Tuesday, December 15


This semester has been one of the absolute craziest times in my life.
I've juggled stress and academics and faith and friendship and pushed through a lot of little things that very easily could have gotten me down.
I've had late nights and I've gone to bed ridiculously early on some occasions.
I passed Physiological Psychology with a B+ (which is not a small feat!).
[No, I didn't 4-point this semester because of that class; I am learning to be okay with that.]
I journaled a lot. I prayed a lot. I cried a lot.

But one thing I did not do was blog a lot.

Part of me is disappointed in this, as I don't have the photos and memories assembled so neatly as to be able to scroll through them and see the highlights of the semester. I didn't share what I was feeling in every given week or process through publicly everything on my plate. My plan to blog through my 20th year of life in photos failed miserably.
But I think, for once, that that's okay.
Life isn't something you can just effortlessly document and relive in any given situation. It's messy and confusing and there aren't enough words in the English language (or in the little bit of Spanish that I currently know) to portray things.
That's one of the things I guess I'm learning this semester; sometimes all you can do in life is just keep living it, through good days and bad days and long days and overwhelming days and hard days and days when you pretty much forget everything except your own name. It's life and you just have to keep going.

So how is life now?

Well, finals are rough. At this point, I have three finals down with one final and one (very large) research proposal to go.
I presented on "The Autonomic Physiological Effects of Non-Compulsive Self-Injurious Behavior in the Brains of Non-Psychotic Individuals" and I'm drafting a research proposal entitled "Effective Means of Improving Latino Client Satisfaction in Clinical Social Work Services." I've researched and studied my butt off.

Three days until I'm home free for the holidays, which will bring with them their own set of craziness and chaos, along with lots of coffee and cookies and memories. (And hopefully a white Christmas. As much as I dislike always being cold, which happens year round, Christmas just isn't Christmas without a foot of snow, and not having it right now is making me a little angry.)

Three weeks from tomorrow I'm getting on an airplane and flying to Guatemala, where I will live for just over four months / 17 weeks. I'll be taking a total of 22 Spanish language credits and auditing 3 or 4 cross-cultural credits (not 'work' heavy, but required experiences, including...) climbing volcanoes, swimming in the ocean, hiking ancient ruins, being a part of the world's largest Holy Week gathering, touring a coffee plantation (drinking LOTS of coffee) and living with a Guatemalan host family (along with so much more yet to be planned or discovered.)
I would be lying if I said that I was not absolutely terrified to the core of my being for this trip. I'm throwing to the wind all of the comfortable things that serve as lifelines for me: regular routine, comfortably, predictability, family, modern convenience, close friends, care packages and safe, hot running water. We've been prepared for a whole slew of potential circumstances that honestly I don't dare disclose because family members would have heart attacks and refuse to let me leave the country. I know what to do in almost any emergency imaginable, though, so no worries there. (And I will be INCREDIBLY well cared for. I can't stress enough the faith I have in Paul and Libby, two points of reference in Antigua, that will see to it that we're all safe and happy.)
But in addition to this fear is just a level of excited anticipation and peace that I never would have expected to find. I'm moving abroad and yet I have a level head and absolutely no question as to weather or not this is truly the right choice for me. I know that it's what I'm called to do and where I'm called to go for the next season in my life, and no amount of fear has shaken this confidence.
I'll probably update this blog another few times before I leave, but for my Guatemala experience I'll be keeping everything in one place at:
"Julia in Guatemala"
[click for link] That's where you'll find posts and photos and glimpses of life as I'm preparing for the trip and updates while I'm there. BONUS: If you're fluent / near fluent / speak any amount of Spanish at all, you'll get to laugh along as my knowledge of the language grows. Posts will be in both English and Spanish, so that (1) you know what's going on, and (2) we can watch my command of a beautiful language grow. Some stuff may only be communicated in English, others only in Spanish. Another piece of this is that the Spanish allows for my blog to be a teaching tool for students at Zeeland Christian School in their Spanish classes. This blog will help them connect language and culture, and the Spanish posts can be used for some of their homework. EXTRA CREDIT: If you DON'T know Spanish, make friends with someone who does and let them translate for you. Yay for new friends!!