Hola! A little about me...I'm a Jesus loving, coffee drinking, relationally driven, culture appreciating, justice seeking, Spanish speaking college student currently living and studying in Cordoba (accent on the first o), Argentina. Bienvenidos! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures, mishaps, successes, and of course, complete failures (because this would be no fun if everything went smoothly).

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Have you been affiremed lately?

Have you affirmed someone lately?

Yesterday I had the dreaded, long awaited meeting with my professor and my supervisor at my internship.  I was so scared.  It was a scheduled, hour long meeting to talk about me and my work on the job and in the classroom.  It was so nerve-racking (I was dripping with sweat all day long in anticipation, it was that bad).

But guess what?  It was fine.  It went really well, actually.  It was very affirming.  I heard my supervisor and my professor say things about me and to me that I normally don't hear them say in meetings or in class, and it was so encouraging.  I left the meeting with a new perspective of my influential and helpful role on the job, as well as in the classroom.  I felt affirmed, encouraged, and capable to continue on with what has proven to be a somewhat challenging semester thus far.

Then, as I was describing this all to my mom, she said "that just goes to show you how important it is to affirm people."  Prior to the meeting I was questioning my role as a social worker (in the works, of course), and as a student.  I didn't know exactly how my professor or my supervisor felt about me and about the work that I was doing, but in an hour long meeting, that was all made clear and my questions were answered and I left more confident.

Affirmation...just straight up telling a person the positive impact they are having in your life or just in general...is so powerful.  I know I question everything.  I am constantly over thinking what I say, do, and how others feel when they are around me.  I am cautious and always worried about making sure I am articulating myself clearly, and acting appropriately.  Affirmation helps ease all of this, and lets me know that my presence is positive and that amidst my flaws and imperfections lies strengths and worth.  I think affirmation has this effect on all people, so I am making it my goal to affirm people more often and let them know of some of the strengths I see within them to help encourage and uplift them.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The value of encouragement.

Sometimes, you just need a little boost, someone to tell you "you have worth, you are loved, you have value that you don't even see."  Sometimes we all need that extra little (or huge) push to keep going, to feel motivated, and feel like we have a purpose. 

That was me last week and this past weekend.  I felt like a bad friend, bad future social worker, bad student, ect.  I could go on and on and on.  I kept asking myself "Why am I here?"  I felt like I should have given up my place here at Eastern for someone who actually wanted it, because at that point in time I had no desire to be here, to learn, to go to my internship, to try to be a social worker...I did not actually want to do any of that. 

Everything was just going wrong.  My internship was horrible.  I was doing nothing all day long.  Every single homework assignment felt like a marathon...that is if I even did it.  And I was going to my classes in a bad mood and maintaining that mood for the whole class.  I was in a funk, and I can't even give you a good reason as to why.

However, on Sunday things began to look up.  First of all, it was SUNNY.  I so miss the Argentina heat, and how that sun is always shining.  I also went to Philly, hung out with my sister, went for a walk, made a delicious meal and ate it together, and then laughed hysterically watching Impractical Jokers (dad, that was for you).  It was laid-back time away from all the typical stresses of my days that I so needed and appreciated.

Then, I came back to my room Sunday night, looked at my phone, and saw that a friend (who truly does not know me that well), sent me a super long, very heart-felt text explaining that he was praying for me.  The last part of the text, and the part that really struck me the most was, "Prayers of perseverance, endurance, and God's power being made perfect in your weakness are being placed at the Lord's feet on your behalf."

God's power being made perfect in my weakness.

God's flawlessness makes it so that my human shortcomings are nothing that he can't overcome.  In moments of weakness, I just need be reminded of God who is never weak.  His power and love are always perfect, and they are always present.

