Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bye Bye Whittier

1am and I can't sleep.

Tomorrow I am saying goodbye to Whittier. Goodbye to Buck's house. Goodbye to the coolest house I have ever lived in. Goodbye to a town that has been good to me.

Two years ago when my walls started crumbling down, I needed to return to the place that treated me so well - the Biola area. I tried out Fullerton for a bit, only to continue on to Whittier. For the past year I have lived in a great house with a pool, fruit trees, and all the room you need for alone time. It started with me, Rachel Olson (Garman), Aubree Kusmit (Hills), Melodey Reiss, and Lara Hurlburt. Aubree went away to grad school and got married, and Lindsay Schmidt joined us. Rachel got married and Hannah joined us. Hannah and Lindsay moved on and Jessica and Emily are here now. Now it's my turn to say goodbye.

When I moved in a year ago, I was desperate for peace and sanity. My life was in turmoil. I was having a quarter life crisis. And even though I lost my mind a few times living with 4 other women, I also regained most of who I am.

This town is comfortable. Biola is down the street, trader joes and target are around the corner, and pretty much all of my friends are within 60 miles north and south. I know the neighbors, and I know the secret ins and outs of street corners. I know where the cops hide, and I know where the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants sit. This place has always brought me peace and direction, and I am thankful.

Leaving here is more than just a regular move I have had before, because when I am gone, I most likely won't ever be coming back. And if one day I did come back to work for Biola, if wouldn't be for many years. I will visit of course, but it won't ever be the same. Even now, walking onto Biola's campus feels oddly distant. Between the new construction, and not knowing anyone as I walk around, it is clear that the campus has moved on without me... without all of my friends. I will be forever grateful for Biola - the place that raised me up to be a witness for Christ, and work in a world with integrity and compassion. Biola has drilled in me a foundation that would be extremely difficult to break... I'd dare to say, unbreakable.

Farewell.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Three Things.

Life is moving so fast, and I feel like I am stuck in the slow lane.

One week from now I am moving back in with my parents to save money for the big move to UCB. And then two months from then, I am making THE big move.

I have been really stressed about it. Really scared.

But today brought something new. A new perspective. It was simple, really, but it spoke to me.

Three things: Change, alone, and figuring it out.

I have a friend who loves to do this. Me? Well, I THOUGHT I loved to do this. I have moved four times in three years, and I thought this made me one of those people who loves those "three things". So when I decided on this big move, I thought it would be no problem, because, hey, I'm a mover.

I'm not a mover.

Being in Berkeley a few weeks ago made me realize a little bit more about myself. On the way to a pizza place, I thought I knew where I was, parked my car, paid the meter, and then proceeded to walk 6 blocks to where I needed to be. By that time I needed to start heading back just to beat the meter! I was frustrated that I didn't know where I was. I would get frustrated the whole weekend because anytime Lindsay and I were trying to figure out where to eat, I had no idea where to go. Figuring it out. I realized I was scared to figure things out.

Here in So. Cal., I have my family, friends, job... EVERYTHING. Everything is here. Nothing in North. Even in my moves, I was moving around So. Cal. Alone. I am scared to be alone.

Right now my life consists of work, volunteering, paying bills, and being with the ones that I love and have known for a long time. When I move I will be going to school and studying something that I never have really professionally studied, interning as a social worker, and hanging out with people I have known for five seconds. Change. I am scared of change.

So what my friend said today about loving change, being alone and figuring everything out, really had an impact on me because I realized that this is a once in a lifetime experience that should be embraced instead of feared (even if I am not a "mover"..).

Embrace the chance to figure a new city out - get lost, take the bus, eat at a C restaurant.

Embrace being alone - truly alone - because in this I will be able to feel the kindness of a stranger, the joys of a new best friend, and the comfort of a Savior.

Embrace change - I get to study what I LOVE, and practice what I LOVE, by showing love to God's people. And I don't have to work Full-time!!

Woo, I am getting excited...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UC Berkeley.

WOW! Okay, so life is changing really fast.

I haven't even announced to the blog world that I was thinking about changing up grad school, and so my faithful blog readers out there (haha, no one...), you probably have no idea what's coming! To make a long story short - I decided to go into Social Work. I started praying about this over a year ago now, and applied for schools back in the fall of 2010. Through the application process I really felt like God was calling me to UC Berkeley. These seemed a little like a pipe dream though, because UC Berkeley is NOT an easy school to get into. It's #6 in the nation for a Masters in Social Work (or, Social Welfare as Cal calls it), and #1 for sociology. Needless to say, it's a highly sought after school, and many qualified applicants apply every year.

