Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Girls are Back in Town!

This was the first full weekend that we have all been back in Tirana. Amy is downstairs, Tracey is upstairs, Sarah's next door, Entela is 10 minutes away and all is right with the world. Unfortunately, there are no pictures to go with this post. I haven't posted since I've been back, so I figured we'll suffer through together.

Friday, we went to a good-bye dinner for one of our Marine friends. It's always fun to go to Amor and eat the yummiest pasta, this side of Italy. The four of us (Tracey, Sarah, Entela and I) dressed up thinking the plan was to go a night club afterward. We ended up at an outdoor bar instead. It was extensively large and the giant trees made it seem that someone had set up a bar in the middle of a forest. One of the reasons I love Tirana is that there are nice surprises and unexpected beauty in the most obscure places (you go back through the movie theater, head left, then back again and then voila! You're there).

Saturday, we hopped in a taxi and went to General's Beach. The water was so warm; I was thrilled to be back. We swam, I read, we ate fruit and salad and ice cream. The day was gone. We drove back and joined Amy and Travis for movie night. They had invited some of our work friends over to watch Airplane, which I laughed through (loudly and obnoxiously).

Today, I accidentally didn't set my alarm for church, but I did enjoy a couple of sermon podcasts. Then I worked, worked, worked. School is going quite well, but I suddenly feel like my work-aholic tendencies are surfacing. Luckily, I have friends who have committed to helping me stay a bit balanced. Maybe since I have a small, but very gifted class, I feel the need to push myself. Maybe I feel more comfortable teaching kindergarten. Maybe I am just sick.

Well, faithful friends and family, I'm back and I'm ready for more fun overseas adventures! I'm alive and well, though it might feel like I've dropped off the face of the earth (again!) By the way, how is everyone feeling about the pink blog? I like pink, but it's taking me some time to get used to it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


What does being an artist mean to you? Is it painting, singing, sculpting, cooking? Or perhaps an artist is a photographer, wood worker, or an author. The definition I always think of is someone who creates something. Basic, yes, but this creativity sets us apart from the apes and the asses. I admire my friends who can see a piece of fabric and use that inspiration to create a one-of-a-kind greeting card (see Michelle's blog) or can look at a piece of chicken and see a gourmet meal (see Andrea's blog).

My parents and I went to see the movie Julie & Julia. As we were exiting the movie theater my father said, "That's the key to longevity, you know. Finding a passion and living it. I'm keeping track. People who live the longest love what they do."

Today, I am recognizing my dad. It's his birthday and hence, here is his birthday post. My father is a salesman, and a gosh darn good one at that. He builds relationships with his clients, not by flashing a salesman's grin, but by living his life with integrity and honesty. I've overheard numerous conversations in which my dad takes responsibility for mistakes and manages to come flying to the rescue, regardless of the mistakes. This is my father by day. The man that the world sees. Does he love his job? Yes. He wouldn't be a Calvinist if he didn't. Is it his passion? Yes and no. His passion is creating. My father is an artist.

Ever since I was a baby, my dad has been building things for me. Every Christmas there was a new and exciting handmade toy under the Christmas tree. These toys ranged from doll houses, doll cradles, rocking horses and trains. As I grew older, the gifts and my father's ability became more and more impressive. He presented me with a magnificent sleigh bed for my sixteenth birthday. I'm always astounded by his ability to take a piece of discarded wood and turn it into a work of art. His latest pet project is a French rolling pin. My mom, my brother and I all have one. It rolls out sugar cookie dough in no time flat. (Yes, I know that is punny!)

Is this a shameless promotion of my father? Yep. My birthday wish for dear, not so old, dad is that he continues growing with his art, that he continues to live his passions. This is the great lesson of his life.