Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break

When the final bell of the school day rings tomorrow it will not only announce the end of the school day, it will usher in the start of spring break. Those two words will allow staff and students alike to take a big deep breath. Since our student body is comprised of students from so many countries (50+) we get two weeks off to give the students time to travel home (if they choose to do so). It has been entertaining lately to hear students ask each other, "What country are you going to?" or "What airports do you have to fly through?" as seasoned travelers, there seem to be airports they enjoy flying through and others that are avoided at all cost. I have also overheard conversations about which airlines have the best food and movies...you know, the important things!
While some students will be traveling home, others will be going on a mission trip. This year we have six teams going out to; Belarus, Tanzania, Italy, Central Asia, Romania, and Slovenia. Over 50 students, and 14 staff will be heading out on these trips. Some teams will be partnering with local churches, others will be doing physical labor and helping with construction, others are looking to rub shoulders with the locals and help establish relationships. The logistics may differ, but the purpose is the same. Spreading the Hope we have. If you think of it, please pray for these trips over the next week.

Every year since being here, I have gone on a mission trip with the students. However back in October when the teams were being formed, I didn't have the peace I desired about any of the trips. I wanted to go on a trip, but wasn't feeling led. At the time I was a little frustrated and discouraged, but in looking back, I can see God's hand in it all.
In recent weeks I have grown increasingly worn down. It has been an extremely busy season in the guidance office, and with the start of my girls soccer season, the pace of life has not slowed down at all. Most days of the week I am going full speed for at least ten hours a day, usually more. So I am looking forward to, and in need of some good rest. As much as I would have liked to go on a trip with the students, I know I need some rest. And there are not many better ways to accomplish that, than spending time with some of my closest friends.
A little over a month ago I got an email from Ross saying he wanted to come to Germany and visit. After an email or two Ross said, "March 31-April 7 would work best for me, how does that work for you?" It just happened to line up with my spring break. So he booked his flight.
A few days after Ross booked his flight, Ross decided we needed to get Croce to come over as well. So Croce checked with his wife, and then his boss, and a week later he has a flight booked for the same time frame.
About two weeks ago I got an email from Caleb who was completely unaware of Ross/Croce's plans and Caleb said he was thinking about coming for a short visit. In his email he said, "The only weekend that works is March 31. Are you around?" Ecstatic I emailed back and told him that was the same time that Ross and Croce were coming out. He booked his flights.

These three guys are among the closest friends I have in the world. It will be incredibly refreshing to spend time with them. We all went to college together, but since graduating have been scattered around the globe. Pretty much the only time I've seen any of these guys in the past four years has been at weddings. At the weddings it was great to see them, but it always seemed like there was something to do, or somewhere to be. Especially when it was them getting married, first Caleb, and most recently Croce. (Ladies... Ross is still on the market! He may hate me for saying that, but it is true.)
I can only scratch my head and laugh when I look at the friendship I have with these guys. We don't necessarily have a whole lot in common, yet we are still great friends. Caleb played lacrosse in college, Croce ran cross country, I played soccer, and Ross was a big football player. We all had our own groups of friends yet somehow we kept in touch and stuck together. Caleb and I were roommates freshmen and senior year, creating a unique bond. Croce and I took part in one of the greatest adventures when we road our bikes down the east coast. And Ross, well, he is my token fat friend.
Whenever something big happens in my life, good or bad, these three are among the first to know. I've called all of them at 3.00 in the morning, when something was up. When I need prayer, I know they got my back. When I am excited about something, they will join me in my joy (even if they don't understand why I'm excited). When I need a good laugh, they're willing to listen to my awful jokes. These three dudes are iron, and through rubbing shoulders with them, I have been sharpened. It's been quite a while since I have seen them, but I am thrilled to be spending the next few days with them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Du dummer Amerikaner

