Monday, May 6, 2013

Laughing in Chinese

Well, a week from now, I will be in China. CHINA. I can't even fathom that. I feel so unprepared and so excited all at the same time. Being immersed in a new culture and a new world is thrilling.

The only thing I know how to say is "Hello" (Ni Hao), "help me" (Bong wo), and "My name is Kaitlin" (Wo Shir Kaitlin). So, that should get me far... Hopefully, the pictures of words I took on my iPad will come in handy.

Trying to pack is the one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I used one of those vacuum bags that you can vacuum the air out of, but I didn't think about having to get all of those vacuum packed clothes back. Praying that there is a vacuum in the dorm I will be staying in. I assume they have vacuums right?? I have packed half of my tshirts and running shorts and half of my semi-cute clothes. Do I go for comfort or cute? I DON'T KNOW. (You never know when you'll meet your  husband-- airport, study abroad student, etc.).

I  also keep acting like I'm going to a third world country when China is probably more high tech than America. It is the fear of the unknown that completely freaks me out. Trusting in God is a must when partaking in an adventure like this. I pray that he gives me peace and that he opens my eyes to things I would not have otherwise seen.

Three weeks is quite a while. I have no idea what I was doing three weeks ago. I'm sure I will get homesick and miss the time with my family and friends, but I know it will be the experience of a lifetime. I want to come back to America and be completely changed forever. I think that's when you know it was a successful trip. I'm not okay with missing my brother's high school graduation or my best friend's birthday, so this experience better be worth it. I'll bring them back awesome gifts from the authentic Chinatown.

Life is too short not to take risks like this. It can be very scary, but all of the best roller coasters are. I'm ready for this really wild ride. Maybe I'll even learn how to properly laugh in Chinese while I'm there. It's a goal of mine.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Some Other Beginning's End

It's Dead Day/Study Day here at UNA so naturally I haven't studied at all. I've eaten a lot though. So, that's good. It's a bittersweet day. It's a day of rest, but also a day of work. It's a day of the end of the semester, but also the last dead day for so many of my dear friends.

Life is about beginnings. It's also about endings. I don't like the endings, but they do always seems to lead to really beautiful beginnings. This semester has been more than stressful and has thrown me several curve balls, but I got through it. I conquered it, and man, that feels good. God was always present to conquer it for me, even when I didn't acknowledge Him.

This year, finals mean more than just grades to me. They mean finalizing one of my last years of college and leading to the very last year of my undergraduate career. It's been such a beautiful time here and I'm not ready to let it go, yet. I'm thankful that I have another summer and another year to give to UNA and accept the blessings it gives me daily.

What will the summer entail? What will senior year be like? These are questions God already knows the answer to, and for once, I'm not going to try to figure them out. I'm going to live in the moment and let this ending unfold to another beautiful beginning. I've learned that life is so short, and people are so precious. So, I want everyone I come in contact with to know that and to know my God. If that happens in the next year, it will be the most successful of all 20 and a half years of my life.

What an adventure this year has been. So much heartache, struggle, and sadness, but so much life, love, happiness, and learning in the midst of all the little storms. God is good. People is good. Life is good.

Ready for life's new adventures to start now. Let's go.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


University Unites
Prayer in schools has been an issue as long as I can remember. It is uncommon to see large prayer groups while walking through a college campus, but today at The University of North Alabama, a large group of students stood in the middle of campus to pray for a beloved professor.

Dr. Larry Nelson is known by every person on UNA's campus and he is loved by all. He is a history professor and a mentor. He teaches religious classes and holds Bible studies for all types of students. He  welcomes students into his home with he and his wife.

UNA Family Comes Together 
Dr. Nelson was in a car accident on Monday April 29 and returned to class shortly after. After complaining about a headache, his wife and daughter encouraged him to go to Hellen Keller Hospital where doctors found a tumor on his brain and rushed him to Vanderbilt Hospital in Tennessee.

At 1 am Monday night, over 50 students gathered at the amphitheater to pray for Dr. Nelson and praise God. The same thing happened on Tuesday at noon. Students walking by joined in to pray for a man that some of them know as a friend and some had only heard of.

Tweet, Pray, Share
Social media sites were full of prayers for Dr. Larry Nelson and his family and updates were sent out every few hours to be reposted by students and faculty. It was amazing to see what an impact one man has made and the influence he has had on the faith of the students. He openly expresses his love for Jesus Christ and he and his wife use the campus as a mission field.

The tragedy that this man is going through is causing a revival on campus. I think that proves that God uses his strongest soldiers to further His kingdom. He has touched the lives of thousands of students over his years as a UNA professor. He has come to be one of my dearest friends, my mentor, my adopted grandfather, and a role model. I honestly cannot imagine UNA without him and Miss Verlie, but if God wants him home, then I know he has done far beyond enough for UNA. He has furthered the kingdom of God and lived life as a true Christian and follower of Christ. I have no doubt that he will see the streets of gold if God calls him home. 

