8/8 A Special D8

My apparent adoration for alliterations is no secret. This alliterative admiration stretches beyond letters and words and into dates. When 12/12/12 had passed, I felt a little piece of me go with it– no more delightful duplicating dates until after my death!?

8/8 is A Special D8, appeal of alliterations aside. August 8th is the day my marvelous mother was born. Happy Birthday, mama!

Here are 8 reasons my mom is so special to me:

1) It’s special to me that she is strong. We tease her for being tiny, but my mom is astonishingly active and her fitness will leave you flabbergasted. She swims across lakes, runs double-digit mileage, and bikes across cities. She played hoops in college and likes to think she could win any family shooting contest. You can take that one up with Drew, ma.

2) It’s special to me that she values my opinion. She’ll ask me how I feel about this or what do I think about that, and I know she really is interested in my point of view. These subject areas include but are not limited to home décor, interpersonal relationships, music, advice, gifts, and fashion.

3) It is special to me that even though she may ask for said fashion advice, she doesn’t need it! Mom is one trendy lady from her work to her work out clothes. I like that I can borrow clothes from her closet Super 8 style (just one night) or Residence Inn style (an extended borrow) which sometimes leads to home mortgage style (I can keep it…since I already gave her some of my clothes (the monthly bill)).

4) She is special because she is a Tammy Tanner. The Full House fans out there, which you all SHOULD be, will understand this nickname that we have dubbed on our clean-tastic mom. Her release from a day of work or time away from home is countertop wiping, floor sweeping, pillow fluffing, and picture frame dusting. Clutter free is her way to be. If it’s not being used at the Ferry/Tanner house it will be tossed faster than you can say, “Wait! I still use tha–“ …!!

5) It’s special to me that I look like her. I may have my daddy’s noggin but it’s increasingly incontestable that I am my mother’s daughter. This has nothing to do with Stephanie Tanner being my doppleganger (which I H8 but can’t deny), but has everything to with my looks and mannerisms. If I have half of her beauty and charisma when I’m a mama then I will be doing just fine!

6) It’s special to me that she can make me laugh. Sometimes my mom says such outlandish things that I can’t help but laugh, then she laughs because there’s no one who can make her laugh more than, well, herself. Am I right or am I right, mom? She has funny dance moves, relates real life occurrences to reality television, gloats about the contents of her iPod, and baby’s my little brother… but let’s be real we all do because how can we NOT, Stephen?!!

7) It’s special to me that she is so involved in my life. She packed me a lunch every single day from 1stgrade through senior in high school, she was at all of my recitals, athletic events, and concerts. She never forgets my birthday and taught me how to cook. Despite me moving away after high school she always sends a text or call to recognize my significant life events or important occasions. She comes to visit me and welcomes me with hugs and kisses when I come home to visit her.

8) It’s special to me that anytime I am ever leaving her, whether in person or on the phone, she reminds me, “Go with the Lord” after saying goodbye. Regardless of me not always able to have her by my side she leads me to where she knows I will be well taken care of.

I love you, Mama! Happy Birthday!

22 Going On 22

If you’re a girl, then you’re familiar with the movie 13 Going On 30. If you’re not a girl, then that means you’re a boy and I don’t understand you… why do you people eat taco bell so much? What is with the fascination with golf? SportsCenter on repeat? No-shave November? Hunting? Toilet seats? Do you just not own a shirt? And cycling back to our initial debacle—action movies over Rom-Com’s?! (For those of you who aren’t addicted to abbrevs in the same way that I am, Rom-Com=Romantic Comedy.) Okay (boys), so 13 Going On 30 is about a little girl who is struggling with popularity, body image, and overall why-am-I-so-awkward ness as most teenagers do. She makes a wish to jump on ahead to age 30, and one scene later, that she is. As Jennifer Garner’s character apprehends the adaptations of adulthood, she tries to fill in the gaps of the decisions she’s made over the past 17 years that are missing from her memory. All of this is occurring with a 13-year-old mentality trapped in a 30-year-olds body, social baggage, ongoing responsibilities, etc. Therein lies the entertainment. Except I never understand because if the next scene after these Opening Credits of my life means I wake-up 30 years old and I look like Jennifer Garner, I would not question anything and I would just go with it. I guess the more pragmatic issue at hand is how did she in fact just skip ahead to age 30? …WHAT?!?? Movies aren’t real????

