Week 1: Preparación para la Escuela, Pan y el Panecillo

Hola a todos!

Updates

I made it to Quito with few slip-ups. At the Chicago airport, my carryon bag had to be inspected because of some suspicious item. The culprit—my MCAT books. Luckily, I got the books back once the security knew that they were indeed books. When I arrived at the airport, my host mom and sister greeted me. After we got home, my whole host family— María and Javier along with their children María Laura and Mateo (both in their 20’s)— ate some delicious soup. The rest of the night I unpacked and slept.

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Welcome to Quito!

The next day was all about rest. Quito is the highest capital in the world, and altitude sickness is quite common here, especially if you jump right into sight seeing. Besides relaxing, my host mom did take me on a short walk so that I could see some of the popular cafes students like to hang out in after school.

On Thursday, all the international students at USFQ had orientation. In order to get to school, I have to take two buses. While they are not that complicated, Quito is a busy place; the buses are even more hectic. That being said, even though you have to be aware of your surroundings, most of the people in Ecuador are genuinely nice. On the way back from school, I sat by this old man who I think told me his life story. To be honest, I don’t know what he said because the bus was loud and he was soft spoken. Anyways, he was so sweet, and he was excited that I could come to Ecuador for the semester. Back to orientation. We learned a lot about health and safety while in Quito, we got a tour from the Ecuabuddies team—a student organization that helps plan events and trips for the international students so that we can learn more about Ecuador and the culture—and ate some delicious lunch. More on food later. The campus is lovely and the people who help make the international program possible are so kind and helpful. I start classes on Monday, and I’ll make sure to take some pictures of the school soon.

On Friday, I actually had a chance to see some of Quito. In the afternoon, a group of us went to Quicentro Shopping, which is a really nice mall in town. After that, we took a taxi to el Centro de Quito and drove down El Calle de Siete Cruces, a street with seven churches that are all lit up at night. I can’t wait to come back to el Centro de Quito during the day, so that I can tour these break-taking churches. Our main destination was El Pancillo, an enormous statue of the Virgin Mary with wings conquering a serpent—a representation of a scene in Revelation. This statue and all of Quito is lit up at night, and all of it is unbelievably beautiful.

A Detour on Food

I was very interested to see what the food would be like in Ecuador, so I thought I would share what I have been eating most days. So far, breakfast consists of coffee, some kind of croissant-like bread with cream cheese or jam, and fruit. They have a ton of fruit in Ecuador, so I have a lot of tasting to do. Lunch and dinner have been pretty similar. Normally it is meat with rice and a side of vegetables. The diet here in Ecuador is pretty much the complete opposite of what I normally eat at home. Typically, I eat tons of vegetables and fruit. Here we eat tons of bread and other starches. I can’t really complain, though. While it probably is not the healthiest diet in the world, all of the food here has been delicious. And if we are honest with ourselves, I think we all can agree that fresh, buttery bread tastes better than spinach.

Family Life

My family has been very nice and welcoming. At first I felt a little out of place because I didn’t know the level of interaction I should have with them, but now I am getting the hang of it. If I want alone time, I can have it. If I want to explore the city, I can do that. Also, if I am bored and want to just watch tv in my host parent’s room with my host mom and sister, I am welcome to do that as well. It is definitely a process trying to adjust to a new family, but I am learning.

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The view from my house

Fun Ecuadorian Facts

Some things I have learned so far: greetings and traffic. It is very common for people in Ecuador to greet you with a hug and a kiss on the right cheek. I was prepared for that, but I am still getting used to it. Then for traffic, drivers—not pedestrians—have the right of way. Needless to say, I have to be very aware of cars here. I can’t just walk in the street like I do at school and expect that people will stop.

 

So far I am really enjoying Quito. It is quite different than Wisconsin, but it is a very vibrant place to live. I can’t wait to explore Ecuador more!

Esto es todo para ahora. Hasta pronto!

Hannah

¡Voy a Ecuador!

¡Hola a todos!

In four short days, I will be boarding a plane to Quito, Ecuador! For four months, I will be studying at the University San Francisco de Quito, taking classes (most of which will occur in Spanish) ranging from Spanish literature to research with a professor about various public health problems. To be completely honest, I feel mostly excitement and peace about the situation…maybe that will change once I actually land, we will see. I am extremely grateful that I know all three of the girls from my school who are also studying abroad in Ecuador. We are all flying together, so even if the flights give us trouble, I will not be alone. Furthermore, I have been in some contact with my host family that I will be living with. While I have not personally met them yet, they seem like wonderful people, and I am thankful that they have so graciously offered to take me in for the semester.