The MSW program at Berkeley (aka. Cal) takes about 100 students a year, and the specific program I wanted to get in (health) takes FIFTEEN.

FIFTEEN.

Well people, I am one of those fifteen!

It's been completely overwhelming. I found out that I was accepted 5 days before my tonsillectomy, and on that day I was SO sick with bronchitis. After I recovered from surgery, my grandfather passed away, so my mind was super distracted from from so many things. The fact that I was accepted to the #6 school for social work had NOT sunk in. I was freaked out.

So what does one do when they are "freaked out".. ROAD.TRIP.

So on Sunday, I packed up my stuff and drove to Bezerkeley with my friend, Lindsay. I feel like I accomplished EVERYTHING during this trip.

First I met with my longtime friend Chris Reinhardt, who had moved out to Berkeley for a degree in Poli Sci, and is graduating in 2 weeks (congrats, Chris!!). Chris is just awesome, as he helps me to figure out so many things during this transition.

Next I met with potential roomies. Now, these peeps are the peeps I have been talking to for a bit over email. I met them because I went online and stalked the biggest church in Berkeley, found the email contact for the graduate student group, and emailed them saying "HELP ME". They put me in contact with some ladies in the social work program (Sam and Anna have been ridiculously helpful with EVERYTHING...I LOVE THE CHURCH), and also in contact with other people who are looking for roomies. Through many email exchanges with loads of people, I have landed in a group of 4, who will attempt to look for a house this summer.

Introducing: Brad, David, and Heidi. Yes, boys.

I have never lived with boys before (except my dad of course), and so I am thrilled! Less ladies has got to equal less drama. Especially because Brad and David are seriously some of the greatest people I have ever met. ::Brad and David are also very smart and put me to shame as they pursue Doctorate Degrees in Computer Science and Economics::

We all met up at church - First Presbyterian Berkeley - on Sunday night for the "student service". The church provides food afterwards as well, and so we had time to get to know each other. It was FANTASTIC. After, David took us on a tour all around Berkeley so that I could get to know the area better. I feel SO much better about the area now that I know where I am! Heidi is living in France right now, but GUESS what?? She is Biola Alumni!! Isn't that a wonderful gift from the Lord?? It's amazing how God works things out, and how the church can seriously be such a blessing. So you can pray that this housing situation would work out for us. I know that God is in control, and that even if it doesn't work out for us, that God has something else planned that is perfect for me, and I also still have met really great friends.

On Monday I bought a Cal shirt (of course), and then went and met with the MSW department "secretary". I don't like calling her a secretary because I feel like she is the knower of all things Cal MSW (aka. Very important person). I needed to chat about financial aid, and fellowship opportunities. Meeting with her was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life. No scheduled appt., she just saw me last minute (super awesome), and helped me SO much to navigate my next steps for getting my education paid for. So PLEASE, pray for me as I try to figure this whole thing out.

That night I had dinner with Jeff and Kashelle Bruce who live about 20 minutes away from Berkeley, and are friends from Biola. Jeff is a pastor at a local church, and Kashelle works as a nurse in Berkeley. Again, thank you for the church that helps us feel connected all over the world! The Bruce's are just wonderful people, who offered me a place to stay anytime I need one, and support for this new transition in life. I NEED people like the Bruce's as I transition. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I also stayed for their home fellowship small group as well, and it was so encouraging.

Tuesday was departure day (yes, a 48 hour trip), and we met up with Chris again for pizza and a view, as we overlooked the bay at the Berkeley Rose Garden. Life is good up in Berkeley. Also, this pizza place - to die for, yum. Again, Chris was SUCH an awesome support to me as I was just able to discuss everything - moving expenses, jobs, housing, transportation around Berkeley... everything. SUCH a blessing.

So there we have it in a nutshell. There are so many more things I would love to mention, but I am officially exhausted. I need PRAYER people. Just be praying for all mentioned above, and that I wouldn't be too fearful about leaving my wonderful family and friends behind. It's scary... I am scared... But I don't want to let fear hold me back from something that is SO wonderful.