Day 24: Truthful Feelings

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Photo by K.L.R.

*Cue Spotify playlist “Favorite Michael Buble Songs”*

Music to fit my mood–and to set the tone–is necessary.  I want to write, I want to create.  One of my favorite things is sitting down to a blank sheet or notebook of paper.  Sometimes I simply crave writing–I want to write, something, anything, WORDS!

However, there is a chance this blog post creation will be the sum total of my creative writing today–barring some unexpected strike of inspiration.

I’ve been in England for 24 days.  The adjustment is much harder than I ever expected.  I hesitate to use the words “depressed”, but things that normally appeal greatly to me, I have no desire to do–especially alone.  Yes, perhaps loneliness is a better word, but I don’t want to go out and make friends.  I’m enjoying the solitude of my room and the family interaction with the Pfeiffers.  My life in the States was…crazy.  Busy=understatement.  Maybe my body, mind, and soul are relishing the pause–and aren’t ready for it to end.

A day will arrive when I crave people; I’ll want to get out, and London won’t be prepared for me.  But, for the time being, my little room is perfect.  I have a desk when I feel structured, a chair when I want to curl up, and a comfy bed when I want to lounge about.  Perhaps a book–an old friend–is just the remedy.  The thing I just realized…I brought mostly books I haven’t read but have been on my reading list.  Drat.  I may need to pop into a local book shop (good thing they are plentiful) and find an old friend.

Cups of tea and talking with friends in America definitely helps (I’m VERY thankful for technology and social media).

Family, too.  My parents, brother, and others are supportive of this venture.  It helps ease the transition.

And…cups of tea ;)

Tour Time: My New Abode

I’ve lived in many rooms and spaces over the past six years.  Sometimes I had wardrobes and cupboards, other times I lived out of a suitcase.  Many are the hours I’ve dreamed and looked forward to having my own place.  I’ve made roommate plans with several friends–none of which came to fruition because life took a different direction.  (Post-university life is a different kind of world, especially with the current economical state.  And there are emotions and challenges for which none of the “you’re about to graduate” talks prepare you.  I say this to encourage anyone reading this who is dealing with depression, lack of direction, frustration at yet another “dead end application”–it’s ok.  You’re not the only one…even if it feels like it.)

But, the time has arrived, and I have a room entirely my own.  I have a bed, a wardrobe, shelves on the wall, a desk with clean lines, a giant leather arm chair (perfect for reading–I have a hard time reading when I’m not comfortable), and a slanted ceiling.  It feels like an attic room (I even have stairs going down from my room).  Basically, it’s perfect.  My nineteen books, two journals, eight DVD cases (including a season of White Collar), two Christmas CDs and two non-Christmas CDs, stationary, notebooks, and various other items fit beautifully on my shelves.  Four card games (Dutch Blitz, Phase Ten, Uno, and Quiddler) fit nicely next to the DVDs.  My wardrobe holds everything nicely (though, some reorganization needs to happen).  My scarves hang beautifully on the back of my door.  And there is plenty of space for my Vogue magazine to lie about (yes, I did bring two Vogue magazines, one W magazine, the Travel section for the NYT, and a copy of TIME with me from America…all with good reason).

Storing suitcases required moving the chair a few inches and playing one of those “move the ___ around until you get it where it needs to be” games with my shoes.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget my lovely, white rug that elongates my room and adds a crispness and homeyness to it.

All in all, I am happy and content in my little room at the top of the house.  I have the P.S. I Love You soundtrack playing, my door open (allowing the children’s voices to float upward while they play), and am enjoying my sunny, light room on this morning that I anticipate making productive (obviously with a large cuppa tea–and yes, I did bring a mug with me from America…my London Starbucks Mug, since I’m in London.)

What I realized, while looking about, is all these “things” are representative of people in my life whom I love.  Miles separate us, but they are ever present.

P.S. Not pictured are the few dishes that accumulated in my room (bad habit #1 I shall try and kick).