Even though, I feel positive about this experience, I am trying to brace myself for the challenges that will inevitably come my way. First, my Spanish reading comprehension and writing capabilities are relatively strong. However, I know very well that my listening and speaking skills are lagging. I know that once I am faced with all Spanish, all the time, I will be overwhelmed and exhausted. Also, for those you know me, I love my routine and consistency. For example, I would be perfectly content eating oatmeal with peanut butter and banana every day of my life given the opportunity 😉 . Once I step off that plane, though, my old routine will be gone—I will have to adjust to different food and mealtimes, school dynamics, and family interactions.

I think all of these challenges that could present themselves are the reasons driving me to go Ecuador. I want to be pushed with my Spanish skills so that I can come back fluent. I want to disrupt my routine so that one, I can work on becoming more flexible, and two, I can better embrace a new culture. Finally, I am really interested in seeing how I adjust to the challenge of living in a third world country, especially since I’ve been privileged to live in a very nice part of Wisconsin my whole life. Also, since I am fascinated my medicine, nutrition, and public health, I am excited to learn more about the health disparities in Ecuador, especially through the research program that I am doing.

So that is a little preview of what is going through my mind right now as I prepare to leave. I will do my best to post on a regular basis, for those who are interested in hearing about my life in Quito. I do not know what my communication situation will look like once I am in Ecuador, but anything with wifi should work: Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, etc.

¡Hablamos luego!

Hannah

I’m Leaving the Country in 3 Weeks

Someone please tell me how we are already at the end of July? How? My summer has been a mash-up of work, studying for the MCAT, volunteering as an interpreter for a free medical clinic near my house, along with boring other errands and doctor’s appointments. Luckily, I have been able to spend a little time with both my high school and college friends, so my whole summer has not been work. Some friend highlights include getting “The Beast”—a 10 scoop sundae— at a local custard shop and going the first of my college wedding.

However, with all of this hoopla going on, I have seemed to forget about something… Oh yeah, I’m leaving the country in three weeks to study abroad in Ecuador. The past few days have been a wave of emotions. First, I was straight-up overwhelmed and anxious. I started making an extensive packing list, and I still have not really started tackling this list. For the record, I hate packing. It is so overwhelming that in the past I have usually ended up shoving random clothes into a suitcase just so that I can be done with the packing process. I probably should not take this course of action for this trip, though. The anxiety came from not knowing who my host family was. I was so nervous to know who I am going to live with for the next 4 months. Will they accept me and embrace me as one of their family members? Will they be kind and welcoming? I just kept praying and praying that I could get matched with a loving family.

Now, I am in a more positive emotional state. I am still overwhelmed with packing. I do need to take a bit more care when packing to go to a third world county. I need to think about what medicine to bring, ways to purify water, and other items that might be necessary to have for my overall health and well-being. I am a lot more excited, though, because I now know who my host family is. They are a family of 4, including two children in their 20’s. My host sister and mom have already been in some contact with me, and I am getting the sense that they are very kind, safe, and welcoming people. I still do not really know who they are because the first time I meet them will be at the airport in August, but I have a good feeling about this family.

So in a nutshell, I am excited to meet my host family, packing is overwhelming, and I’m slightly concerned that I will get sick from the food/water at some point. Oddly enough, I haven’t been that concerned with the idea of speaking Spanish the whole time. I guess I will see how that goes once I get there.

¡En tres semanas, estaré en Ecuador!

Hasta pronto,

Hannah

Life Updates: Future Travels, Current Favorites, and Career Goals

Easter break already! I’m not going to lie, I’m very grateful for this long-weekend break. Seeing that it has been a while since I have posted, I thought I would do a light-hearted update blog for those who are interested.

New Passions

Social Justice

My experience with service while at my college as well as my love for Royal Family Kids Camp has shown me how passionate I am about social justice issues—ranging from the environment, to foster children, to health problems. I realized that I just can’t sit still when there is so much hate, pain, and suffering in the world. I’ve learned that I not only need to educate myself about these issues, but also do my part to be a positive change in the world.

