode of Golden Girls after lunch. They only play one. Then off to the living room, which doubles as our bedroom. Mama and I lay around on our phones. I listen to music, she naps. The afternoons are quiet and still. Each one here feels like a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s hot and our sweaty bodies long for air conditioning, but relief only comes when evening does. So we wait.

Maybe we’ll go shopping, or perhaps to someone’s home for afternoon coffee. A walk sounds nice but the sweltering heat tells us otherwise. Some days are boring. Some are quite nice. Most are a mix.

It’s been about two and a half weeks since I left Ljubljana and therefore thrown out of my routine. When this happens, I find it extremely hard to spend time in God’s word. My mornings and evenings look different, I’m not sleeping in the same place, and I’m typically around more people.

Yesterday, I read a chapter of John, chapter 3 to be exact, and was reminded of something. A truth that I often need to hear. Verse 17 was the one that jumped out at me. It reads, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

This verse reminded me of God’s character, of his heart towards his children. He didn’t send Jesus to punish us, but instead to redeem us. I’m often tempted to think God is upset with me, or disappointed. I often try to be perfect and end up turning my faith into a religion. Am I reading the bible long enough? Am I praying enough? This person seems to be doing “better” than me. This verse reminds me that I don’t need to perform. This verse reminds me that God loves me with a strong, deep, and steadfast love. There’s nothing I can do to make him love me less. He doesn’t want perfection; he wants my heart. He doesn’t care for religious practices, but instead desires a relationship.

God is a father, my heavenly father. He is always rooting for me. When I’m lost, he shows me where to go and helps me navigate through this life. When I go days without spending time with him, he gently nudges me to come back, that he misses my company. It’s crazy to think that God’s pursuit of me will always outweigh my pursuit of him. But that’s why it works. Without him, I’m sure I would have ran far away by now.

I’m going home tomorrow. I feel the same way about going home as I did about coming to Slovenia. Excited, but overall quite normal. I try not to think about it too much. My expectations for coming to Slovenia were non-existent, but it’s a bit harder to have no expectations when going home. I’m familiar with home. I know how life back in Texas goes. I know people there, places. Whether I like admitting it to myself or not, I do have an idea of how it’s all gonna go down. What if it’s completely different?

Only time will tell.

I plan to continue blogging, so I hope you’ll stick around. I’ve got new adventures lying ahead of me, and am beyond excited to see what God has in store.

Adventures

IMG_7674.JPG

My mom came to Ljubljana Thursday, May 24, along with my uncle and two cousins. Seeing her in person for the first time in eight months was a stranger feeling than I expected. A very surreal experience actually. I opened up the door and we both yelled “HEYYY!” and hugged each other. It felt so weird to see her standing there again. Like she wasn’t even real! I imagine this is what it would feel like to meet a celebrity.

Even after we headed off to the center and spent some time together, with family then later with my friends and then just us, it was still weird that she was actually here in Ljubljana again! All my life I was used to seeing her every day, so when that stopped happening and I only saw her through a screen, seeing her again was strange.

Anyway, enough about that. I finished up school the day before, and so ends the era. I know I will miss it, but not until I’m back home. When it will feel far away and out of reach. My mom and I also got to hang out with my two Swedish friends and their parents, which was really nice.

This past Saturday my mom, cousin, and I visited Postojnska Jama, which is a gigantic cave. It was quite a sight! I’ve never seen anything like it. There were so many different levels and colors and shapes. Truly spectacular. I didn’t bother taking any pictures because it was dark and I knew it would distract from all the beauty. We also visited the castle nearby, which is built into the rock. It was definitely the coolest castle I’ve seen here in Europe and I’m so glad I got to go! I could’ve stayed longer, but Mama and I had a boat to catch!

This past week my mom and I went to an island called Pag in Croatia. My cousin and his wife and 4-year-old son live there (casual), so we decided to give them a visit! Mama and I rode a boat from the city of Rijeka in Croatia to the island of Pag. That was fun for me, I’ve never done anything like that. Lovely views throughout, including the drive to my cousin’s house, and the view from their house too. I will put some pictures of the island down below.