Needless to say, I was beginning to feel encouraged and loved, but that was just the beginning.  I awoke Monday morning to a text from a friend (who had no idea I was suffering), just reminding me of how much she looks up to me, values our friendship, and other bits of encouragement.  I read the text and just chuckled, but in awe as well.  I always say that I see and feel God's presence through other people, through their words and actions.  I feel like God knows that, and so he uses people to reach me.  He continually blesses me with amazing Christ-loving individuals who encourage me, listen to me, and send me random texts as reminders of their love and care for me. 

Some people hate technology, and normally I am one of those people, but recently, I have found texting to be a fantastic, powerful way to remind someone of their importance in your life and how loved they are.  I would encourage everyone that when they think about someone, just send that person a text, remind them who they are to you and who they are to Christ, and the effects are absolutely beautiful and I don't question for one second that those moments aren't illustrated by our Creator.

To continue the whole positive vibe of the week, on Tuesday I got to my internship, was handed a case to work on, went on a home visit, and made phone calls to clients.  That may sound boring or weird to some of you but in the realm of social work that all equals one thing: CLIENT CONTACT.  AKA: talking with clients.  AKA: the best way to learn, and exactly what I had been lacking.

And then today, I went on a home visit in the morning, which was with a Spanish speaking client (which is normal, all the clients I have met thus far are Spanish-speaking only).  Then I went on another home visit in the afternoon to an Arabic speaking client, which was amazing.  We had an interpreter, and I just sat in awe listening to this language that I did not understand one word of.  How awesome is it that in one day I went on two home visits, none of which were clients that spoke English?! 

For this language nerd, today was my dream day.  Anytime I hear a foreign language, I am reminded by how big this Earth is, and that only a God who is huge and powerful and loving of diversity and differences could create a world in which so many different people speaking so many different languages could live together.

So the two days at my internship were also very encouraging.  I feel like I can do social work.  I can confidently walk into clients home's, meet them exactly where they are (literally), and help them in a way that is empowering and takes into consideration cultural differences.  I can help the Arabic speaking mother, I can help the Spanish speaking children, I can help the single father.  I feel competent, and purposeful, and like I want to encourage these individuals the way I have been encouraged this week.         

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I found this ecard SO FUNNY!!!  Being raised Catholic wasn't always easy, as every Ash Wednesday, I had to wake up before the sun to get to church, get ashes on my forehead and then with so much guilt wipe it all of on my way to school.  I never felt too bad about it, until I saw another Catholic kid in school proudly displaying his or her ashes on their forehead.  Then I felt like crap, complete crap.

This Ash Wednesday definitely crept up on me.  Yesterday, my agency was closed due to the snow (insert me cheering here), so I was able to spend some time thinking and praying about this Lent season.

This verse really struck me: "We have been sanctified through the offerring of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." -Hebrews 10:10
We are sanctified through Christ, yet we are undeserving. We are not worthy of this kind of grace, love, or offering.  We are faulty, broken, and sinful.  He is perfect, sinless, and whole.  I guess that is why he is our Savior.  We need a flawless Savior to extend us grace, to save us from things of this world, to teach us, to love us, and to offer his only son for us.  that kind of love and grace is only found in the Father, and this season is the perfect time to reflect on that.  

There are a few ways to think about Lent: the beginning, the end, or the beginning of the end.  This Lent especially, I am choosing to think of it as the beginning...the beginning of a new era, the time leading up to resurrection which began it all.  We have laid out for us in the gospels the most perfect love story; one in which our Savior chose to help the least of these, chose to meet people where they were, chose to love on those whom society had determined unlovable and unworthy.  He saw worth in every single person and he loved them as if they were his own kin.  Because they were; we are.  We are all undeservedly his.

When I really think about that, I am so humbled and in awe of that kind of love.  The kind that chose to live among the prostitutes, the poor, the ill, the most sinful, those who were oppressed, marginalized, and discriminated against, the kind that we cannot perfectly reenact, but the kind that we can strive to attain...to see every person as a child of God, as someone that is so loved by our Savior, their Savior, whether they know it or not.  That kind of love is indescribably perfect.     