Yesterday during the day I was trying to come up with an entertaining aspect of life here to blog about. Nothing was really coming to mind. However, later at night I was training with my German soccer team, and something happened that I would consider "blog worthy." I chose not to write immediately after getting home in order to allow myself to calm down and cool off, making sure I didn't write something I might later regret. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my experiences here in Germany...the good, the bad, the ugly. The highs, and the lows.
Last night at practice I was in the locker room prior to practice and was enjoying eavesdropping on some of the conversation. Normally I can't pick up on much of what the guys are saying, but one of my teammates (Ollie) recently returned from New York City, where he want on vacation.
I heard one guy say: "Hattest du ein big mac, und ein grosse cola?" (Did you have a big mac and a big coke?) For the next couple of minutes they were talking about McDonalds and the size of the big mac. I started laughing when I heard one guy chime in and say, "die super size!" I was entertained and a bit more engaged as they were talking about America. While warming up I found myself next to Ollie so I said to him, "Alles ist gut in meinem Mutterland?" (All is good in my motherland?) To which he responded, "Ja. Alles ist toll" (Yeah, all is terrific).
There are only two guys on my team that speak English - everyone else is German, and only German. These two guys will help me out when absolutely necessary, but don't go out of their way to translate anything for me. One of the assistant coaches is actually fluent in English, yet for some reason refuses to speak to me in English. I still can't quite figure it out. Most of the time I have to figure everything out on my own, and commonly mess something up because I don't fully understand what I'm supposed to be doing.
Last night practice started on a light note and seemed like it was going to be a good session. We started off doing some conditioning with speed ladders. I really enjoy those workouts and enjoy using the ladders. But it's always a bit challenging as the instructions are always given in German - and I have to try to translate everything real fast, or figure out what I'm supposed to do by watching before it is my turn. The coach will yell out, "Links, eins zwei, rechts einz nach vorn, drei vier, hinter." (Left, one two, right forward one, back three four.) As I'm waiting in line, I'm translating, trying to get the rhythm and figure out exactly what I'm supposed to do, so I can do it at game speed when it is my turn.
Last night I made it through the speed ladder just fine, but after the ladder was supposed to zig-zag through some cones. I didn't quite understand that part, and accidentally knocked one of the cones over. My coach was standing nearby and as I hit the cone, in a very expressive and loud manner he yelled out, "aye ya ya. du dummer Amerikaner!" Translation: you stupid American!
I didn't need help translating that one. I knew exactly what he said. For the next five to ten minutes I kept hearing him, and the other guys spitting off sentences with both "dummer" and "Amerikaner" in it. I couldn't translate everything, but could easily pick up on the fact that they talking about me, and laughing.
It was hard. It was frustrating. Part of me wanted to lash out at them and let them know how frustrated I was, and how difficult it was for me. Then I realized if I said anything, they probably wouldn't understand. Knowing they wouldn't understand, part of me wanted to yell all the more so I could say, "Now you know how hard it is for me!" But I just kept it all in, and didn't say anything.
For the remainder of practice I was crushed and discouraged. I find that it is seldom I lose my confidence, especially when on a soccer field. The soccer field is a place of comfort, a place to go and forget about everything else, a place where I feel at home. But last night I lost some confidence. Every bad touch, every bad pass from that point forward left me discouraged and disappointed. I was second guessing every move I was making. I was hesitating and playing scared. I was timid and unsure, labels I don't usually attach to my style of play. There was a cloud of discouragement hovering over my head that I couldn't shake.
It was one of those nights where I desperately wanted to be back in an English speaking community. I was tired, annoyed, frustrated, discouraged, with being in a country where I don't know the language fluently. I'm tired of going to practice day in and day out, and not being able to clearly and easily communicate. I'm tired of being called, and feeling like the dumb American. I'm tired of not fitting in and not fully understanding the culture. I got into my car after practice and the radio was on. German radio is usually pretty entertaining to me - but still frustrated from practice, I quickly plugged in my Ipod and said, "just give me something in English."

As of now there is no magical moment, or special revelation that has made everything clear and easy. Living overseas has its moments of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Monday, March 19, 2012

3.19.04



Yesterday my pastor gave a phenomenal message about trials. As a church we have been going through the book of Acts and yesterday we came across the 23rd chapter. The verses of that chapter speak of the different trials Paul went through. Some of these trials were physical circumstances, others were mental and emotional. Regardless of the differing characteristics of the trial, the common denominator remained that they were not easy. Our text provided us with a view of Paul's reaction, as well as truths revealed about God's character within the trials.
One of the side roads my pastor went on took us to Romans 5:3-5 where it states, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." I sat and listened as tears filled my eyes. We finished the service by singing, "It is well with my soul" Tears were falling as I sang.