Though I may not look like Jennifer Garner (sigh), lately I’ve been feeling like her (cool?). It’s like I just jumped off the cliff in Costa Rica again, except the cliff is college life and I’m slapping the surface of adulthood. WAP— morning alarms, outlook email, paychecks! :), bills :(, is this dress long enough?, I should probably dry my hair, letter opener lovin’, meetings, lunch break BABY, not being able to yell out my every move right before I do it like “lunch break BABY”, alumni newsletters, “sorry I missed your call last night at 9:30pm because I was asleep”. Grab your noodles, kiddies, because we are floating now. Floating down the river of adulthood, and this ain’t no lazy river. But the water feels pretty nice, doesn’t it? I’m rapidly losing control of this analogy. Just trying to keep things current.

22 Going On 22. I can’t help but laugh at the things that make me excited now at age 22 than when I was… 22 (it’s a transitional age, yall). A couple of examples. My parents were in town for a couple of days (super fun) and to my request, my sweet mama bought be some things like dust spray! And a broom! And wash cloths! Sometimes I go into furniture stores just for fun! On Saturday I was able to sleep in until 8:30am! My parents also gifted me my first apt-warming present… a sewing machine!!! Now I can make things like pillows! And curtains! And my sister already requested her Christmas present to be a dress straight from the sewing machine… I better get to Betsy Rossin’.

22 Going On 22. What it all comes down to is I’m realizing more and more how much things have changed now that I’m no longer in school. I’m thankful that I don’t suffer from changeaphobia as many humans do, but with those changes physical, mental, and social adjustments certainly need to be made.  I will say that it being perfectly acceptable to quote Lil Wayne lyrics in staff meetings like, “Doesn’t matter to me, what’s a goon to a goblin?” has helped me to feel more at home.

22 Going On 22. I’m relieved to not be like Jennifer Garner in that I AM ready for this transition. My comfort lies in knowing God equips us for the things He calls us to do. He equipped Mary to have baby Jesus. He equipped David to take on Goliath. He equipped Peter to walk on water. He’s equipping me to live this new life and work this new job in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Let’s see what else changes throughout age 22!

Opening Credits

Life in Ann Arbor

Starring Rachel Ferry

Behind the Scenes… Belongings have been boxed. Floorboards have been wiped. Holes in the wall have been puttied and disguised to (almost) look like they were never there. The keys have been turned in. Apartment 1912 in Austin, Texas no longer belongs (*is being leased) to me. The 1,200 mile drive has been made for the 8th and possibly final time. That ’98 Toyota Camry is a champ, I’ll tell ya. (Celebratory side-note, the Camry aka “Green Goblin” hit his 200,000th milestone last week! I wasn’t in the car but I made my sister record the occasion and text it to me. I gots love for the GG.)

Action! I’ve been in Ann Arbor for 6 days, the opening credits are finally/officially rolling. I like pretending like this new life-stone (life milestone) is a movie because A) I’ve always wanted be a MoVieStAr B) It’s a good excuse for yall to eat popcorn whenever you’re Chasing Chachy C) I need witnesses to these things that are happening to me because right now I don’t really have any friends and I can only talk to myself to a certain extent. (Author’s Note: This is not a cry for pity! I actually have always had a lot of fun by myself and I enjoy it quite thoroughly, I just haven’t quite ever had this much “me” time in one dose before. Ever. In my life.)

Co-Stars… more like no-stars. Even though my Camry is the only cameo (Camry-o?) in this non-fiction film (so far), I would say my opening song is less of a “Lonely” by Akon and more of a “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer, but because of the refrain in reference my life not the breakup going on in the verses. I am usually partial to hip-hop over pop/rock or whatevs JayMay is classified as but this is an exception to the rule baby boo. Feel free to play the YouTube video as you read the post to get a better feel for the opening credits of my life-stone.

