Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Choir Tour

We left Bethel at 5 a.m. Monday morning, drove to Chicago, and boarded a plane for Seattle. We arrived sometime in the early afternoon. When we boarded our bus at the airport, we knew the week was going to be awesome because we were going to have the same awesome bus driver the entire week! MarySue! She took us to Salt Water State Park for our first taste of beautiful Washington. Even though it was freezing and our fingers were numb after being outside for only a few minutes, we toughed it out and explored the water line.

Our first concert went very well.

Tuesday morning, we traveled to Portland. It was a beautiful city. Most of us headed to Powell's Books as soon as we got off the
bus. The store took up an entire city block and was four storeys (yes, that actually is a word!) high. I have never seen that many books in one place in my life. The best part was that everything was half the price of any bookstore around here. I spent the rest of my time in Chinatown.

My friend and I were told to visit a particular Chinese restaurant, which we did. The food was excellent. After walking around, looking in different shops for a while, we went to Voodoo Donuts, which apparently has been on the food network because of its unique donuts.

I was boring and just got a regular donut (the best donut I've had in my life!), but same was adventurous and got the voodoo donut.

After our concert, three other girls and I stayed with a school teacher and a college professor that night. The husband had fun teasing me. Surprise.

We spent the entire morning traveling back to Washington on Wednesday. The long bus ride gave us plenty of time to see the beautiful mountains.

We did stop at a beautiful waterfall along the way, though, called Multnomah Falls.

By the time we arrived at the church that evening, it was basically time for us to begin rehearsing for that night's concert. One of the guys in our choir had to go to the hospital because of an infection in his hand. Before leaving for tour, he had visited a doctor because his hand had started swelling. That doctor said that it wasn't an infection. Several doctors later, he found out it actually was an infection stemming from an accident that had happened in high school. He made it back in time for the concert, but was only allowed to sing his solo. That night, we stayed with a sweet widow from the church.

Thursday morning, Chuck went in for his first surgery. They made an incision and left it open so the fluid could drain out. He was told that he might have to have up to two more surgeries before the infection was completely gone. We left Chuck, his fiancee, and sister in Moses Lake and went to Davis High School in Yakima and sang for the high school choir, as well as any other students interested in listening to us. One of the teachers at this school used to be in the Bethel Choir several years ago. She had an awesome time showing us off to her students. After singing, we were given the afternoon to peruse the town. Another girl and I headed to an authentic taco place and had wonderful enchiladas and pineapple juice. We spent the rest of our time looking through the several antique shops the town offered. That evening, we sang at a church that just happened to be next door to my host family's home. They had several horse, donkeys, dogs, and cats.

Friday morning, we headed to a town on an island called Oak Harbor. While we were traveling, Chuck was having his second surgery on his hand. To get there, we had to cross a 900 ft. long bridge set 180 ft. above the water. MarySue dropped us off before we reached the bridge so we could walk across.

It was very cool to look out across the water, but it was sooo high.

After we had crossed the bridge, we were able to walk down some trails to a rocky beach.

After leaving Deception Pass, we headed to the WWII Fort Casey that was built right into the side of a hill, overlooking the water.

It was so cool to walk through the fort, trying to imagine what each room was used for.

After leaving the fort, we went to the church we were singing at that night. Two Bethel alumni who graduated last year and used to be in the choir go there. My roommate and two other girls actually got to stay with them that night. We went to a bonfire after the concert, as did several other choir members and their host families. It was an awesome time to get to know each other better, learn about our host families, and relive hilarious stories from last year's choir tour.

When we arrived at the church on Saturday morning, we received news that one of the guys in our choir, Dan, had broken his leg that morning. Apparently he was paintballing, slipped on the dewy grass while running down a hill, and snapped his leg.

We delayed for about an hour, trying to figure out what would be happening with him. He was taken to the hospital on the island we were on, but they didn't have the doctors needed to treat him. Ultimately, he was taken to Seattle and underwent a 4 1/2 hour surgery to set the two places where his bone had snapped. The rest of us went to Seattle as planned to spend our free day. We explored Pike's Market and all of the shops along the piers, as well as some of the shops in the more main part of town. After several hours there, the entire group met up again and visited the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project. A few people ventured inside the Space Needle, but most of us were content to hang around outside, taking pictures and visiting the tourist shops.