Public Health

I’ve been in this confusing state of not knowing what I want to do with my life for a while know. I always knew that I wanted to go into the medical field, but nothing was really clicking with me because I felt like most medical careers didn’t really encompass my other passions (the new one being social justice issues). Then I stumbled upon a dual degree program that allows participants to get their Doctorate of Medicine and Masters of Public Health in 5 years. I know it seems like a lot of school, but I can’t see myself not incorporating public health into my career. With a public health perspective, I will be able to view health problems on a societal level, rather than an individual level. While I will still be treating patients, I also have the opportunity to look at overarching health problems within a society and figure out solutions to these situations. Specifically when getting my MPH degree, I could see myself specializing in environmental health because the environment—the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe— is so crucial to our health, and I want to be an advocate for this important issue.

Favorites

Podcasts

I’m a newbie when it comes to podcasts, but I’ve realized how amazing they are! Specifically, I have been listening to them when I go for runs because they are entertaining, but also informative. My favorite podcast at the moment is Ladies Who Lunch by Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes. I love this podcast because they discuss a wide range of topics: feminism, relationships, mental health, LGBTQ issues, etc. The conversations are very open, honest, and nonjudgmental, which I really appreciate.

TV Show—The Fosters

This show is so intense, but I love it because it brings awareness to so many issues—the challenges teen foster children face being at the forefront. Kids need stable, loving homes, and without them, they are more likely to be influenced by gangs, drugs, violence, and even sex tracking. Like I said, the show is a lot to take in, but it addresses real issues that could spark conversations that lead to change. I can’t believe I have to wait until July for the new season to start…

Exciting Adventures

Edinburgh, Scotland

In May, I will be visiting my friend who is studying abroad in Scotland! This is my first solo travel trip and my first time to Europe, so I am very excited 🙂

Quito, Ecuador

I am very excited to announce that I will be studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador next fall. The plane tickets are bought, so it is official. I am so excited for this immersive experience. I know that this experience will both be exhilarating and exhausting, but I am ready to witness a new culture and step outside the bubble I currently live in.

 

I think that is everything… School is going well! Only 4 more weeks left I think. I enjoy all of my classes (even physics), and I truly couldn’t ask for better friends and professors. They have shown me so much love, support, and encouragement, and I am extremely grateful to be at this school.

 

Lots of love,

Hannah

A Lesson in Humility: A Recap of My Children’s Medical Trip

Before embarking on this Children’s Medical trip to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, I couldn’t help but create expectations for what I wanted the trip to be like. I wanted to spend one-on-one time everyday with sick in-patients, giving them joy, hope, and encouragement. I yearned to hear stories from the families about how they were dealing with the stress of having a sick child so that I could offer a listening ear and an empathetic heart. What we got instead was little patient contact and a lot of filing, copying, and stuffing of envelopes.

The reality of this trip was so drastically different from what I envisioned, and for a while, I was bitter. I knew that other Children’s Medical trips to Iowa and Tennessee were having a very different experience than we were having. I realized, however, that I was being selfish with the service that I was willing to offer. As the week went on, my group discussed how we could all benefit from a dose of humility. We came to serve this hospital. No service (administrative or patient care) is below us. With that notion in mind, our group was able to enter the hospital every day with positivity. When we got to do arts and crafts or play games with smiling children, we cherished those moments. Other times when we were doing paperwork, we tried to use that opportunity to learn more about the behind the scenes jobs that need to get done in order to make the hospital run.

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This trip was not what I expected at all. Despite the challenges we faced, I have many memorable moments with my group. My favorite child interaction was when I was running “Art Cart” for the out-patients. I saw a little boy running around, and his dad looked exhausted, so I decided to see if I could harness his energy. The little boy and I began playing a modified form of Red Light Green Light. Soon other kids were joining in, and we played this game along with Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, and whatever other games I could think of on the spot. Needless to say, the kids had an endless supply of energy, and I definitely got my cardio in for the day.

My other memorable moment was making dinner at the newly built Ronald McDonald house. This facility was beautifully renovated. It is clean, cozy, and comforting for the families who stay there. Plus, their dog Mac brings a smile to everyone. On Thursday night, we decided to make “Breakfast for Dinner” for these families since we heard that many people were sick of eating pasta or chili. After getting a tour from the wonderfully dedicated maintenance man, Ernie, we whipped out the red and white striped aprons and got to work. We flipped pancakes (topped with your choice of chocolate chips, bananas, and/or sprinkles), scrambled eggs, fried some bacon and sausage, and even made cookies. It was a great feeling knowing that we could provide a home-cooked meal for these families. I am so thankful that Ronald McDonald house exists because if I had a sick child, the last thing I would want to do is worry about where to stay or what to eat. Here, the families can just focus on being there to support their children at the hospital. I’m so glad to have been able to serve in such a wonderful facility.

