Je rêve d'été

Today marks the 5 week countdown where I will be spending my summer in Europe. For faithful readers, you all know very much my ardent desire to travel and see Europe, so this is something that is vying all my attention during these stressful last weeks of the semester. I immediately begin to think which cities I can visit, what people I will encounter, what experiences I will sense, the memories that I will make. I have long come to recognize that traveling is not merely just seeing novel places and taking in beautiful scenery that reveres the beauty of creation. Rather, it is about the places you see, the people you meet, and the memories you make. When I look back, I certainly don't want to just remember visiting a famous European city. I'd rather remember what I did when I was there, what I saw, and who I met. I have a very romantic view to traveling; I see adventure and beauty in everything, and I believe that I can transform any mundane thing into something exciting. Perhaps I am viewing all of this through the lens of a writer, but regardless of the frame I'm glancing through, I am reminding myself that these four dreams could very well be reality this summer.

1. I am always interesting in refining my style. Moreover, I desire to further cultivate my individual sense of style that sets me apart. And, like everything else about me, my style and fashion gravitates towards a European mode. I enjoy simple shapes, textures, and designs. I like nude and muted colors. However, with summer around the corner, this is naturally infused with splashes of color. I do hope that my style will begin to look like a trendy explorer with her head in the books, her heart in the heavens, and her eyes set on making a mark. 

2. Explore major European cities. Cities like Prague, Belgrade, Vienna, and Budapest are among the top of the list in the region that I am staying. There is something so exciting about walking down streets that have last for several centuries, where history was made, and stories have been made. In addition to being touristy within measures, exploring cute boutiques and quaint cafes that may not necessarily be in a Lonely Planet traveling guide is all the more exciting. It will be part of the many stories and discoveries I hope to make. 

3. Greece. The bright azure scenery, the turquoise waters, the tranquil places...I could go on. Perhaps it was the allure Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants presented, or just the clear blue waters that entices me to go. Regardless, there is a mystique that surrounds Greece. Visiting biblical cities, such as Thessaloniki, Corinth, and Athens. Close my eyes and inhale the salty air, feel the thick air surrounding me, and breathe in the atmosphere. 

4. Travel via train. This is perhaps the event I am most excited about. The prospect of traveling on a train, sitting seats by an old wooden table, with archaic decor, and falling in love with the scenery. I find the train to be such a romantic method of voyage. A couple sitting across from each other, gazing deeply in each other's eyes, grazing each other's hand, and sitting in silence, and yet, communicating far more than words could express. This is what I think whenever I think traveling by train, but of course, I just think it's equivalent to stepping a little bit back in time while remaining contemporary. I can finally break out the list of books I've been desiring to read. I can sit, with my novel in hand, and see rolls of green hills whiz past me. It's something I've always wanted to do, and the prospect of it possibly coming to pass is clearly exciting to me. 


Waning on Waiting?

For a young twenty year old at a Christian university, being single is almost equated to being a nun or has failed to meet her future husband. Putting all romantic and fairy-tale stories aside, this is rather disappointing. It is almost as if life is put on a timeline, a template that everyone is required to follow. If you haven't met your future spouse by twenty, you are clearly not listening from God. There are many things wrong with that statement, all of which I will address. In addition, to this visceral mentality prevalent on Christian campuses nationwide, it is no wonder that waiting has gained a rather impetuous reputation. Feeling the effects myself, as a young vibrant Christian woman, it can be difficult to comprehend what the Christian social circles say you have to experience by this age range. Perhaps what makes it all the more difficult is the profuse number of peers that are getting engaged. That, and the countless hours spent on tumblr and Pinterest admiring sweet and romantic couples/engagement/wedding pictures is not aiding that sentiment. I am well aware that waiting sounds very Christian-like, very stringy, and quite chaste. Waiting for that one special person is absolutely archaic, some may say. Very well, that can be true in particular instances, yet it would be insufficient to state that is true in every sense. Waiting can be a wonderful thing, particularly if it's presented in the right view. However, this isn't a post about waiting. At least, not entirely. Rather, this is a statement addressing many attitudes in the Christian spheres regarding pertinent topics such as waiting and the process that goes into waiting.

