In between

This semester has been something.

An adventure.

A growing time.

A semester filled with lessons and maturing experiences. In just over a month I will be leaving Texas for the next four months to study abroad at University of Dallas’s Rome campus in Due Santi (named “The Two Saints” for St. Peter and St. Paul). It’s unbelievable, how close the time comes to fly overseas and explore ancient cities, meet Europeans, and also complete the rest of my Sophomore year.

But this past semester in Irving has been substantially illuminating, in more ways than one. I’m not sure how to put it all together in this post, but summarizing may be the best way to go about it. I took two art classes, Basic Drawing and Digital Media, and in both I learned many helpful skills involving perspective, lighting, photoshop, and design. As far as socializing goes, I enjoyed rooming with two dear friends from Founders, and also getting to know many of my classmates much better.

The course I most enjoyed this semester was Literary Tradition IV (I will take Literary Tradition III in Rome), taught by Dr. Greg Roper, whose explications of the works we read greatly enhanced my understanding of these stories. Out of all the books we read in Lit. Trad. IV, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky truly touched me, moved me with its haunting characters and thread of redemption throughout the work. I cannot stress enough how much this book should be read and reread, for Dostoevsky deflates common schools of thoughts such as nihilism and utilitarianism which in themselves are empty, worthless mindsets. He shows through his troubled character Rodion Raskolnikov the power of the cross and the ultimate grace and mercy of God. It’s a beautiful love story, a narrative of God calling out to a man diseased by sin and pride.

I also took Creative Fiction Writing and collaborated with two of my classmates on a novella, which turned out to be an entertaining and pleasurable. And lastly, I took Western Civilization II, which is part of the UD Core. 🙂

As far as personal drawing and writing goes, I put a great deal of energy into fan art and a bit of gift-art for a friend. For basic drawing I was required to draw something every day of the semester, and I used this as an incentive to draw my favorite fictional characters and couples. Ha. I can’t say much happened in my writing pursuits, sadly. I put most of my energy for fiction into the short story assignment for Literary Tradition IV and Creative Fiction Writing courses. The past two years have been pretty dry, as far as my original stories. I can’t remember the last time I pulled up my documents for Diana and Julian’s story.

Lastly and most importantly, my spiritual walk. Lately, most of my feelings and thoughts concerning my relationship with Christ and understanding of theology has been confused, unsettling, and overall convoluted. I do feel Him leading me, directing me, and I pray to Him as I mull over my doubts and questions. But one huge factor separating me from Him is my preoccupation with Denominations. That is, feeling unsure of where I belong, how I worship Him, and many other issues of doctrine that arise since I feel caught between my Evangelical background and my exposure to the Catholic church. It’s overwhelming and disconcerting, since I’ve lived my whole live believing that my upbringing in a Evangelical Free church is the only necessary precept, complete with enthusiastic praise and worship (using lots of Hillsong music), and a Sola Scriptura approach to theology. When more in-depth theology is addressed during my pastor’s sermons, he makes sure to point it out and even apologize. Whereas, theology and historically grounded doctrine is foundational in the Catholic (and Lutheran) church. In summary, my confusion has sapped a great deal of my joy and enthusiasm for actually listening to God and His call upon my heart. I feel aimless, directionless, completely stuck. I would appreciate any prayers from my readership on this blog.

Expect to see another post brimming with ridiculous, sketchy drawings that may or may not involve my recent obsession, Star Wars, cuz I’m a nerd. 😉

Back in

Whenever I sit down to write a new blog post (usually at night when *magical* surges of inspiration happen) . . . I sort of freeze up (those magical waves of creativity obviously don’t help much). Maybe it’s the subconscious awareness that so many people could potentially see what I write, and then I get all introverted, even though I can’t see those people, and I huddle into my shell. I guess this will have to change, especially since next year I will be submitting papers to my professors, which essentially means breaking down my barriers of keep-everything-to-myself!

Some exciting little things that rouse my geekier side are currently underway:

Sims 4 comes out next month. Right after school begins. Dang.

It is “Lewis and Clark month” on Tumblr, which brings joy to me daily when I see people post about some of my favorite historical guys.

SCHOOL BEGINS. Yes, I AM excited. SO SO EXCITED. Why? SENIOR YEAR IS WHY.

