People are still asking me to update this. Gosh, just come visit me and talk to me.
Okay, okay, I will bend to your whims.
I’ll repeat this: I live in Howell. Howell, NJ.
I live in the basement of a family that I met through Andrew. They are awesome and very helpful. So far I haven’t spent much time with them, but everyone is adults (except the one 17-year old daughter). This means that we each have our own schedules, so we don’t see each other too often.
I have a job! Kinda! I am a substitute. I was given a good option on how to get things done and become a substitute. I have to pay nearly 300 dollars. But I suppose that I will have that made up within a few weeks. I just need to get the ball rolling. I will only be called when they need a substitute teacher. Which might not be everyday (it also might be), so I will see how it goes the first few weeks and then decide if I need to pick up another job. I might need to. Prayer is always appreciated in this matter.
And as for “What district do you work in” I can answer and say “any that have signed up with the company that I work for “source4teachers” There are a lot of them, including Jackson twp.
Life is calming down to what might be a more normal. However, I have learned early on that normal does not in anyway mean routine. I am always moving, learning, going, and stopping. I have journeys planned and adventures always.
I am spending a lot of time with friends! I spend like 5 days or more a week with Andrew. It has been awesome :) We are still learning about each other, but I think it has come down to spending time and experiencing each other. We have already been to about 3 states together and spent countless hours together. I think we are headed in a God-glorifying direction and that makes me very happy.
I am planning to go to upstate NY. Visit my family and the newest baby addition (and 3 week old puppies)! Next week I am going to Maine with Andrew and Joe. Then I am going to TN and KY again at the end of September. See? Life doesn’t settle. I don’t think I would want it to. Life is meant to be spent exploring and pushing the boundaries we set for ourselves. But, sometimes we just need rest.
There was one day this month where I just sat down and spend nearly the entire day reading the Bible and talking to God. It was one of the best days in a while. I don’t know the last time i did that since Vietnam. It was great. It was a random Sabbath for me. I think I might make it a monthly habit. It might become one even if I don’t try to schedule it. I rarely have whole days off, but when I do, I smile and spend them with the Lord. Feel free to ask me about those days or share them with me.
This story begins with a girl, named Ashley and a boy named Andrew.
Now that I kinda gave away the ending, I am going to tell the story in first person.
I met Andrew waaaaaaaaaaay back when. Estimated at 2004/2005. This was because the ever so lovely Lindsay Corny ;) (at the time, Basko) brought me to her youth group, Cornerstone. It was there that I met Andrew. But, don’t assume it started there (maybe for Andrew! haha). We didn’t talk or hang out, we basically just knew the other existed.
I was at Liberty University. I was going through my “I HATE VIRGINIA PHASE” (admittedly. that phase has not ended-lessened, but not ended). This is where Jared asked me to be the youth leader when I was to get back to NJ in January of 2009. I was sightly reluctant, but God was in control and I agreed. Best decision ever, but that is another story for another day. Andrew and Danny Eckert were already leaders and Danny was chatting with me (I’m still in VA at this point) and we were becoming friends. Sure enough, Andrew messaged me too. Honestly, the first time I saw a message, I was nervous and unsure. This might be that I was hoping that Andrew wouldn’t like me or something….I don’t remember the reason, but I do remember pretending not to see the message for a while. (And I never told Andrew that. hehe)
Moving on, we are now in Jersey (Jan. 2009) and since all of my high school friends were off at their respective colleges, my best friends soon became Andrew and Danny. We really did everything together. We went to the movies, ate, and went shopping together. I hung out with Danny way more often because he was closer and I had a feeling that Andrew started to like me and I was like “NO! I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.” Yet, Danny and I would drive to PBU to hang out with Andrew since he was still living on campus. At one point, Andrew invited me to sit in a class at PBU (Annnnnd that is how I ended up at PBU/Cairn).