The weather over our four days spent there was mostly cloudy and rainy, but I didn’t mind. It’s a beautiful area and it was so nice to visit family I hardly ever get to see. We ate good food, laughed a lot, and simply relaxed. I hope to visit them again one day.

On Thursday, we got up bright and early at 4:30 am and rode the boat back to Rijeka. The sea was a bit choppy, which was fun for me, a bit nauseating for Mama. Back in Ljubljana, my friends and I had a little goodbye party. One friend said that it doesn’t quite feel real yet, it feels like we’re gonna see each other next week. I feel the same way! That friend and her sister are already home, I’ve got about 10 days.

Mama and I have been in Murska Sobota since Friday afternoon. It’s been a relaxing time so far. On Friday we actually went to a concert with my cousin and her husband. Some Croatian singer that I don’t know the name of, but he had a wonderful voice! They also served us dinner and dessert, so I was pretty content. The weather has also been amazing. It was so cold just a few weeks ago and I was sick of it. In May it should NOT still be 50° outside. But here in Slovenia, it was! Now it’s been in the 70s, perfect. (:

I can hardly believe it’s already June! Ten more days until I fly home on three separate planes. I’m really trying to soak it all up before it’s gone. The green hills, the food, the people, the language being spoken around me. The weather, I don’t know how I’m gonna survive Texas summer. It was only 78° and sunny today, yet quite hot. Twenty degrees higher awaits back home, yikes! But hey, at least there’s air conditioning.

For some reason, the excitement of going home has subsided. My dad suggested that maybe it’s because my mom is here now. I think he’s right. Still, I look forward to seeing everyone. Two months home and then off to the West Coast! Lucky for me, the weather is always good there. (;

IMG_7678IMG_7681IMG_7682IMG_7683IMG_7684IMG_7685IMG_7686IMG_7687IMG_7689IMG_7691IMG_7692IMG_7693

IMG_4064IMG_3970AfzcdyCsT%CN%iU5XEfZYQIMG_4092i0Kd7EtsSpCyZUDhvAc9GQ58110098616__3B8CC640-2042-45D4-BA2B-494E9AED3F515gCKkO1YTv6tDz6GM0N5ywC388BB4C-EC4F-4B0A-9480-1BB36A213563kwyvaMulTXKcPbZKi2WSqA

E3iT0h0tR629tu8koDjsCQ
Took a picture like this at the beginning of this gap year, wearing the same shirt (:

 

Time Flies

IMG_7619fullsizeoutput_18b5fullsizeoutput_1873

fullsizeoutput_18ad
Some beautiful nature in Slovenia (:

I was hesitant to post this because I kept thinking it was too early to write about my time here coming to close, given that I still have a few weeks, but it’s what’s been on my mind, so here we go!

I am fascinated with time. I have always been fascinated with time. I think about it often. I think about how our system for measuring time is completely man-made. I think about how time is linear, how we are sort of “stuck” in time. But most of all, I think about how quickly time passes, as I’m sure we all do.

It has been exactly eight months since I came and I have less than one month left. I’m not sure how to feel. Excited, sad, weird, grateful, ready, not ready. The first few months I spent here in Slovenia went by rather slow. Not because I wasn’t having a good time, but because, well, I don’t really know the answer actually. But it just seems that the first two or three months I spent here lasted as long as these entire past 8 months have. I remember thinking (and telling people) after three months that it had already felt like I had spent so much time in Slovenia. I don’t really feel this way now.

Maybe it was because everything was new. I was really soaking it all up. I was still very much into my school work and motivated to learn. I had absolutely no idea what my future held, and really, I still don’t. I just happen to know where I’m going to college. Having those first few months go by so slow had me convinced that the entirety of this gap year would, but here I stand in May. Four weeks away from my departure date home, wondering what happened to these past few months? Yes I did a lot and a lot has happened, but wow!