And then there are the BIG things.

College begins next year!

Final SAT test this October

University of Dallas Odyssey Day happens in October as well

Jaw surgery. no. no. no . . .

Preparing transcript and reading list for college

Applying and getting accepted to my favorite college

FINALLY entering some writing contests.

If I manage to get into University of Dallas, I would hopefully get the opportunity to spend a semester of my sophomore year in Rome! Rome! As someone obsessed with ancient history, anything classical, the “dead” languages (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, etc.), getting to visit Roma Aeterna is the ultimate desire on my lifetime bucket list. It would make me so happy. The campus in Rome looks exquisite, breath-taking, with this haunting sense that I would be existing where the men and women of old lived and breathed. There would be St. Peter’s Cathedral, there would be visits to Greece, to Venice, Assissi, Florence–to quote from the UD website, “all the wonders of the Renaissance.” And in addition to Italy and Greece, I will be able to travel to other countries in Europe (The UK, of course, and France, AND Germany . . .) Now I must share some Pinterest pictures of this potential destination in my future! XD

L'Opera Garnier

L’Opera Garnier

Greece

Greece

The Tyrol

The Tyrol

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Florence

Florence

Paris

Paris

Venice

Venice

the Forum Romanum

the Forum Romanum

coast of Italy

coast of Italy

Library in Prague

Library in Prague

The Alps

The Alps

Verona

Verona

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Rome

Rome

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Mt. Vesuvius

Mt. Vesuvius

Rome

Rome

 

 

Hello Seattle {Owl City}

In honor of the upcoming trip, here I post a beloved song by a beloved artist and some pinterest photos of things/places I relate with Northwestern loveliness

Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands
I fall asleep in hospital parking lots
And awake in your mouth

Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray
Deep beneath the blue waves
I’ll crawl the sandy bottom of Puget Sound
And construct a summer home

Hello Seattle, I am the crescent moon
Shining down on your face
I will disguise myself as a sleeping pill
And descend inside of you

Hello Seattle, I am a cold seahorse
Feeling warm in your sand
I sing about the tide and the ocean surf
Rolling in the evening breeze

Hello Seattle, I am an albatross
On the docks and moored boats
I sail above your inlets and interstates
Through the rain and open wind

Hello Seattle, I am an old lighthouse
Throwing beams of bright lights
Red in the morning, blue in the evening sun
Taking heed for everyone

Hello Seattle, I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands
I fall asleep in hospital parking lots

Take me above your light
Carry me through the night
Hold me secure in flight
Sing me to sleep tonight

Take me above your light (Hello Seattle)
Carry me though the night (I am a mountaineer, in the hills and highlands)
Hold me secure in flight (I fall asleep in hospital)
Sing me to sleep tonight (parking lots, and awake in your house)

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Fro-Yo! While this is universal in America, I still associate it with WA because we ate some up there with our besties and it just seems right, because it’s cold? The Northwest is cold? (though by this logic, hot chocolate would seem more appropriate, right?)

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Lighthouses! They are so beautiful! I saw my first lighthouse in WA.

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Mount St. Helens! *sigh*

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Salmon can be very delish

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Redwood trees are masters of all trees, at least as far as I know. Because I only see “bushes” around here in North central TX

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Starbucks. It started up in WA

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Aaand one of my favorite Owl City songs is Hello Seattle!

Going up

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On Saturday my sister and I leave for Washington state to visit our best-friends-since-childhood, and I can hardly wait. This means no writing for a week (no typing on the computer, that is, and therefore more procrastination. o.O

I love, ABSOLUTELY, love, the Northwest. It is such a beautiful part of the country. Last time I went in 2012, we visited Fort Clatsop, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Bainbridge Island. We went salmon fishing with our friends’ grandfather on the Puget Sound. The memories stay with me and delight me, two years later, as I prepare for a second trip north. I’m a Texan, fyi, so it is awesome when I can step out of my state and check out other states. Like last year, I took a trip to Virginia to visit PHC for a teen Strategic Intelligence Camp. And visited Monticello. (Oh my goodness, I barely contained my excitement. Visiting the home of one of my favorite Founding Fathers? I think yes!)Trip to VA 2013 055

We also visited Michie’s Tavern, but I’m digressing. We’re discussing the Northwest here. Not VA. 😛

I must say, I don’t know if I’ll sleep much tomorrow night. We’ll be waking up early, and then off on a four hour flight. Here are some pictures from my last trip, with captions! If any of ya’ll have been to the Northwest, or live there, what do ya’ll like best about it?

