27 August 2007

My summer (or my favorite things in the US)

So this post has been a lot time coming. I've finally found an hour to sit down in front of the computer and blog about my life and I'm not even sure where to even start.
Well, I'm back in China and school's started. I'm settled for the most part and things are going great.
Before I talk about my present life, I should at least try to do some justice to my summer. In a nutshell, it was crazy. I got to see so many people and places--it was wonderful. A big thanks to everyone who hosted me this summer. It was so nice to see so many familiar things.

State #1: New York (for training)

My first two weeks were spent in the middle of nowhere New York for training. I wasn't super excited about it at first, but it was really helpful. I was able to take time to process what happened last year and to get excited for my new school this year. There were some amazing people at this training who are going all over the world.

It's been a while since I've been Amish country, so I have to fess up to my excitement about the buggy signs.

This cute baby now lives in China and we celebrated his first birthday during our training.

The beautiful state park not too far from the campus we were on. There is a visible rainbow if you look closely.

The same state park does hot air balloon launches.

Some very red berries on campus (I love the lighting on the berries--I want to frame this picture to hang up in my room in my new apartment)

Somewhere in the world there actually does exist an honest to goodness 'hole in the wall' restaurant.

We all now live in 6 different cities in China!

The kids had 'school' while we had class and these were some of their art projects.

This is my mentor who also lives in Asia.

State #2: Michigan via Canada (visiting friends)

I always went to the Farmer's Market on Saturdays when I was in college. It was so fun to go back!

The same vendors are still there.

The Fish Ladder Park was always a fun place to walk to in the city of Grand Rapids.

My dad visited for a long weekend and we made a day trip out to Holland. Tunnel Park is one of my favorite places in the world!

An old roommate lives in Petoskey and this was a picture I took in their city cemetery.

On a whim, I decided to drive to the Upper Peninsula--just because I could. It was fun to see the Mackinac Bridge; I hadn't been there since I was 10 or something.

Another dear friend from school lives near Sleeping Bear, so I got to visit the dunes.

Lake Michigan was sending a storm over to land.

State #3: Illinois (visiting friends and getting my new visa)

Another fav pic from under the L in Chicago.

The crazy water play place in Millennium Park.

The Bean sculpture which makes...

...this from the inside--seriously, how cool is that?!?

The end of the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River.

Watching the sun set over the city and the lake.

I just had to visit Chicago's Chinatown to see how different it is from this Chinatown that I currently reside in.

I think I was at the beach every day I was in Chicago--it was so nice to soak in the water, sand and wonderful friends.

State #4: Colorado (visiting family and being a maid of honor)

My brother and I in the mountains after eating yummy pizza.

Flowers in a friend's garden (another one I want framed)

My high school social studies teacher who's more of a friend now--check out her rose garden behind us!

My adorable grandmother who is 92 and calls me every Saturday :)

I forgot how much I love the mountains. I took this picture when I was at the airport getting my brother.

So the event of the summer in our family was my sister's wedding. She got married outside in the mountains. The next however many pictures are from that...just giving fair warning!

The chapel was aptly named Columbine Point. Columbine is our state flower and is pictured here with the empty chapel and mountains in the background.

The morning of the wedding we had a brunch for just the women. My mom got us matching sweaters and here we are sporting them :)

Getting ready was quite the ordeal. Here's all our dresses lined up while we were still working on hair and makeup.

My sister with her flower girls. They were only 6 months old when she started babysitting for them!

Her bridal pictures were taken outside by this old farm at the camp. Here's another one of my artsy pictures by the rusted farm equipment.

Her bridal party smiling pretty for all the pictures.

She looked so beautiful! The flowers matched the setting so well.

My parents and I all dressed up.

Waiting for her to walk down the aisle.

The entire wedding party.

The reception was such a blast. The whole thing went by so quickly.

The bride and her maid of honor, me!

So that was the not-so-brief version of my summer, but I hope it makes up for the lack of posting since mid-June.

A few things to Think about:
  • The middle school and high school have Open House tomorrow night. I will need an extra dose of His stamina to make it through the long night. I'm excited to meet my students' parents. I really hope that everything goes well.
  • Please remember the team that is working in my old city. They still don't have the curriculum they ordered. I empathize with their situation and I can't wait to see them at our conference in October.
  • The next few weeks are packed with meetings, a visitor from the States, our school's version of Field Day (more on that later), and more, so I need to make sure that I am balancing my time wisely. I am enjoying being in the school and I hope to continue building our classroom community in the weeks to come.
In His service,