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Posts from the ‘Life’ Category

New Girl’s DC

New Girl’s DC

You may have noticed I haven’t posted on here in a while (almost a year).  Check out my current blog-of-the-moment here!

Adventures in Ohio

The last time I posted it was November of last year and I was writing from Žilina, Slovakia.

At that time, I had no idea where I was going to be come January 2012, but Dayton, Ohio was certainly the last place I expected to go.  (My thoughts were more along the lines of NYC, Boston, or DC … Especially DC).

Now, I’ve been in Dayton for seven months, and am getting ready to leave.  (Guess where I’m going)!

And I haven’t written a single post about Ohio… until now.

It’s been a difficult seven months – Dayton’s been a much harder place to get used to and to connect in than I ever expected it would be.  However, like most things in life, downs have ups, dark clouds have silver linings, and it’s the rain that makes rainbows possible.  (Does anyone have a better metaphor for that last one? It’s a bit too cheesy for my tastes O:) ).

I’m incredibly thankful to have had such a wonderful group of colleagues to work with here, a fantastic roommate (and a sweet dog and five pet chickens), and people who have been happy to share their friends with me.


I’m looking forward to moving on to a place I think I’ll be able to stay in for a while.  DC will be my fifth “state” in the past ten years (what?? and that doesn’t even include being in Slovakia!), and I’m looking forward to being much closer to home, family, and friends.

Believe it or not though, I will miss Dayton, Ohio (at least a little), and am certain I’ve made (at least a few) lifelong friends here, and that I am thankful for.

*A Day Off in Žilina

In between a couple of weeks of city visits, final camp preparations in Žilina, the arrival of the American teams tomorrow, and the beginning of KECY on Saturday, today is a day for us interns to rest.

Here are just a few pictures (using the hipstamatic app on my iPod) from my day off.  Enjoy!

1)  After sleeping in, I went to Coffee and Co. to spend some time reading and journaling:

2)  Then I walked around Zilina for a little bit:

3)  I ended up at McDonald’s for lunch, believe it or not.  They have a Caprese salad advertised that looks really good, and “American-style” salads (with lettuce) are hard to find.  Of course, when I got there, I decided to try the Caprese burger instead, which was the first McDonald’s hamburger I’ve eaten in a realllllllly long time.  Two bites in and I realized why I never eat them.  Oh well, maybe next time I’ll get the salad.  Regardless, this may be the nicest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen:

Later on, after dinner, Mindy, Miriam, and I went to get zmrzlina (ice cream, but more like gelato) from the lower square.  Mindy and I both got new shoes today.  Miriam said we look more European now, ha:

All in all, a nice day.


My bags are packed!  I’ve still got a long day of traveling ahead of me tomorrow (drive to Raleigh, fly to New York, 6 hour layover, fly to Zurich, fly to Vienna, drive to Slovakia… good thing I like traveling), but Slovakia is finally getting close!

Before I leave, I want to share a little information about where I’m going and what I’ll be doing over the next week or two.

Geographically, Slovakia is located in central Europe, south of Poland, north of Hungary, east of Austria and the Czech Republic and west of Ukraine.

I’ll fly into Vienna on Wednesday, where I’ll meet up with the other interns and team members.  Our first destination is Žilina, a beautiful city in north-western Slovakia.  I’ve been to Žilina many times before, and I’m really looking forward to being back there.

After Žilina, we’ll spend some time visiting the cities and youth groups that we’re working with to hold KECYs (conversational English camps for high school students), and we’ll head to Czech Republic for training and team building with the teams from other countries that Josiah Venture works with.  (To learn more about Josiah Venture, check out their website here:  I’m looking forward to meeting the other interns and reconnecting with old friends.

Check back later this week for more!

*Seattle Top 10

Before I get too far away from Seattle, I want to do a “farewell” post for the city.  This is my own “Top 10” of the people, places, and experiences that made my [just over] three and a half years there great!

  1. Seattle Pacific University:  SPU is why I moved to Seattle and where I spent much of my early days in the city.  SPU’s MA-TESOL program was excellent: great professors, great classmates, pretty campus, and I felt like I left the program very well-prepared for teaching English.
  2. Coffee:  I wouldn’t have made it through grad school without coffee, and really no post about Seattle could leave this out.  From the original Starbucks (and 200 other locations throughout the city) to local favorites like Zoka Coffee, Caffe Vita, or Java Bean, you’re never far from a great cup of coffee in Seattle.  Even better than that though is the fact that coffee-holism is completely accepted (and perhaps encouraged), and a dire need for a cup of coffee at 3:00 in the afternoon is understood.
  3. Microbrews:  While I’m talking about beverages, I think I became a bit of a beer snob in Seattle.  I learned that I love hoppy beers like IPAs and I definitely prefer a pale ale or amber to a lager or a stout.  Some local faves of mine include Mac & Jack’s Amber Ale, Manny’s Pale Ale, and the Elysian’s Immortal IPA.
  4. Rain:  Seattle’s reputation is not undeserved!  Although it rarely downpours in Seattle, many months of the year are characterized by a slow, steady drizzle.  The rain gets old, but even Seattle’s gray clouds are not without silver linings:  A) Your plans are never ruined by rain; you plan for rain.  B)  If you’re too busy to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee on one rainy day, you’ll have another opportunity tomorrow.  C) Two words: rain boots.  D) Seattle’s sunny days more than make up for the gray ones!  When the sun comes out in Seattle, the city is truly one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever visit!
  5. Blue Sky Church:  Despite the gray sky often seen in Seattle, Blue Sky is easy to find just across Lake Washington in Bellevue.  I found the church shortly after I moved to Seattle and absolutely loved being a part.  Blue Sky values deep relationships and community among its members, and I made some truly amazing friends there!
  6. Kaplan:  Returning to #1 on this list, I moved to Seattle to learn how to teach English.  During my second quarter at SPU I landed a job teaching English to international students at Kaplan, and it turned out to be one of the best jobs (and some of the most fun) I’ve ever had.  I’m incredibly thankful to have had a job where I loved going to work, got to meet many awesome people from literally all over the world, and made some great friends both among students and coworkers!
  7. NSCC:  After teaching for a few years at Kaplan, I had the opportunity to teach at North Seattle Community College.  I enjoyed getting to do things like choosing my own textbooks, creating a syllabus, and coming up with quarter-long projects.  Even more than that, I loved teaching both the international student population as well as immigrant and refugee students.  I also had some pretty rad coworkers there.
  8. Riding the Bus: I know, I know… Seattle’s public transit system is not the best.  I’d probably give the city a B-, and I’m an easy grader.  (Not in class, of course).  Regardless, this was the first time in my life that I lived in a city where you could get by without your car, and I loved it!
  9. Ballard:  Cupcake Royale, Conor Byrne, La Carta de Oaxaca, The Matador, Old Town Ale House, Java Bean, Golden Gardens, King’s Hardware, The Majestic Bay, my apartment… I’ve written about all this before; need I say more?
  10. Fremont, Queen Anne, Wallingford, Capitol Hill, Greenwood, Green Lake, Mountains, Boats, and Water…: Okay, perhaps that’s a little much for #10, but the point is that Seattle is a city made up of distinct neighborhoods and is surrounded by extreme natural beauty.  Snow-covered mountains, sailboat-covered lakes, tiny craftsman homes clustered on the hills around the city… I loved every day in Seattle, and I’m thankful I had the chance to live in such a great place!