The months February, March, and April went by the fastest. I mean really, those three just flew right by. And I can’t say May is going by any slower. I’m saying all this like it’s such a surprise. Like it’s new information, but I knew this would happen. I knew time would sneak up on me, it always does. But at the same time, it hasn’t. A large part of me feels very ready to get home and see everyone, yet another part of me is whispering: you’re only remembering the best parts of being home. you’re just tired of language school. you will miss all this when you leave, it just hasn’t really hit you yet. everything is about to change again.

And while I don’t really mind change, I still know that my life here is coming to a close very soon. It will forever be stuck in my memories and in the pictures I’ve taken and in the blog posts I’ve written.

It wasn’t hard for me to say goodbye to my friends back home because I knew I’d see them again in due time, but I don’t know when I’ll see the friends I’ve made here again. I don’t even know when I’ll return to Slovenia. It could be years for all I know!

School is over in a week. This entire semester has flown by. It’s gone by so much faster than the first one. I’ve been unmotivated for the majority of it and have had some rough days. I’m honestly quite ready and excited to be done with it. But at the same time, I know once the course is finished, so are a lot of other things. I’ll go off to Pag with my mom and then back to Ljubljana where I’ll say goodbye to my friends. Then off to Murska Sobota for the remaining week where I fear I’ll get antsy, very antsy and ready to go.

There is a lot going on in my life right now and I felt a tad overwhelmed over the week just thinking about all that’s going to happen. The events and get-togethers and soon-to-be goodbyes and eventually the final move back home. My schedule has been nice and full. I am grateful for this though because it beats boredom any day. It’s nice to have things happening. It’s nice to have things to look forward to.

Also, my mom is now in Slovenia! I haven’t seen her yet, but will soon. She came a bit earlier than expected due to stand-by flying availabilities and such, but she is here, and we’re in the same time zone again! Her being here has made going home feel more real, and it’s been slowly hitting me over the past few days.

It’s weird to think about my gap year ending. I dreamed of doing this for such a long time, just wondering what it would be like. Where I would go, who I would meet. Even back at the beginning, I would think of all the months to come and picture where I would be in May. Well, I’m here! And that’s pretty crazy. This little chapter of my life is coming to a close, and has become something that I can look back on and see growth and learning joy and challenge.

I had zero expectations going in. I really had no clue what lay before me, but I knew it was a step in the right direction. My mom asked me last week if I ever regretted coming to Slovenia. My answer was a big fat NO. How could I ever regret something like this? My worldview has been enriched, I’ve made amazing friends, I’ve seen amazing things, I had ample time to figure out college without the stress of school hanging over me, I took a stab at learning an incredibly difficult language, and I got to spend time with family. Slovenia has treated me well.

I still have four weeks. Four more weeks of Slovenia and then back to reality. Back to school and studying and working. Texas heat and my suburban home town. Then to California to pursue a degree and a career and leave my childhood and teen years behind forever. It’s almost time to press “play” on the rest of my life, but I’m gonna bask in these last few weeks of “pause” before picking up that remote again.

Italia

99be283e-1cf5-449c-9cf4-3840c932be5f

I took a mini vacation with three friends of mine to Italy this past week! We drove to Sistiana on Wednesday and stayed there the night and spent some time in Trieste the next day. None of us had any expectation for this trip, and it ended up being pretty great.

I had been looking to this trip for many days. Yes, I was excited for Italy and quality time with friends, but to be honest, I was mostly looking forward to the actual drive down there. I’ve been storing up good summer road trip songs for months now and I couldn’t wait to play them while driving along a highway on a sunny day, green hills in the distance. My friends even told me that I’m a good DJ, which means a lot considering I’m usually insecure about sharing my music taste with other people.

We made it to our Airbnb and were greeted warmly by our host with a big smile, a hug, and two kisses on the cheek. She was very welcoming and made us laugh on more than one occasion. The Airbnb was adorable. I immediately fell in love with the place. We settled in a bit and headed off to do a little hike. The path led us to a castle and the views along the way were absolutely breathtaking. Afterward we drove back to our Airbnb and changed into our swimwear and headed down to the beach, but first: food! This took a while to find, and with me being annoyingly gluten intolerant, it took even longer. But we settled on a seafood place, which I was happy about because what better place to have seafood than right by the seaside? Plus we had a cute waiter. I had calamari that wasn’t fried, which was a first, but still very yummy!