If you know one thing about me, I hope it is this fact: I love Jesus. If you know a second thing about me, I hope it is this: I love my family. My parents, brother and sister are so special to me, and very influential people in my life. There is nobody I miss being away from more than my sister. I miss going on walks with her, watching her kick my butt in Wii bowling, and hearing her extremely bizarre and pointless stories. I miss hanging out with her, and her dog. I miss being able to visit her at work, and feeling like a celebrity every time I walk in - when she enthusiastically announces to her fellow employees, and customers, "Hey that's my brother!"

I have very openly said to people that this is always the most difficult week of the year to be away from home. (I have mentioned this in older posts as well, feel free to visit other posts I wrote on March 19)
March 17 is my dad's birthday, and I hate to be away from my family when someone is celebrating their birthday. In some senses I have gotten to it, yet it still hurts to be away. Today, March 19, marks the day my sister was in a car accident. A day where everything changed. With these two days so close, this always seems to be an emotional time for me.
As I sat in church yesterday and heard Romans 5, and as I meditated on those verses throughout the day, I was greatly encouraged by the timing of the sermon in light of what this week brings. I was able to view this piece of scripture and see the way in which it has played out in my life, specifically in relation to Whitney.

Our trials produce perseverance.
Perseverance is the ability to keep going regardless of the obstacles facing you. Whitney is such a model of perseverance. Nobody can fully understand nor relate to all that she has been through. Yet despite all the ups and downs she continues to press forward. Not only that, but she presses on with determination, a determination that inspires me, and many others. Every obstacle that has been throw her way, she has overcome. She once again displayed this mindset of perseverance as she recently graduated from a nursing program and got accepted into a highly sought after internship. Others said she couldn't. They said she wouldn't. She said she would, and she did. Her trial has not been easy, nor has it been short-lived. It has been 8 years, and yet she still daily faces the ramifications of the accident. While some may view these obstacles as excuses, she sees them as hurdles to conquer. Her perseverance is inspiring.

Our perseverance develops character...
Spend less than a minute with Whitney and you will be floored by her character and her personality. Her level of maturity is above and beyond others her age. Her witty comments and timely humor challenge you, and constantly keep you on your toes. Her jokes and terrible stories will keep you laughing for hours. There is nobody who can make me laugh as hard, nor as often as she does. Whenever I am in need of a good laugh, I know where to turn. While around her, you simply cannot help but laugh. Even when you want to be mad at her, even when she is annoying you, you can't help but laugh. It is frustrating and hilarious at the same time. One of the things I love most about Whitney is her self-confidence. She knows who she is, and is not afraid to be herself. Whether that means chatting with a complete stranger as she works, or randomly mooing like a cow, she is not afraid to be herself.

and character, hope...
Sitting in a hospital room, with tubes going every which direction and computers monitoring every brain wave, may seem like a very hopeless situation. It is unbearable to see a family member lying helpless. She may have been helpless, but we were not hopeless. To hope is to believe that what is wanted can be achieved, or that events will turn out for the best. The days after her accident, were marked by hope. We were hoping for recovery, hoping for healing, hoping for another day.
But even more - a deeper hope was being rooted in our hearts. A hope - a longing, an anticipation, a strong desire. A hope for a life spent with Jesus, both here on Earth, and for all eternity. Within those dark moments hope shines through and reminds us that this is not our final destination - this is not our home. There is more. That knowledge brings peace, joy, excitement, and above all, hope.


Here's to the greatest little sister out there! (Okay, you're not so little anymore.) I hope you have a phenomenal day today. May you use your smile, your laughter, and your humor to brighten someone's day. May you encourage those who need it. May you live a life that reflects the hope we have in Jesus. Continue to persevere. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Continue to show everyone the inner strength you have.
You are so special to me. You are one of the greatest people I know. I am so proud of everything you have accomplished, and for never giving up. Thank you for showing me how to chase your dreams. Thank you for making me laugh so much, and so hard. Thank you for all of your support, and encouragement. I love you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Skype

I want to start on a tangent before I get to the actual post. Recently I have had a few different people asking about the progress of the book. (If you aren't aware of the book I'm talking about, follow this link to a previous post I put up http://www.tommybfa.blogspot.com/2011/10/book.html) My original desire was to finish by the start of soccer season - but I obviously did not reach that. I am continuing to work on it, and am putting in many hours each week to make this a reality. I am currently working with a group of peers who are helping edit the book. I hope to have a published copy in hand by the end of summer. I may or may not reach that goal, which is absolutely fine. I am steadily working on it, and enjoying the journey. It has been a long journey, but I want to do the best I can with this project. Thank you for all of your encouragement, support, and interest in this task. If you want more information don't hesitate to shoot me an email and let me know.

