Thursday, September 26, 2013

Letter to Claire

Dear Readers,

It has been a while! My life has become so full with school. So I thought I would share this email I wrote to my dear friend Claire. It is just a brief peek into some of what is happening in my life. 

Hello My Dear Claire!

I am so filled with joy to be at this school. This is the place for me. God knows that this was right for me. I have so much happiness when I pause to consider that I am in a place where I get to learn about anything I want. My brain is stretched by my studies in my Education class. My artistic mind and sensibility is being expanded through photography class. I am being enriched by the ideas of my smart and talented peers. I go to Gospel choir practice twice a week and always look forward to that "praise break", as Miss Tanya, our director puts it. I work hard all the time, but the work is so good. 

This week I saw a poster for a faculty cello recital of some Chopin and Schubert pieces. I love Schubert so I and about 30 old people and three random Conservatory students went. The musicians were world class. I love being at a place where I can just pop into a concert for free. The next day I climbed a tree on the big lawn outside Blanchard Hall (this was when I was trying to call you) to watch the sun glow through the trees and I saw the cellist walking back to his car. I called out, "Hello! Are you the man who played last evening?" He looked up and spotted me clinging to the tree, "Yes. That was me!" "Thank you! It was wonderful." He waved and walked off. 

Today I will head off to Photography and we will finish up the critiques of our first series of photos. This evening I will have Gospel practice and eat dinner with a friend. Then I will finish some paper writing. 

This morning I went to the local middle school to apply for a tutoring position as a part of my possible Education major. Yesterday I had a consultation with my Educ. teacher. He told me that as an artist I should consider teaching as another art form with humans as the medium. I will be praying about this. 

Well this turned out longer than I expected. I need to get back to my dorm and work on my mom's birthday package. 

I love you my friend. I am excited to hear about your adventures at Moody in the Big City!


Take a peek at Claire's fantastic blog here:

Here are some photos I took to get myself acquainted with my school camera. I was just being a little silly.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crazy Day

Today was insane. It is the second week of classes here at Wheaton College. Before my head hits the pillow I need to burn off the remaining caffeine from the espresso I drank, by telling you what all happened today.

7:00 Wake up and speed to Gospel, Church and Culture class.

9:00 Cross paths with Dwaine-From-My Spanish-Class, who tells me that I forgot an assignment.

10:30 Finish Spanish assignment and zoom to Chapel.

10:35 Doze a little in Chapel, even though I am sitting in the front row and am in plain view of the speaker and the school chaplain.

11:30 Education class. We discuss Aristotle. Brain hurts. In a good way.

12:30 Spanish class. Try to sit far away from the guy who was a little too eager to be my partner last time. Wedge self between footballers.

1:45 Lunch. Sit with Ian-the-Batman-Obsessed and his conservatory friends. Try to make conversation even though they are sarcastic about my lack of musical knowledge.

2:00 Over-Eager-Man from Spanish catches me outside cafeteria. Wants to talk. Reveals that he works as a nude model for an art school I almost attended. Offers me work as a nude model.

2:15 Feel uncomfortable. Am too nice. Leave.

4:00 Work out with Sisi and Leya. Sweat.

5:00 Call from Caribou Coffee supervisor, "LucyRose, where are you? You need to be here!"

5:30 Panting and sweaty enter Caribou. Coworkers are gracious and forgiving. All is well.

7:00 Make first ever latte.

9:15 Get ride home from Brittany. Thanks Brittany.

10:00 Laugh hysterically about Mr. Nude Model with Brittany and Joanna. Eat pop tart.

10:30 Josh-the-Eagle-Scout helps me put on my bike lights. Give Josh pop tart.

10:40 Blog.


Lord, thank you for helping me survive this day. Give me rest in my mind and body. Let me be your servant.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Roommate Fears Assuaged

Well, folks, last time I was telling you about my new roommate anxieties. I have now met Christina. She is lovely. She is organised and tidy and calm. She is frank and down to earth. She appreciates my sense of humour! I know this because she said, "LucyRose, I am so glad that you have a sense of humour." She is consideration itself. Her first act as roommate was to buy me an ice pack for my healing sprained ankle. This morning we shared breakfast on the floor of our room. I provided the granola (thank you Bergmanns!) and she provided the yogurt.