In scenes 1-3 you will see a number of different things. You will see that I have had my first official days of work as an Admissions Counselor. You will see that I really enjoy it so far, I have learned how-much-I-need-to-learn, all of the people I’ve met on campus are incredibly kind, and my office is in the historic mansion that is a part of Concordia Ann Arbor’s campus. Yes, there is a ballroom on the third floor. Yes, there is a secret passage from the Library down to the basement. And why yes, it was Colonel Mustard with the knife in the Study, HANNAH. (My sister used to always win at Clue.)

In the opening scenes you will see some things that you might think are funny. Maybe it’s the double ee’d animals that like to stalk me on my jogs (ie deer, geese… I even found a beetle chillin in my bun when I took my hair down for a shower). Are there cheetahs in Michigan? Maybe its funny to you that I get lost driving home from the grocery store/Starbucks/lunch breaks/everywhere (GPS free is the way to be in a new ci-ty!). Maybe you thought it was funny that I peeped in the windows of my future apartment that I can’t move into until August 23rd, which means maybe you’re laughing that I’m temporarily living in a dorm that goes by the name of my cutest baby brother “Stephen”. Maybe you think its funny that my cart at Kroger’s grocery store decided to start screeching half-way through my grocery shopping like a little girl who’s brother cut the hair of all her Barbie dolls. As if everyone wasn’t already thinking, “WHO IS THIS GIRL THAT DOESN’T KNOW ANYBODY HERE LOOKING PERFECTLY LONELY IN THE REALLY CUTE BLACK AND WHITE SWEATER?” I gotta roll through aisle 6 screeching and scrooching and drawing attention to myself. Ugh, life of a movie star, I’ll tell ya.

What to expect in scenes 4-6. I think(/hope) more characters will be introduced, no personal jabs to my guy Green Goblin. I will deefeeat the double ee’d animals. I think there’s a Tigers game written somewhere in the script (we meet again, Prince Fielder). Pretty sure I’ll finally be comfortable driving in a roundabout. Maybe when I linger on to conversation and make a joke to the restaurant cashiers because I’m starving for personal interaction they will actually laugh (tough crowd here in Ann Arbor thus far). Maybe you will see me signing for a membership card at Kroger’s despite the screechy cart calamity (and the fact that I got elevatoreyezed 3x over in the cereal aisle).

That’s what’s exciting about this movie, though. Call it a thriller, if you will. Maybe a Mystery. I don’t really know what’s going to happen. Besides going to work, which I enjoy, and meeting my coworkers, whom are wonderful, I do not know whom else is going to cross my path. I don’t know what places I’m going to discover and I don’t know what new things I will enjoy doing. Since I’m used to being stimulated by my adorable Texas friendies 24/7 or in a full house filled with my tall and lanky family members, right now may seem kinda lonely. But it’s kinda perfect.

“Nothing to do, no where to be (besides work); It’s a simple little kind of free… That’s the way, that’s the way, that’s the way that I want it.” (And cut!) 

Plan Messing

What’s up blog world. I know we haven’t been as close as we’ve once been before, but I still think about you all the time. No really, I do. You should see my notes in my iPhone. Actually don’t look at those because they’re embarrassing. I hope one day we can make this work again if you’ll have me back? I have news for you…

Remember that post in May about me not knowing what the future holds? Photos Tagged was just the beginning of an eternity of uncertainty and “Um, Now What”-ness. Drama queen alert, it was only two weeks and not an eternity (but it might as well have been). Since then I’ve been tagged in pictures playing sand volleyball, pre two-stepping, visiting Houston for a bridal shower, an Africa themed going away party, and living it up at a Spazmatics concert (one of my most favorite things to do in Austin). 

