Coffee Shop Acquisition

I think I have finally found my coffee shop.

I love having a coffee shop. Sablon_Fotor

Seriously! I work at a coffee shop back stateside, I love coffee ,and I love the environment that a good coffee shop can provide. Enough comfort that I can relax and enough people around that I feel like I need to be productive. Sablon3_FotorIt’s it adorable!?! My friend showed me this place a couple of weeks ago, and then the students came and I life got a little insane for a bit. After that Oklahoma Tornado left, I was able to settle back in, and I thought about this place. This is my 3rd time here this week, and it is now official, I love it. It can get a bit busy, but if you get here earlier enough, you’re good. And there are little plug-ins in super convenient places.Sablon2_Fotor There are also excellent seat right by the windows looking out to the street for days that I just want to read and enjoy a cup of coffee. Oh! And did I mention that the roast IN HOUSE! This place! I am going to miss it in a few months.

That’s really all for today. Things are going well. I went to one of the open air markets for fruits and veggies yesterday and I was very proud of my spoils from the trip.

Market Spoils_FotorAlso, I am teaching tonight at Youth so… Exciting! If it goes well, I might just post my notes from it on here tomorrow.

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Quick Photo Tour of My Day!

Bonjour mes amis!

Today I was able to spend some time walking around my town and enjoying some more of the town. Getting to traveling around and explore with the students last week motivated me to go exploring some more.

So I did.

Here are some of the results.

Enjoy!

Town1_FotorTown4_FotorTown5_Fotor

Town6_Fotor

Town7_Fotor

This was a beyond delightful cup of coffee! It was a Costa Rican Monte Brisas – Red Honey Processed! DELISH! Naturally sweet, smooth as can be, big flavor but still mild… Not really sure how that works but…

 Town8_Fotor

Town 3_FotorI snagged the picture above real quick on the Metro because it seemed like a perfect representation of this city. A mix of what you would expect from Europe, with the infusion of Muslim culture, complete with the tension between the two. Had to snap it.

Adventures in Bookstores and Lost Coffee Shops

Some days are just more adventurous than others…

Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL 17 degree day (celsius friends… it’s like 63 F back in ‘Merica) here and so a bunch of the guys are going to go have a football (soccer) match. Kam and I decide that because it is so beautiful, we’ll go watch and relax in the park. That is when the adventure starts. They has already left so i was going to meet them where they we going. Then the location changed. And so I head for the new location, being given directions by Kam via text, and they change it again. So them I find a place I kinda know and begin to wait for them, because they said they’ll come pick me up in a car.  So I wait… and wait. Then BOOM, there they were. We then sped off for the park and run in circles a bit trying to find parking and the rest of the group.

Kam, Kelly and I take a wonderful little walk through a couple of parks near by. I am pretty sure the parks here are mostly connected to another park, so we walked through like 3 parks in a matter of like 30 minutes. The parks here are beautiful and there were so many people out because of the nice weather, so its was a really great time.

Football in the Park_Fotor Park - Bridge_Fotor

Then, some of my dear Romanian friends came over that even and we shared a meal, caught up on life and played some Resistance, because what is a night with my Romanians without a couple a rousing games of Resistance. [For those who do know know… Resistance is a FANTASTIC game that is kinda like Mafia but way better. Check out the website if you wanna know more. http://www.indieboardsandcards.com/resistance.php%5D

Today turned out to be adventurous as well. I just wanted to go to a coffee shop I found online, but it was not that simple. I end up wandering all over this part of town trying to find it, only to realize that it was IN this mall right here. So I head into the mall, which I like just about as much as I like malls back home (not at all) and search all over the mall for this coffee shop. CANNOT FIND IT. Like for serious. Here is where the adventure comes in. I see a bookstore, and I am just naturally drawn to it. I have been wanting to try to read a book in french (keyword, try) and I thought, “Well, I if I cannot have coffee, I will at least have a book.” So i go in. While looking at the books, trying to decide if i think I am muddle through Hunger Games or Divergent, I see L’Élue, and read the back description and realize, it’s Gathering Blue, by my lovely Lois Lowry… I then realize I have to find The Giver! It would be a great book to read! YES! So I start looking for the book… falsely assuming that it would be called Le Donateur, because thats the direct translation. Cannot find it (it’s a theme today – Maybe I’ll call today Le Perdu). So I give it on The Giver. CoffeeCafeBook_FotorI then decided I want Divergent, but the copy I find is in Flemish. BAH! I gather my courage and decide to ask the sales women for a copy in french. Victory, I find myself with a copy of Divergent in French and I begin to feel confident. So I decide I really want The Giver, or maybe I just don’t want this book store to beat me like the lost coffee shop did. So I once again gather my courage and have a Franglish conversation, mostly French, with the sales women, determine that the first book in the series in French is in fact call, Le Passeur (which translates to either the Ferryman or the Smuggler… which kinda, maybe makes sense), and take my love Lowry book instead of Divergent. Mme Rule would be proud! Then I see an escalator that I did not see before, ride it up to an even further victory and find the coffee shop I was looking for. It’s been a good day.

Overall, I have been doing really well. Just getting into the swing of things in Belgium and forging my own schedule and plans. This week is going to be a good week for me a to do some really great planning done, as well as begin to meet with different girls in the youth group. Next week is going to be insane, but great, because my Youth Group kids from the States will be here. It’s going to throw a wrench in planning and trying to regularly meet with people, but its going to be nice to see them and teach them more about serving and doing life in a different culture.