P.P.S. A few things to note: my copy of A Moveable Feast–a first addition (my first ever!) gifted to me by a dear, kindred spirit. The little bowl on my bedside table–Turkish.  And it’s no mistake that those particular Christmas items accompanied me across the ocean.

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Growing Up: An International Move

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Apparently I’m living in a new country.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t abducted by anyone. I’ve had the plan in the works for some time.
It’s only my first move as an adult.
Approximately 3,825 miles.
NBD.

I’m back in London.
My “other home.”
Adjustment is still required.

After arriving Tuesday afternoon, I’ve lounged around, visited my uncle’s and aunt’s house for dinner, and visited a cafe in the park.

Considering the past two months (or more) of craziness, I’m relishing the relaxation. Next week, I’ll kick back into gear.

Until then, this evening shall consist of: tea, Skype, and ice cream.

Mhmm. Sounds perfect, right?

Grass Never Looked So Good

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Photo By K.L.R.

One day!

One day until my favorite grand slam of the year appears on the television.

One day until Andy Murray walks onto the grass courts at the All England Lawn Tennis Club to defend his title.

If you want to know the fastest way to make me cry–show me last year’s Men’s Final.
I’ll lose it every time.
Andy Murray won on 7/7 (incidentally, my birthday) after 77 years without a British man winning Wimbledon.
(Did I mention I was there, in Centre Court?  Oh, I was.)

It was, in a word, magnificent.
In another word, beautiful.

Here’s to another two weeks of tennis; the best two weeks of tennis!

Paper Towels: How to Deal

Occasionally in life coincidences–synchronicities–run rampant.
This is the case of my past eight days.

Eight days ago, as I walked to my car with my cousin, I noticed a dead bird sticking out, head first, of the grill of my car.
Confused, amused, and disgusted, I recalled the bird in the road the day before who I didn’t see fly away, nor did I see feathers fly.
Apparently it’s because he decided to lodge himself in my car.
It required removal via shovel (and let me tell you, it was very stuck).

Two mornings after the bird removal, I awaken at the home where I am house sitting.
I walk into the bathroom and notice something on the floor.
Ah, um, what?
Yes, that is a mouse head with one beady eye looking up at me.
And next to it?  Another body part.
Gross.
I traipse off to get something to clean with–preparing myself for the awful task ahead–when my foot steps on something wet.
I scream and jump away…those are the mouse’s organs.
I’ll cut to the chase and say I cleaned up mouse parts from four parts of the house and cat vomit.

That night, while feeding the dog, I peer at something that looks like an animal had an accident in the basement.
Startled with a minor heart attack, it was only a toad.

With a day break in between, Thursday night I look out the back door to find the cat…and something behind him.
A rabbit.  The bunny moved, the cat jumped on it.  I banged on the door, opened the door, yelled at the cat, tried to chase the cat off (you know, in hopes the poor bunny would have a chance to get away)…to no avail.
Long story short–I found a rabbit foot, head, body, and innards on the back porch in the morning.
And no hawk or snake was considerate enough to remove it for me during the day.
Therefore, last night, after a very long day, I sling-shot the bunny from the snow shovel into the woods–only to see the cat coming towards me immediately after.
Irony.

The current moral to the story: Kirsten is practicing for a world where there aren’t people to help clean up the gross stuff.  And screaming is okay when there is no one to hear you.

And, we won’t tell the environmentalists how many paper towels I used in the mouse clean-up…

Why We Should Take More “Selfies”

Claire: “Why can’t you just take it without me?”
Thom: “Because, without you in the picture, it’s a flat shot.  It’s like a postcard… Alright.  Alright, go on and take a look. “
……
Thom: “Alright, put me on, like, the side of the frame.  You see how it’s a little easier to take in all of it with something in the foreground?”
Claire: “Yeah, it’s just not the same.”
Thom: “Yeah, exactly.”