We headed directly to the church in Federal Way that we would be singing at the next morning. Because our director was still with the boy who broke his leg, our choir president walked us through the concert schedule and practiced with us a bit. Then came our choir party. We had Chinese food, revealed who our prayer partners were, then gave our last gifts. Before we had completely finished, our host families came to pick us up.

Sunday, morning, we sang our last concert. It was kind of sad, knowing that all of the seniors would be leaving us and moving on with their lives, but also exciting because the long week was drawing to a close. After a delicious taco salad lunch provided by the church and more cookies than I have ever seen in my life, we headed to the Seattle airport. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to MarySue, but she gave us all her email address and facebook name, so we can still keep in touch with her. She definitely made the entire week a blast. We left the two sick members, as well as three others, in two different towns in Washington. They were all able to come home today. Our flights on Sunday were uneventful, though a bit bumpy at times. We arrived at Bethel around 3 a.m. I'm pretty sure all of us crashed as soon as we hit our warm, comfy beds.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I finished my last final this morning! Even though I'm done with spring semester, I don't really feel like I'm done. Maybe because I'm leaving for choir tour this Monday and starting May term the following week?

This year for choir tour, we're going to Washington and Oregon states. This will be my first time in that part of the west coast, so I'm pretty excited. Here is our concert schedule:

May 3 at 7 p.m.:
First Christian Church
11717 Southeast 240th St.
Kent, WA 98031

May 4 at 7 p.m.:
Holladay Park Church of God
2120 NE Tillamook St.
Portland, OR 97212

May 5 at 7 p.m.:
Lakeview Missionary Church
810 Evergreen Dr.
Moses Lake, WA 98837

May 6 at 7 p.m.:
West Valley Missionary Church
11107 Wide Hollow Rd.
Yakima, WA 98908

May 7 at 7 p.m.:
Family Bible Church
2760 Heller Rd.
Oak Harbor, WA 98277

May 9 at 9 a.m.:
Steel Lake Presbyterian Church
1829 South 308th St.
Federal Way, WA 98003

We will also be singing at a few elementary and high schools throughout the week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I had the opportunity to be a part of several chapel services this semester. Not all of them are archived, but here are two of them.

Semester Abroad Chapel - 2/5/10

Seth Bartlette - 2/15/10

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On April 3, my best friend asked me to marry him :)

Peter was at my house over Easter break, except that he had to go home on Good Friday to help with his church's Good Friday service. While there, he picked up a ring he had been looking at. Although he was originally going to wait until early this summer to ask me, he decided he couldn't wait that long; there was also the risk of losing it somehow in the end of school transition. Sometime during that weekend, Peter asked me if I wanted to take a walk with him Saturday night around sunset. I love walks, so there was no protest on my part. Saturday night after supper, I asked him if he was still interested in taking a walk. My brother's fiancee decided that was a good idea, so she talked him into taking a walk into the woods. Poor Peter. That was exactly where he was planning to take me. After a while, he suggested we take a walk through the field to Grandma's house. As we were walking out the door, he asked me if I had a small plastic container. Of course I was rather confused, so I asked him why he needed one. "I just do." Being the submissive person that I am, I brought him a plastic container. He responded by asking where the grape juice from the night before was. Naturally, I'm pretty suspicious at this point. A walk at sunset. A plastic container. Grape juice?? About this time, "He's going to propose!" started running through my head. I tried really hard to suppress the thought so I wouldn't be disappointed if he didn't. Eventually, it dawned on me that he could be planning some kind of communion to go along with the Easter weekend, but I wasn't thoroughly convinced. When we finally got to my Grandma's, we heard the sound of a 4-wheeler coming through the field. Another brother and his girlfriend were in search of gas. Fortunately for Peter, they didn't stay too long. Our walk found us touring the old barn at my Grandma's place. It is over 100 years-old - the framework being made entirely without nails. Peter finally found a place in the barn that suited him. He pulled out the grape juice and a slice of bread he had smuggled into his pocket somehow. He then proceeded to lead us in a very deep and meaningful communion service. Because it was so deep, I was pretty sure no proposal was going to take place. However, as he was on his knees talking about how Jesus washed his disciples' feet, he asked me if I would marry him. Of course I said yes!