Then came time to lay on the beach. A rocky beach, I might add, so it wasn’t the comfiest of places, but we managed. None of us swam as it was early evening at that point and it simply wasn’t hot enough. Plus the water was freezing (according to my friend that actually felt it). After a while, we walked over to a fancy looking resort and explored. We also got gelato because hello, Italy. We found a little playground and sat there for a while. I also rediscovered the joy of playing on a swingset which was captured by the picture my friend took up above. We sat and admired the sunset through each other’s sunglasses and made our way back to the car as it got chilly outside. The rest of the evening consisted of snacking and chatting with my friends. Two of my favorite things to do.

The next day I woke up early and made some tea to drink while I admired the view from our balcony. I waited for everyone else to get up and then we had breakfast together. What a lovely breakfast it was. We then packed up and left to start the rest of our day. Said goodbye to our hostess and headed to this tower we had seen the day before and were curious about. The trouble was, we had no idea how to get there. There were no signs or directions so we (they, I did nothing actually) had to do some random driving around and ending up on a bumpy road in the middle of the trees, but we made it up!

There was another trail up by the tower and man, those views were just as astounding as yesterday’s had been. God’s creation is really something! We then drove back down the rocky road and were off to a castle some kilometers down the road. The road we took was right by the sea. Rocky cliffs on the left and glistening blue water on the right. Truly stunning.

We struggled and succeeded in finding parking to the castle which was surrounded by gardens and sea. We explored the gardens a bit, took some pictures and then went to explore the castle. The views from the balconies were incredible. We decided to go inside and check it out because it was quite cheap to get in, and I’d say it was well worth it!

Afterwards, we headed over to the city of Trieste, which I discovered I had actually been to before, but only to the train station back in 2015. We ate a cheap lunch and got gelato too. The city was charming and busy. It seemed that none of the buildings faced the same way, turned in each and every direction. There were hills aplenty and every now and then we’d stumble across a very narrow, but very cute street that just took my breath away. It still blows my mind that people actually live and grow up in places like this. It’s so so different compared to where I’m from, but for some it’s their normal, the place they call home. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.

Does anyone else feel this way when they visit a place so incredibly different from their own home? Because I often feel like it’s just me freaking out over it.

Anyway, our time in Trieste was lovely and sunny, just like the day before. After lots of walking and some sweating, we headed back home which involved driving up a massive hill to get to the highway. The drive home was filled with more lovely views and it was also surprisingly quick. Dusk had fallen by the time I got home, which was a little before nine. I immediately unpacked and ate, then showered and went to bed feeling very tired, and very content.

More pics!!! Enjoy (:

IMG_7460IMG_7475fullsizeoutput_1864IMG_7478fullsizeoutput_1858fullsizeoutput_1853fullsizeoutput_1862fullsizeoutput_186afullsizeoutput_1859fullsizeoutput_1867IMG_7515IMG_7511fullsizeoutput_1842IMG_7523fullsizeoutput_183ffullsizeoutput_186bfullsizeoutput_1839fullsizeoutput_184efullsizeoutput_1836fullsizeoutput_181afullsizeoutput_1814fullsizeoutput_181ffullsizeoutput_180dIMG_7569fullsizeoutput_180efullsizeoutput_1819fullsizeoutput_181cAFB3B4D1-5A07-4357-90B9-8C6A9D109153fullsizeoutput_1821

Not for Naught

 

IMG_7365

IMG_7346

Two weekends ago now, I was in the hospital, as you may know. I took the past week to recover and have been back in Ljubljana since Sunday night and have been going to my language course.

Before the whole incident took place, I had had a stressful week because there was something on my mind. Where should I go to college? This thought, and the many that came along with it, put me under a lot of stress. I was consumed with the decision that lay before me. My friend Lili was right, this was truly the hardest part.