Being Youth Leaders was a lot of fun and I remember Jared telling me “Don’t start dating the other leaders, it will lead to drama.” I assured Jared that that was not going to happen. I think I even laughed. I had no intentions of dating anyone at that time- esp. not those boys.
Thus begins my epic journey at Cairn. At this point, Andrew was commuting from home to Cairn for part-time classes. Once a week we would hang out. Usually, we would go get chick-fil-a. At one point he brought me to Macaroni Grill and asked me to date him. I told him I would think about it, but then I ultimately turned him down. I was way too chicken to start dating him. I was worried about what my friends would think and what I would do, I knew I was not ready. I was terrified to ruin the amazing friendship that I thought we had. I wanted to stay in my safe bubble. Shortly after this, I started to like another guy (cause distraction is the best method) and kinda slowed talking to Andrew for a while. I think that Andrew also started to give up on me, so I was chatting with this other guy I liked quite often.
Then I spent the following year in Israel. This was one of the best experiences ever, but again, another story (this time you can just go back like 10000 pages on tumblr and find those stories). The guy that I was crushing on didn’t talk to me once while I was abroad. He never responded to my messages or sent me a letter, nothing. So, Andrew and I ended up talking a lot while I was abroad. We even skyped and took pictures. In Israel I was really close to God. I had a difficult time with friends at the beginning of PBU, so it was a relief that I was having such a splendid time and I was talking it over with Andrew. I knew that Andrew liked me at this point again and I wasn’t sure how I felt, but I now know that I was unintentionally stringing him along. Unfortunately, I am really good at that.
Coming home, the guy that didn’t talk to me started talking to me again the moment I was home and I was not having it. Haven’t talked to him since then. Now I bring you to Jan of 2012, and I was just riding the waves of that next semester just with being semi-distant friends with Andrew because I didn’t want to be involved with anything cause that other guy ticked me off and I was not ready to change myself even though I desperately needed it.
Now senior year at Cairn has approached. This is where I knew that I needed to change. This is when Danielle asked me “Can i use you as one of my counseling volunteers?” She needed to practice on friends and write papers about it (shes a counselling major). Being the awesome roommate I was, I said no. She found other people, but one backed out. It was at that moment that I thought, I need to put her first, she needs help- and I quite reluctantly agreed, knowing that this was going to affect me and hurt, but that was just beginning.
Danielle asked me what I wanted to do the counselling on. My first gut reaction was my blaring problem of vulnerability. I then thought of other “milder issues” but decided that I was going to really help Danielle with this, and I also knew that I could not continue living the way I was. It was quite lonely and God was making it clear. Vulnerability it was.
That was the beginning where I was starting to drop my baggage and learn why I do things the way I do. I even started a relationship and ended it in less than a month, cause I was not ready at all and I think I wanted to test myself and prove that I could do it. Couldn’t. She cracked the door quite a bit.
We are almost there, friends. I was not expecting it to be this long, but that is the result. Hope you’re still with following if you have made it this far.
In Vietnam I prob had the most difficult experience of my life. Everything was hard, but we already knew that. I will keep those details few. I had one-on-one’s with Jenny, my teammate. She was really good at calling me out and leading me to make decisions to better myself and my team. At the beginning of the year I prayed to God that I would be focused. I would focus on the work that I was called to and nothing more. Especially and specifically asking God to take away any “boyfriend-like” relationships. He answered. My mind was free of thinking about boys because I was struggling so hard to make friends with my team and the Vietnamese. This lasted until about March.
I was very lonely in Vietnam and often I would just talk and communicate with friends back n America, one of them being Andrew. But, now I was more open and changed because of my experiences. I was more open to people, change, and love. I would often dump my pains and hurts on Andrew because he often gave me the time, opportunities, and could say just what I needed to hear. Then in about March (maybe April?) I looked on facebook and saw a message from Andrew that was sent at maybe 1am his time. He asked me “Why have we never dated?” I gave him the best answer that I could, which was pretty much a summary of the things above. I wasn’t ready, I had baggage, I was afraid, etc. So now it was about 2pm for me and I had to go teach class right after that epic conversation. Where was my mind? Not on that lesson. I guess my students still learned that day… but we left off at that. We answered the question of why we haven’t we dated and then that was it. I had to ask the next question: What now?
