Friday 25 January 2019

Golden Hour Memories

It's called the "magic hour"
Before the sun sinks low
When everything is bathed
In a warm, golden glow

Colours look much richer
Flowers, more velveteen
And a country garden
Is a haven of green

The dragonflies hover
As light glints on their wings
Tree frogs start their chorus
And sing of peaceful things

~ Kathy Figueroa 

FINALLY posting these photos of a truly amazing girl and friend of mine. She has a truly beautiful heart - and a beautiful smile to match! I have to admit, golden hour photo shoots are my absolute favourite with all that beautiful warm light shining around us. She was a complete natural in front of the camera and yep there were plenty of laughs throughout this. Thankful for memories and friends like these!😄⛅

Friday 4 January 2019

Dear 2018

Ok so I'm going to be completely honest. Writing this post was a bit challenging and at one point, I was on the verge of giving up. I kept getting stuck and I couldn't figure out why until I realized that I was trying to write about the whole entire year of 2018 in one post. Once that finally hit I was just completely overwhelmed. Because 2018 has been b.u.s.y. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually...the whole lot of 'em. I also have trouble writing more "serious" posts because I either ramble or feel like giving up cause it just doesn't sound like me at all. Add on top of that the fact that I have to be kind of vague (I still go under a pseudonym for goodness' sake) and it gets quite crazy. So! I have decided I'd just tackle a part of my year instead of attempting the whole 365 days of 2018. Here goes...

Wow. It's hard to believe you have finally come to an end. I had mixed feelings about saying goodbye to you honestly. You were one of the worst years of my life...and yet at the same time, you were one of the best.

I've learned a lot. I've learned that a smile can hide a breaking heart, but I also know that it's one of the most awful feelings a person could ever experience. I've learned that people come and go but it's when people give up and leave that you see who you can truly trust. I've learned that life is not always black and white (much as I sometimes wish it could be) and we need to find a way to see through the grey. I've cried so hard I thought my heart was going to burst into a million pieces. I've despaired and fallen into darkness that I thought was impossible to escape. There is so much pain and hurt and confusion...but there is also clarity.

On Christmas Eve a man asked me if I was happy. I almost broke down right there in our church lobby. Because it made me realize that no, I'm not happy. I'm hurting. It wasn't all "merry". But you know what? That is completely, totally, absolutely ok. It's ok to hurt. It's ok to have pain. You don't have to be happy just because people expect you to be happy. And I mean, trust me, I was happy about the meaning of Christmas. I am thankful that Christ came to earth in human form to save us from our sins and to give us the gift of salvation and eternal life. But there can be pain with joy. One of the most important things I learned this semester at school is that lament is part of wisdom. Lament. Pain. Hurt. It's ok to ask why. To cry out to God and demand why, why was life this way? Why did it have to be so hard? Why can't it be some other way? Just why, why, why?

I've messed up. I've made mistakes. I've been broken. But despite all the challenges you held, 2018, it's taught me so many things. I've learned to view things from a different perspective. I've learned that there really is such a thing as unconditional love. I've learned more about what true friendships actually look like. I've seen first-hand people my own age on fire for God and honestly, I admire them so much. I've learned that opening up with people helps SO much. Along with truth and understanding comes clarity. And with clarity comes well - changes. And confusion, strangely enough. It's hard to figure out what to do when you want to be respectful but at the same time, you want to be able to do what you believe God is calling you to do. There's going to be trouble and conflict ahead, I'm fairly certain. I don't know what 2019 holds for me, but I suspect it's going to be hard. And I only pray that God gives me the strength to do what's right. There will be changes. Many, many changes. 

Life is hard. And you've definitely shown me that. And I know that life is only going to get harder. But I know that along with the darkness comes light. No matter how hard it gets, there's always gonna be hope in something better. No matter how hard life may break me, I'm still gonna get back up again because this life is SO worth living. Not for myself, but for the one and only God of the universe.

"Now I'm just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it's trueYou use broken things
Then here I am, Lord, I'm All Yours"
"Broken Things" - Matthew West

Dear 2018...

Thank you. 

Friday 14 December 2018

College Life

Hey! Ok so my goal was to try and post at least every month...but hehehehe you can see how well that worked. In my defence, I've had a lot of school. And I mean, yes, I know that everyone has a lot of homework, high school or college. But uh yeah. The average course load for a full time student is 3-4 courses or 12 credits. I have 9 courses equalling 19.5 credits. NINE. Life of a music student y'all 😑😄

But! School has been pretty amazing and I've been learning a ton. Literally ;) 

My courses this semester have been as follows:

Two Applied Music Lessons ~ these were vocal lessons and because of the certificate I was in, I had to take two. So yeah. Also, it was sooo encouraging to learn that I was the only in that program and no one else was because it was the harder one. Greeeeeeaaaattt :P 

Large Ensemble I and II ~ so much singing! and so much music to learn! We ended up having so much going on in choir, my music professor decided it was enough content for two semesters instead of one. It's been a pretty fun experience though. In October, the choir went to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall (more on this later ^_^) and then in early December, we had four concerts over the span of two days. (also more on this later ;))

Contemporary Music and Performance Practice ~ well...not really much to say about this. Except that it was very long and was mainly learning about genres of music. It was also a night class and yeah. I'll leave it at that. However, I DO have to do a presentation on Monday and I'm looking forward to that because it's gonna be on country music and I love country :D)

Introduction to the Old Testament ~ had to read the whole Old Testament in 12 weeks. TWELVE WEEKS. And yes. Everything. Leviticus, 1+2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the whole shebang. And that's not including the really really thick textbook that gave me about a 100 pages of joy every week. (Ok actually though, the textbook was really interesting) And I did learn a lot and was probably one of my favourite classes because the professor was just amazing and made all his lessons so intriguing. 