For my selfish reasons, I hope that he does not leave us yet. I can only hope for many more "edifying gatherings" at his home with he and Verlie. I continue to pray for his healing, but also for the will of God to be done. Ultimately, God will be glorified and our hearts will have peace. Thank you God for sending Dr. Nelson to UNA to fire this campus up for you! Life is all about adventures and Dr. Nelson's journey has been a long, fun ride. I am glad our journeys crossed paths here on earth. So glad.


Perhaps She'll Die

It was just a regular, beautiful day at UNA, and I was giving a tour of the lovely campus. The family was great, it was perfect weather, and it was a great last tour of the semester. It could not have gone any better.

The family got to see the fountain, the lions, and all of the lovely people at UNA. We were near the end of our tour, about to go to the residence halls when I felt something in my mouth. I wiped off a black speck and thought to myself, "I didn't eat breakfast since I was late so what is this?" I looked away and wiped something else off my teeth. Guts. Bug guts. I WIPED BUG GUTS OFF MY MOUTH.

I continued to be awkward and apologize. I explained that there was a bug in my mouth. The mother laughed and I had to decide whether or not I should spit in front of this family or just swallow my pride....and the bug. I swallowed the remainder of the bug. Yep, I swallowed a fly. What's that old nursery rhyme? "I don't know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she'll die." Yeah, I thought I would die.

I continued on with the tour and acted as if I had not just swallowed a fly. The only thing I could think to make myself feel better was that it was protein. So, on Monday, I had a fly for breakfast. Not waffles, not cereal, a fly.

Maybe I should learn to refrain from talking constantly so that my mouth can close for a few seconds. When it stays open, it's a huge entrance for the rest of the flies buzzing around that I didn't swallow yet.

But hey, at least I got my protein for the day and made the mom on the tour laugh a lot. What's life without a few weird mishaps every once and a while??

Tow Up

Well Saturday began in a rather adventurous way for me. It was not the good kind of adventure either.

I woke up to a call from a friend of mine saying, "Kaitlin, your car is literally getting towed right now." I responded by saying, "Like it's literally being towed?" I then jumped out of bed with no contacts in, pajamas on, hair similar to that of a lion's mane and sprinted downstairs. I still had drool on my  mouth from my slumber, also.

I walk out of my dorm to find a tow truck hooked up to my car. While my car was in fact parked illegally, I was not exactly pleased with the situation. I asked the cop if there was any way to stop the towing and she said, "Ask the tow truck man." Ok, well thank you for your help Shaquanda, I thought to myself. I proceeded to ask him and learned that I had to pay a $45 service fee for him coming out to tow it (even though he didn't) along with a $20 ticket and a $30 ticket.

Now I was fine with an illegal parking ticket, but the fact that I have to pay a ticket for blocking a fire entrance that firetrucks cannot even fit down is a bit bizarre to me, but hey I'm not a police officer so I don't get to make rules.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had to sprint to the ATM in the student center to get money since I had no cash. Considering I had a fro and drool all over me, the dumb, cute, sad blonde thing didn't work for me this time.

After I waited for my car to be unhooked from the tow truck (not sure why I didn't at least video it), I went to park my car. I expected there to be plenty of parking, like the cop said, since there were not many people here on the weekend. Oh, but don't you worry, the honors bands were visiting UNA and all parking was taken up, including illegal spots. Cars were parked directly in front of signs that said "Do Not Park On Curb."

Were they towed or ticketed? Why of course not. So, I pitched my fit on the phone to Christy and finally found a spot. I then went back to sleep and decided to start the day over. Emotionally, I was just tow up.

Adventures of Kaitlin at its finest people.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The World As I See It

Ok, so if you have followed my blog, you know I have changed the topic of my blog like 4 times. I'm sorry. That's annoying. I went from stories about my life to making fun of my own life to my opinions on the world to my different adventures. After thinking about all of the things I jumped around to, I realized they all told the story of my journey through life, so there you go.

We all have a life, correct? So, that means we all have a journey! That's so cool to me. Not ONE PERSON has the same journey as someone else. Life is so beautiful and has so much to offer, so we need to go out and EXPLORE, even if that means just exploring in your hometown your entire life. One small town has a lifetime to offer. Most people say you should get out and explore the world, which I totally agree with and totally want to do, but not everyone has that opportunity. So make the most of YOUR journey!!

With all of that being said, my blog from now on will tell about my journey. For those that read this, you are a part of my journey and I want to be a part of yours too. I love to hear about the life journey of everyone I meet. I love people and I love the intricate details of every life. I want to see the world through the eyes of others, and I want others to see the world through my eyes whether I spend my entire day on campus or I travel to China for three weeks.

It's a huge world and while I want to see it all, I think it's important to take it one day at a time, since we are not promised tomorrow. God already knows when my journey will end, so I have to trust that the people I meet through my journey and the places I go are all leading up to the end of the journey, which will end with the huge finale of Heaven with Him!!

I've already had quite a journey so stay tuned to see what else is in store for my little world.