From my seat on the plane. Yes, we got stuck by the wing on my FIRST plane ride. Dang. #no-view

From my seat on the plane. Yes, we got stuck by the wing on my FIRST plane ride. Dang. #no-view

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Fish at Pike’s Place! For the record, I don’t really like seafood, except for Salmon, shrimp, and talapia. ONLY if it is seasoned in the right way. 😛

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We went to the original Starbucks at Pike’s Place. This is Megan, one of our Twinsie BFFs (who we’re going to visit all week!!!)

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Fish throwing at Pike’s Place!

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The market at Pike’s Place! So amazing! We got to try chocolate pasta, and bubble tea.

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The gum wall. (bleh) I’m the one holding the jean jacket! 😀

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Another pretty Starbucks in Seattle

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We tried Ivars, and I ate fried fish for the first time. The sea gulls swooped everywhere, which was kinda unnerving. Ha.

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Moar seagulls

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And we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island! I loved the feel of the boat swaying beneath my feet.

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Puget Sound and Sailboats!

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And duh, I totally met Seaman in a flower garden by the water gates in Seattle. I arranged it with Meriwether Lewis, yeah. (I wish!) But I could not believe my luck, at meeting a Newfoundland in the Northwest. Seaman! I hugged him (the owners gave me permission to pet their beautiful dog)

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A photoshoot on the railroad tracks got the four of us teen girls some publicity. A group from Texas stared at us for a while, they wanted to learn the ways of crazy Washingtonians who take photos on railroad tracks. (BUT we’re Texans! lol) See, the creeper in the background has a TEXAS shirt on!

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In a phone booth, yep

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Being from the flatlands of TX, I couldn’t get over the TREES. THEY ARE REAL TREES, NOT LITTLE SCRAWNY BUSHES THAT ARE HERE IN DFW. WUT

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I literally could not wrap my mind around Mount Rainier’s hugeness. Look at those buildings down at the bottom! That was the mountain museum, hotel, and tourist center. Even looking at this photo takes my breath away. The Northwest really has magnificence.

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I snapped a shot of this because it says CHINOOK. Like, the Chinook Indians, who Lewis and Clark stayed with during the winter of 1805-06. So of course I had to take a picture of a sign saying Chinook in this region.

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Fort Clatsop! When I beheld this sign I might have hyperventilated a bit. Because if you didn’t know, I sort of really love Lewis and Clark

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At Fort Clatsop, the national park, we went on a river walk and at lunch in a picnic area with a replica Lewis and Clark canoe. We took a land-ride.

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A blurry pic of me at Lewis’s desk inside the captain’s quarters at Fort Clatsop. Wearing a Chinook hat! *grin*

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In the tourist center museum at Fort Clatsop! Lewis and Clark!!!! 

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So after Fort Clatsop (which constituted an amazing, awesome time with my older sister’s mother-in-law, who lived in Portland back then), we hastened over to Cannon Beach in Oregon. This included walking on the sunny beach, running into icy ocean water, splashing, getting wet, walking through the small seaside town of Cannon Beach, stopping at an ice-cream shop, and marvelously enjoying ourselves. What a day!

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The next day on the way back to Seattle from Portland we took a tour of Mt. St. Helens. On the way we stopped at several tourist centers and mountainside overlooks. Here is a statue of an elk, because elk are awesome. We glimpsed them from afar as they moved around in the huge barren valley of Mt. St. Helens’ destruction. Texas doesn’t have elk. We have deer. But no elk. 😦 I want an elk

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The valley by Mt. St. Helens, still affected by the blast in the 80’s. Wow. But it is so beautiful!

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On the way to the Mt. St. Helens main tourist center we stopped inside a mountain-lodge restaurant, where we enjoyed huge sandwiches and soda, and warmth. There is Megan, and my sister Abby, and my mom!

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More mountain pictures!