You can obviously see how that question was answered. I was blindsided with a blessing from God. I had not planned on having a boyfriend immediately (and in some respects before) in America. However, I am so so thankful that it did happen. I am still learning and trying to face these fears and issues I have. I haven’t figured them out, but I am currently battling them. Sometimes they win and I get waves of doubt, but the ebb and flows are not consistent. I have much longer tides of joy and excitement. So that is the tale of these two people.
Another pin pushed in
To remind us where we’ve been.
And every mile adds up
And leaves a mark on us.
And sometimes our compass breaks
And our steady true north fades.
We’ll be just fine.
We’ll be just fine.
It has been brought to my attention that I have not posted anything in quite a while. I feel like the main reason is because I am back in America and life is far less interesting when you are on the same continent as someone, but that is quite inaccurate. My whole life is quite unsure. I am 100% going blind. Just taking things as they come. God is surely my guide as I am just walking around aimlessly.
So, I shall give you all the most concise description of what I have been up to for the past month and a half. My parents have moved. They are now located in a town near Knoxville, Tennessee. They are enjoying it :)
I have been house hoping and going from event to event that has caused me to be jobless and homeless for quite some time.
Well, I am no longer homeless. I am living with a family that is connected to me through Andrew. They are his friends through his church. They are slowly becoming my friends. It has been a fun and unique experience. I am now also located in Howell on the edge of Brick and Lakewood.
Now I am currently searching for a job. I am on the hunt, so if you all know anywhere hiring, I would love to receive a position somewhere… :D Until then, I am living off savings and having a lot of fun spending time with friends and Andrew. I have made new friends and connected with old and have been learning so much. These past 2 months feel like an eternity and at the same time, like not much time has passed at all.
That is all I am going to post for now, mainly because I am ridiculously tired and want to rest my poor eyes. I am going on the Ocean City retreat with the JBC youth group tomorrow. This is so exciting. It’s year 5 or so for me. Always fun :) I love the season of youth retreats and equipping. I especially love that I get to be a leader for all of this.
With that, GOODNIGHT!
Not even two weeks.
I have been home for just under 2 weeks.
My parents are moving right away. June 30th. My life has been a little crazy. To fill you in on what is happening, EVERYTHING is happening. EVERYTHING.
I am going to be in 7 states in the month of July and I will have no permanent address. I will be crashing in various homes until I move into my apartment. I have a full dufflebag, a bookbag, and an air mattress. Here I come
world America. :)
You think that I would have a boring life when I get home. Nope. I crave adventure and unusual assignments. This fits the bill.
I’m excited for all the people that I am going to spend quality time with as I house hop. However, I am going to miss out on some quality time with Andrew. Boo.
Hopefully this will only be for July and that the girls and I can get an apartment or house by August. We need to start looking though.
So that is all I got for now. It’s 10pm and I am 90% packed, but I am still trying to find a place for those stupid little items that I am not even sure if I want to keep. The moving truck comes tomorrow at 9am. Less than 12 hours. Beast mode activate (as soon as I get off the internet).
Im on my way home. Just a few (okay, like 35 hours) I will be home.
It’s over. The tears have settled and the hugs have finished and now we are airport hopping until we are all back in our American homes.
I will miss Vietnam endlessly, but I will miss the people even more than that. My heart is aching as wait in the airport.
However, on a completely happier note:
I am returning home to my best friends, family, and my boyfriend :)
Yup, my boyfriend. You all saw it coming didn’t you? Good, should have let me know, I certainly didn’t. It only took this long because I am not allowed to have a relationship while with ELIC. So, now that the contract is over, so is my obligation.
Feeling pretty good and ready to be home (or back in VIetnam)