A doodle of myself and roommate Christina. I did this during the Welcome Freshman Ceremony.

In my last post I voiced my anxieties about her reaction to my garbage collection. My worries are assuaged. Guess what her parents do for a living? They are engineers in the recycling and trash removal business. I get to ask her all sorts of questions about what to recycle and what not.

We have two suite mates; Marisa and Olivia. Marisa brought her periodical table of elements building block collection and her Einstein action figure. Olivia brought her nail art collection and a blingy picture frame her artist friend made her. I like them already.

I feel secure in the thought that just as God has put me in the right place for high school, he has done the same for college. Wheaton College is so loving. They are EXCITED about new freshman. That is why I am so exhausted. They are packing Orientation week with activities. Oh well. I feel welcomed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Roommate

Tomorrow I meet my new roommate. She is a complete stranger to me, yet in 48 hours we will be living in the same 11 by 17 foot space. We will share a bathroom. We will sleep next to one another and breathe the same air. We are going to know what the other looks like first thing in the morning. We are going to see each other's stuff and know if is tidy or not.

It is so strange for me to think about the fact that I will never share space with another human so intimately until I have a husband. Yet living with a husband makes sense, because, Lord willing, we will have spent time getting to know one another a bit before marrying. (This is merely conjecture. I could potentially have an arranged marriage, or be kidnapped and sold as the spoils of war.)

But not so with my new roommate. Never met her. The concept of two people who do not know each other who are expected to live together makes no sense to me.

I have my fears. I have heard plenty of scary freshman roommate stories. There is that one Patrick, my one legged older brother, told me about how his roommate was a cannibal. There was Kris who told me that her first roommate was a drug dealing prostitute. I may be going to a Christian school, but we Christians have faults too. What if she covets her neighbor or does not honour thy father and mother? That would stink.

But then I start to think about the other side of the coin; What will my roommate think of me?

I was packing up my craft supplies to move into my dorm. I held a bag of raw sheep's wool in one hand and a bag of trash in the other. The sheep's wool was given to me by Patrick, who is a sheep farmer in Vermont. You can see his blog here. (He doesn't really only have one leg.) It smells like sheep poo. It is dirty and gross. I have a lot of it, because I want to clean it, card it and use it to make something cool. However, it is currently just a bag of sheep poo smelling wool, straight off the pooping sheep.

My favorite comedienne on poo balls. Watch advisedly, there is an S word.

The bag of trash is full of things I have collected from the recycling bin. Things may come in handy for a project; tea boxes, fruit netting, jars, fun wrappers etc.

My roommate does not yet know that she is going to be living with a trash horder and a smelly wool collecter. She does not know that I like to get up early or that I am a Krav Maga enthusiast who needs someone on whom to practice. Read about me and Krav Maga here. She does not know that I have 8 pairs of shoes, but only one pair of feet. She doesn't know that I procrastinate showering and sometimes my toenails shoot across the room and injure people when I clip them. She doesn't know me.

But she will soon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Decomposing Bodies in an Ice Cream Parlour

Over our mint and raspberry ice cream, he described the complications of burying dead bodies. If not contained in a bag or box, the decomposing body will exude fertilising minerals, so that the vegetation over the body's resting place will be highly prolific. This is a sure sign of a buried body, especially in a barren patch of land.

The topic was strangely fitted to our surroundings. We were sitting in a pink ice cream parlour, where all of the wire chairs had hearts twisted in them. The walls were decorated with tie died paper ice cream cones. The other patrons were families with sticky children.

Zachary was telling me about a summer college course he had taken on forensic anthropology. Zachary is a friend, whom I haven't seen for a year and a quarter. He is like family, because he grew up in the same Czech town as me. Our families spent tons of time together. He went to the same school and church as we did.

Four years ago his family moved back to America. This week they were in the Wheaton area and Zachary and I met up for coffee. After using our respective Starbucks graduation gift cards to buy drinks and baking ourselves for a few hours outside, we relocated to the ice cream parlour where he told me about burying corpses.

