Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just like yesterday

My brief break from the dorm has been busy. It has been phenomenal and I am thankful for the many opportunities that have come my way. The list of people I desire to spend time with always seems to be longer than the hours in a day. But despite the limited amount of time I am always blessed. I always walk away encouraged and refreshed. More than anything, I love walking away with the thought, "it felt like just yesterday was the time in which we were interacting on a daily basis." Whether it is friends from high school or friends from college I have been encouraged by the way in which the friendships seem to pick up in an almost effortless style. Whether we are talking on the phone or interacting face to face, we pick up right where we left off. Words, phrases, jokes that were once a daily occurrence seem to resurface after having been on vacation for years.
Perhaps one of my favorite things has been the way in which we hit the more important topics - without much fluff in between. With some people (myself included) you have to ask multiple questions before you can get to the heart of the issue. But when you know you only have a limited amount of time, you desire to talk about what is most important. The reality of this hit home to me when I was in Portsmouth walking around with a great friend of mine. We only had about an hour - but rather than sit down and talk we did what we have done consistently for the past 10 years or so...just aimlessly wander downtown. As we were walking and talking we did not have to ask each other certain questions to prompt conversation. Rather, we offered up the information we knew the other desired to know about.
I have also been extremely encouraged by the fact that friendships have lasted despite the distance, time zone difference, and obvious changes in life. I had dinner with a friend one of my first nights back and the fact was pointed out that we met and started our friendship when we were 14 years old. The fact that we are still hanging out and staying in touch 11 years later is pretty encouraging.
With one friend, I have not physically seen him for over two years. We have kept in touch via email and skype, but have not physically been in the presence of one another for two years. Yet we hop on the phone and you would have thought we saw each other a few hours ago.

To all my friends out there - thank you for your continued presence in my life, regardless of what it may look like, or how minimal our interaction may be like. You are a blessing in my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be closer to you and pick up right where we left off.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gone

In the blink of an eye they are gone. Well, only if that blink is covered with a mere sleepless night, inches of snow, and long flights.
Many students will declare the Thursday night before break as the most entertaining and exciting day of the year. Why? Because they have absolutely no academics, no bedtime and no reason not to celebrate and have fun. So after the guys are packed, they are free to watch movies, play cards, play video games, hang out and just relax. While it may appear to be chaotic in the dorm, the night was actually relatively calm and pretty low key. Many students were exhausted from a full semester, and fighting the flu, so there were not too many all-night parties. Plus, we were showing movies in our basement (called "the web") and the price of admission was to bring down a blanket and a pillow. This sly trick helped the guys fall asleep during the movie.
The students came home from school on Thursday knowing they would soon be leaving the dorm. Apparently mother nature wanted to throw a little twist our way as we got close to 26 inches of snow in an 18 hour window! By 8.30 in the morning we had shoveled the driveway three separate times and the casual observer would have thought we were lazy and forgotten to bring out our shovels! I signed up for the first airport run Friday morning, which left Sonne at 2.45am. By the time Chris, my fellow-RA came out to make an airport run at 5.30 he couldn't see my footprints! At first he thought that I had slept through my alarm because he saw no clear indication that I actually left. Thankfully all the drivers were extremely careful and there were no problems on the road. Granted, everything took longer but everyone made it to the airport safely.
Getting on the planes was a different story. If you have paid any attention to the world news lately you probably saw that London Heathrow was having major issues. Any staff and students trying to transfer through London got delayed, canceled or rerouted. Unfortunately a few students were unable to make their initial flight, and came back to town for a few days, but by Monday all students were on their way out.

I am currently in New Hampshire - though anxiously awaiting going down to Florida in a few days. My brother flew up last night, so the five of us are together for the first time all year. It is wonderful and refreshing to be in the presence of my family.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recent happenings...

After Jessica gave me a 'week off' from posting, I am back at it today. A while ago I talked to Jess about writing a post, but didn't give her any direction or prodding. I was extremely touched, appreciative and thankful for her words. If you have been reading my post throughout my time here you may remember me posting last spring on several occasions about coaching the girls team, and how great of an opportunity it was. Jessica was a huge reason why I walked away from that experience having had one of the greatest soccer seasons in my life. I consider myself lucky for having been given the opportunity to rub shoulders with her.

Things here continue to move along as we are now staring down the end of the semester. The students will finish their regular classes on Monday, with end of the semester exams occurring on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday being the main day for departures.

I don't feel as though I have given an update regarding some of the events that have happened over here recently, so I will look back a little, before I highlight some of what is happening in the next week.

In the last weekend of November we held our annual Christmas Banquet. It was extremely well put together, and a great evening for all the staff and students. I always enjoy the night as it is one of the few occasions where the guys dress up and actually care what they look like. While the girls dorms are apparently crazy all day, the guys dorm stays relatively calm until about 30 minutes prior to departure. At this point you hear shouts of, "I need a silver tie!" or "Does anyone have a spare pair of dress socks!" Below are some pictures from the night...

Apparently he isn't as graceful at putting on the corsage as she would prefer. Although he did score major brownie points, because he made it by hand!


Just making sure the flower is in good condition before it is delivered to his date.



A pause in the night for some fun pictures. These two are seniors, and are amongst my closest friends here. I love them dearly, and really enjoy hanging out with them.


This past weekend our basketball season officially kicked off as we hosted the first games of the season. I am helping coach the guys team at least one day a week, so I feel a bit more connected, and watch the games with a more vested interest. Our varsity guys won both Friday and Saturday, with our varsity girls winning on Friday and losing on Saturday. All in all it was a very successful weekend.




This coming Saturday the entire high school will be traveling to a larger city about 45 minutes away by train. The staff/students will meet at the train station in the morning, bombard the train, and then walk around the city for the afternoon. It has always been a fun time for students, as it gives them the chance to get out of Kandern, walk around with friends, and enjoy the culture. They are encouraged to use this day as a time to buy Christmas presents for family, but realistically speaking the money will probably end up in a cash register in Starbucks or McDonalds.

Following church on Sunday we will return to the dorm for a few hours, before returning for the Christmas concert. There will be a few Sonne guys performing, so I am highly anticipating this event.
Sunday night we are having our Sonne Christmas party. We have purchased items for a white elephant gift exchange, and the students will purchase gifts for a secret santa party as well.

As you can probably see, this is a busy, but wonderful time of the year. The students are anxiously awaiting the day they can leave. I on the other hand, am not really looking forward to it. In all honesty, I don't want the students to leave. While the students have been using advent calendars to count down to break, or Christmas, I decided to use mine to count down the days until the students come back.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today. I hope you are enjoying your holiday season.

Tommy