-Take Me Home (2011)

Over the past few weeks and months I’ve grown increasingly annoyed with the overuse and negative connotation of the term “selfie.”  I agree, there is an over abundance of bathroom mirror pictures and “What a beautiful day” captioned photos of people’s faces–ultimately furthering a self-centered society (which is not the point of this post).  However, any photo of people that isn’t taken by someone not pictured is termed a “selfie” and treated as though it is a lesser form of photography.  Truly, the “selfie” is evidence of technological advances.  With the extension of an arm and the push of a button, we can document our own lives.

I looked through my “mobile uploads” on Facebook and recalled events I’d not thought about in ages, laughed at a few moments, and reminisced of a time in my life that has passed.  Some were selfies.  But, as the quote at the beginning says, it makes the scenery less flat.

If you know me or follow my blog, you’ve probably figured out I travel relatively frequently, whether across the ocean or a few states away.  More often than not, I’m traveling alone.  There is no one to take my picture in front of something I want to document.  Thus, I choose.  Do I take a selfie or keep going and fail to document this trip, experience, event, etc.  A lot of times, I take the selfie.  Why?  BECAUSE IT’S A MEMORY!  I want to share it.  I want to remember it.  And, I don’t have a camera crew following me around.

Photography has boomed in recent years.  No longer must we sit perfectly still in hopes of one good picture.  Cameras are not only for those who can shell out vasts amount of money.  Almost everyone with a cell phone has a camera.  Digital cameras come in all sizes.  Future generations will not have to scrounge, hunting for pictures of their grandparents and great-grandparents.  We are leaving thousands of photographs (albeit, mostly digital–which could disintegrate…so print a few of them, just in case).

My brother’s graduation was last week.  One of his classmates was speaking from the podium and ended by saying, “But first, let’s take a selfie.”  She did, and it went on Twitter.  She documented herself, her classmates, and the memory of that day–and it was great.

So, when your cousin just graduated from nursing school and the wine is handy, take a quick selfie before she has to run off to the rest of her guests!

We have the technology–let’s use it!

P.S. It’s really only a selfie when you’re the only person in the picture.

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Why I Hate the Word Ministry

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*Written approximately four months ago*

It’s ok, breathe, I didn’t just speak heresy.

“Ministry” is a word thrown around to describe something a person or group does to help other people…typically in the name of God.

For some reason people feel it is necessary to label that part of life, rather than considering it simply “working with high school students” or “helping single moms” or “meeting with a group of friends…who may or may not be Christians” or some other activity you do throughout your day, week, month, year in order to have a life that is not centered strictly around you.

Life.
We all live life.
But, life is not divided into a lot of squares.
Life is a mish-mash of running errands, going to work, spending time with friends and family, cleaning the house, helping your neighbor, running food to someone who needs it, going to church (or another religious gathering place, if you are religious), involving yourself in that place…ultimately, life is functioning as a part of a community and doing what is necessary in your particular place.

Back to why I hate the “M” word.
It evokes images of people giving of themselves, holding themselves above others, and making people(s) into a project that they can help/fix/change/whatever.

In college, we were required for three semesters to have some “ministry.”  Then, for the following three semesters, it was a degree specific “ministry” (or internship…a little more open to interpretation).  I fell under the false idea that if I was enjoying myself I couldn’t count the hours…because, God forbid I enjoy what I was doing…after all, it was “ministry.”

Now, one year, eight months, and seventeen days after graduating, I find myself hating the word even more.
Why do I need to label something I do?

Am I supposed to call it ministry every time I hang out with my high school students (who, by the way, I adore)?
Am I supposed to call it ministry when I take food to a family who is low?
What about those kids who come from a not so great home, should I make it my life goal to fix them and make up for the deficit left by their parents?

No.  I love to hang out with my kids.  We have a good time together…we laugh, joke, and sometimes share deeper conversations.
That family?  It’s called being a human and caring for someone’s well being.
And the kid who doesn’t have a great home?  Please, let me provide an escape for them!  Need a getaway?  I can be that.

But what is my motivation?  I love people.  I care about their well being.  I want to be friends with a variety of people.

I do not want to invite people into my life for the purpose of giving me a “project.”
They know.

Instead of ministry, I live life.

I’m supposed to love God and love others.