Monday, February 16, 2015

Desconocido sigue..

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 8:10

Reading that passage makes me think of a few things:
1.       The courage that Abraham had to go into a new place, meet new people, call that place home.
2.       The commitment that Abraham displays to God, to his word, and to the fact that God had complete control over his life.
3.       The faith that Abraham possessed to enable him to make that move, knowing full well it was the plans of the father that led him there.

If I had just a bit more courage, commitment, and faith, what would I do?  If you had just a bit more courage, commitment, and faith, what would you do?  If we had just a bit more courage, commitment, and faith, what would we do together?

In the past few weeks, I feel like God has been giving me an intense, grueling lesson in these three words: their meanings, their purposes, and the easy ways they can be used to do more damage than good.  Not only has coming back from Argentina been difficult in readjusting to life here, missing life there, and wondering why in the world am I here?, I also have taken on a new challenge, a new unknown, one that has taken me out of the (repulsive) comfort of Wayne, PA and into the often frowned-upon, somewhat dangerous, diverse, and absolutely beautiful Kensington, Philadelphia. 

I am currently interning at an agency that provides services to the Latino community of Kensington, Philadelphia.  I am working in a program that offers services to families who have at least one child with a disability.  Mix extreme poverty with a language barrier (they are all Spanish speaking only), with a lack of healthcare, and with a severe special need, and you have a mix of issues that make for some incomprehensibly sad and scary circumstances.  I go into homes, see where they live, and see and understand how the environment also adds another negative factor.

Kensington may be full of landfills, and violence, and drugs, and crime, but it is also full of cultures, of hard-workers (you try working numerous minimum wage jobs to support your family…hard as heck), of people who love the Lord, and most importantly of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They are ours, because we are all his. 

 Every Tuesday and Thursday, I wake up early and make the trek into the city.  I leave the tranquility of Wayne behind in exchange for Kensington. ..and then vice versa when I come back at night.  To give you an idea of the stark contrast between the two, here are some pictures.  You can guess which is which. 

I stare at these inequalities every day and cringe, I get sad, and I wonder why me?  Why do I get to come back to the comfort of Eastern? Why do I not live in Kensington? What made me get this life instead of that one?  What made them get that life instead of this one?

So basically, I’m on a new adventura in the unknown.  So I guess the name of the blog still fits, and this will now just be an outlet for me, a way to release my feelings, ideas, shortcomings, successes.  A way to write and realize, a way to express and be heard, and way to continually strive to see where God is leading me in this life…maybe another place that is desconocido. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Coming Home

I’m home.  I came home two weeks early and surprised all of my friends and family and it was wonderful, but the heartbreak of leaving was devastating, and for the most part still is.

My last day in Argentina will forever have a special place in my heart because it was just perfect.  I intentionally woke up early so that I could have one last breakfast with mi abuela and it was a perfect breakfast to end on.  We sat and ate our criollos and drank our tea and had our little conversation with the news on in the background.  I thought back to how at the beginning of my time there, we actually watched the news, but how so quickly our conversation stole the show and we hardly ever actually watched the news anymore.  I sat there and smiled, laughed and talked with her one last time, soaked it all in, and tried to not pay attention to my heart literally breaking on the inside.

After breakfast, I made it my goal to get everything packed and ready (suitcases weighing under 23 pesos each) before lunch, so that I could enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening with my family.  Just in the nick of time I was able to get all packed and have my last lunch with mi mama and mi abuela.  At that point in the day, I had already cried while packing and was just trying to hold in the tears.  The lunch was so sad.  No one said much of anything until finally mi abuela just looked at me and said “se fue el tiempo demasiado rapido” (“the time went too fast”).  The look in her eyes was just so sad, and for the first time I let myself think about saying goodbye to her later on that night and my heart broke as I responded through tears with “demasiado rapido, no quiero irme” (“too fast, I don’t want to go”).  My heat hurt.  It still hurts, but in that moment the pain was almost unbearable. 