I stand by what I said. In that post I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to know what my future photos tagged would look like. This is not out of fear of losing my tan, no, this is because life is exciting through transitions. Transitions are pressure pressing, faith testing, plan messing, and new questing.

Lol, Plan Messing. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve recently been asked “So, what’s next?” I wouldn’t need to find a career, I could retire at age 22, and I could fulfill my dream of owning a luxury RV to drive across mainland United States and Canada. THAT’S how many times I’ve been asked. I never really had a definite answer but it was somewhere along the lines of, “Well I’m not sure, but I do know I want to stay in Austin. I’m going to find a job away from Concordia for a little while and live the graduated, real-world, go to sushi dinner in my work pants life.” (I didn’t say the work pants thing, but I was almost always thinking it.) Yeah, it was exciting. Yeah, at least I had that part figured out. Yeah, no I didn’t. God got some good laughs in and has since then made it known to me that reality is actually going to be opposite of what I had planned. I am embarking on His plan.

How far are yall willing to Chase Chachy? You chased me through Costa Rica, so hopefully you’ll have no problem chasing me to Michigan. I’m moving to Michigan! I’ll be working as an Admissions Counselor for Concordia Ann Arbor and I am so excited to get started. I will elaborate to yall some of my biggest fears, highest anticipations, and maybe a geography lesson because I’ve been getting a lot of, “Wait, where’s Michigan again?” For now, I am taking suggestions on ways to change my irrelevant header from “college, Costa Rica, and cliché things”. “Comm Graduate, Career, Catch me me if you can” ? “Career, Cold weather, Can she do it” !? Suggestions are accepted. 

Photos Tagged

Hey y’all, I’m back. Quick, over-simplified recap: I’m back in America safely and happily, I quickly visited home in Wisconsin, drove back to Texas, and graduated college.

My last guest has left Texas. This afternoon I dropped my same-faced little brother off at the airport. After I drove back down to Austin, it wasn’t even two days before my best friends from high school flew down for a fun-filled five days. A few days after their visit, the graduation guests including Grandma and Grandpa, Dad, Mom, 2 brothers, my sister, and my brother-in-law began trickling into town. I have been in euphoria, reacquainting myself with my favorite city and letting friends and family in on what my life has been. Now everyone has left, and my weeks of constant recreation and over-stimulation have come to a close. I guess you could say that about my last four months. I guess you could even say that about my last four years.

Last night, I went through my tagged pictures on Facebook. The Communication major in me likes Facebook least of all social media I use (#Twitter4lyfe), but after last night I’ve realized how thankful I am for it. Particularly because of my photos tagged. As I clicked through I felt a longing for the excitement each day of adventure brought in Costa Rica. I smiled as I associated memories along with nights out with friends and student activities throughout my Concordia years. I reminisced on who I went into college knowing, who I went through college meeting, and who I’m leaving college loving.

What if four years ago… when I was a senior in high school without a clue of what the future would hold, I could take a glimpse at all my current photos tagged? I would have been able to see all the stages of Apartment 1912 which I called “home” for the last three years. Why did I wear that on the first day of school? These friends of mine are the most beautiful people I have ever seen. Wow that looks like a cool restaurant. When did my brother get so tall. Wait I’m going to live in Costa Rica?!?

What if right now… I could go to my Facebook and look at all of the photos tagged of me in the next four years ahead? Wait, I’m living where? Wow, so thoooose are all the jobs I’m going to have. Thank goodness I haven’t cut my hair yet. Maybe that shirt is a new trend or something… I can’t wait to meet that person! Oh, so everything is going to be okay.

Yes, Rachel, everything is going to be okay. Just like when you were in high school and didn’t know you would be moving to Texas. Just like when you were getting on the plane to Costa Rica. Just like when you’ve just graduated college, and you’re sitting at Starbucks blogging, and your cute-pie little brother was the last guest to leave Texas.

I am glad I didn’t see those photos tagged four years ago, and I don’t want to see them now. Even if I think I am able to make my own plans and determine my own life, I know God laughs and says, “Ha! Rachel. Are you kidding me? I have something way bigger, and way different, and much more special in store. Don’t even try to guess your future photos tagged.”

