Heavy Eyes

Y’all..it is 4:19 in the morning and I’ve already been at the airport for an hour. This time of day, I am convinced, is not natural and when it was created, God had no intention of anyone actually seeing it. I feel like I’m sinning by being awake this early. And after three days of nonstop walking through the streets of Paris, my entire body is feeling the strain. I may have completely destroyed my feet. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out soon that my heels have disintegrated and are now just pulp. But it’s alright. This city is magic.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Paris. Cafes and cigarettes, I suppose, both of which were in abundance. But there truly is a whimsical air. (Almost) Everything felt like it could be in a movie. Come to think of it, most of the things I was seeing are, in fact, in movies. But that’s beside the point. Here’s what I’m saying: to all of you who said “Paris isn’t that great. It’s a tourist trap and it’s kind of dirty”, I say “Did you try the macaroons?”

This is day 10 of being away from my little Paros and I’m ready to get back, for sure. City life is so fun, for about this amount of time. I’m ready to go back to the slow mornings (and afternoons, and evenings), and my own bed (and shower!!!), and class, and all of this that has become my reality. It’s so odd, though, because I feel that I’ve been on vacation from vacation, and now I’m going back, not to return home for another month and a half. I missed a wedding today (well..yesterday) of two dear friends, and I know that as I type this, many of my friends are still dancing and eating and drinking and laughing together and it’s ripping my heart out. Okay..I’m being dramatic. But it’s times like this, when I’m exhausted and in a smelly airport, that I really just want to be home. Home home, not just pseudo-home.

It’s really too early to be processing these things. Let alone publishing them on the interweb for all to see. But this is real life, my life, and you’re reading this blog on your own watch, so I’m not going to apologize 🙂

See you soon, Paros!

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Morning Sun & Rose Tea

As I sit here at my little vanity (the chair is still broken), eating Honey Nut Cheerios that don’t really taste like my breakfasts at home, as the sun streams in the windows to my left and as I take a break from preparing for the day, my soul is stirring in truth and conviction from Psalm 9. Hear this:

Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation.

Okay, so here’s what’s happening in my soul. I’m reading this today, and I’m in Greece, and it’s beautiful and I’m still wrestling and trying to figure it all out. And I’m praying that He might make me not so homesick and all of this, and I’m drifting here and there and feeling like a crazy person and then BAM! Here it is. “Have mercy on me that I may declare your praises and there rejoice in your salvation!” Note that David, the psalmist, does not plead for mercy to overcome missing home or to not be so sad or any of that. Mercy leads not necessarily to change in circumstance, but to recognition of and rejoicing in the PRESENT REALITY OF OUR SALVATION! That’s so much better than one or two less heavy sighs while perusing my newsfeed!

So that’s where I am. Rejoicing in my salvation even though the milk after my cereal is a little off.

Island Living

Hello from the Island of White Marble – more commonly known (at least to me) as Paros! I write from a warm little apartment, more specifically, on a broken wicker-bottom chair provided for me by my landlord, Jimmy. He’s a very nice man. He takes good care of us.

I’ve officially been away from home for more than a week and boy oh boy has it been a roller coaster. Never in my life have I experienced such a vast array of emotions (in their utmost intensity) in such a short amount of time. It’s exhausting, really. But what a beautiful exhaustion it is! This place is a treasure. No kidding. The water here is the most beautiful, rich shade of teal. The whitewashed buildings only look the same until you get close, when you see the sweet, soft colors of each of their doors – my favorite so far has been a delicate lavender/gray. Beautiful.

Life is slow and steady – everyone’s up and going by 10:00, not 8:00 as I was used to. You bid one another “good morning” until 2:00 pm, when everyone closes their shutters and rests until 5:00, at which point you’re allowed to switch to “good afternoon”. It’s a late night city, Paroikia, with restaurants and bars open until far after my breathing has slowed and my dreams come alive. It would be perfect if I didn’t have the circadian rhythm of a 90 year old man.

This place is so far from anything I’ve ever lived, and yet, this is my reality for the next three months of my short life. It’s sometimes a struggle to live in today, right now. My yearning flesh leans its heavy weight on the security that my romanticized future promises. But what a thief it is! My real time is wonderful – I’m fighting to believe and rejoice there.

The hardest part thus far is not being with the souls I love so dearly and only being able to see their pixelated faces on the screens of my apple products (which I am thankful for!). Oh what I would give to wrap my arms around my Texans! My sweet family! My triad! My bible study! My team! My Maniak! But cyberspace will work for now.

You wanna know my favorite part of this whole thing? The quiet streets. The life is so evident, but unseen. It’s mysterious and inviting and coy. Paros is a whisper and I want to draw nearer to hear what it has to say. Unlike home, where there’s no missing anything, and if you miss it, you learn to deal because the world will move along without you. This place has secrets and it will wait for you to discover the missing pieces and I love that. I used to play this Nancy Drew computer game and it’s sort of like that, only with less death and explosions.

I don’t have much else to say.