Look, you guys, I’m BLOGging!

Oh, sweet, beautiful blog. How I have missed you. And, readers, I am sorry I’ve been away.

I’ve been living the good life, I think. Josef and I went on a trip to Germany and Belgium at the end of April through the beginning of May. What a great experience! I think about our trip a lot and would drop everything to go back immediately. Munich was by far the favorite part of our trip. It’s just such a gorgeous city, and it has so many wonderful suburbs. We were appreciative of the train system and pedestrian/bike-friendly aspects of Europe that we saw.

While we were there, we got to see family and friends. We also made some new friends. It was such a dizzyingly wonderful experience.

As you know from reading my blog, I am a person who is constantly re-evaluting my life plan. When we were in Munich, we were treated to a visit with G., a friend from Hungary who lived and went to school with the Henschens during Josef’s junior year of high school. G’s been working on his doctoral thesis, and he’s almost done!

Which got me thinking. If I worked on a doctoral (or even masters) degree, what would I want to study? How could I use my studies to further explore Europe’s rich history? What could I do that is meaningful enough to warrant a topic worthy of a thesis?

I came up with one, but it’s still kind of in the works. Essentially, it has to do with artistic expression, Christianity, and Euro/American culture. I’ll keep you posted, but I have found a school here in Atlanta that might let me pursue this topic. Now I have to start studying for the GRE. I tried to study for it once before, but I didn’t really have a goal in mind other than just getting it over with in case I needed to send GRE scores in somewhere. Now I might possibly have a purpose for taking it!

I have some other goals, too. I want to learn how to read and speak German so that when we go back, we aren’t totally dependent on the gracious Germans who have all studied our language. Also, I want to get in better shape. I want to work on our garden. I want to work on training Hunter with positive reinforcement (clicker method). I want to work on some a cappella arrangements.

I read some good books that my mother-in-law loaned to me for the trip.

The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink. This book did a number on my brain. Why did I like this so much, when there were two very wrong things that this woman did? Why did I feel so compelled to feel compassionately toward her? I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but know that it is well-written. I liked how matter-of-fact Schlink’s writing is, and how he doesn’t write a single line without a purpose. Anything he omits is not essential to the story, whereas other novels might include more information for the sake of character development or background for the story. I think the brevity of his writing really put the actions under the microscope. It was a good read. I watched the movie when we got home and thought it, too, was well-made. I was a little disappointed as I always am with anything differing from the book, but it was pretty true to the feel of the novel.

The second book I read totally floored me. Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, is an amazing tale of how Greg Mortenson’s life totally changed course after he got disoriented when descending from a failed attempt at climbing K-2, the second highest mountain the world. A local village chief took him in and nursed him back to health. When he recovered, he asked the village chief to show him the local school. There wasn’t one. Mortenson has now built schools all over Pakistan and Afghanistan because of the need he witnessed for schools in these remote villages. He is fighting the good fight – using education to counter-act the footholds that the Taliban have on this region. It was an amazing read and a call to serve in ways the world needs me to serve. What an amazing person Greg Mortenson is!

Well, it’s a gorgeous day today, so I’m going to head out and enjoy it. It’s good to be back blogging!

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