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Recent(ish) Happenings

Recent(ish) Happenings unblogged about are as follows…

 Abi’s Mom and Aunt came to visit and we had a blast showing them around the city of San Jose, bringing them to Hospital de Niños, touring Universidad Veritas, competing in that 10k I told y’all about here, and spending the weekend in Manuel Antonio. They brought a little piece of home to all of our hearts.Image

As mentioned, we spent a weekend in Manuel Antonio (on the Pacific side) and it was one of my favorite beaches to date! We did the whole hostel life again (instead of hammocks it was super “Camp LuWiSoMo”), and I’m really inspired to attempt to maybe eventually pull off the look of a “hostel girl”. We’ll see.ImageImage

Doc’s wife and daughter were in town the same weekend we were in Manuel Antonio, and one night we all met up to meet them and have dinner!Image

We have been entertained by the host family time and time again. Amanda and I went out with our older sister one night spontaneously, getting ready in 20 minutes because we had been at Burger King getting ice cream with Dani and Jose. Jose made me carry him piggy back style for 3 blocks, but it was okay because I’m buff and he weighs 3 lbs. Mama Tica continues to encourage our desire “para bailar” and still loves making boyfriend jokes. My five year old “nephew” is the cutest thing my eyes can comprehend (see March 9th’s instagram), even when he wakes me up early on the weekends by way of nurfgun-to-the-face. Its funny to live with a family again, having to “make sure you’re home for dinner” or dealing with “little brother heckling” are foreign concepts in good old Apartment #1912 in Austin, Texas. Just sayin, this lock on my door does not go unused.

The power went out one night, and here, that means its gone for at least two hours. Cue the Pintrest style candle holders! It was almost a really bad thing because I had a huge test the next day, but Jose gave me like an hour long massage (bless his HEART) and I did swimmingly anyways on the test, so it all worked out.Image

I have been attending this church up the street from me called Iglesia El Olivo. You would not know that it was a church from the side of the busy road where it perches, right next to the KFC, but this place is so special. The people are unbelievably kind and welcoming and they worship God with all that they have. I have grown to love singing and praising in Spanish. The melodies are the same but the words are all new, and as I translate while I’m singing. When translating, God is constantly communicating to me, “See Rachel. Everyone in My family is different in the languages they speak, in their style of worship, and in the country they live. But the content of the messages I communicate is same for them as it is for you.. That I am your Savior, that I died for you, and that I love you. The words are different but the meaning is the same.” Seriously can not wait to hang out with these people in heaven!

FINALLY a member of the Fanny Pack Ownership AssociationImage

Shina, Amanda, and I had a Thrift Shop Friday Roommate Day in San Jose a couple of weeks ago before departing for Panama. It was LOVELY because we join in the city scramble and hustle every morning rushing to El Hospital de Niños and midday rushing home for food and classes or meetings or Bible Study. That Friday, we got to take our time, let our noses decide where we would eat lunch, chased gringo pigeons, licked on some POPS ice cream cones, and laugh at each other trying on crazy things in the second-hand clothes stores. I actually had a stroke of luck with two tank tops and a long… tweed feeling… plaid skirt. We’ll see where the confidence is as when that thing gets worn.

Last weekend in San Jose there was a festival called Transitarte. It was a festival in the middle of downtown where four parks within blocks from each other hosted concerts and food trailers, and tons local artists sold their work. Aka, Transitarte is Chachy heaven (very “First Thursday” for all you Austinites.) We checked it out Friday night to listen to the music and returned again Saturday to explore the vendors’ tents. May or may have bought some souvenir gifts…

PUBLIC APOLOGY. I wrote in an email to my biddy Adriana how I have become the person I never wanted to be… an inconsistent blogger... **international student catastropheeeee!!!!** Yall would not believe how insane the month of February has ended and the month of March has been! Just kidding, I’m sure you can believe it because don’t all of our lives seem to be stuck on Fast Forward? These Recent Happenings are instead Recent(ish) Happenings because this post was drafted 10 days ago.