After lunch, aunts and uncles came over to say their goodbyes, so we sat around that little kitchen table one last time, drank mate, and talked about my time in Argentina.  It was wonderful, but at the same time it hit me like a brick the fact that I had to leave these people.  These people who were now my family.  I had to leave my family.  I had to leave them with no determined return date in the future to look forward to.   While suffering from continued heartbreak, I drank my last mates, had my last laughs, and gave my last besos (kisses) to all of my dear loved ones.  They all told me to come back; they said they would be waiting for me with open arms and open doors.  In the midst of this time I had to say goodbye to mi mama because she had to go to a convention thing for the weekend.  It was so sad, but only the first of many hard goodbyes.

After all the visitors left, Flor came over to have my last dinner with mi abuela, mis tias, and I.  We were sitting around the table eating and I was trying to have fake-happy conversation, but I just couldn’t.  My mind was so focused on the goodbyes and I could not snap out of it. 

The plan was that mi tia and Flor would take a taxi with me to the airport, so after dinner Flor and I went to my room to finish packing up my last few things.  Flor brought my suitcases downstairs as I proceeded to fix up my room (and in the process break my closet door, but that’s a different story), and then mi tia came up and said it was time to come down so we could call for a taxi.

I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen to hand mi abuela my house keys and then I turned and saw Flor’s father, brother, and sister waiting there in my kitchen (they had snuck in when I was upstairs) to drive me to the airport.  They drove 6 hours to surprise me to say goodbye one last time. 

In that moment I lost it.

I bawled.  I hugged Flor’s sister, brother, and father (who I refer to as my family and they do the same to me) and I just cried.  I felt so loved, but the more I felt loved the more it hurt that I was leaving.  The more I felt like I was leaving a place that I should never have to leave.  The more I felt like I was leaving home.  I turned back and looked at mi abuela and mis tias and Flor and they were all crying.  A lot.  I hugged them and cried.  I squeezed mi abuela so tightly and just said “gracias” and te quiero” (I love you) over and over and over again.  And she was saying the same things to me.  I must have hugged each of them a million times before I finally worked up the courage to turn from them and get in the car with Flor and her family to leave.  I have NEVER felt heartbreak like that before in my life…it was like so much of me wanted to run back into their arms and stay there forever, stay in that home forever, with my family.  I bawled the whole way to the airport while Flor and her sister just held me in their arms.  I could never have asked to meet more loving, selfless people.

Just when the tears took a pause, we arrived at the airport and the goodbyes began again.  I knew that I would see Flor again when she comes to my house for Christmas, but I didn’t know (and still don’t know) when I would see her family again.  So I cried and they cried and it was so sad, and my heart continued to break.  I hugged them, turned to walk towards security, and then turned around and looked one last time to see their smiles through tears and their final waves and kisses blown to send me on my way. 

My heart was broken.  My heart is broken.  But my heart is so full.  

The fact that the goodbyes were so hard, the fact that I didn’t completely want to come home, the fact that I am experiencing culture shock on the reverse, the fact that this is hard all mean that this experience was amazing.  It was worth it.  I learned, I cried, I grew, I was challenged and tested, I was scared, I was happy, I was sad, I loved, I was loved, I gained a new family, a new house, a new place to call home.  This should be hard.  I should be sad.  But I should also be so happy that it was what it was because it was perfect (at times perfectly horrible) and exactly what God had planned for me.  He painted the picture of my experience in Argentina, He challenged me, He tested me, He gave me a home and people to call my family, He blessed me, and He loved me through all of it.  And how blessed am I to have met people that make crying like that worth it?