We spoke Czech when we wanted to talk about strangers passing by, but also just for fun. There was a lot to catch up on: graduating high school (he and I graduated at the same time although on different continents), starting college and family gossip. Hanging out with a someone from my Czech life was like being home for a few hours. It blessed my socks off, as my mother would say.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chapter College

“By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 42:8

This is my verse for the next chapter of my life. I am on my own now and God’s promise of steadfast love and night songs is extremely comforting. The next chapter is called College. Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. (for my foreign readers Wheaton is a town near Chicago) Even though I grew up in this general area (for my US readers who know their Chicago suburbs, the area was Mount Prospect) this is a big hairy deal. I left the Czech Republic where I have lived with my family for the last nine years. My parents said goodbye half an hour ago and I will not see them until Christmas.

The photo is of me in Chicago under a statue of a famous Czech poet.

People have been asking me whether I am excited to start college. My answer for the last several months has been the same. I tell the asker, “Well, Asker, I view the months ahead like a long distance race with several hurdles involved. I have not been able to let myself get excited, because there are still significant hurdles to be jumped.”

Here are the hurdles I meant:

Hurdles Jumped 2013:

#1 End of year final art project

#2 Maturita* oral, written and standardized testing exams

#3 Maturita art project

#4 Saying goodbye to Czech friends

#5 Packing life into one suitcase and carry-on

#6 Cross country trip with family, spanning New York, Chicago, San Marcos, Austin and Peoria

#7 Saying goodbye to family

Now all that is left is:

#8 Finding employment for the rest of the summer

God is so good. His mercy has been huge, but has manifested in the smallest of details like finding a Thai restaurant in Chicago with my Aunt Jennifer, finding a good parking space when we were running late and 60 percent of the family had to find a bathroom or finding a good clothing sale.

His mercy and goodness has been channelled to us through dear friends and family. Along every step of this crazy journey have been people who gave us beds in their homes, food off their stoves and their precious, precious time and love. It kind of reminds me of the Underground Railroad, where people would shelter runaway slaves and usher them on to the next safe place. There are differences, yes, but the sacrifice of the people at the safe houses is similar. Except I do not think our friends are at risk of imprisonment. And we were not being tailed by our slave owners.

Ok. I am tired and drained. Not as bad as my poor family who still have to fly back to Europe with a freshly birthday-ed six year old, but enough so that this post needs to end.

Thanks for reading this, Friends. Pray for my parents and younger brothers' travels. Pray for me too.


*Maturita is the Czech high school graduation exam. It is taken very seriously and is considered a right of passage for every Czech. There is a ritual quality to the exams and the ceremonies involved. Maturita consists of oral exams in front of a panel of teachers and government people, written tests and separate components for specialized schools like my art school. I posted about it a little while ago if you would like a little more info on what I did.

**I am starting anew here in Wheaton and I have decided to seize this opportunity to reinstate my second first name Rose. I dropped it when we moved to the Czech Republic because it was easier for people to say, but now I want it to make a comeback. It is tricky to do, which is why I have employed the handy hyphen in hopes that this will encourage users to utilize both of my names. Whew.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Story Time

Dearest People,

Today I illustrated a story with 18 kindergarteners. I am in my last year of visual art high school and my final project assignment is called "Games and Activities for Children". I must create an art project and a brochure describing it. So I created an interactive storytelling game involving a set of wooden rubber stamps, which I spent hours carving by hand.

Here is how the game worked: I started telling a fairy tale and drawing simple scenery as I went along on an easel for all to see. As different animal or people characters entered the story, the children holding that animal would stamp it into the scene. As the story progressed I asked the kids for ideas on how to make the scene in the story more interesting. For instance during a forest rescue scene, one girl suggested yellow parachutes, which she drew into the picture.

I told two fairy tales. The first I made up. It was about some water-dwelling animals who unwittingly make their home in a giant's soup bowl. The second tale was a revision on Jay Williams' "The King With Six Friends". My version was more like "The King With Three Very Antsy Friends".

After the story time and a potty/tea break, we started the second half of the activity. I passed out booklets to each kid and they were allowed to use the stamps and fill them in any way they wanted. This idea was so last minute that I suspect the Holy Spirit may have had a hand in it. I had spent a few hours the night before making the booklets by hand.

The kids really got into the booklet project. Some blindly stamped any and all motifs as many times as possible, some were slow and methodical creating interesting patterns with the stamps and some created scenery and embellished the stamps with faces and clothing. But the best were the kids who told stories. They illustrated stories and formed little groups where they narrated them to each other. That was my favorite part, because it was evidence that the project was fulfilling its purpose. I had wanted to draw the kids into the creative process of storytelling and encourage them to think about telling stories using visual elements.