I had narrowed it down to three schools: the University of North Texas, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Azusa Pacific University. Three very different schools, three very different locations. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. I talked to my parents and friends and they all said very different things, albeit helpful.

When the weekend came, I prayed on the drive down to Crikvenica that college would not be on my mind. That I wouldn’t think about the decision or be overwhelmed by it but instead be present with my friends and cousins that weekend.

Well, being sick and stuck in a hospital definitely took that decision off my mind! When it was all over, it was like I had a clean slate. All the thoughts and pros and cons lists from last week sort of vanished after that experience. I had more clarity afterward. It’s easier for me to just tell you where I’m going now instead of saving it for the end in order to make the storytelling easier.

I have decided to attend Azusa Pacific University in California this coming fall! And I could not be more excited about this decision. It’s really quite cool how this all came about, let me tell you about it.

I applied to this school on a whim. The school had emailed me directly and said I was apart of their “invitation only application.” I have no idea what I did to qualify for this. I had shown no real interest in the school previously and had only visited the website from what I recall. But the application was free so I thought why not? Might as well have another option. I didn’t do a whole lot of research and didn’t even know the tuition rate. When people asked me why I applied there, I said (somewhat ashamed) that it was because they sent me an “invitation only application.” What kind of reason is that?

There were times when I thought to myself: Why did I even apply to that school? It’s not like I’m actually going to go there. What a shame that I wasted a whole $17 by sending them my transcript and SAT score. And without even telling my dad that I used his money to do it? (sorry pop)

The week before I’d left for Crikvenica, my eyes were set on the Fashion Institute of Technology. It’s located in New York City, which was the biggest appeal for me. UNT was more of a backup, but I was still considering it. Each school had its appeals and drawbacks. The big problem with FIT for me was the major I chose. This school is very rigid about majors. When applying, you have to choose one and you’re pretty much stuck with it. I called the school the Thursday before I left in hopes of changing to a different major because the one I applied for really didn’t appeal to me anymore, but the program I wanted to switch to was full.

This helped get my mind off of FIT. I was disappointed at first. I really thought that’s what I wanted, but knowing I would likely be miserable in terms of what I’d be studying made it easier to let go of. With UNT, my thoughts varied a lot. There were many reasons why I thought I would like the school, but I ultimately realized that I was just too comfortable with the idea of it. I wouldn’t be leaving my comfort zone at all, and for me personally, it’s way too close to home.

Last Monday I talked to my admissions counselor over the phone for Azusa because I had some questions. He was super friendly and we had a good chat. I realized how much this school had to offer and started to become excited over the thought of going there. We also went over the financial plan which surprised me, to say the least. They’re giving me how much??? Wow, they must really want me there. Feels good since all these other schools seem to not care much about me or have rejected me altogether. 

My cousin Mirjam also went to Azusa Pacific, so being in Prekmurje gave me an opportunity to talk with her about it. I got to hear about her experiences and better understand what the school is like. By the end of that day (last Tuesday) I pretty much knew where I was going.

The week before my hospitalization I was barely even considering Azusa. Then after it seemed like the doors to that school just flung right open. It was so obvious. I am so beyond grateful and excited. I had prayed many times that the Lord would make it clear where he wanted me, yet I didn’t think I would come to a decision as soon as I did.

A few years ago, I said to my mom that I would never want to live in California. It’s too liberal, the economy is bad, there always seems to be drought happening. Little did I know. It’s funny the places the Lord leads us. It’s cool to see how he does it. The school I thought I was just applying to as a “backup” for the sole reason that they offered me a free application is now the school that I’m going to this fall.

I often wonder about the future. I had always wondered about this decision. I wondered for months and months about which college I would end up at, and now I know. I must say, it’s not as crazy of a feeling as I thought it would be. But there are still times when it hits me. I’m finally getting to go back to school! In California!! At Azusa Pacific University!!!

I am so grateful and blessed. Thanks be to God who has provided me this opportunity and has made it so clear that this is where he wants me to be.