I know I have posted about my coaching soccer a few times recently (and I still need to post about my playing in Germany) but there was no way I could pass up on this opportunity.
Yesterday after practice my girls had one of the coolest opportunities ever, as they were able to do a skype video with a player from the US Women's National Team, Tobin Heath. They all crammed around a computer and for thirty minutes got to ask any questions that came to mind. They asked about life in general, life as a soccer player, and life as a Christian. Tobin did a phenomenal job answering all the questions and really gave the girls a lot to think about. I stood in the back of the room full of joy watching everyone interact and appreciating the opportunity at hand.
Throughout the conversation it was encouraging to hear Tobin mention a few of the different things our team has set as a foundation for our season; unity, integrity, and being a light. One of our bigger focuses for the year so far has been on unity, and coming together as a team. It was phenomenal for the girls to hear from someone else stories about unity and the difference it can make on a team.
It was great for the girls to hear about her true love for playing soccer, but more importantly her love for Jesus. Later in the night a friend asked me how the call went and I told him, "I think she talked more about Jesus than she did soccer." Which is absolutely amazing to see. It was truly special to see an individual who has been given a unique platform, turn around and use that platform to talk about her faith.

In the time since the skype call, there has been a buzz of energy and enthusiasm surrounding our team. It has been amazing to see, and has brought me a lot of joy to see these girls so happy. I am excited that in the weeks, months, years to come these girls will be able to say, "hey remember that time we had a skype conversation..."

In less than 24 hours we will board a bus for our first game of the season. That thought is a bit nerve-wracking for me, and at times there are fears that come and still my peace. I question whether we worked on trapping enough, whether they understand the formation like they need to, whether our conditioning is where it needs to be, etc. However, I keep forcing myself to go back to the definition of success I came up with prior to the season; we will be successful if we help this team have a growing knowledge of what it means to be a servant of God, who, in all things, and through all things, glorifies Him, and changes the world in which we live for His Kingdom.
I am thrilled, because after the girls got to talk with Tobin, they got to see someone who is doing just that.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer Plans

Today seemed like a good opportunity to put up a blog regarding my summer plans.

Back in October when I was on the Junior class trip with the students, I had a lot of fun getting to know as many new students as possible. Honestly I am not entirely sure how this particular conversation started, but while on the bus, I was sitting next to a student who had grown up in Marseilles, France his whole life. After finding this out I thought it would be fun to dust off the cobwebs of my French and see if we could hold a conversation in French. Apparently I must have done a decent enough job, because a few minutes later he started talking to me about an annual summer internship that is available with his mission. Intrigued, we talked about it more, and upon returning to school, I emailed his parents.
After a lot of emails, phone calls, and interviews, I have recently been accepted as one of their summer interns! So for roughly five weeks over the summer I will be in Marseilles working alongside a Church planting team. The day to day activities are still being planned, but involve; street evangelism, English camps, youth ministry, and discipleship.
There are two things specifically that get me really excited about this opportunity, the ministry and the culture. Since the internship is not set in stone and looks different every year, I am able to work with the team and help cater it toward my skills and passions. This summer there is a huge soccer tournament called Euro 2012, and France will be one of the countries competing in the tournament. Knowing this, I am helping put together an outreach ministry surrounding France's soccer matches. As of now I am envisioning something similar to a church hosting a Super Bowl party - where they open their doors and bring people into the building to watch the game. In addition to this, on the days following the matches, I will help run a soccer camp for the local kids. It might include coaching and giving instruction, or it may be more along the lines of organizing teams, and leading the game. Either way, I see it as a great opportunity to meet the people where they are, and rub shoulders with them.
The other aspect I am truly excited for is the culture. Throughout the summer I will be living with a local French family. I am fascinated by different cultures and think I will have a great time experiencing the French culture, and getting a personal look at a French family. Of course, I will definitely improve my French speaking skills, and hopefully I will not be in over my head. Since being approved I have been trying to brush up on my French speaking skills, but I am also trying to learn German right now. It is entertaining because sometimes I want to speak German, and a French word comes out, or vice versa. The other day I was taking a German vocab test it was only as I looked back over my work at the end to see if I had made any mistakes, did I realize that a few different times I had written down the French word rather than the German word! C'est la vie.