Our date is May 21, 2011.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I realized today that I am completely incompetent when it comes to cooking for less than five people. I have no idea how much food people will eat or how big of a pan to use. Today, I made spaghetti for three people ... I debated over what size pans to use for at least five minutes. It was also the first time in my life that I have never used an entire pound of hamburger for one meal. It was so strange.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The little brother of one of my friends who went to the DR with me was killed this morning in a car accident. Please, please pray for Brittany and her family.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Please pray for my cousin!

My cousin, Rhonda, works at an orphanage in Mexico. Yesterday, they received a threat from a drug cartel asking for a large amount of money. If they don't get the money, they are going to take it out on the people at the orphanage!

Please pass the word along and pray that God would have his hand on the situation and no one would get hurt.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I don't feel like anything exciting has happened in the last few weeks. Maybe it's because life was so spontaneous and carefree in the DR .... I've been filling my time with classes, work and rehearsals. The spring musical, Jane Eyre, is in a few weeks. The music isn't very hard, but it's really pretty. I haven't been able to go to very many rehearsals yet because of my skiing class (same night/time as one of the rehearsals). This week was my last time skiing. The class isn't actually over until next week, but our first dress rehearsal for the musical is next week, so I won't be able to go. I ended up really enjoying skiing. The first week wasn't so much fun because I really wasn't getting the hang of it. However, the next week Peter became my personal coach and got me onto all but the black diamond hill. I have to say that the ski lift is probably the scariest part.

This week, the first Beacon issue of the semester came out. I had to relearn all of the software, but luckily, it didn't take too long for me to remember how to use everything. This semester, along with the paper copy, we're putting the newspaper online. Unfortunately, it's only accessible using a Bethel account on a computer that is hooked up to the Bethel network. We're still trying to figure out exactly how to use the site and make it do what we want. Our most current issue is being able to list the correct author of the article. Right now, the website automatically lists the author as the person who uploaded the article, which ninety percent of the time isn't correct. This has caused some frustration with the correct authors who aren't getting the credit they deserve for their story. I spent quite a while this morning sending out emails, assuring writers that we weren't trying to plagiarize their stories, we're just trying to work out glitches. It isn't the most fun position to be in as an editor, but I suppose it is a learning process.

On Wednesday, I took my student teaching interview. I didn't feel extremely prepared for it, 1) because I wasn't able to go to the interview prep session they offered and 2) because I've been away from education classes for so long and have somewhat lost the lingo. However, through finishing my education portfolio and talking through interview questions with some of my friends who were also being interviewed, I was able to review enough that I felt fairly comfortable going into the interview. I knew both of the interviewers, which also helped quite a bit. I have no idea when I'll find out if I've been accepted.

Slowly but surely Dori and I have been decorating our room. It is turning into quite the ethnically diverse room. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Goodwill and bought a bunch of nice frames; later, I printed several black & white photos from the DR and hung them above my desk with the Goodwill frames. Dori has several wall hangings from other countries as well as a few artifacts her parents are letting us borrow. Last night, we decided we wanted to make a world map out of fabric to go on the blank wall beside my bed. This morning we got up early to go to Goodwill in search of sheets that would be appropriate for the project. It was 5 degrees when we left! When we got to the store, we realized it didn't open until 9. I wasn't really awake, so I went back to bed for a little while before my alarm clock threw me into the world of the conscious.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've completely neglected blogging for the last month, as you can all see. The last time I posted, I was 9 days away from leaving the Dominican Republic. A lot happened in those 9 days: I had to say goodbye to all of my students, friends and Dominican family. The closer we got to our leaving day, the quieter, more withdrawn and depressed our mom became. She sobbed herself to sleep the night before we left. Our last meal together, though tasty, was very hard to enjoy - we were all dreading the goodbye. When Josh came to pick us up, our mom made it very clear to him that she didn't appreciate his visit. After a lot of hugs and tears, we made it out the door. I have to say, our ride back to the base was the most depressing ride of my life. I had really been looking forward to going home where I would be able to see my family and speak my language and eat my food. But I guess I had never really considered how hard it would be to leave my Dominican families, the culture I had grown to appreciate and love more than I knew, the language that forced me to analyze every word, the worship songs that allowed me to look at God from a different perspective.

