#436: Foreign Language Class

Over the school year I took a class in the language of the country I just visited, and I’m glad I did! While I didn’t get to use my knowledge as much as I would’ve liked, it did come in handy several times when I was talking to people with limited English. I couldn’t carry on a conversation, but I knew enough. While I was there my speaking level didn’t really improve, but my listening and comprehension level certainly did. By the end of the trip I could listen to a conversation and about half the time I could get the gist of what they were talking about, considering this would probably never happen before the trip I’d say that’s a huge improvement!

#436: Thank you Lord for my foreign language class and how it helped me during the trip to communicate and understand the people around me.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 297: eTickets

Today I booked my ticket online for a trip I’m taking in December, and when given the choice of picking up my ticket or getting an eTicket, I chose the eTicket. I think eTickets are pretty awesome! It seems like you can get them for any event that you can purchase online, from the theater, to movies, to travel. It’s so convenient, you don’t have to worry about standing in line when you get there to pick up or purchase your ticket, and if you lose it you can always print out another! If it’s an option I usually take the eTicket especially when I travel, it’s so large it’s hard to lose!

Day 297: Thank you Lord for eTickets, they make purchasing and keeping your ticket so much easier!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 107: My trip to Romania

I said before that I became a gymnastics fan because of the 1996 Olympics, but that isn’t the only thing that happened as a result of those Olympics. I was thrilled when the US Women won gold, but there was another country that caught my attention: Romania. I don’t remember ever hearing of it before and for some reason that I can’t explain, except for God, I was intrigued.

In the years that followed I learned as much as I could about the country, its struggle under communism, the large number of orphans there, it’s gymnastics history, etc. I found it all fascinating and dreamed of going there someday. Exactly ten years after I had first heard of the country I had the opportunity to travel to Romania on a short-term missions trip.

The whole trip was amazing! We went to Timisoara in western Romania where the revolution to overthrow the communists began; and spent a great deal of time in the square where it all began. We stayed just outside the city and each day drove to a village where we held a VBS for the kids there in the morning and evening. We had a lot of fun with the kids and witnessed many accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Some of the things I remember most about the trip were playing and interacting with the kids, (They taught us a hand game that you play in a circle, which was a lot of fun!) and them begging us to take their picture. They loved our digital cameras because they could see the picture right away, but I had to delete so many pictures because there just wasn’t room on my memory card. There was one girl Roxana, who I formed a special bond with, and I really enjoyed spending time with her and the other kids. I was the youngest member of our team by several years and was able to connect with the kids differently than some of the older members of the team.

The entire trip was incredible and something I will never forget! It was the first time I had really traveled without someone from my family, and I was nervous at first, but it helped me grow as a person, as well as spiritually. I remember attending a worship service the day after I got back and feeling closer to God I had ever felt in my entire life! During the next two months I really grew in my faith. Unfortunately at the end of those two months I hit rock bottom for no apparent reason, but those months helped prepare me for that time, and by God’s grace I was able to recover. I know that trip and what happened afterwards helped shape me into the person I am today, and for that I will always be grateful!

Day 107: Thank you Lord for my trip to Romania, and the work we were able to do there; thank you also for the impact it had on me personally.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 86: My trip to Italy

When Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down recently I couldn’t help but think about where I was when Pope John Paul II died. So where was I? In Italy!

My mom was the administrator of our Homeschool co-op which included a Latin class. The teacher (a dad of one of the families in the group) decided he wanted to take some of the students to Rome, Italy to learn more about the Roman Empire whose language was Latin. My family was invited to go with them and we jumped at the chance!

We spent 10 days in Italy mainly in Rome exploring the city, seeing everything from the Parthenon, to the Coliseum (our hotel was a few blocks away from here), the catacombs, Piazza Navona and The Spanish Steps. One of my favorite places was the church of San Clemente, which is a 12th Century church, but you down one level and it’s the remains of a 4th Century church, you go down one more level and it’s a 2nd Century pagan temple. There’s so much history and contrast in one place!

