Thursday, July 31, 2008

The transition begins

It's hard to believe that I have been in America for a week now.
Just a few days ago I was living it up with my mom in France.

Now that I am back though, I am thoroughly enjoying my double-size bed, automatic coffee maker and guacamole.

I also love seeing and hanging out with all my fun friends who I have missed so much.

Road trip with La and Hay.
Fish fry with Cla.
Dinner with Connie.
Lunch and cupcakes with Amanda.

Such fun times.
I really am blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.
And I can't wait to see the rest of you!

I wanted to let you in on the biggest happening of the week

(besides finally getting a pedicure)

I bought a car!!

I feel so relieved.

So excited.

So... adult.

I love having wheels again.

It makes me feel ultra American.

And for now, I think that is a really wonderful thing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From the Edge to the Lime Green Couch

I put Emily on a plane this morning.
And instead of mope, I decided to take a trip through memory lane.

If you think these pictures make us look silly....then you're right on.

Laughter was never in short supply in Via Ricasoli.
Nello, the Japanese girl and myself made sure of that.

This may be boring to most, but to a particular few they may capture the essence of one fantasically fun year.
Forgive me as I reminisce...

The shelves that became legendary.
Here they are seen in their infant stage.

Being fabulous at ALL times.
Making Tyra proud.

Embracing new countries.

Always knowing the cool scene and keeping track of attractive Italians.
Collective total: 3

Being the most excellent tourists.
We always managed to find the hidden wonders.
And only got cultural on the "museums are free" days.

The things that took place in Via Ricasoli...Dance parites, Mallow ball, the "Can we borrow an egg" night.
Trouble all around.

Stalking each other from a distance.
And the power stance.

Battling the odors of Italy one nose at a time.

Waaaaay back at the beginning.
Another time, another place, another Via Ricasoli.

Sleeping in tight quarters.
Embracing wall to wall pink satin.

Hungry? Stubborn? Unhappy? --don't know
Hilarious? --absolutely

Playing games with our cameras.

Imitating our fabulous teammates.
The inspiration here will remain nameless.

Senior pictures at all major historical landmarks.
St. Francis was so patient with us.

Stealing things from cemeteries.
Not being able to breathe from laughing so hard.

Winter bike rides with friends.
Harmonizing our bike bells.
And again...the camera games.

Allowing each other to feel comfortable in our American skin.
Oh, and road trips.

Parties. Dresses.
Not to mention... big heads.

Late night ridiculousness.
The Blue Chair trio strikes again.

Braving all kinds of Italian weather.
From blistery-pooh to the three-showers-a-day heat.

Partying like Italians.
Wine and plastic dixie cups?

Corporately buying into the Tuscan dream.
Grape harvesting and offering our free manual labor.
The day "Suckas" and "Rrrryan, pieno!!" were officially born.

And the bookshelves as they matured.
It seems only fitting that our year together be "bookended" by this well-loved masterpiece.

As I sit here in a blue chair with one fan pointed directly at me, I am missing you girls terribly.
My heart is full of the laughs we shared, the difficulties we overcame, and the true friendship we experienced.

I am about to go wash my feet in the bidet in your bathroom.

I am thinking about you and praying for you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I don't want to say goodbye, I want to say "ci vediamo"

It has started.

The goodbye process.

The bane of my existence these past few days.

How do you wrap up two years of your life, say "ciao" to the most amazing people, and pack up an entire apartment in four bags?

I want to do it well.

Process the lessons.
Think through the goals and priorities that the Lord has placed in my heart for the future.
Pack neatly.
Cry at all the right moments.

But, it is impossible.
Transitions are messy.
I think and reflect and process like a turtle.

And so, my goodbyes are lame.

I can't express how much and how deeply I love these people.
Not amount of hugs or bacis will let them know how they have impacted my life.
My words fail me in this crucial moment.

Maybe in October or November I will be able to adequately explain the blessing it has been to live and work with these sweet friends.
But until then, I am a whirlwind of emotion.

Wanting one last laugh.
Fighting off inevitable tears.

Let's forget the goodbyes.
Let's just say "ci vediamo."

More "see you laters" are coming my way.
But two of the biggest have already happened.

What will Via Ricasoli be like without you, Kel, for the next two weeks?
The blue chair is going to be so lonely.

And who will I turn to with all my life questions, Italy frustrations, and sarcasm now that my Stint buddies are gone?
I miss you Turners.
And I am praying we live on the same cul-de-sac some day---just so you know.