Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Summer

~ Just a friendly reminder that once my blog reaches 50 followers, I will give away 1 free paperback copy of my book "Resistance"! ~

Well, there is only one week of summer left and then we are rolling back into autumn. Did summer 2013 go by at a slow enough pace for you...or did you feel like you were missing a month, or two?

My summer was much more intense than those of the past couple years. Some of my experiences were great and full of good memories; others, not so much.

In June, my dad, brother and sister, and I went with a group from our church and a neighboring church on a two-week mission trip to Thailand. Four of those days were spent traveling from the US to Tokyo, to Bangkok, to Chiang Mai to the youth hostel, and back alone. The other ten were spent building the boys' dorm and spending time with the kids at the hostel, which included teaching English and making arts and crafts. I did a lot of things I have never done before. Visited a Buddhist temple...had my first hand at bartering in a Chiang Mai night market...tried real Thai food...and traveled internationally for the first time in my life. The Thai mountains are simply breathtaking, and the people at the hostel were wonderful, gracious hosts. While I can't say everything about our trip to Thailand was beautiful or exciting, I can say all the saving and sacrificing for the trip was worth it. I really hope we can go back in a couple years.

None of the other photos are mine. This one IS...taken on our flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. Asian Airlines ROCKS.

The rest of June was spent recovering from jet lag and getting back into life in the US. By the way, I see parts of our culture very differently after Thailand.

July was probably the worst month of my summer. My younger sister had to have kidney surgery but stayed in the hospital a week longer than we thought she would, and my mom had to be with her the whole time. Needless to say, that raised the stress level at our house. However, not all was too bad in July...I finally entered the Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) fandom after lingering for almost a year, and I got a lot of book reading and artwork done during that time as well.

August was the most intense...and it's not even finished yet! First, I went with my dad, brother, and sister to the Global Leadership Summit conference, which was amazing, and I'm still digesting all the good stuff I learned from it. The very next week the four of us went camping for a couple nights at a nearby campground. We grew up camping a lot and it's a family favorite, plus where we live there are a lot of fantastic campgrounds less than an hour away, so it's dirt-cheap. The next week we spent a week in Chicago dropping my brother off at college. Saying goodbye was tough. I won't go into details about what that was like for me. Thank God for Facetime and social networking. Otherwise, I would probably lose it. Now holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have taken on a whole new meaning for us as a family.

Among my accomplishments this summer are:

Traveled internationally for the first time
Experienced a new country and culture (and all that that implies)
Completed twenty hours of volunteer work at a local pregnancy resource center
Attended a fantastic leadership conference
Went camping for the first time in over a year
Made a few bucks working in a restaurant kitchen for three weekends
Completed three movie marathons (the first a Disney marathon, the second an anything-goes-movie marathon, and the third a childhood-favorites marathon the day before my brother left for college)
Joined a new fandom and finally started watching the Harry Potter movies

That's a basic description of how my summer went. There are some other stuff that happened, but it would take too long to describe here.

Hopefully this fall I can catch up on online college and do some other things that I couldn't do during the summer. Most of all, I want to keep stretching and challenging myself, as I learn new things and do fun stuff with family and friends. I have a lot to be thankful for this summer, and lot to look forward to this fall and winter. My favorite time of year is coming up, and frankly, things are also looking up.

I hope everyone had a great summer.

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