As another year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect.
By global standards, 2016 was pretty much a train wreck. Personally, though, it was a beautiful journey that I will tell in three parts.
A year ago, I was an unemployed college graduate with no idea of what I wanted to do with myself. You see, for the majority of my life, my intuition has been my guide. Until this point, early every major life decision has been guided by instinct. College? My gut lead me to the right fit. Major? My heart found home in the English Department. Work at camp in the summers? It just felt right.
The future, however, holds infinite possibilities and the prospective paths had me absolutely paralyzed. I had absolutely no idea of anything. My intuition, the little tug that pulls me in the next direction, had failed.
So, at the beginning of 2016, I felt my heart tugging me back to Europe and, against all logic, I followed. Continue reading →
This is one of those books that have been sitting on the shelf for years, waiting to be read. I knew I’d get to it eventually… and now I have.
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
My Rating: 4 / 5
Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A spellbinding novel, an extraordinary literary achievement, THE MISTS OF AVALON will stay with you for a long time to come….
From the wide zone through dizzying circles hurled,
To that still centre where the spinning world
Sleeps on its axis, to the heart of rest.
Some friends and I spent the day in Oxford and I finally fulfilled my dream of touring the Bodlein Library. Maybe I’ll write more about my day sometime soon, but until then, enjoy this photo I took of the absolutely stunning Divinity School.
Over the past few months, I’ve been growing a great deal artistically. Being around creative people rubs off on you in amazing ways. I’ve loved having the freedom to explore new mediums in addition to the ones I tend to favor. I’ve spent time sketching, painting, and even singing. It’s brought me so much life!
When my friends and I went to the Lakes District last week, I decided to tackle a new medium: videography. Throughout the trip, I examined the world with an artistic eye and captured footage of things I found beautiful with my iPhone. On the six hour Megabus trip home, I put the skills I picked up in my Visual Journalism class to good use.
I recently took a trip to the Lakes District in Northern England with some friends. I’m hoping to write about our adventures soon, but in the meantime, here is a dramatic shot of me atop one of the mountains we climbed and a quote by T.S. Eliot, whom I have been reading lately.
“Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow”
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”J.R.R. Tolkien
Thursdays are days off at L’Abri and we took advantage of our free time to explore the nearby town of Midhurst. We got there by bus, arriving around one o’clock and spending several hours wandering the picturesque area.
Our first stop was the ruins of Cowdray, which were absolutely stunning! We learned from the tourist website that, before being destroyed by fire, the site was host to illustrious figures like Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, and Guy Fawkes. Although we couldn’t enter the ruins due to January being the off-season, we were able to satisfy our wonder and curiosity by exploring the perimeter of the property.
Next, we visited St. Ann’s Hill, which has played host to pagan rituals, an Iron Age fort, and a Norman castle. We caught glimpses of the surrounding countryside. The hill itself was capped with a ring of ancient trees and a network of stone ruins.
For the rest of the afternoon, we wandered around Midhurst itself. It’s a beautiful little town and we marveled at the varying architecture–a conglomeration of medieval, Georgian, Elizabethan, and Victorian. We wandered into the former school of H.G. Welles, found a small duck pond, and wasted time in a bookshop while waiting for our bus.
I’m not posting much these days, due to the fact that my internet access is limited to days off when I’m able to visit pubs and cafes. It’s definitely been a challenge being so removed form technology, but it’s also extremely refreshing. L’Abri is a wonderful place to explore ideas and reflect on life. In many ways, living here feels like living in another time. I’ve been having lots of adventures and have been continuing to write! I spent an evening earlier this week drafting potential blog posts.
Hopefully, more of my reflections and adventures will make it to this space soon.
Cowdray Ruins. January, 2016
My day-trip companions and fellow L’Abri students!
Blue Door. January, 2016
Although the Brits here claim it’s quite cold out, I find that hard to believe when flowers are blooming!
Well, friends. I have arrived at L’Abri! For the next few months, I will be living in a manor house in Hampshire, England. It’s going to be an incredible adventure. Half my time will be spent in personal study and the other half will be spent working–cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc. There are people here from all ages, all walks of life, from all around the world. Living together will be challenging, but I know that I am going to learn and grow in great ways during my time here.
In the meantime, I don’t very good Internet access here. Which means things will relatively quiet around here over the next few months.
I’m going to miss blogging regularly, but will definitely keep writing–words tend to well up within me and I can’t keep them inside. Hopefully, they’ll find their way here on days off when I stumble upon free wifi. Who knows though, I may be off wandering the English countryside.
It will be hard, living off the grid. But I think it is going to be really, really good. It’s a time to learn, a time to reflect, and a time to grow.
As a parting gift, here is Manor House, my home for the next few months:
If we were having coffee, we wouldn’t actually be having coffee.We’d be having tea because that’s what you do in England and I happen to be in that country now.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you how absolutely exhausted I am.Some people have the magical ability to fall asleep anywhere… I am not one of those people. I haven’t slept in a day and a half and look like a total zombie.
If we were having coffee, you’d know that my travels went extremely well! No delayed flights or hiccups.I flew six hours from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, Iceland followed by another three hours to London.Although I didn’t actually sleep, I spent most of my flights with my eyes closed listening to The Fellowship of the Ring on audiobook.Which, I suppose, is the next best thing.Once I got to Heathrow, I successfully passed Boarder Control, picked up my suitcase, exchanged my United States Dollars for Pounds, picked up an Oyster card, and hopped on the Tube, which took me to King’s Cross Station (yes, like in Harry Potter), which is five minutes from my hostel.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my hostel is a bit sketchy and that I forgot my shower shoes and can’t remember where I packed my toothbrush. BUT it also has free Wifi, which more than makes up for its deficiencies.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you how WEIRD it is to fly to the other side of the world and find yourself somewhere familiar.When I studied abroad here two years ago, I spent a LOT of time exploring the city on my own.I was a bit shocked how quickly I fell back into the swing of London.It’s like I never left.
If we were having coffee, I would gush about how in love I am with this city.I love (almost) everything about London.(Overcrowded Tube trains are NOT fun.Freaking Piccadilly Line.)I love the architecture.I love the blend of historical and modern.I love the big red double-decker busses lumbering everywhere.I adore Trafalgar Square.I love that I couldn’t wait an hour before hitting up the National Gallery.I love the way all the paintings by Monet, Rembrandt, Reubens, and Turner make my heart soar.I love stumbling upon an entire street of antique book shops.I love the extensive parks system and how the middle of the city can feel like the countryside.I love that I’m in the city of Shakespeare, Dickens, and Woolf.
I’m excited to spend the next couple of days here.Tomorrow, I’m exploring Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House, and going to church at Hillsong.Monday, I’m visiting museums and seeing a production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It at the National Theatre.Tuesday, I head to L’Abri!
Okay, okay… enough about my enthusiasm about England.What do you have to share over coffee?