Monday, November 17, 2014

Local Adventure in Historical Philadelphia

My school is only about 20 minutes away from Philadelphia. I have been there so many times. I've seen the glamorous side, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I have seen the unattractive side, such as the subways and the homeless and the rundown houses.

There is also a historical side to Philly. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc. These old historical buildings are all located in what is now Independence Historical National Park. A couple weeks ago, I toured through these buildings and was amazed by all of the beauty. I've been there before, but never in the fall. The trees surrounding these old brick buildings were gorgeous. The birches throughout the park made for perfect shade.

Best part? Admission is free. They just do a security check and then you can walk around the park. I spotted several couples taking advantage of the beautiful paths. I also saw a lot of readers, mothers with young children, and college students studying. This place is great for everyone, and I'm hoping to go back again soon.

I'm all about having fun and going on adventures. Good news is - you don't have to travel far to find cool places! Anyone have any Philly-area suggestions for my next local adventure?

Monday, November 10, 2014

21 Before 21: Being Blessed

As most of you know, I started a 21 Before 21: Twenty One Acts of Kindness challenge.

I was inspired by an article I read over the summer of a boy who went on a random acts of kindness roadtrip, completing over 100 acts along the way. I wanted to do something similar. So I've made lists of what I could do, bought supplies, set dates, made appointments, and began prepping. I've even completed a couple of them.

I have until December 21st, which is my 21st birthday.

Since beginning this challenge, I have received SO many blessings.

After letting Tori borrow my car for a quick errand, she returned with my gas tank FULL. If that's not a blessing, what is?

During all of my sick days recently, Nick has made the time to come visit me, bringing me coffee and snacks. He has given up parts of his busy day to watch movies with me and make sure I'm feeling better.

Natalie is so talented in the kitchen. Before I even roll out of bed, she is asking me what I want for breakfast, telling me that the coffee is ready.

My babysitting jobs are increasing - one parent threw in extra money because it was "late at night". It was only midnight! But I'll take it!

Strangers will compliment me, open doors for me. Cashiers will wish me a good day, not charge me extra for my soy milk in my latte.

Blessings upon blessings.

Maybe things have always been like this. Maybe my eyes are just being opened to the blessings all around me. Look around you. How have you been blessed today?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Jessica Goes to Central Asia Part 2

As most of you know, I spent the summer in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Haiti. I also spent parts of my summer stopping at friends' houses in Missouri and touring NYC for the first time. It was a wonderful summer, and I got to cross so many things off my bucket list! I've been back at school for about two months now, but I've started to feel the travel jitters again.

So I am happy to announce that I was accepted to go Tajikistan as part of a cultural exchange program. You don't know where that is? That's okay. I didn't either. As soon as I heard about it, I googled, "Where is Tajikistan on a map?"and looked at all the pictures. I also studied the wikipedia page on it. To simplify, it is bordered by China on the east, Uzbekistan on the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and Afghanistan to the south.

I've been captivated by the middle eastern culture since meeting friends (a couple of them spent the summer in Kyrgyzstan), swapping stories, and reading books by Khaled Hosseini. His book "The Kite Runner", which is now one of my favorites, portrays the culture so beautifully. I've been obsessed with the language, food, and holidays ever since. I am thrilled to be going.

I leave in May, the day after I graduate. What a crazy time that will be! For the next several months, I will be learning the language and the culture in order to be prepared by the time I get there.

I will also be trying to raise the funds so that I am able to go. This will be done in two ways.

My Wild Thing Paper Co. etsy store - click here.

My fundraising page - click here.

If you have any questions or comments, I would LOVE to talk about it. (I'm kind of obsessed with travel stories).

Please keep me in your prayers, and if you feel called to, support me in the one of the ways listed above. Thanks so much, everyone! I'll be keeping you posted as I learn more about this trip!