By waiting for that special person, it is not saying that you are incomplete and you are patiently waiting for that one person that will make you complete. As a Christian, it is Jesus that truly makes you complete. Rather, waiting is a test on character, virtue, and faith. I am sure that some of you have heard the expression that waiting is easy. I can assure it is not. In fact, I find waiting to be a very difficult thing to do. Waiting does mean that life is on pause until you meet/date/marry that special person. Ladies, allow me to speak to you for a moment. Waiting is a wonderful thing and should not be done passively. But permit me to say that while you wait, enjoy life. Enjoy singlehood. Enjoy the single life. Enjoy the pleasure of spontaneity. Enjoy that you are free to do whatever you want whenever you want. The period of singlehood is designed not to torture you while your special someone enters your life, but rather to grow as a person. Singlehood is designed as a period of time in which the person matures, grows, cultivates her character, and becomes the woman and wife she deserves to be to her husband. But, in all honesty, being single is fun. You can go out and party, enjoy your time, and do things you otherwise wouldn't be able to do if you were in a relationship, such as travel, do an internship, or simply do the things you desire to do. I believe that modern media has depicted singlehood incorrectly. Being single doesn't mean you're alone, you're depressed, and you're without love. While you are not in a romantic relationship, you are surrounded by people who you love and love you in return, so you are certainly not alone. It is true that there are certain things you cannot do as a single woman, but it goes both ways. I understand the desire to be cherished by that wonderful man, but until then, enjoy life. You are given a certain amount of time of being single; enjoy it while you can and do not let it go to waste. Get to know yourself, form your own identity, and love yourself. Singlehood is a gift (hard to see at the moment, I completely understand), but nonetheless, it is a period in everyone's life in which you grow as a person. When the right time comes when you meet that special man (still speaking to the female demographic), you will have gone through a process which has prepared you to be in a relationship that will design to last.

Okay, I will be transparent for a moment. I go to a Christian university where there are some girls that desire to get their MRS degree before graduation. (Disclaimer: I am not one of them.) They actively seek out potential guys that could be their husband. You may laugh, but I am positively serious. Perhaps the atmosphere that encourages such pairings, but it is interesting how quickly two people will enter a relationship. For those, however, that are not quite that keen to enter a relationship, and prefer to--wait for it--wait, it is not a crime against Christianity. Waiting a perfectly apt thing to do. Waiting essentially says, I know God's best is out there for me, and so I will wait for His divine timing when my spouse will enter my life. If you're twenty and you're not in a relationship or even pursuing one, that is fine. That is more than fine. Don't feel that just because everyone around you is either in a relationship or engaged or even married makes you less of a Christian. Everyone is different; some receive it earlier and some later in life. That is not contingent on your walk with God. While you are waiting, fall deeper in love Jesus. Allow Him to romance you, to show you His heart, to show you His heart for you. I tried to avoid sounding cliche, but I fail on this: There really is no rush. Enjoy life. Waiting means you are positioning for something to come. Waiting will not last forever. So until that period ends, enjoy life to yourself before you begin sharing it with someone else.

For those of you who are waiting and are truly waiting on God's instructions, you often find yourself asking what it looks like. I can assure you that it does not mean that you are sitting and waiting for God to place him in your lap. He will come out of nowhere. Bam! There you go. Unfortunately, it's not like that. Rather, it is more enveloping yourself so deeply in God's heart that out of that, God will lead you and direct you to be in the right place at the right time so that God will bring 2 people utterly in love with Him together. You surrender your previous ideas regarding dating, what he will look like (since God can surprise you), what your story might look like, and how you'll meet. Let that go and give it to God. Allow Him timing, His goodness, and His blessings counsel you. Since we can think incorrectly about many, many things, waiting is not just waiting. It is a process, as I mentioned earlier, that constitutes a change in attitude, a renewal of mindset, and follow the Holy Spirit's footsteps. However, waiting can look differently for everyone. It can be an extensive process or it can merely mean trusting and relying on the Lord's timing. Allow these Scriptures to nurture your spirit, to encourage you that God's timing is truly perfect, and reassure you that God is a good Father--He will not withhold anything good from His children. He knows the perfect time when to give it. Just as a chef knows the perfect time when to take a meal out of the oven, God is likewise wise when to present something to us. If it's too early, it will be undercooked, and that will be no good because it will not be fully developed. If it's too late, it will be overcooked, and it will be burnt. It will be taken out at precisely the right time, when all the ingredients have fused together and give off a powerful and delicious aroma.

