Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 7, 2014

Sorry about being so lame and not posting anything in a while.  I end up being so busy and then when I can post, I'm too tired.

But anyway.  So about Saturday...

We went to a little place called Lake Bled.  There's nothing extremely important about that place, except it's one of the greatest places I've been to on this trip.  The hour long bus trip just couldn't prepare me for what exactly I could expect there.  And man.  It was absolutely beautiful.

The water was as clear as it could be, yet it was the most gorgeous shade of blue ever.  It was so much fun.  We hung out on a boardwalk for a while, and then we went swimming.

Just a quick note.  In the center of the lake is a small island with a church on it.  The only way one normally gets to this island is to take a rowboat.  Except for us.  We swam.  A quarter of a mile.  Out to the island.  It was GREAT!!!!  What was really fun though was about halfway through the swim I realized things didn't look quite right.  One of my friends then exclaimed that one of my contacts were sitting on the side of my face.  So there I was, treading water, in the middle of Lake Bled, putting my contact back into my eye.  I finally got it back into my eye and we made it to the island and back.  Probably one of the most unique experiences I'll ever have in my life definitely.

Afterwards we sunned ourselves on the grass and then hiked up to the castle, yes another castle, to get a better look over the lake.  It was incredible, and high.   I was scared half to death.  But in order to get a great picture, I scaled a smaller bolder and stood on the edge of a cliff.  It was so worth it!!!

After such an amazing day, we were waiting for the bus to take us home, when we met a few other people who needed to go back to Ljubljana.  We ended riding in three different sketch taxis for a less than what the bus would cost us.  We got back alright, but it was just a fun experience.

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 6, 2014

Oh my gosh.  Today was incredible.  I got to spend the entire day in the amazing Italian city of Venice!!!  It was pretty incredible.  Even though the morning started early with a 5am wake up call, a three hour bus ride, and then having to deal with thousands and thousands of tourists from all around the world in a tiny city that is built on water it was pretty awesome.  Of the 422 bridges that hold the city together, I think our group walked over half of them.  We ate authentic Italian pasta and pizza and we enjoyed a traditional Italian accordion song along with it.  We rode in a gonadal along the canals of Venice and saw some incredible cathedrals and history.  And even though it was an incredible day of wandering the streets of Venice, I can now say I went and I don't have to go again.  Maybe thirty years or so down the road, but not anytime soon.  The amount of people was overwhelming and there were so many tourist traps that just added a bit of unpleasantness to the whole trip.  All in all, I can say that I did it, and I never have to go again.

But it was pretty amazing.  Instead of a post really, here are all the pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 4-5, 2014

Wow.  So after a rough week, Wednesday was a very muchly needed fun day.  It started actually earlier this week.  On Monday, my room mates and I woke up to some carefully placed roses and notes outside our door.  We had recieved invitations to a creative date on Wednesday night and in the note was an RSVP of a queen card that we had to give back to the guys (a creative date, in case you don't know, is something the guys in our group will do to exalt and encourage the ladies.  Even though it normally has some sort of romantic feel to it, it is literally a huge friend date with a group of guys and girls.)  It was so cute!

But anyways, Wednesday rolled around and we were all excited.  But first, we had to do what we had come to do.  So, I went sharing with this wonderful woman named Stormy.  We had a fantastic chat with each other and then we tried sharing and talking.  After many no thank yous and some shallow spiritual conversations, we finally got to talk to two girls.  Even though it was only a 25 minute conversation, we provoked their minds and I could visibly see their brains working to comprehend what we were telling them.  And all in all, they looked genuinely interested.  Time will tell if they actually are, but I feel like something we said clicked.  Also, just spending time with Stormy really encouraged me in every way possible.  It was such a beautiful day.

However, the best was yet to come.  After a fabulous dinner, we prepared for a night out.  What we were actually doing, we had no clue.  But all of us were excited.  At 8 we were ready to go.  It started from the hostel and as we were about to get on the bus, we received our first clue.  A slight scavenger hunt then began.  We traipsed around the city to all of our favorite spots until we received our last clue and ended up at the castle.  There, we searched for "the man with the strings" where we found a huge surprise.

In a hidden alcove under the bridge to the castle was a candlelit area with chocolate, strawberries, bananas, nutella, and peanut butter.  The men served us our deserts and we just enjoyed the ambient music played by the guitarist (which was also one of our guys.)  Then there was sparkling grape juice, a toast, individualized encouragement, a speech, and a song all written by the guys for us.  After those things, we just had fun hanging out and getting to know each other.  It was quite the evening.

Stormy (left) and Brad (right)
Thursday was more of a relaxed day.  I went to my favorite tea shop and hung out with the Lord for a good chunk of time, and then we went sharing.  As an official photographer on the trip, I needed to get some shots of students evangelizing.  So, I tagged along with Stormy and Brad (both of whom I had shared with before) and we went out to talk to people.  We ended up meeting a doctorate student and had a solid hour and a half long conversation with her.  And I got some awesome pictures.  But it was really neat to be able to be a part of the evangelistic process without participating extremely.  Just listening to Stormy and Brad share with this woman was so encouraging to me.  It was pretty incredible.

After that, the rest of the day was fun.  All the ladies had dinner together and then we took photos of ourselves with random Slovenes to get our name out there.  It was pretty fun, but very exhausting.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 1-3, 2014

Well.  There is nothing really I can say about Sunday.  It was such a nice day that I got to just relax and chill in this beautiful city God has placed me.  It was so nice just to be able to revel in his glory and just be able to relax.