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Finally, my group was filled with funny, kind, and positive people. Before we began our service at the hospital, we bonded by rock climbing to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. Luckily, no bones were broken—just one scraped up leg resulted. Later we bonded further by cheering on the Packers at Buffalo Wild Wings, even though we were surrounded by dedicated Dallas fans. Luckily, the Packers were victorious, so we were able to leave with our heads held high. Whether it morale boosting Baskin Robbins runs, murder mystery podcast listening sessions, or intense games of Uno attack, our group couldn’t have gotten along better. Even when we were disappointed at times about our service, we were able to laugh it off and face each moment with the positivity needed to get through the week.

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So no, this trip is not what I expected it to be, but as a result I grew in my ability to lead, adapt, and remain positive in unpredictable circumstances. I was challenged to volunteer selflessly and humbly, realizing that we were helping the hospital no matter what type of service we were giving. I was able to bond with my wonderful group and meet some of the nicest people with Southern hospitality, such as Margie from church who cooked us a meal for free, the men from the simulation center with their passion and enthusiasm, and Blake from the research center who was so excited to educate young adults like us. Even though this trip didn’t go as planned, I can still walk away feeling accomplished in the ways that I served others and built relationships with the people I met.

 

Reunion with My Long Lost Childhood Friend!

Date: Sunday, January 8, 2017.

Time: 3pm

Location: my toasty warm room

It was just a normal Sunday for me and my family. I woke up, read my bible, worked out, went to church, and ate brunch at the Original Pancake House. We had returned from brunch and I was just laying in bed trying to “help” my mom order pictures via Walgreens. All of a sudden the doorbell rang. That’s not that unusual. I just let my mom get it. It was probably some kid selling something, right? What do I hear, though? My mom was yelling, “Hannah, it’s Madhu!!!”

Madhu—as in my childhood neighbor and best friend who I have not seen in over 10 years standing here at my door step. I was amazed, elated, and completely in shock.

Let me back up to when the story all began. My family moved into our house back when I was 4 years old. Maybe around a year later, Madhu and her family moved in. I was an extremely shy child, and I hated interacting with new kids, but Madhu immediately was ready to play. She loved our swing set and plethora of toys. While our dog scared her slightly, she came over to play with me almost every single day. One of my favorite memories was exchanging riddles with one another (nerdy, I know haha). Soon enough, I realized that Madhu was an amazing, bubbly friend, and I took the initiative to start knocking on her door after school to play. Honestly, when I think back on my childhood, I remember these times with Madhu.

Sadly, her dad got a job in New Jersey, so when I was about 10, she had to move away. Madhu and I had to say our goodbyes, but I had her new address, so I wanted to keep in touch with her (this was before I knew how to use social media). Soon afterwards, I lost her address information, and needless to say, I was devastated. I had no way of contacting her. Years later, I tried finding her on social media, but I couldn’t find her because I didn’t know her full name. She was just Madhu back then.So that was it. My friendship with her was over.

Or so I thought…

Now more than ever, I believe that God is up in heaven orchestrating miracles large and small. I never, ever thought I would see Madhu again. What are the odds that she comes back to Wisconsin to visit after all these years? How did she have the bravery to ring our doorbell not knowing that we would still live here? How is it that not only I was here to see Madhu, but also my mom, dad, and brother? Think about it. Sure I am on break, but normally I am at work at this time. Also, I almost decided to try to go on a Nicaragua trip rather than my children’s medical trip to Arkansas. Had that been the case, I wouldn’t be at home right now. I would be in a different country.

I truly believe that it was not a coincidence that Madhu stopped by today. I almost cried out of joy because I was so happy to see her, even if it was for only 15 minutes. I’m so thankful for even this short time to see her again, and now I have her contact information so that we can keep in touch from time to time. I know years have passed since we have seen each other, so I don’t expect this one reunion to make us instant best friends, but I am so happy for the chance to be able to communicate with her again.

God is so good. He never ceases to amaze me that is for sure.

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Lots of love,
Hannah

My Teenage Years Are Over…

I woke up this morning and realized that it was my birthday. It was like I somehow had forgotten that this day was coming even though I had been thinking about this birthday for a while now. The fact that I am 20 hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s crazy to think that I have been alive for two decades.