I am hoping to make it back to the States for a little bit over the summer - that is not set in stone at this point. I hope I can arrange for it, but we will have to wait and see. Be praying that airfare goes down, so I can book a ticket home!

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and check up on what is happening over here. Feel free to send me an email or post a comment.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Less than 24 hours.

In less than 24 hours the soccer season officially starts. Monday, March 5 at approximately 4:10 in the afternoon we will take the field for the first time. That thought brings a lot of emotions, two of which I will try to describe below. However, prior to that, if you are new to reading my blog I encourage you to follow this link and read my blog from the end of our season last year, http://www.tommybfa.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-apologize-that-i-did-not-post-last.html
Within that blog I provide some detail about our season; the practices, the teams we play, and the tournament at the end of the year. Hopefully that will provide you with a little more background knowledge about our soccer program.

Over the past few days I have been trying to get every last "I" dotted, and "T" crossed in preparation for the season. In so doing I have been flooded with a variety of different thoughts, emotions, and feelings. The widespread thoughts that have been running through my mind boil down to what in my mind seems like a paradox; excitement and fear.

Excitement.
I am ecstatic that the season is finally here. I have been preparing and planning for the season for a LONG time. Over the past summer I was emailing BFA soccer players, past and present, in order to bounce ideas off of them. I came up with lists of questions to ask, both players and myself, with the hope of settling on a good vision for the program. I watched the World Cup and the USWNT as a fan, but also a student. Wondering how I could implement certain aspects of the different teams into our own system. Seeking how to replicate what the USWNT was able to do. I admired the dedication and commitment that the USWNT showed throughout the tournament. Above all, I enjoyed watching them have fun while playing - and I wondered how I could implement that attitude into our team.
I am excited for the season. I am excited to be able to be on the field every day at practice. I am excited to travel with the teams, and compete in games. I am looking forward to coaching the girls, and seeing them grow as players, and as people. While I don't know the exact make up of the team yet, I have an idea as to who will serve as our core - and I am thrilled to work with them.
Our season will prove to be difficult as we have a very tough schedule, and I am excited about that. I am looking forward to giving the girls the opportunity to rise up and accomplish what outsiders don't think they are capable of.
There are certain things planned for our season that the girls are unaware of, which will certainly prove to be lifelong memories. I am excited.
I am excited to cross the white line tomorrow and start our season.

Fear
My steps will be marked with excitement, but they will also be marked with fear. More so than ever, within the past week I have been flooded with doubt and uncertainty. A multitude of "what ifs?" have been infiltrating my mind and heart. "What if they reject the style of play I implement?" "What if you don't win any games?"
I am hoping that this year will be a bit different than years past. I love who we have been in the past - but as head coach I am looking forward to putting more of my personal stamp on the program. In recent years we have played a 4-4-2 with a diamond in the back. I want to change to a 4-5-1 or a 4-2-3-1 with a flat back four (sorry if the soccer jargon doesn't make sense). I have done a lot of research on the pros and cons of both systems. I have watched different games, and read different articles about the differences between a diamond back, and flat back. I truly believe if we can implement a 4-5-1 system, we will have a better chance of winning. "What if the girls don't understand it?" "What if it doesn't work?"
I mentioned how I am excited about our schedule. Our schedule also allows fear to pour into me. We have seven regular season games, and I believe we will be the clear underdog in five of those seven games. One of those games is against a team we have played over the past two years. If you add up all of our goals, and their goals in those two games, it is 12-2 in their favor. After thinking about that, I am overcome with fear and think, "What if we lose and people view me as a coach, and our team, as failures?"
I was bogged down with that thought the other night. So I went out for a walk to get some fresh air and clear my head. As I was walking I thought of a question; How should I define success?
Is it in wins and losses? Is it in goals scored vs goals against? Is it by the number of trophies, or players who receive accolades?
Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows I am very competitive. I will admit I want to win. I want my girls to win every game. I want them to do well, and be competitive. But...the score at the end of the game is not all that matters.
I have a form that I am going to make all the varsity girls fill out prior to our first game. Within the form are questions about; their strengths/weaknesses, their goals on and off the field for the next 3.5 months, and their desired areas of growth. At the bottom of the page I finish with these instructions:

- At the end of the season how do you want to finish this sentence:
Through this season I am thankful that...

