Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Jason & I have been intently praying (and asking for others to pray) about our future and where the Lord will lead us after New York. We know that he already has the perfect place picked out for us and have been working on focusing on that instead of the fact that other than visiting family and friends for the summer, we have absolutely no idea where we will live or where we will work. It is a strange to have things seem so "up-in-the-air," but it is also completely freeing at the same time. Sometimes, it seems easier to trust Him when our control over something has been taken away.

We've been toying with the idea of moving to Montana - we've scoped out a few rental cabins there that are in absolutely beautiful locations ... it is tempting. Especially, because I think Jason needs to be somewhere like that to recouperate from our year in this city-jungle. We've also felt like perhaps we should be looking overseas. Since we still have very few belongings, it would seem like an ideal time to venture back across one of the oceans for work...so, we've been putting out feelers on both fronts, to see if God would lead us in one of these directions.

While we were sitting at the airport waiting to board our plane to Iceland, I checked my voicemail and had a message from a Christian School in South Korea. The school was interested in recruiting us to their school for the next school year. Jason as a middle school teacher and myself as a business manager. We'd only completed our application for the Network of International Christian Schools less than a week before, so the call caught us completely off guard! Although neither Jason or I had previously had any interest in living in S. Korea, the opportunity seemed nearly perfect ... housing included, a decent stipend, working in an organization with a higher purpose...the only catch, they wanted us in Korea by July 30th and required a 2 year committment. Two things we weren't willing to do. So today, we drafted an e-mail back to the school declining the opportunity...although it was a difficult thing to turn away from, we are trusting that God has something even better for us and are working on resting in His Peace about our future.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Surviving at 66 Degrees North - in Iceland

We had a fantastic trip to Iceland! It was short, but very fun and we enjoyed every moment! Here's a brief photo journey through our 4 days there:

Day One -- Arrived in Iceland at 1 am our time and 7 am their time after a 5 hour flight. We were pretty wiped-out and desperately hoping our hotel would allow us to check-in early so we could take a nap! You can see from this picture of our room, that at 8:30 am (when we were able to check-in!!), it was still dark outside! After a 4 hour nap, we started our exploration of Reykjavik, by hiking up to a view point near our hotel. The city looked beautiful, dressed in a dusting of snow. After our short hike, we explored downtown a bit, found a cute pizza pub for dinner and returned to crash at our hotel.

Day Two -- Today, we'd arranged to take the Golden Circle Tour which was to take us to some of the natural wonders within a few hours driving distance from Reykjavik. The weather today was probably the worst of our 4 days, snowing nearly the entire day with fairly high winds. Not the best for sight seeing, but we made the best of it (of course!). Our tour guide spoke excellent english, but had a few funny things...1, she pronounced Viking as Why-king and due to the extensive Viking history in Iceland, said this word A LOT; 2, she pronounced geyser as gay-sir and 3, was very harsh in her warning about not referring the Icelandic Horse (which is the size of a pony), as a pony...which of course only made us want to call it a pony even more!

Our first stop was at a crater lake, not quite as impressive as Oregon's by fun nonetheless:
Next stop was to the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall, where an unbelievable amount of water just seemed to disappear into a huge crevice of lava rock:
Our next stop was at a very fun geothermal area - it was so unique to see boiling hot pools and spouting geysers while it was snowing all around us! Two more things that were fun about this place is that the geyser went off every 3-5 minutes and the Icelandics don't seem to be quite as safety conscious, so we were able to walk right up to the edge of the geyser!

Our final stop was at Thingvellir National Park - where parliment convened for several hundred years beginning in 930 and also where the European & North American tectonic are slowly pulling apart, by about 2 cm per year, creating cracks & faults which fill with magma...which we of course went into to explore.
Day Three -- We awoke to see a tiny bit of SUN from our room for the first time since we arrived. It was incredible to see how excited that made us. We spent the day walking all over Reykjavik and enjoying having "morning" light all day since the sun never rose higher in the sky than that due to how far north Iceland is.

After our day of trekking all over the city, we were definitely ready for a soak at the Blue Lagoon -- an unbelievable spa out in the middle of a giant lava field. We arrived in the middle of a snow storm and as it was getting dark, so these photos definitely don't do the place justice! It was simply incredible - a man made hot pool nearly the size of a football field, with soft silica mud lining the bottom, with a restaurant, bar, multiple saunas, waterfalls, etc. It was a perfect end to a great day!

Day Four -- Although sad that this would be our final day, we happily wandered into town again for a little more sightseeing...when we left our hotel in the morning, we could see a little bit of sun and were excited by that. We stopped in town at the 66 degrees north shop to see about buying a hat (they were close to $40, so we skipped that!) and by the time we left the shop, we were in the middle of a sudden downpour of snow!

After we made it back to our hotel in the storm, we headed off to the airport and made our way back to NYC. As we passed over Greenland, the skies were clear and I was able to get a couple pictures from our plane window. Looked cold!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Snow!

Woo-hoo! Today, we were supposed to get snow in the afternoon, and snow we got! By 3 pm, the view from my office building showed snow covering the ground below and through the park. It was such a great transition, from the brown to beautiful white. It is supposed to rain tonight, so it will probably turn into 3 inches of slush...which won't be beautiful, but I'm loving the beauty of this moment!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jason in a fight??

When Jason met me at the subway station tonight to walk me home, I could tell something wasn't quite right...when I asked, he tilted his head so that I could see a large bandage on his neck and commented that it had been an interesting day. When I pumped him for a little more information, he told me that two of his female students had gotten into a fight outside his classroom and without a second thought, he'd jumped in-between them to break it up. Unfortunately, they were still fighting and his neck sustained a 2-3 inch jagged cut (from one of the girls fingernails). Ouch!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese New Year

Although it was very cold today and I was fighting a swollen throat, we decided to try to catch a bit of the parade through Chinatown in celebration of the Lunar New Year which was on the 7th...bringing in the Year of the Rat. We didn't stay long, I hadn't worn enough layers to keep myself warm, but we saw a few dragons and enjoyed the many confetti rockets going off around us.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Winter in Central Park

The past two weekends, we've gone exploring into Central Park, as drab and brown as it is, to see if we could find some winter beauty...and also to lose ourselves in the 800+ acres and disappear from the sights and sounds of the city for a few minutes. Surprisingly enough, we found a bit of spring fighting it's way through the dead leaves on the ground.