Twenty years is long time to be alive, but it feels like these past few years have especially flown by. Even though time it going by quickly, it’s so amazing to see how God has been working in my life. Firstly, he allowed me to find some of the best, most compassionate friends I could ever ask for in high school. They constantly ground me in my faith and they challenge me to live a Christian life with more authenticity. Secondly, God has blessed me with such a supportive family. My senior year and even now at times, I still feel at odds with my parents, but the more I am away at college, the more I realize how much they unconditionally love me. Family is something that I cannot take for granted, especially after spending so much time with foster children. The older I get, the more I realize how precious having a family really its.

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My brother and I this year as we searched for the ideal Christmas tree.

I’m especially grateful for the past year and a half that I have had at college. God has allowed me to learn more about myself and what I am passionate about. I have had the opportunity to partake in a lot of mentorship roles both with college freshmen and with children at a local elementary school. I’ve also been mentored in a way by my professors who are always there to support and encourage me. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better college community.

So now I am here, at age 20. I really have no idea what my future holds, but I’m eager to see what opportunities God has in store for me. I’m excited to see how my story unfolds as I learn how to trust in God more fully. I’m at a place where I really want him to do whatever he pleases with my life instead of me trying to plan every moment of my future. I just know that ultimately I will find the most joy by following God’s will for my life.

As far as birthday plans, I really have none. My parents and I are going to go out to dinner (the restaurant is TBD) and then later we will have Dairy Queen ice cream cake because that is a family tradition. Otherwise, I am just going to rest, read, and relax with my cat (who never leaves my room since I keep it so toasty warm)!

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Sleeping Beauty

I hope you all have a lovely day! Stay warm 🙂

Lots of love,

Hannah

I’m Alive!

Wow, this is the first night in almost two months where I have had nothing to do. This feeling of nothingness is so blissful– I never want it to end. Today I finally made it to the end of the semester. I had my physics and organic chemistry finals yesterday and then my genetics and theology exams today. I know, it was a horrible line-up. The timing was not ideal, but I managed to power through to the end. I’m so happy that this semester is over. Even though I have thoroughly enjoyed living with my friends and being able to spend time with them, this semester was tough. I felt as though I always needed to be on my A game because if I ever wasn’t, then I would hopelessly fall behind on my work.

But here I am. I came out on top. I don’t know how I did on my finals, but I can honestly say that I did the best that I could have given the circumstances. Also, with all of the people stressing out around me, it was so hard not to get caught up in it all. It’s so easy to get stuck in the cycle of feeling the need to succeed all the time. I used to feel that way (and I still struggle with that at times); it would cause me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep and my stomach was constantly a wreck.

If there is one thing that I learned from this semester, it’s that school doesn’t define me. I will fully admit that I am a nerd. I love learning. It’s a part of me that I love, but it can also make me lose sight of the big picture. I am here at school, not for my own good, but hopefully to gain skills to do God’s will. School is not about what information I can regurgitate on an exam or how much better I do in a class compared to someone else. School, along with the other aspects of my life, is never supposed to be centered around me. I’m supposed to be giving all the glory to God.

With that perspective in mind, I was able to get through the stress of finals. God gave me strength, peace, and wisdom to know that being at college is a privilege that most people in the WORLD never get to experience. He has given me the opportunity to learn in an environment that challenges me to think critically and to explore new perspectives. No matter how well I excel at school, I trust that God is going to use me for some greater good. I don’t have to be better than anyone else because I am already good enough in God’s eyes.

That being said, I am really excited for a much needed break! I can’t wait to relax at home with my cat (and with my family and friends). Campus is beautiful here, but it’s bitterly cold. In 24 hours, I’ll be in my room with the space heater cranked up, snuggled in a warm blanket. Nothing is better than going home. I cannot wait! Plus it’s my birthday on Friday, so that will be a fun time too!

If you are in the midst of finals, I pray that they go smoothly. Just remember that this is one small phase of your life. Don’t let these measly tests cause you so much anxiety.

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My own winter wonderland here on campus! Like I said, it’s lovely to look at (not so lovely to have to walk in).

Lots of love,

Hannah

Apple Picking Adventure

My family has a tradition of going apple picking with our family friends every fall. This tradition has been around for over 20 years–before my parents were even married! Every year, each of our families changes slightly. It’s so cool to look back at pictures from over the years to see how much we kids have grown. Last year, I didn’t have the chance to partake in this yearly ordeal since I was at college. This year, however, I decided to make the trip because creating memories and spending time with family helps me balance school’s chaos.