After spending a few days in Rome we headed to Naples for the weekend, where we visited Pompeii which was an amazing experience, before heading to the island of Capri off the coast of Naples. We had to take a ferry over to the island which is where we were exactly when the Pope died. Once on the island we took a small train to the top and that’s when we heard the church bell tolling. I’ll never forget standing in the square hearing that bell toll. We didn’t know at first what was going on, but we quickly found out. Making our way to our hotel we turned on the tv in the lobby to the BBC (the only station we could get in English) and learned more about what was going on.

We still had a few more days in Italy and had left most of our stuff at our hotel in Rome. Fortunately we already had our train tickets for the trip back to the city. The next day we went on a boat trip around this beautiful island. (If you ever go to Italy go here! It’s absolutely gorgeous!) Then we took the train back to Rome, which was completely full!

For our last few days of our trip we were supposed to go to the Vatican, but we didn’t know if we would even be able to get close, however we decided to give it a try and I’m SO glad we did! Each of the kids had to give a report on something we were going to see on our trip and mine was Saint Peter’s Basilica. I wanted to see it SO badly! We decided to go to the square at least, but once we were there we were surprised that the line to get in was not too long so we decided to go in. It was incredible to be inside the second largest church in the world especially at such a historic time, and to see the things I had been reading about. We weren’t able to go up in the dome because it was closed, but it was still incredible! A couple of hours after we left they brought the Pope’s body inside which made the fact we were able to get inside even more amazing!

The following day we were supposed to go to the Vatican Museum where the Sistine Chapel is, but we didn’t know if we would make it. We had taken the subway the day before and while it had been more crowded than before it wasn’t too bad. The next day was a completely different story! We couldn’t even get on it, and the buses weren’t any better! So we decided to walk the 2 miles to the Vatican. This was by far the longest we had to walk the entire trip but we made it and it was well worth it! We actually got inside the Sistine Chapel a few hours before they closed it!

Overall, the trip was incredible and not just because we were there at such a historic time. We saw so many amazing things and learned so much. It’s something I’ll never forget!

Day 86: Thank you Lord for my trip to Italy, and for all the amazing things I was able to see and experience while I was there.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 84: My trip to Holland

I was seven the first time I got an airplane. My grandparents who immigrated to the United States in the 1950’s were taking me to Holland for my Great-Grandmother’s 95th birthday. I remember how excited I was to go but nervous at the same time. I spent a week there visiting family and various places.

One of my favorite pictures of me of all time was taken on this trip when we went to a place where you could dress in a traditional Dutch Costume and have your picture taken in a Dutch setting. (Kinda like the Old-West pictures you see people have taken, but these are in color) Some of the things I remember the most were: going inside a windmill, sitting in a huge wooden shoe, visiting Madurodam a miniature city, (If you ever visit Holland I HIGHLY recommend going here!) meeting my Great-Grandmother, Dutch cousins and other relatives, riding one of my older cousin’s horse in the rain. (They say it always rains in Holland but that was the only day it did!)

I don’t remember too much about the food we ate, I’ve always been a little sad that we didn’t go to McDonald’s especially since I’ve gone there in every other country I’ve visited. The main thing I do remember is eating french fries with mayonnaise! (I don’t know for sure if this is true but I was told kids there aren’t allowed to have ketchup with their fries) I was hesitant to try this at first but once I did I was addicted! I still eat fries with mayo sometimes but it has to be the right fries and I have to be in the mood for them.

It was more than a decade before I went overseas again, but that trip stirred the travel bug in me. I love to travel! I’ve been to four different countries, at least driven through every state on the East Coast, plus a few more mainly close to the East Coast and I would love to visit more countries and states!

Day 84: Thank you Lord for my trip to Holland, for allowing me to meet family there especially my Great-Grandmother who died a few months after my visit. Thanks for giving me to desire to travel and see parts of the world you have made!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!