Expect higher frequency for my remaining three weeks… oh my lanta three weeks?! Where is the remote control? PAUSE. STOP. REWIND. SLOW DOWN. SOMETHING.

Panadamonium

Panama Pandamonium. I have had a lot of inner conflict this week about my lack of blogging (sorry Britt), but half of that is due to the fact that we took a trip to Panama from Saturday to Tuesday. It was Panadamonium and I’m going to tell you why. (The other half of the week is unaccounted for… If anyone can find it let me know. Why is time flying?)

Panadamonium. This was our final trip through ISA, and we left early Saturday morning to begin our 7/8ish hour bus ride to the border of Panama. Drugged up on the provided Dramamine to prevent charter bus motion sickness, we crawled off the bus into the drizzle. Fanny-packed and knot-bun on top of my head, I didn’t enter just a different country, I entered a different world. The Border had a lot of convenience stores filled with crackers, raw meats, and $1 toothpaste (bought some). With Rihanna’s new CD, Unapologetic, bumpin in the streets, I couldn’t find a bathroom for the life of me. I was doing the gotta-go dance along with the -cant-help-but-dance-to-hiphop dance. It was hard enough not to just pop a squat as I carefully balanced walking across the plywood bridge over the river that divided Costa Rica and Panama. Eventually I paid a dollar to go in a Chinese restaurant, when they should have paid ME to use that thing. The Chinese restaurant owners, like Rihanna, were Unapologetic. I guess I’ll call it even because Chinese fortune cookies have treated me nicely throughout my life. Eventually they permitted our herd into the country of Panama, and away we went.

Panadamonium. About an hour later we arrived to the water taxi station that would transport us from the mainland to Isle Colón in Bocas Del Toro where we stayed. It was there that I met Julio, who later asked me to marry him so he could move to America. My Spanish ain’t the bomb but I know a proposal when I hear one. After respectfully declining, we got on our little boat and I dripped with both glee out of excitement/love for boat rides and dripped with water because I accidentally sat in the only seat that would get wet. We arrived to our little island and walked along the main drag to our trusty hotel, Swan’s Cay. Promotors flocked our group with flyers for that night’s happenings and what we ought to do if we wanted The Ultimate Bocas Experience. Upon arriving to trusty Swan’s Cay our friend Todd, Amanda, Abi and I threw our bags down and set off for an island jog before dinner. We were about 10 minutes in when a group of local kids playing in the street decided to run with us/race us. The children ranged from size 1 foot tall to 5 feet and squealed with delight as we ran through the streets. I squealed with delight because it was basically as magical as the scene from a movie. Super cute.

Panadamonium. There were a lot of interesting people on the island. The combination of locals with vacationers was a hilarious mix. Its funny because by day 4, I would walk down the main drag and every 30 feet I’d be waving to someone I had already met. There was a man on a bike with a pet squirrel, I two-stepped to an Elvis song with a UT graduate, chatted with Australians in Spanish (Spanish with and Australian accent… top 50 funniest moments of life), fished with locals by way of string and some free shrimp heads, gave high fives to by standers during my runs, and had a dance battle to reggaeton with the DJ in a Lakers jersey. The best part about traveling for me is the people I meet along the way, and Bocas certainly did not disappoint. We also went to a little concert at a place next to Swans Cay called the Book Bar, where the Comic Hamburgers (?? I think was their name) were performing. They were actually pretty good and weren’t even offended when I accidentally called them the “Cosmic Cheeseburgers”. They knew one country song, Wagon Wheel (typical), so they played it for us and we turned the Book Bar into a two-steppin dance hall for five minutes. Another magical moment.