Early Saturday morning, I got my Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks and drove home. Then we as a family drove to our family friend’s house. There we ate lunch and watched a slideshow of us apple picking throughout the years. It was so precious! After that, we headed to the orchard. Our family filled up two baskets worth of Fuji and Golden delicious apples and ate our fair share of “free samples”– you have to try the apples to know what they taste like right? Apple picking is hard work. I was on top of my brother’s shoulders trying to pick the best apples (which were always at the very top of the trees). At end, I was extremely satisfied with our selections, and now I can eat multiple apples a day for a long time 🙂

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My brother and I like each other after all.

After picking our apples, we took some mandatory family pictures and then headed to the barn to buy delicious goodies. My all-time favorites include caramel apples, warm apple-cinnamon donuts (yes they are a gift from God), corn salsa, and pumpkin butter.

Then way too quickly, we had to pack up and leave because I wanted to get back to school–to get frozen yogurt, not to study 😉 I got back in the car and jammed out to music until I made it to campus.

Going apple picking was the kind of relief that I needed. School is really crazy, and I feel like I never get a break– or I never want to take a break. While school is important, I don’t want it to rule my life. At the end of the day, I want to look back at my college experience and remember all the the great times that I spent on adventures with family and friends. Academics is one aspect of college, but definitely not the only aspect. I was so happy to take a break from school and spend time with family friends that I haven’t seen in two years. I even got a chance to see my brother, who started his freshman year of college. It was a very full day–full of travel, full of memories, and full of food! I can’t wait to partake in this tradition again next year!

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This is one of the mandatory photos–all the kiddos need to stand by the scarecrow and measure their heights.

 

Lots of love,

Hannah

Home Sweet Home

I’m home! Well, I’m back on campus, so it’s like my second home. Words cannot describe how happy I am to be back. I just love every aspect of college– the independence, the classes, my job, my friends, and so much more. This year, I am living in a suite with seven other girls. There’s a living area, a bathroom, four bedrooms, and get this, there is air conditioning! That truly is a blessing.

My friend Kelly and I arrived on campus early for our job training. We are both coordinators for ALIVE. The goal of ALIVE is to build community and to help students explore more about their passions, callings, and spirituality. Every week, we will work in teams to put on programs in the residence halls. Our programs might be socials, activity-based, or deep discussions, and the topics vary depending on what sparks interest in our participants. I worked with ALIVE last year as an apprentice in the honors dorm, and I am ecstatic to continue ministering in the honors dorm this year.

Training week was long and intensive. Even though we had to sit through many long talks, we still had tons of time for team bonding. We went mini golfing, visited the farmer’s market, had a lip-sync battle (which I rocked by the way), etc. The people that I work with are some of the coolest individuals I know. Not only are they a kind, outgoing, and diverse group of individuals, but they are also incredibly grounded in their faith. They are such a wonderful support group for me, and I can’t wait to spend a whole year working with them.

By friday, all of my friends were moved in! I’ve missed them all immensely. We spent our night playing “Girl Talk,” a board game created probably in the 90’s for preteen girls. It’s basically a lame version of truth or dare. If you complete the tasks, you can earn points that eventually help you gain cards that reveal your future– information about your marriage, children, and career. Failure to complete the truths/dares results in you putting a “zit sticker” on your face. Needless to say, this game is hilarious and will produce much laughter and memories among us.

I start my classes on Monday, and I couldn’t be happier. What can I say, I am a nerd, and I love being one. My schedule is full, but that’s how I like it. I just have a feeling that this year will be great. I’m hoping to grow more as an individual, to deepen the relationships that I have established with my friends, and to more wholeheartedly follow God’s will for me. This year, I really want to give my life to God. I need to hand over any anxieties I have about school and work, and just trust that God is in control.

Heavenly Father, bless this upcoming school year. Give me the tools I need to succeed the best I can. Help me to be brave–to step out in faith and to be more confident in myself and in my abilities. Whenever I am stressed, help me remember to lean on you. You are my strength, Lord. Please continue to reveal your plan for me this year, Lord. My future is still fuzzy, but I trust that you will reveal this plan to me one day at a time. That being said, allow me to listen to what you are calling me to do. It’s your will, Lord, not mine. Each day, transform my heart and mind. Help me to be more compassionate, patient, and selfless. Walk with me, Lord, each day, and help me become the best version of myself. I need you, and I love you. Thank you for this opportunity to attend college for another year. It is such a blessing, and I will take advantage of every opportunity that you present me with.  Amen.

I’m so happy to be back at college. I’m looking forward to all of the memories that will be made 🙂

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This is me and some of my amazing coworkers/friends from ALIVE 🙂

 

Lots of love,
Hannah