Hermeneutics ~ basically just learning how to interpret the Bible. And make lots of observations. Like...lots.  

Christian Formation ~ A mini-course on living life to the fullest as a Christian. Actually had already done a lot of the stuff that was taught here...budgeting, scheduling, managing time, avoiding procrastination, etc. But we got to do some community work which was really fun (including carolling!!!) and I'm looking forward to doing more next semester! 

Music Fundamentals III ~ HAHAHAHAHAHA. OK. This course was...INTERESTING. I mean, I learned a lot, that's for sure. But my first class I just sat there with basically 3/4 of the content going over my head. And then I found out that it was a second-year course. And that there was a Music Fundamentals I and II that came before III. Makes sense I guess. Except that I hadn't taken those courses because apparently my theory scores were high enough for me to skip I and go into III. And yet somehow I could barely keep up with what was going on. And II was for ear training and sight singing. Hehe. Also hadn't taken that. Imagine my shock when my teacher gave me a sheet of music and said "Ok sing this out loud using solfege!" Soooo yeahhhh...this course was definitely a learning experience. But! I have survived it and completed it so YAY!'s a look at the past four months through some pictures ^_^ 

// Studying 😄

// New York!

Super amazing experience although yeah, I'm not meant to live in the city. Too much stuff going on. And so many people. It's crazy. But we got to go to Central Park, walk through some rather expensive stores (Tiffany's is craaaazy), go to a street food market thingy at night and go to Times Square at night. And then the highlight of the trip...Carnegie Hall! It was so much fun and the architect of the building was breathtaking. 

Our College Choir!

Following 2 photos are not mine and were taken by a professional photographer :D

After the performance at Carnegie, the choir and orchestra were taken on a dinner cruise and it was so. much. fun. We passed the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge and eeks walking on the top deck with the wind blowing in our faces was amaaaazing.


Cause I mean...I can't go without kids y'all. I sometimes scare my roommate by coming into our room and randomly saying out loud "I want a baby" :P But yeah anyway, I ended up babysitting for one of the seminary students who attend the same college I do and my first time was so much fun. I carved pumpkins for the first time, although I was a little taken aback by all the teeth I had to cut out for one of them :P I love the kids to bits and the parents are absolutely amazing, godly people who are honestly just a huge blessing in my life.

// Reading Week + Midterms 

Having fun with filters xD

Lookit all those notes :O 
I had been warned by some second-year students that the Hermeneutics midterm exam was one of the hardest exams ever so I tried to be as prepared as I could. I ended up memorizing all eight lectures word for word. My brain was absolutely fried at the end of it, but during the exam, I honestly just flew through it :P 

// Community Work

Part of one of my courses is to do community work, so the class is basically split into groups and then assigned certain areas of the village nearby to care for and witness to. We did a food drive in early November and it was quite the experience. Some of it was very encouraging, other times, not so much but all in all it was really fun and a great way to bond with the rest of my group as well. 

// Christmas Banquet

This is an annual event the college holds every November and goodness was it fun! I wore heels for the first time and can you believe it...didn't break an ankle!! xD
My Parakaleo Group

All my roomies 💜

// Christmas Concert(s)

The college choir had been practising for this event since the middle of October and the closer to the date of the concerts, the more intense practice became. It was a really big event at my music professor's church and normally all four concerts were always sold out, which meant there were a couple thousand or more people coming every year. The last week before the concert, we had rehearsals on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then two concerts on Saturday and two concerts on Sunday. It was craaazy. There was sooo much singing I thought I was going to lose my voice. Weirdly enough, it ended up strengthening my voice instead and on Monday during my vocal lesson, my teacher and I were both surprised to find that I could still sing :P

Love this girl 💛


Ok so I was soooo excited to find a PM asking if I was able to play at a Christmas banquet with one of the college graduates at a church nearby. It was very last minute and I only had one night to learn six Christmas songs (which happen to have chords at every single beat, but I found a way around it xD) but it was so much fun! I know I made a ton of mistakes, especially when I was nervous, but it was a great experience and people were very forgiving. And Julia, the one singing, was amaaaazing. Honestly, she has an incredible voice and it was so exciting getting to perform with her. Definitely made a lot of memories that night! 

// Finals

My dear, dear sister gave me this box to help me through finals. Isn't she the sweetest? 😉💕

I caved and bought ice cream and consoled myself with it during studying because well - it was just necessary xD 

Aaaannd yesterday, I had my LAST exam and it was the hardest but I finished it and I'm still alive and AHHHHH I'M DONE THE SEMESTER. So so so so SO so so so happy!!!! And then we made spaghetti and got people over to share it with and it actually tasted good and *happy sigh* it was a nice way to end the semester.

Honestly, this semester has been amazing even though at times it was so crazy busy I didn't think I could do it anymore. Work was relentless and never ended...until now. And boy oh boy. The feeling of no homework is AWESOME. I'm so thankful to God that I was given the opportunity to come here and I'm hoping I can continue it the next few years, but even if I don't, I'll still be glad for the memories I made here. I'm not the most extroverted person and tend to stay in my room a lot - partly because I'm an introvert and also because honestly, I had SO much homework :P I've learned so much and the people here are amazing. The relationships I've formed here are precious and they've taught me so much about life, God, and myself. I've found clarity where before all I could see was a tangled mess of pain and depression. I've found love and understanding and endless encouragement and support. They're amazing and I don't ever want to leave them 💕

But for now, we're all gonna take a nice Christmas break with NO SCHOOL and it's going to be absolutely positively amazing. 

Now for home and the holidays!🎄⛄