>On a new journey

>The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind. Graduations and parties that follow, first grade shenanigans at the zoo, and cleaning on steroids. I’ve been home for only a couple of nights in the past few weeks at a decent time. For me, that’s before 6PM. I love my evenings at home, cooking dinner for one and sewing or reading.

As you can see, I’ve also been blogging quite a bit (Check out the “Why I’m Alive” tabs above). It feels so redemptive to get my testimony out there; God has done great things! I am slowly but surely learning how to live a life of gladness and thankfulness. I’m learning that God wants us to have an “inexpressible and glorious joy“. Our God is a God who redeems and restores! Sharing my testimony has been so freeing; I wish I could describe the feeling with more eloquence.

Even as my husband and I continue on this journey together, I know God has great things in store for us. We are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

These last few weeks will be busy. I can’t believe next week is June already! We have been waiting for June 2011 for two years now. I will be running a 5K, going to see Hillsong with my bestie, and spending more time with friends and family.

As Aaron’s return approaches, I find myself calm and collected. No, really. I’m serious. If you ask me if I get nervous or have butterflies before I see him, I would reply with an emphatic “Yes!” as I wait with anticipation at the airport. But this time is different and new. For the past two years, we’ve known that we would only be together for a short period before going back to our geographical bachelor and bachelorette statuses. Now, we are moving in the same direction, at the same time, together.

I find myself not worried. I still have a list of things that need to be done, but overall I am not anxious. As things like small group, worship band, piano lessons, and long Saturday morning runs with Gabi are coming to a close, I wait with excited anticipation for what lies ahead.

>Week in review; revisiting the diet plan

>Hello friends. Sorry about the uncreative title.. it’s been one of those weeks. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

I feel so bloated and just… flabby. I know that’s ridiculous, considering I’m only up 2.7 pounds from my ideal, and I’m still trying to learn how to not to eat like a glutton after months of marathon training. Ha! I’ve been especially bad with the sweets since Easter. I’m the girl who can’t just eat two or three Oreos… or four or five. Yeaaahhh. That’s why I don’t keep those in the house. I think it’s back to 40-calorie sugar-free fudge pops for this chick. (And hubby is coming home soon so I have a goal!)

I’m going to be more diligent about strength training… girly pushups, crunches, Pilates, and yoga, along with the weight machines at the gym. I want to run about twice a week, and cross-train the rest of the time. I don’t have to technically begin training for the December half marathon until about September. That will be perfect; we should be all settled in Texas by then.

As for my eating, well, I really hate to start tracking again. I did it for so long with success that I can probably guess how many calories I eat every day just based on how I feel. I’m going to cut out the lemonade or root beer (you know, the only viable options at fast food which I shouldn’t be eating anyway…) and instead drink water. I have been loving instant decaf Nestea. The aftertaste reminds me of summer days at my grandparents’ farm.

I am done with work in just a few days and then I will be able to focus on getting the apartment ready. The town my bestie lives in is having a town-wide garage sale this weekend, so I am trying to sell all the extra stuff we don’t need.

Sighhh. I’m thankful for yet another week down, and this was an especially busy one. Bring on the summer!

>This Spanish major will be happy! and thoughts on immigration and language

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There is so much culture in El Paso that as a Spanish major, I am ecstatic to explore! There is a museum of art, history, and archaeology. Good thing my husband likes museums, too. In fact, one of our first dates was to the Lakeview Museum. This site has some really awesome pictures of downtown El Paso, including one of an Aztec Calendar. I’ve never seen one of these in person. Heck, I’ve never been to Mexico. A shame, huh? Because of the dangers there and being a military family member, I may not get to go for some time. Bummer.

Because of my career choice (as a teacher, I obviously have an educated and extensively researched commentary on every major problem that plagues this great nation), many people have asked me what I think about illegal immigration, and many students have asked me, “Why do we even have to learn Spanish?” to which I wanted to reply, “If you don’t like it, then why are you in here?!”

This is what I think about illegal immigration from Mexico, or anywhere: it’s illegal. Therefore it’s wrong. I know many people who have come to this country and built their lives here by going through the correct channels. People who come here illegally mar the process of immigration for everyone else. Sure, all our ancestors were immigrants unless you’re Native American, but times have changed… laws have changed.

Why is it important to learn Spanish? Well, besides “needing” it for admission to college (not true; there are many other things that merit admission to college), why not learn another language? When you learn another language, you inevitably learn another culture. Even if you merely study vocabulary of British English, you will learn about Britain’s culture. It enhances one’s outlook on the world and helps in other areas of learning as well.

Suffice it to say that our children will be fluent in at least my two languages. After piano at age 7, Spanish was my second love and I long to pass that on to our children. Besides, if they start young their pronunciation will be lovely and much more native-like than mine. My accent is definitively American + Bolivian + Honduran + Enrique Iglesias (haha, I kid about Enrique).

As far as children go, they are our future. I know that sounds really typical for a teacher to say. We shouldn’t punish the children of illegal immigrants. They had no control over their parents’ actions, and by law if they are born on U.S. soil, they are U.S. citizens. It’s said and done and there’s nothing that we can do about it. There are people of every race, ethnicity and class who take advantage of services provided by our government.

The truth is that El Paso used to be part of Mexico. Boundaries, laws or prejudice cannot remove the Mexican influence, just as generations cannot take away the history passed down to me from my grandpa about my family who came here from, you guessed it, England, to be farmers. Yes, farmers. In Illinois. You can stop chuckling now. No wonder this gringa loves traveling so much…

I’m not going to lie and say I know how to solve any problems facing education today, as they are many. I really did not plan on writing about it in this entry, but I know that all children should have a right to education and to succeed in this country if they so choose (and are legal). It’s sometimes hard for us to see, but the opportunities here despite the current economy are unfathomable.

In conclusion, living in El Paso will be like living in a foreign country to me. The cool thing is, it used to be. According to statistics, El Paso is 80% Hispanic (shocker, right?)… this blonde-hair-blue-eyed-girl-from-the-Midwest-who-really-loves-Spanish-but-is-just-so-white-that-even-the-Europeans[Spaniards]-saw-right-through-me will learn a lot!

>Clear-minded goals

>So, before the marathon, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep training and racing marathons, or just have this be a one-time thing and become a more casual runner.

Let’s just say that the thought of never running another marathon again is just craziness! Like I said, all throughout the race I never thought, Oh, I’m never doing this again. My recovery is going very well. I got a massage last night and besides a little soreness, I feel almost 100% today!

Now, post-race and during recovery, I’m already planning new goals and races. When we move, we will be less than 20 miles from New Mexico. Our location will have amazing new opportunities for hiking and seeing the country. The Southwest has to be my favorite region thus far.

We (my husband and I) are looking at a half marathon in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in December of this year. That’s 13.1 miles at 4,000 ft elevation. I have to learn to run at that altitude. I think my goal will be a sub-2:00 race, which will make my pace 9:09. Right now I can run 3 miles with a pace of 9:00, and 8 with a 9:37 pace. Maybe this new goal is slightly ambitious, but it will keep me committed to my training.

I bought a swim cap with a gift certificate from BondiBand, so hopefully that will encourage me to start swimming on a regular basis. I can swim, but I can’t guarantee that I have the correct form. Hmm.. maybe I should take lessons..?

On a slightly different note, we leave for Texas in approximately two months. I cannot believe the time is almost here! In less time than that, Aaron will be back stateside. This has been such a long journey, but I believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a divine opportunity in all life changes.

I am continuing to pray for opportunities for friendship and ministry and peace of mind about moving so far away. This is an exciting time and I don’t want to take anything for granted.