Expectations vs. Reality

Today is my birthday. Which is something I don’t normally share about. I’ve been told that I’m an enigma — and I like it that way. You see, if people know something about you, they may or may not use that information, to your advantage or disadvantage. If someone knows about your birthday, you might…

Book Review: Northanger Abbey

Pride and Prejudice and Emma, two of Jane Austen’s other books rank as two of my favorite novels of all time. Recently I remembered that I’ve owned a tattered copy of Northanger Abbey for years, but I hadn’t actually read it yet. Honestly there’s no better time to visit Austen’s world than the holidays when…

Book review: Into the Wild

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (1996), was a bummer of a book. Describing the ultimately fatal journey of a disillusioned, middle-class young man into the Alaskan wilderness, the book seeks to explain how and why Chris McCandless died. Through interviews with the family members he abandoned on the East Coast and the friends he…

Own your talents

A few years ago, I created a really cool piece of art that is installed in the local Starbucks store. It is pretty awesome to see my handiwork on display every time I grab coffee (which is rather often). However, I think that the lesson behind the art is more important than the piece itself….

Ephesians 3:20-21

The past few months of my life have been a mix of chaos, order, confusion, peace, busyness, relaxation, and anxiety. Although those adjectives seem to make my personal life significantly notable, I suppose that such a statement can sum up most people’s lives. While I know that my situation is not remarkable, in a long…

Netherlands

Our stay in the Netherlands was quite lovely. Going into this leg of the trip I had no expectations (except to see tulips & windmills). The country was full of hospitable locals, beautiful sights in the cities (we got to tour the Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam), delightful drives through the countryside, flavorful food, and historical…

Belgium

Even briefer than our day-trip to Italy, our time in Belgium basically only included a quick tour of the European Union Parliament building in the capital (Brussels) and an even quicker lunch before continuing on the coach to the Netherlands. Which brings me to the following explanation of why I count Belgium among the countries…

Austria

Our trip from Germany to Austria was truly magical. The landscapes we passed were absolutely incredible. My camera was unfortunately tucked away on the drive, but I made lots of mental pictures of the scenery. The tops of the mountains were shrouded with low clouds, but spotting the occasional castle tucked into a lush forest…

Germany

Traveling from Russia to Germany required hopping on a plane. We waited for ages at the most-cramped gate at the airport in Moscow before finally boarding. When we arrived in Frankfort, Ronnie, our Dutch coach driver was ready to pick us up. A favorite among decades of IBIers, Ronnie drove us all over Europe for…

Lithuania

My summer abroad started off fairly smoothly. In Newark, New Jersey, I met up with all of the other students and one of our professors for the International Business Institute. Half of the group was previously acquainted as classmates at Messiah College together, but most people casually introduced themselves and made small talk while we…