Journey to Middle Earth: North Island

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As Chuck and I approached our third Christmas away from the U.S., we realized – with a smattering of guilt – that we had not gone home for a single one of them. Of course, we had made it home on other occasions, and family is always welcome to join our international excursions, but this time we made it a point to invite Chuck’s parents and siblings to join us for a road trip in New Zealand. Continue reading

Christmastime in London Town

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So, what actually got me to Europe in the first place? In my previous post, I explain how – despite having already completed my Master’s degree with GWU – I opted to audit a course in global public advocacy, which included a week-long residency in London. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!  Continue reading

Christmastime in La Ville Lumière

img_6019_20161209075428Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Asia. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to explore a continent upon which I otherwise would have never set foot, given my limitations and priorities. But after 2.5 years of exploring the nooks and crannies of the Orient, I found myself craving Western Civilization. I needed to get back to Europe…

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New Year, New Adventures

Holy smokes!! I hate being this delinquent on my blog, mostly because I really enjoy writing for it, and recounting all my adventures. But my new course for school is kicking my arse with one of the toughest workloads yet. Seriously, I have something due EVERY DAY. What gives? At least the subject matter is interesting!

It’s still January, so it’s not completely pointless to write about New Years, right? There isn’t much to tell anyway… at least now that I feel so removed from it already. Chuck and I experienced hatsumode with some friends, which is the Japanese ritual of visiting a Shinto shrine in pursuit of good fortune in the new year. They don’t see it as a party holiday like Americans do. It’s a time of reflection and prayer. Of course, we did ring in 2015 in true American style as well, with a party at the nearby Officer’s Club, but we did the reflection part too… even if it was as semi-skeptical tourists. (Click the slideshow to see captions.)

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A Christmas apology, and the seeds of hope

“I’m sorry that this season has become about fights over manger scenes on public property, about complaining when clerks say, “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,” about rampant commercialism and faux persecution.

I’m sorry that Christians in the United States can be so entitled when we’ve long enjoyed majority status, when we can be so blind to our own privilege…

It is ironic, really, because in the church calendar, the seasons of Advent and Christmas call us to reflect upon and celebrate what Christians believe was the most radical act of humility of all time – the incarnation…

The doctrine of the incarnation holds that the God of the universe, in his love for humanity, emptied himself of his power and became human, like us, in the form of Jesus…”

Great article to read in its entirety, regardless of your personal belief system.

A Christmas apology, and the seeds of hope

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!! I hope you are celebrating a very joyous season with your loved ones 🙂

Annie’s definitely got the spirit of something… That’s for sure.