"This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." Habakkuk 2:3

"And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise." Hebrews 6:15

"The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen." Isaiah 14:24

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory." 1 Corinthians 1:20

My hope in writing this post is not advocating waiting or discussing how wonderful being single is or how I loathe counting how many couples have gotten engaged in the past 6 months. Rather, it is writing an expose on what waiting truly looks like and how it is truly a wonderful process and experience. In this, I aspire that when someone waits, it will not produce a putrid taste in the mouth or curl the mouth upward. I am merely writing on the intended purposes of what waiting is, what singlehood is intended to be, and why waiting is a beautiful thing. There is a particular view on these aforementioned subjects; I am simply discussing what the intended design of it is.


A Transpiring Between Two Lovers, Part III

3. Among Friends
It has often been said that when you are among close friends, you are among family. I've always pondered whether that was just a remark used when family had let you down or when the company of friends is more uplifting than that of your own flesh and blood. I was most surprised to find out that it had nothing to do with family ties or the commonalities or anything that ties and binds. It is simply about being the midst of those you love and those who love you being in their lives from the most trifling circumstances to the most important life events.

M: Hello? Are you there? I can only talk for a little while.
F: Oh, I am so glad that we're finally able to chat! Some time has passed since we've last spoken.
M: Yes, yes, I know. Timing is very fragile for me.
F: I'm aware of that. Tell me everything that has gone through your mind since we've last spoken.
M: For the time that I've spent here, I was set on the idea that these are people that I am acquainted with, but I have no intention of being friends with. However, the more time I've spent with them, talking with them, engaging in dangerous situations (as it usually happens over here), I've realized that we all have very similar stories and interests. We've began to realize that we are not quite that dissimilar as we originally thought. The most profound discussions happen late at night, cuddled by the warm fire, under the starry night, when our minds drift to where our hearts lie, and we would say whatever was our minds. We would talk about everything: from life back home, to the girl waiting for us back home, to memories, to where life will lead us after this, and to just reflections on the day. Recently, we've all managed to pitch in and buy local instruments and once we have finished using words to express ourselves, we would pick up the nearest instrument and begin playing. It doesn't sound very lovely, but the way our thoughts are expressed through music is profound.
F: That sounds absolutely lovely, my dear. I've never once wished that you would be alone over there. I've always longed that you would interact and make friends, certainly not to replace the ones you have, but rather because we are social creatures and are designed to interact with one another.
M: You always know just what to say.
F: I actually visited some of our friends last weekend.
M: You did? You drove down there for the weekend?
F: I did. They were all there, gathered together, and since I didn't know when the next time this would happen, I figured I might as well. It was wonderful, to see all of us gathered together. It felt just like old times. There was a massive feast, so we dined outside, in the backyard, with beautiful lights illuminating through the late night sky. We looked through old pictures, talked about old memories, discussed many college memories. It felt so wonderful being there.
M: Oh, how I miss them. How I wished that I was there, with them all. Did you tell them how it pained me that I wasn't there?
F: Of course I did. I told them you were away and that we must do this again somehow, when you're back home. 
M: I'm sorry that I wasn't there. How I wished I wasn't away so I could been in the company of good friends. 
F: My love, fret not, for they assured me that this would certainly not be the last time we would gather together. While we were looking over old pictures, there was an old file they showed me. I didn't know you did photography for a while. I knew you enjoyed it and liked doing it, but you never told me that you seriously considered it as a business venture. You mentioned before that it was something you wanted to do, but couldn't see yourself doing it professionally since it's more of a hobby. They showed me a compilation of old photographs you used to take. There were various pictures ranging from a ferris wheel in the sunset at a carnival to a crashing wave. Most of them were scenic. And then, there was one particular picture that stuck out to me. It was a candid photograph of a young woman sitting in a coffee shop wearing a red cable knit sweater reading a book while drinking a cup of coffee. 
M: It was something I used to do to express myself individually. The more busy I got, the less I did it until I stopped entirely. That photograph was taken in December at a nearby coffee shop, not far from campus. I don't know what it was about her that struck me about her. Perhaps it was the way the red sweater contrasted against her hair or the fact that in a busy coffee shop she appeared so serene and dissolved in her novel that it was mesmerizing. I didn't see her face since her head was cradled between the pages of her book, so I never found out who it was.
F: Did you ever think about her after that?
M: Not extensively. It was more the picture that stayed with me and I wondered if I were ever see her again. Naturally, that doesn't matter in the slightest since I have you.
F: Thank you, my dear, for capturing me on that stuffy December day. 
M: The girl in the picture is you?!
F: Indeed it is. The red sweater was given to me by my ex-boyfriend shortly before our relationship ended. Then I never wore the sweater again since I found no reason to. That's why you never saw that sweater again.
M: I cannot believe that you are that girl in the photograph. The chances of you being here is almost uncanny.
F: Of course I would never mention back then that I saw you walking the coffee shop, but I didn't give you a second thought. I knew exactly who you were.
M: Oh, my darling! You have the ability to make me smile thousands of miles away. Unfortunately, I must bid you adieu. Give my warmest hellos to them and let them that I will be returning shortly. I love you, my mysterious, photogenic, and utterly beautiful woman. I will be with you in a very short time. 
F: I love you, my handsome. I love you.