Praises:

  • I am feeling really well adjusted and comfortable where I am. (This also means its think to kick things into gear with planning and get to work.)
  • I have been able to meet with some of my friends here and I have already seen good come from these times together.
  • I have been able to spend time with most of the people I have been wanting to see, so that has been awesome.

Request:

  • That the students I am trying to meet with and mentor will be excited about it and make time for study of the Word. School schedules can be demanding, plus just life in general, so pray that these students would make this a priority.
  • That my French would continue to improve. The more my language improves the more useful I am. Plain and simple. There is one girl now that I would love to meet with, but she does not speak English and my french is not good enough for mentoring yet so… I just need constant growth in language.
  • That I would keep restfulness in mind. I tend to struggle with this and it’s going to be easy to allow busyness to creep in as things progress.

Settling In with Settlers – My New Normal

The beginning part of this week has been quite nice and a definite respite from the usually routine of pure chaos that has been my life this past year. I have enjoyed having the time to think and meditate on scripture. To savor my time with the Lord, rather than just try to cram it my busy day. I know this unique time where I have the ability to enjoy a more relaxed schedule, so I will take it.

I have be settling in well and I have made multiple trips across and about town solo at this point, so I am feeling capable and comfortable in my city. I know my metro and tram stops and even how to get to H&M [Go ahead, be jealous Okies!] I have my keys, metro card and even a SIM card for my an old iPhone so I can call and text my friends here. I am finally feeling here. It’s a nice feeling.

Yesterday I was able to grab a taste of familiar when I ventured into town to one of the few Starbucks in town. I know, I know. I am in Europe, Why would I go to Starbucks! Because the coffee I had I did not like, and I know that I can get some whole bean coffee I like at Starbucks. My next coffee can be more adventurous, but I didn’t know where else to get coffee except a grocery store, so Starbucks it is.

sbuxcoffee_FotorAnd Starbucks may have been tourist move, but sipping on my Flat White and looking over and seeing this view, I decided that I did not care.

Isbuxplace_Fotor

Today was nice as well. I was able to run into town to replace a couple of pairs of jeans that I had brought with me that ripped on the flight over and the other day while I was out. Yes, you read that right, two of the three pairs of jeans I brought with me ripped before my first week in Belgium was out. Functioning with only two pairs of jeans was gonna be a struggle, but only one… just not a battled I wanted to fight today. So instead, I went to H&M and replaced by ripped jeans.

Then I came home and made dinner for a dear friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met, and befriended, while in Belgium, and it has been wonderful maintaining that friendship over the past two years. I made dinner, which was great for my portions sizes, but I forgot I was feeding a 20-something man, so I did not make enough. Crepes_Fotor I saw some apples on top of my fridge and decided that we needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store. We returned with crêpes in hand and even I was impressed with how good my crêpes were. [Note: I did not make the crêpes themselves, just the filling. Thus we went to the store to buy the crêpes, because that is what you do in Belgium! Unless you are awesome and make your own, which I am obviously not.] I am telling you DELICIOUS! I want another one right now.

Anyway, then I introduced my friend to a wonderful game. Settlers of Catan. He loved it! Which is super fun for me to be able to teach him, and having some friends to be able to play board games with.

Catan_FotorAnd if you are wondering, he won the first games, and I won the second.

I am heading to bed, a busy couple of days coming up, so I need my rest.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail for the easier way to stay updates on my time here in Belgium! It’s up there to your right on the screen, level with the title of this post.

T-Minus 7 Days…

Friends, my departure date is swiftly arriving.

Last night, I went down the airport to pick up my friend, and after she got in, we walked past the United counter and I looked at her and said, “We’ll be here in one week sending me off!” That’s when it really started to get real… In one week, Jesse will be picking me up, I’ll be freaking out, we’ll go to the coffee shop so I can say my last goodbyes and I’ll be gone. CRAZY!

It’s been weird for me to see things differently as I am leaving. For one, I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am a control freak. I am worried about how things are going to be while I am gone. I am worried about my Youth Group kids and how they will grow or fail while I am gone. I know, in my head, that the Lord holds them, but practically I worry. I just love these kids so much and I want to see them grow and succeed and love God. But, I also know that God has called me to go to Belgium and has given my favor with the youth kids there like he has my youth kids here, so I am going in obedience, and full blown excitement. But I do worry for my students here.

High School (and Middle School) are hard. I think things may legitimately be more difficult these days than when I grew up. Or maybe just where I live now. But I feel like sin is crouching at every door, and the doors are wide open. They have so much access to so much more than we did, with all the technology and accessibility. Gossip can fly the second it’s heard, rather than giving a person a minute to think about it before they share it. You can pull up any image on your phone at any time, that’s dangerous. The need for person accountability and impulse control is higher than its ever been, and unfortunately, its a lost art.

So what do we do. What have I learned to do when my inner control freak, well, freaks out? I turn to prayer. I cannot control everything and everyone, as much as I would like to, but I can talk to God. He not only has the control, but the plan and He knows best, even when it does not make sense.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:5-7

And you call be praying for me, that instead of Epaphras, this would be true of me.

“Epaphras [Morgan], who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” Col 4:12