Luckily for all of us depressed students, Josh & Vicki were one step ahead of us. They helped us process and relax by taking us to a resort for the weekend. It was a wonderful time. Not so much because of the beach, pools, and endless food, although that was cool too; more so because we were able to spend so much time together again as a group. It was also a good way to ease back into American culture since most of the people there were wealthy Americans. It was a bit strange at first to see so many white faces and hear so much English, but it didn't take too long to get comfortable.

Upon returning to the base, we spent a day debriefing by discussing our semester and thinking through the stories we would want to share with our families when we got home. One night, we had our very own Midnight Breakfast (a Bethel tradition each semester before finals - students dress up and the professors serve breakfast at midnight). We played games, dressed up, ate awesome waffles that Vicki made, and ended the evening by writing notes of encouragement/appreciation to each other. Our last day, while exchanging pictures, we managed to spread a virus to all of our computers. We spent most of the afternoon running scans and downloading antivirus programs. That evening, we went to a little restaurant and had ribs while watching a slideshow Brent put together for us. The next morning, bright and early, we loaded our bags into the trailer and headed to the airport. It took quite a while to get all of our paperwork filled out, our price for overstaying our VISAS negotiated (we were technically in the DR illegally for three months), our bags weighed and checked and our last goodbyes said. Our flights were pretty uneventful. The blast of cold air that greeted us as we stepped off the plane in Chicago let us know that the next three months of our lives were going to be very, very cold. Peter surprised me by riding the Bethel bus to the airport. He hid in the back of the bus until we had been driving for about five minutes. It was a very pleasant surprise :)

Coming back to Bethel and seeing all of my friends again was also wonderful, but not as wonderful as being home and spending time with my family. I played more rounds of Dutch Blitz in the two and a half weeks I was home than I think I have in my entire life (that may be a slight exaggeration, but it was a lot!). I spent the first week at home, enjoying doing nothing. I made my family Dominican spaghetti and tostones, which they really enjoyed. My brothers were thrilled with their machetes that I brought back for them (7 in two suitcases - I'm surprised I didn't get stopped at customs). I was able to go to both of Peter's family Christmas gatherings. We had a little gingerbread house making competition between the two of us at one of them; I'm pretty sure his L-shaped house beat my one room shack, but mine had more candy on it! He was also able to go to my two family Christmas gatherings, which was pretty cool. We spent New Year's Eve at my house. Our evening consisted of eating food and playing poker. At least I watched the ball drop this year. Before heading back to college, I made beans & rice and a Dominican potato salad for my family. Most of them seemed to enjoy it :)

And now, here I am, back at Bethel. I've had two days of classes thus far. I think I'm really going to enjoy this semester, even though I'm going to be super busy. I'm getting out of my comfort zone and taking percussion ensemble and downhill skiing this semester. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy percussion, but after going to rehearsal on Thursday, I think I can safely say it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm just hoping downhill skiing will be the same. I turned in my student teaching application today. I can't believe I'm already to that point! It's kind of scary to be thinking of that step in my life already, but it's approaching quickly. I requested to be in a South Bend school, but I won't know where I'm placed for quite a while. I will be playing for the Spring Musical again this year, which airs the last week of February. Practices start next week. I found out today during choir that we will be singing at Woodburn Missionary on March 21st! I'm pretty pumped about that since I know a lot of people who go there and it's so close to my house. One other thing that I'm pretty excited about is that I have a least one person from our DR group in each of my classes :D I'll be working for the Beacon again this semester. We will be switching to an online edition shortly, which I think will make things easier as far as formatting goes. Plus, I can work from my room!