I am not done yet. I still have to create a brochure describing it and present it to a panel of judges. But I really feel like God has blessed this throughout. I was stumped for an idea, but after the people at my Bible study prayed for me I got the idea for the stamps. A week later my brother Isaac's teacher invited me to try them out with the kids in his class. And just last night a talented photographer friend agreed to take pictures last minute. God has been faithfully feeding me inspiration and blessings. I am so thankful!


Thanks to Josefína Kořena for the brilliant photos. You rock.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Small Things or How I lost My Keys, Portfolio and Wallet Within a 24 Hour Period

"If I were God I would not concern myself with the small things."

My roommate said this in a conversation we had in the tram. I disagreed and said that one of the things I love most about God, is that he does care about the small things. I mentioned the verse in Matthew 10:29-30 which says: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." I also told her about how I believe so thoroughly in God concerning himself with our little cares, that that very day I had prayed before shopping for pants. God does not think that is silly. He wants me to find good pants!

Our dialogue on this topic continued throughout the day, until I realised that I had forgotten my keys at home. This meant that I had to leave Ostrava (the city where I go to school and live during the week) and return by train to my home in Frýdlant to get them. I left my portfolio with my term project in it on the train. While I was running all over town trying to get my portfolio back I lost my wallet.

I got my portfolio back. God answered the prayer that I would be reunited with it. He also answered my prayer that the ladies at the train station would be kind. It is not the first time I have left things on trains and I have had bad train lady experiences.

I returned to the city and to my roommate with no wallet after just having told her how much God cares about our tiny troubles. I stood in front of her empty handed and without much hope of finding it. I said, "Well Michaela, I am trusting that God knows what happened to my wallet and that it He is not indifferent." But I felt very nervous. What if God did not return it?

Today I stayed home from school, anticipating a day spent in reapplying for my drivers licence, visa, credit card and Krav Maga membership card (this was actually the document I was most sad to loose). Before I left to tramp all over town in the snow, my mom prayed for me. As an after thought on my way out the door, she told me to check the police station. I said, "Really? That probably wont be any help, but if you say so..."

My wallet was at the police station. Someone had turned it in. All of my documents were there, even if none of my money was. It was dirty and wet and so was everything inside, but it was there.

In a week where I managed to loose my keys, my portfolio and my wallet, God never took His eyes off me or the various possessions I had strewn all over town. I cannot wait for Monday when I tell my roommate the story of how He cares about the details.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A New Kind of Artist

I was born to be an artist. A martial artist. I just got back from my second ever Krav Maga class. I love it. It feels great to channel strength and energy into cool moves which I can use to protect myself in Ostrava.

Krav Maga is a martial art which focuses on adapting to city streets and any form of attack. My dad got me into it. He originally thought it would be a great class to take with my seventeen year old brother Paul-Hugh. But PH was already signed up for something, so Dad asked me instead. He called me up after the first class and said, "Guess what I did today that I have never done before, nor ever thought I would do." He told me how he just about died during the first two hour class and how he was about twenty years older than everyone else there.

The next week I came along. It was super hard. One third of the class was strength and cardio training, one third was learning and practicing basic punches and stances, and one third was defending oneself from being choked and caught from behind. I was so glad that I have been doing lots of Jillian Michaels workouts and running, so that I could basically keep up, but even so it was very challenging. Lots of gross sweat.

Although I love to play sports and be athletic I have rarely been in situations where someone was actually teaching me proper form. One of the most surprising aspects of the class are the trainers. They are BIG guys. Big muscular, martial art guru guys with tattoos and scars. As we practiced punching they would circulate around he room and offers advice. I was scared of them. But when one of the biggest, burliest guys came over to me and spoke, it was in a soft calm voice. He was kind and direct with his instructions to release the tension in my shoulders as I punched. The trainers are great teachers. Patient and direct, but tough. One of them came over to me and the gentleman who was my partner and told him not to be afraid of shoving my face because I am a girl!
I am so excited about this new sport. Ever since Patrick started Kung Fu and Jillian M. made her Kick Box workout video I have been wanting to learn a martial art. I have already looked online to see if there are any classes in the Chicago area so that I can continue when I return there for school this fall. If anyone knows of something let me know, please!