If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll notice a totally new design and title.  (Or lack of title, really).  If you keep following, you’ll probably see more design changes and hopefully a title at some point.  I had all kinds of things I wanted to blog about, but I wanted to get the design and title down first.  I still haven’t had any grand ideas, so I’m just going to continue blogging without.  If YOU have a great idea for a title, PLEASE do share.

The title of this post, *Changes, refers to more than just the blog though.

In the last week, I have officially left Seattle.  I’ve been home in North Carolina since Saturday night, and I’m leaving for a South Carolina, Georgia, other-side-of-North-Carolina road trip tomorrow morning.  Check back later for stories and pictures.

When I get back from my road trip, I’ll have less than a week before I leave for Slovakia (wow)!

Between now and then, I hope to do a few blog posts about Slovakia, but also about the end of my time in Seattle and things I’ll miss about that lovely-yet-rainy city.

*best. snow day. ever.

It snowed today!

It was also snowing yesterday when I walked out of church service.  However, whereas yesterday I was less than happy about the snow, today I fell in love!

I was pretty excited when I saw the snow from my living room window this morning, but I didn’t really want to go out in it.  I kept checking the Internet hoping that classes were canceled, but when it was really time to leave and the school was still open, I finally ventured forth.  It turned out to be a great day.

Only 9 of my 27 students showed up for class #1 of 3.  We had a nice, laid-back class, and then I went to #2.  (Don’t think that I don’t enjoy all of my 27 students.  It can be a bit to manage though, so it was nice to have a smaller number for a day).  Only 4 of my 15 students were at my second class, although a few more straggled in throughout the first 15 minutes.  I made the decision not to follow my lesson plan for the day, but to instead look for examples of the grammar we’ve been studying in videos online.  We were watching a clip when the screen suddenly froze and an emergency alert appeared on the screen, announcing the close of the school in another hour.  With so few students attending already, I decided to let my students go ahead and go home.

On my way home, I swung by Fred Meyer to pick up a pair of gloves and a couple of picture frames for the living room.  (This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and finally have had the motivation to do since my roommate Jessica and I are hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday.  I also got new curtains last week).  When I got home, I needed to go to the post office, so I put on my new gloves, grabbed my camera, and decided to go for a walk.

I headed to the post office and then wandered around the neighborhood, trying to capture the snow.  I don’t think I succeeded very well in that, but I did enjoy taking pictures.  (I used to spend a lot of time taking pictures, but it seems like teaching has taken over that lately).  I’ll post some of the pictures later on.

I spent a good deal of the late afternoon/early evening on the couch, reading books and doing a little bit of lesson planning/school work.  Later, my Jess and I decided to go out in the snow to one of the pubs nearby, hoping to meet some more people who live around us.  (We both have lots of friends in Seattle, but it’s always nice to know the people who live around you, and frequent the same places you frequent).

We saw that Conor Byrne, an Irish pub down the street, has all-day happy hour on Mondays, and decided to go there.

I don’t really know why, but I really, really, really love being able to walk down the street to a pub (or restaurant, or coffeehouse, or bus stop, or bank…) instead of driving my car to a parking lot.  Believe it or not, it was really fun to walk in the  22 weather, wind blowing snow in my face, to go to a local pub and make friends with people there.  Our bartender, Ryan, was really cool and we had some good conversation with him.  We also met Matt and Nat, and I discovered that Matt grew up in Fuquay-Varina, a small town in NC just south of Raleigh.  (Not too far from my hometown).

We stayed there for quite a while before heading back to the apartment, since one of Jessica’s friends (Mica) was on her way over to crash on the couch.  (She was hanging out with some of her friends in Ballard, and couldn’t figure out how to get back to her apartment in Greenwood because of the snow).  Now, I’m back on the couch, cozy in my Cozy (like a Snuggie, but comes with a remote control pocket on the front), relaxing with Jess and Mica, listening to good music, and typing while they knit.  Will there be another snow day tomorrow?  I don’t know, but I won’t complain if that cold, wet, white stuff is still around tomorrow!