So as I sit here now scared, sad, overwhelmed and still heart-broken, I am reminded of the one thing that hasn’t changed during my time in Argentina.  I’m different, how I feel is different, what I believe is different, my perspective is different, home here is different…but God’s love isn’t.  He is firm and stable and the One that I can count on as my true, unchanging home.  Because, let’s be real, I’m already thinking about the next place I can go to, and wherever that is I will probably end up calling that place home as well.  So as I continue this life of calling multiple places home and leaving pieces of my heart in each place, I take comfort in the fact that Our God is the God of all nations and in Him I find a full heart and my forever home.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Wifi problems again...there have been so many times recently that I've wanted to blog but it's impossible without wifi.  But it's back (at least for now)!

I have 18 days left here and my heart is breaking.  I never realized just how hard the end of this experience would be.  Coming here, getting robbed, getting my visa screwed up, getting lost numerous times...all of that pain and anxiety and fear were nothing in comparison to the realization of having to leave.  Absolutely nothing.

I think about hugging my friends and mi mama and mi abuela, not knowing when, if ever I will see them again, and I just can't handle it.  It's like my heart can't take it.  This house has become a home, these strangers have become family, this crazy city is now oddly comforting, and this language that used to be so foreign now comes easier than English at times.

I think of how much I've changed and grown, and then I realize why leaving is so scary.  It's so scary because my home will never be the same again after having had this experience.  My perspective has changed, by world-view has expanded, and nothing will ever look or feel the same anymore. Maybe that's one of the best (but definitely most scary and uncomfortable) outcomes of this experience.  It is life-changing.  It makes you look at the world from numerous points of view and more than anything, makes you able to call more than one place, home.

I that is my biggest struggle.  What is home to me now?  Sitting with my family at my house in York, PA opening presents together at Christmastime is home.  Sitting here in this house with mi abuela drinking mate is also home.  Speaking in English is home.  Speaking in Spanish is home.  Pennsylvania is home.  York is home.   Cordoba is home.  Argentina is home.

Maybe home is just an accumulation of all the places, people, and houses that make you, you.  Maybe home from now on will be carried more in my heart than find its value in my physical location.  Maybe home, for me has changed, and maybe that's not such a bad thing.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Buenos Aires

So a while back, about two weeks ago, I went to Buenos Aires, and I've finally decided to tell you about it!  Flor and I left on Thursday night, spent all night attempting to sleep on the bus, and arrived early Friday morning.  Drained but excited, we were ready to start our weekend of sight-seeing. 

And then it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained, and got cold.  I will never understand the weather in this country, ever.  We decided to go get some food and wait to see if the rain would stop.  We ate at the cutest little bistro and I made sure everyone knew I was a foreigner by taking these pictures.

 We may have tried some of these sweets, we may have.

After we were stuffed, we went to a ginormous, beautiful cemetery where a bunch of famous people are buried.  I, being the nerd I am, was completely in awe seeing the graves of famous Argentine people that I have been reading about and studying.  It was really really really cool.  To save you from any potential boredom, I will only show you a few of the thousands of pictures I took :)

 As you can see, the rain stopped.

 We also went for a walk through the city to take some pictures.

 Calle 9 de Julio...AKA widest street in the world.


 A library that used to be a theater.

On Saturday, we went to la Casa Rosada, Puerto Madero and just walked around some more....in the cold rain.

 La Casa Rosada (The pink house)- where the president works.  I could not believe how little security there was and how close to the house we could get.

 This close.  I didn't have to zoom in or anything.

 Puerto Madero-a port where things are imported and exported by boat.

A big, beautiful, old boat that has some kind of historical importance that I don't know enough to tell you about.

On Sunday, we went to La Boca which is pretty much just a little town full of colorful houses.

 Of course Messi had to make an appearance.

The Pope also was represented with his famous wave.  The fact that Messi and the Pope were everywhere, really gives you an idea of what (or who) is important here in Argentina.

All in all, this was a great trip.  A lot packed into a little weekend, but I am so glad that I went and saw the capital city.  I think the size, craziness, and lack of it feeling like the true Argentina I've come to know, made me so much more grateful for my home here in Cordoba.