Cheerful Weather

I find it positively remarkable how a shift in climate can utterly change a person's mood. I find it not strange at all that films use weather and likewise color schemes to convey the mood the climate brings. Summer seasons usually convey warm tones, a cheerful mood, the desire to go and be adventurous, a lightness to one's disposition. In contrast, winter seasons usually transmit a gloominess, a dreariness, sadness, cool tones, a rather apathetic mindset, a disparagingly depressing outlook on life, and a blatant frigidness to composure. This is perhaps the most striking feature of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. 

I stumbled across this film by perusing through pre-ordered films on iTunes. The trailer intrigued me, enticing me with its mystery surrounding a conflicted bride possibly marrying the wrong man. I'm a romantic, so this immediately drew me in. The plot line has to the major aspect that I wish to watch a film, but the edge of the film, the way the mood and emotion is splattered across the scene sealed the deal. There are few movies that I tell myself I need to see, but this was one I really needed to see. I was quite disappointed that the film gained poor reviews due to a lack of superior dialogue, slow plot, and overall theme. I understood that it's a British film, so the audience may not necessarily be garnered towards American viewers, so I was rather ambivalent. Ten minutes in the movie, I was already pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. It had a way of drawing on nostalgia and possible do-overs in life that makes the viewers wonder what choice the protagonist will take. This is the major emotional involvement throughout the film: marry a suitable bachelor that fits everything her mother had pictured for her life or run away with the man she truly loves. I assure you, it's not quite as cliche as it sounds.

Refraining from spoiling the plot, I must say that the main plot takes place in one day during the winter with various flashbacks taking place the past summer. I must take this time to point out the aesthetics and cinematography. The color scheme between the two seasons is so obvious that it's done in an exceptionally tasteful manner. Winter is cool blues, whites, dark pastels, and solid prints, whereas summer is bright greens, warm yellows, reds, and floral prints. Winter is seen as gloomy, cold, sad, and mundane. Summer, however, is perceived as an adventurous, exciting, frivolous, exciting, and fun. Even the costumes and dispositions differentiate between the seasons as well. Winter has subdued hues, restrained affection, and restrained. Summer is all about bright pops of color, poignant emotion, and a profound sense of liberty. As the film in set in 1930s England, the costumes were remarkable. Winter fashion surrounds around posh, classy, lush and delicate details, soft features, and a sublime touch of minimalism. Summer vogue consists of fun prints, light materials, bold designs, and lax posh comportment. The aesthetics is done so tastefully, mastered in such a subtle manner, that it appears intentional but so obvious that it's overlooked. This film has captured my heart and has easily become one of my favorite movies. Perhaps it's that, coupled with Felicity Jones as the female protagonist (from Like Crazy) and Luke Treadaway as the man whom she loves. Two superb actors putting a remarkable portrayal of love and heartache. If that's not enough, Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey stars as Felicity's mother.


A Transpiring Between Two Lovers, Part II

2. Eye Contact
We are often told that the eyes are the window to the soul, but just how much do they let us see? The importance of eye contact cannot be overlooked, since gazing at someone can irrevocably change the course of someone's life. There is a puzzling action that follows eye contact, as some describe it akin to a surge of electricity pulsing through one's veins, proclaiming it to be a very dangerous thing. But, oh so lovely. The eyes speak more than the mouth is willing to say. 