The same kind of goes for Monday as well.  We had our training, we went out sharing, talked to a couple of people, came back and had dinner and went to our weekly meeting.  However, at the weekly meeting we talked about God's/our hearts for the nations which was really cool.  Then, at the end, two of the Slovene students who work more specifically on high school evangelism came and sang two songs in Slovene.  The first one we all just sat and listened to.  As we were listening, the Holy Spirit was definitely present amongst all of us. I've talked with others about it.  It definitely was present and flourishing.  After that we sang "Mighty to Save" in both Slovene and English.  The mash up was such a cool thing to hear.  It really solidified the idea that God is not just the God of America.  We might be a nation "Under God" (at least that what the money and pledge still say) but God is the God of the World.  He is as real for students here in Ljubljana as he is for us in Columbus.  Just being able to see that was incredible.

And then there was Tuesday.  After a hectic shopping trip for food in the morning, one of the long term staff members and I went sharing together.  After having one decent conversation and then surviving a freak thunderstorm, we continued to look for someone to talk to.  We finally found someone and we started talking.  About halfway through the conversation, the girl turns hostile against us.  She starts berating us with questions and won't let us answer them.  And they were all questions that we had been discussing over the past two weeks so I had a fairly good idea on how to answer them with Haley's(the staff member) help.  But she wouldn't let us get one word in.  And then, she abruptly left.  Just like, "Ok.  I have to go now. Bye" and walked off.  We were left there in shock.

And that just shook me up completely.  This unfinished conversation with a girl who seemed like she hated what we believed.  It really really was quite unnerving.  It took quite a while before I could comprehend what happened.  But, at the end of the day, a coffee and gelato with friends along the river is just what you need to calm yourself down.

And Sorry about no pictures!!!!!! I forgot to take any on these few days!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May 31, 2014

Wow.  Today was fantastic.  From waking up super early in the morining, to goofing off for hours at the end, it was truly a fantastic day.  And here's why......

It started with a 5:30 wake up call.  We all woke up and were headed to the bus stop at 6:20.  We made it and after buying our tickets, all got breakfast at where else...but McDonalds (although I got a pastry from a bake shop nearby, I still got coffee from there.)  But anyway, at 7:30 we were all loaded on the bus and were headed to the coast!

Our destination was a small town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea called PortoroΕΎ. Even though this small town was absolutely gorgeous, this was not our final destination.  After walking about a mile up the coast we finally reached the town of Piran.  And wow.  Was it gorgeous.  I had been told that it is the Venice of Slovenia and I could see why it was called that (even though I don't really know what Venice look like.)  This small coastal town with its European style housing, cobblestone streets, narrow allies, and beautiful church (and castle of course) was so amazing.

But anyway.  Getting a little distracted.  So we arrived at the center of town and we all decided to find a place along the coast that we would all meet at once we were done exploring.  So, we started looking for a good place to chill.  A little note about their coast line, they don't technically have a beach.  There was no sand in sight.  They had concrete walkways and areas that were used for public enjoyment.  And where there wasn't concrete, there were the most beautifuly rounded rocks and pebbles.  It was quite different from any beach I had ever been to.  And don't even get me started on the water.  Even though it was still kind of chilly, the water was as clear as if it had come from a filter.  You could see straight to the bottom.  It was also the most beautiful blue green I had ever seen.  I was really upset I hadn't brought my swim suit with me on that day.  But anyways.  After we found our little spot on the concrete beach, we split into groups and started to explore the town.

I went exploring with a group that went around the coast of the town before exploring the inside.  Wow.  We ended up below what we soon found out was a castle.  It was so amazing just to look out and sea the sea and then see mountains in the background.  It was just absolutely beautiful!!  After we were finished looking around the coast, we headed into the town to walk through the streets and try to find the clock tower that was in the middle of town.  The narrow streets with their brick was just so cool to be able to walk through.  The buildings were so close together, you almost felt claustrophobic.  It was just so cool to be able to experience so much, all before noon!!

After we explored the town, we finally made our way up to the clock tower.  We went up and it was literally a clock tower staircase, all completely wooden, all 6-7 flights of it.  It was quite terrifying.  But after we got to the top.  Wow.  This is when we discovered that the town had a castle.  The view of the town was just incredible.  I can't even put it into words how amazing it was.  Just look at the pictures.

All of us having fun on the tower!!

But anyways.  After we finished up at the clock tower, we headed out to find food and to meet up with the others at our coastal spot.  We ended up spending the rest of the day 
frolicking in the sea and enjoying everyone's company.  It was sooo much fun to be able just to spend the day having so much fun with everyone.

At about 3, we decided we were going to split into two groups, one group was going to go ahead and come back to Ljubljana, and the other group was going to stay and explore more and take the later bus back.  I ended up coming home with the first group because it was going to rain later and I didn't want to accidentally ruin my camera.  Plus, I was already exhausted.  So, we grabbed a quick gelato (I got Mango!) and we hopped back on a bus back to the city.  Did I mention that Slovenia is absolutely gorgeous in every way.  Every part of it.  So beautiful.  Why don't we have a Slovenia back in the States!!

We got back into the city at about 6:30 and were back at the hostel by 7.  At that time we were kind of hungry, so we decided to cook dinner...or should I say Brinner!  A couple of us ran out to the store and grabbed a few supplies and we proceeded to fix French Toast and scrambled eggs with bacon (or a bacon substitute which was just pancetta we stuck on the stove for a couple of seconds to shrivel up and get slightly crispy), strawberries, bananas, nutella, and juice.  We didn't get to eat till about 9:45, but we had such a good time cooking, dancing, and having fun with each other!  And the French Toast was delicious if I do say so myself (since I cooked it...  :)  )  

All in all, it was such a good day.  It was so much fun with so many people.  It was just so amazing.