Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lost and Found

Christmas has passed.
2013 is right around the corner.

I have to ask myself, "Whitney, you crazy redhead you. What have you accomplished this year?"

I'm at a loss for words.
For once.
Maybe it's the fact that I know I won't see my family for another year. Making the total count one year and a half--of only Skype, letters, and intense Facebook messaging. I wouldn't say I'm homesick.
No, not homesick.

I just feel comfortable when I'm so close with my family.
So it must be true, that sweet old saying.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Why yes, it certainly does.

I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I'm almost overwhelmed with the thought that THIS is it.
I am an ADULT. I've been living abroad, on my own, for one and a half years and most of that was in a third world revolutionary country no less. 
This really isn't an accomplishment. 
I would probably say that the fact I haven't gained 40 pounds from all the amazing food I've consumed is the largest accomplishment.

I keep feeling this thrilling pulse racing through me, like deadly lightning. I'm afraid and yet enthralled, but motionless. 
Does this make sense? 
 I've spoken with a few of my best friends, who happen to be activists and world travelers, and they too have these feelings of manic uncertainty.
I can't help but remember one of my favorite quotes, by Henry David Thoreau.
 "My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean's edge as I can go."
Thinking of this mantra satisfies me, and reminds me that it's okay to be uneasy. I personally believe that if your life is too comfortable, then you aren't living properly.

It's okay to be a little lost, because eventually you'll find yourself again...
Even if you happen to meander through several shoe stores, ice cream shops, and European boutiques along the way. 

Merry Christmas everyone, and happy new year!
In love and peace,

Monday, December 17, 2012

"There's a terrorist in our hostel..."

Charming, enchanting, and absolutely more enticing than I expected.

My German boy and I spent about three days in this captivating city, and unfortunately I quickly fell in love with it. Sure, we had a few mishaps but that's what makes life exciting, right? For instance, the Budapest airport caught on fire before we landed so we had to reroute to Bratislava, Slovakia. This turned out to be quite problematic, as the Slovakian airport was overcrowded and no one really knew what was going on. After commandeering a crowd of airport security "professionals" in the only way a feisty, loud American woman knows how, I quickly decided that my travel partner and I would have to take drastic measures into our own hands.

After waiting for an hour or so out in the cold, we crept into a jubilant herd of British folk that was waiting in line for a bus to take them to Budapest, even though we were supposed to be waiting for our own bus that would come hours later.
 I asked my German boy how his British accent was and he said, "Nonexistent."
Curses, my plans were foiled!
After accidentally bashing about six people with my gigantic carry on bag, before the bus manager could check our tickets, I managed to force my way onto the bus with Sebastian tearing in behind me.
*Angels sang and mental happy dancing commenced*
We made it!

It was much colder than I expected, but that didn't stop us from sightseeing or mountain trekking!
 After arriving in Budapest, I thought for a moment I was back in Egypt! The decaying buildings on the outskirts of the city, and the ancient metro cars, did nothing for my travel-appetite. However, once we stepped out from the caves of the metro station and out into the city, I was smitten! Our hostel, the Maverick Hostel, was only right around the corner and we luckily found ourselves in the middle of Budapest. *I really shouldn't say "luckily" since Sebastian is literally a walking GPS device. Fortunately, I am usually able to navigate with a map but normally rely on his skills for gallivanting- purposes.*

The view on our climb to the Citadel. Budapest is really so beautiful and the buildings are mesmerizing, regardless of their dingy tint due to years of neglect.
After a filling and over priced Hungarian dinner of Chicken Paprikash and Noodles, we made our way back to our hostel (which actually used to be a royal mansion that was built by the Habsburg dynasty) where we planned the rest of our adventures.

I love food and wish I had at least three stomachs. My German boy and I found this little Hungarian restaurant late in the evening on our first night in Budapest.
 More tales to come, stay tuned! :)
I promise this statue isn't headless, although it certainly looks that way!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Ultimate Christmas Wish: "Imagine No Malaria"

Dearest Family and Friends,

I know Christmas is quickly approaching, and many of you have asked about sending a small package or gift to me in Germany. However, I would prefer it if you send $5, $10, whatever you would spend on a present for me-- instead to my church! Oakland United Methodist Church in Greenback, Tennessee is participating in the Holston United Methodist Conference's "Imagine No Malaria". I would be forever grateful if you could help my congregation reach their goal. 

Please click here to view the Imagine No Malaria website. 

It would mean so much to me if you sent your monetary gift to children and families who cannot afford medical treatment. I experienced the pain and suffering of malaria on a first hand basis when I was living in Uganda. Many adults will go through violent periods of malaria-induced trauma throughout their lives. I've seen tiny, little babies in such suffering just because their parents cannot afford several small pills or mosquito nets! Please help those who are much needier than I am.

Please send checks to:
Oakland United Methodist Church
234 Trigonia Road
Greenback, Tennessee 37742

Pay to: Oakland UMC
Memo: Whitney Buchanan "Imagine No Malaria"

Thank you, and God bless you and your family during this holiday season.

In love and peace.