My love, can I let you in on a little secret? My time here has recently permitted me to observe the culture and the importance of not simply looking at someone, but rather creating eye contact, in a reverential way of communicating that I am listening to you and I am focusing all my attention on you. You would always tell me that it's not enough to just look at you, but to see you. I want to recall everything that went on, everything that I was thinking when I first laid eyes on you. When we first locked eyes. But first, I have to tell you that the first time I saw you wasn't that brisk October afternoon, but it was a warm Spring day in April. However, using your language, I first saw you in October, while I merely noticed you in April. But, my, you certainly made an impression on me. It is remarkable how a beautiful young woman wearing a red skirt, lace top, and sandals can imprint so profusely in my mind. Your long wavy hair blowing in the wind, the aroma of your perfume lingering in the air...I nearly stopped to take it all in. You were walking from the other end of campus with a big smile on your face. I remember that because I couldn't grasp how anyone could look so beautiful smiling. It was infectious; your smile tempted my mouth to curl and grin because you made it look so nice, so natural, so lovely. Your hair got caught in your mouth and you tried your best to make it look like it wasn't a big deal. You shook your head and flipped your hair, the sunlight radiating off your chocolate brown hair. The light waves cascading on your warm shoulders. As our paths nearly intersected, you kept your head down, glancing at something while you walked. Then, just as I made my way to you, you looked up and locked eyes with me. The intensity of your gaze nearly raptured my disguised coolness. The warm combination of green and brown hues in your eyes was impeccably mixed to create a gentle hazel color. You kept your gaze on me as we walked past each other, curling a strand of hair behind your ear. Then you looked down again. I wondered what was going on through you mind at that present moment. Did you notice anything about me? Did you notice me at all? Did you think about me after that? I surely thought about you since then. I long wondered who you were, whether I'd see you, and hoping that our paths would cross again. I wondered if it was possible for time to stand still. It was only a mere seconds of looking at you and you looking at me, but I felt that an eternity had passed before we finally broke eye contact. I couldn't fathom the way your gaze did not wither or search for my eyes. You looked as if you were staring at the depths of my soul. I told myself that should I see you again, I would talk to that pretty girl...and that fateful October day came...I still remember every detail about you the first time I saw you, from the way you chuckled quietly to yourself about something you were thinking, the way your outfit perfectly matched, and how unpretentious you looked as you were walking through a cobble-stone sidewalk among fields of green. Your image remained etched in my mind until I finally saw you again. My heart beat just as quickly as it did when I first saw you. I'm always thinking of you, my beautiful beloved. I'm looking forward to when I'll see you again with my eyes rather than staring at your pictures in my journal. I love you. I'll be coming home soon. 


A Transpiring Between Two Lovers, Part I

1. Hearts Connected by Distance
This post was created in my most mundane class, glancing at the window and wondering how the warm sunshine breeds joy and the sensation of light rays kissing the skin. Lying on the grass and glancing at the sky, pondering infinite possibilities. By simply turning to my left, my imagination stirred. This marks the first of a short story about two lovers separated by distance and how they are patiently waiting to reunite. Set in a contemporary setting with archaic language dripping with romantic poetic syntax, these two lovers communicate in a way that transcends the heresy of old-fashioned love.

Female: Hi!
Male: Hello!
F: I miss you.
M: I miss you too.
F: When will you return? My heart aches being separated from you.
M: Oh, my love, if only you understood the depth of pain I suffer at the mere thought that we are not together. I will come back to you.
F: Hurry soon. 
M: If I had the ability to be with you right now, I would have returned a long time ago. I would be in your arms.
F: There are times when I want to rush and tell you an event that happened or something I discovered as soon as it happened. But I can’t. I have to recall the story to you. I don’t like being so far away from you. You are my proper half and you are not with me.
M: Please, my love, don’t speak like that. My heart cannot bear it. I will be with you in a short while. It won’t be long before we are reunited.
F: I’ll wait for your arrival. I cannot wait to hug you, to touch your hair, to feel your arms around my waist, to finally be with you once again. I never knew it was possible to miss a single person so dearly. I see you in everything and at everything I look at. There is not a single instance where I am not reminded of you.
M: Merely looking at the sun, the moon, the oasis of a beach, it cannot compare to your beauty. Gazing at it sends a rushing force down my entire body and compels my body to cripple with awe. I am reminded of you in everything. There is not a moment where I don’t miss you. My throat throbs at the mention of your name, the hairs on my arms stand up when your face enters my mind, and my chest begins to beat violently whenever I think about you. My heart belongs to you.
F: I love you so very much.
M: I love you.