Panadamonium. So really, we almost did not make it out of Panama. It was raining for about 83% of our stay which is not ideal for a four day stay on an island, but never the less it was unforgettable. Because of the weather on top of a cold front moving through all of Central America, the waves were bigger than usual. This did not stop the boat tour agency from taking us out on our tour Sunday… but maybe it should have. We loaded on to a rinkerdink 12 person boat and set off for some dolphin watching, snorkeling, and island hopping. We had to cut the trip short because it started pouring while we snorkeled and the waves were so strong they were pushing us way off shore. Amanda and I figured this out the hard way when we looked up from our masks and panicked friends were screaming our names from the dock. We saw some sweet fish, though, covered in colors I never knew existed! We loaded back into our boat, shivering and soaking, and set off for the hour long commute back to our Isle Colón. Tom Hanks may not have been present and we were each others’ “Wilson’s” instead of volleyballs, but I described this trip in an email to my parents as “the potential filming for Castaway 2,” and I am not playin yall. I love being on boats, I’m not scared of water, and seaweed doesn’t freak me out. But when you’re in the middle of the ocean, the waves are higher than your boat and crashing just before they reach you, and the group is making the decision of “which island should we swim to and meet at if we go overboard?!!?” YOU’RE GONNA GET A LITTLE SCARED. The guy driving the boat was just smiling his little head off as he drove the boat in the back and watched us get pummeled with salt water and scream at the waves, but there were times I glanced back and saw some glimpses of fear in his eyes. When we made it to land I mentally kissed the ground because my shakey legs wouldn’t let me do it in real life. There’s a video on Sami’s camera to document this, I’ll be sure to post it if or when possible.

What I learned in Panama; there are 2.5 major things. The first .5 thing is that I love making up freestyle raps. I already knew this back in high school but I had forgotten until Shina, Amanda, and I stayed up late as we laid in our beds dropping rhymes and beats. A whole thing I learned/realized is how much I love this group I’m here with from CTX. We have become a family, and we share so many unforgettable memories with each other that will always make me smile for as long as I have a memory. I’m don’t know what I’m going to do when I no longer see them each and every day. Studying, eating, traveling, living, and being with the same people all of the time has potential for some catastrophes, but we grab the reigns and ride out catastrophes together like a little boat in the middle of the Caribbean during a rainstorm. The third thing I learned was only an opportunity that came because of the rain. “Rainy day” “Clouds” and “Storms” are all similes used for bad situations and negativity, but the storms of Panama are what brought about some of my warmest memories. One of these is from Monday morning, when it was raining particularly hard, we had a long devotion as a group and Doc shared his life story. We talked about the difficult things in life, the thorns in our flesh, that God gives us to maintain focus. The rain could be seen as a thorn as it prohibited me from getting my tan on, seeing more islands, and almost capsizing. But without the “thorn” of rain we would not have had the devotion, keeping us focused on our purpose no matter what country we are visiting or living in.

“Rain is a good thing.” Luke Bryan is so profound AND he can do the Dougie (seen it with my own eyes). I have a friend who lived in Costa Rica during this “winter” and she said it rained every single day. They have two seasons here, summer and rainy. We have been hit with sunshine everyday for the first two months so we were due for some thorn-in-flesh storms to keeps us focused. Rain is a good thing in Panama, in Costa Rica, in the United States, in any country. Rain gives life, and it makes our pandemoniac sunny day schedules come to a halt and forces us to slow down. Its on rainy days that we take time to refocus so that when the pandemoniac days start back up again, we won’t drown in them.

Mark 4:41b “‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him.’

IMG_4140The Border.

IMG_3923Crossing the border into Panama on this super sturdy bridge.

IMG_3934Dysfunction from the start.

IMG_3978Money on my Mind” Literally, had to figure out another currency as Panamanians used “Balboa” coins in their change.

IMG_3989Polly

IMG_3996Got a plastic bag on my head, but don’t call me a plasticbaghead.

IMG_3999We found love in a rainy street

IMG_4012Shoppin and show stoppin, Abi and Amanda

IMG_4025The Main Drag

IMG_4035Cliché lovey water pic with Kels

IMG_4047Squirrel man…… was nuts

IMG_4066

Oh yeah…. this happened. Lol forever

IMG_4070Group pic! <3