- How would you finish this sentence:
When I am finished playing soccer at BFA I want to leave a legacy of...

I am excited to have the girls fill out the form and indicate where they want to go with the season. Having their input will help guide us to make success more than just wins and losses.
I think this year will be a success if I can help this team have a growing knowledge of what it means to be a servant of God, who, in all things, and through all things, glorifies Him, and changes the world in which we live for His Kingdom.
I hope that at the end of our tournament we can say we did that to the best of our ability. If we learn a little bit about soccer, successfully change to a 4-5-1, get an upset or two - well, that would be icing on the cake.
With a different approach to success, the fear dwindles, and the excitement escalates.
I'm excited for the season to start!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reaffirming week

Once again I began the week thinking that I would blog about something (soccer) and events during the week have caused me to put that on hold and blog about something else. Though, I want to give a brief commercial and say that our season officially starts on Monday! I am thrilled for the season to start. If I find the time, I may blog on Sunday night to lay out some thoughts and feelings about the upcoming season. Until then, I encourage you to visit my post from a few weeks back http://www.tommybfa.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html (hopefully the link works for you)

I titled this blog post "reaffirming week" because I truly believe that's what it has been. More specifically, the past 48 hours have been phenomenal. There have been multiple moments throughout the past few days where I can't help but smile and think, "God has me right where he wants me right now." I consider myself blessed, and find myself getting excited, because I have those moments more often than not.
The past week was extremely busy, and quite exhausting. I am anticipating the soccer season starting and am trying to ensure I have everything in order, both in my role as a guidance counselor, but also in my role as coach. Additionally as a class sponsor I have been busy with the junior class preparing for the upcoming Junior Senior Banquet. It seemed like one period I was talking guidance, the next soccer, and after that class sponsor. A lot of different things, and all in very different directions. And I truly love it.

In addition to all that, there were two main reasons for this week being one worthy of the title, "reaffirming." Both surround interactions I had with students; ironically in one situation I talked a lot, and the other I hardly said a word.

Recently one of the most common prayers I have prayed has been, "God give me the eyes, and heart to see students who are struggling." As that prayer gets answered my next prayer is, "Alright God, how can I be used to help?" This week was really cool, because I saw both of those prayers answered. A student kept coming to my heart, and I knew I wanted to do something about it. However given the circumstances of my position I knew I was not the right person to help. So I began praying for someone who would be willing and better suited to help. "Randomly" I found myself in a conversation with another adult. Through that conversation a name came up, and I knew that was the help I had been praying for. So I talked with a different student who I have a lot of respect for and shared my prayer, and the tug that had been on my heart. I was blown away that as I shared, the student's face lit up with joy and was eager and willing to be a friend to the hurting. This student had recently been praying a similar prayer to me, and was thrilled to be guided in the direction of someone who could use a friend.
I left the conversation confident that if I didn't accomplish anything else for the remainder of the day, I would have still accomplished a lot.

The following day I once again received a feeling of being affirmed in my role here. I have certain students who regularly visit my office during their study hall simply to come in to talk and hang out. I welcome it and love when students do that. However, if a student comes to my office at a non-regular time I start to get a little worried that something has happened. Such was the case this week, as a frequent visitor came at an infrequent time. For the next hour I sat and listened. I listened to the pain, the hurt, the confusion, the frustration. Every now and then I'd ask a question to prompt further processing. But my main objective was to listen.
I wish I could say after our time everything was fixed and everything was better. Unfortunately that was not the case. Once again today, my friend came by my office. No words were necessary at first. I could see the pain in his eyes as the tears started to form, and then fall. After a while I looked up and said, "Do you want to come over for dinner tonight and hang out?" So tonight he came over and we just chilled out. We walked to the grocery store and bought the ingredients necessary for home made pizza. After cooking our masterpiece we watched a stupid, but funny movie. No serious conversation. No huge processing. Just a night of dudes hanging out and being together.


There are definitely difficult days and moments of being here in Germany. I miss my family, and my friends. There is a lot of hard work to be done here. But on those dark and difficult days, I am thankful that I can look back at a week such as this and be reaffirmed that I am in the right place.