Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who Says A Girl Can't Buy Herself Flowers?

While out at Trader Joe's today, I saw that my favorite flowers (Ranunculus) were on sale. It's hard enough for me to pass up the rows and rows of fresh flowers that TJ's always has on display when you walk in the doors, but when these beauties are on sale, I cannot pass them up. So, I splurged a whole $4.99, and bought myself this bouquet:


I love them. And they make me happy - especially on a dreary day in Chicago after I had to drop off someone I think is really great at the airport and won't get see them again for a while. These flowers are all I need to brighten up my day and it makes me happy to buy myself something that's just for me every once in a while.

So, do something that makes you happy today.
love love,
Chels.


Oh, and don't worry - I'll be posting about Spring Break soon, too. Just for a heads up though: Shark fishing was involved. Lots and lots of shark fishing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Break.

Tomorrow, I leave for my first Spring Break with just friends. Growing up, we usually just took the week off as a time to relax and hang out - we never really traveled anywhere. But, this year that changes.

This is us, being aliens. 
5 of my friends (3 of which are a few of my best girl friends), along with myself, are going to an island in Florida called Cayo Costa. It's a national park with camp sites, and we are legit camping for the week. I am SO excited. Nothing sounds more exciting than the ocean, sand, sun, and friends.

The boys going with us have to help a friend out, so they're driving in a different car. This means 24 hours of pure girl time before we get to our destination. Yay, best friends! Once we get there, we won't even have electricity, which makes me even more excited. To be completely disconnected for a week and actually relax with just nature - laying out, fishing, playing frisbee and volleyball and building sandcastles, hiking, wrestling alligators, and roasting so many s'mores that my stomach bursts. Ah. I don't even have words. I also get to see one of my favorite people ever in just about 2 hours.

Well, have a good week. I'm out of here an onto Florida to have the best Spring Break of my life.

love love.
Chels.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We Need Africa

I have nothing more to say, but to watch this, and check out what my friends Josh and Teel are all about. THIS is the Zambia we experienced. Amazing.


We Need Africa Preview from Josh Hiben on Vimeo.

love love,
Chels.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One And All.

I play Ultimate Frisbee. It is something that I love. I am passionate about. And I never would have guessed that I would enjoy a sport so much.

Just the most intimidating line up ever. This is my team.
Anna and I enjoy making up games like this one, where I shoot her off my back.
My favorite of the team. We're just so happy to be together.
We call ourselves the Dynamic Duo + Shady.
If you were to ask most people that knew me 5 years ago, they would have never guessed that I would play a sport that consists of running, catching, laying out, and chasing after discs for hours - regardless of weather. I was a swimmer - always had been and never knew anything different. But the whole amped-up message that North Park gives about Ultimate hooked me. And I'm obsessed. I honestly can't get enough Frisbee in my life. I want to practice every day. I want to see my teammates (and the guys from the mens team) and hang out with them all the time. I want to be at tournaments every weekend. I want to be in shape so that I can play harder than any other team. I want to scrimmage as long as possible when the indoor turf is wide open. I think you get the point. I love the sport.
Worst weather we've ever played in.

I think it has to do with the fact that I joined Frisbee completely for me. Nobody said I had to. Nobody pushed me. Nobody in my family knew what it was. And I wasn't following in someone's shadow. It was all for me. And honestly, I was laughed at for saying I was going to try it out. It wasn't something that people expected, but I wanted so badly to try it out and see if it'd be something I enjoy. Obviously it was, as I'm now a captain and I have a passion for the sport exceeds my passion for a lot of other things in my life.

Draining the lactic acid from our legs at the church. 
I'm pretty sure I didn't even play at this tournament.
My team, Allihopa (which means "one and all" in Swedish), has our first tournament next weekend. I'm beyond excited. Spending every hour of sunlight outside playing the sport I love for an entire weekend will be fantastic. It's my favorite way to wake up in the morning - being one of the first to get up, and then being in charge of slowly waking up each girl scattered around the sanctuary of whatever church has graciously allowed us to sleep on their floor for the weekend. It's become tradition to "shnookums" each girl to wake her up. (A shnookums is when you nuzzle your nose and face into someone's neck, and say "shnookums" as you nuzzle.) We then sloooooooowly get ourselves ready for the long day of playing that's ahead of us, but we always leave enough time to stop for coffee/red bull before we go to the fields, and then we play game after game until our day is done. We usually get some delicious food at Chipotle before we make our way back to school, where I tend to pass out in the back seat.

Riding Dirty.
It's the best. The very, very best.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weather.

I think the recent weather has completely confused my body.

In the past 3 months, I have gone from freezing cold Chicago/MN weather, to 70/80s in Zambia, to freezing cold Chicago, back to MN (where it's even colder than Chicago), to some nice Spring-like weather here in Chicago, where all I needed was a light jacket (the perfect day, right?), to Michigan where my teeth chattered in the car, to rain in Chicago. In respective order, are pictures of these events. Notice the huge range of jackets and bundled-upness of myself. Jeepers.


Not sure if you can see the scarf, but I was definitely bundled. And confused, based on the fact that I'm drinking an iced coffee.


This is in Zambia - on one of the last nights. Definitely in summer mode with my jorts and hat.

Back to Chicago! Bundled and freezing. (This is probably before Zambia, but you get the idea that it was cold..)

Then I went to MN, where I went snowmobiling for so long that I could hardly feel my toes.
Just this past week, I wore this jacket. It's a Spring jacket.

This is from 2 years ago, but it gets me excited to be on a beach again. Eh, Cayo Costa.

What is with this weather??

I will be the first to admit that I love snow. I love rain. I love leaves falling. I love sun. I really do enjoy every season, but this messed up switching and overlap has caused me to have a cold for weeks. My nose is constantly running, and it's one of those where when I look down to take notes in class, it runs worse than when I'm just looking straight ahead.

I'm glad that Chicago now has rain, rather than snow, because I've gotten a glimpse of Spring and it makes me very excited to start tossing a Frisbee outside, rather than in a humid hot-box called Helwig.

This preview to Spring also gets me very stoked for Spring Break, which is in approximately 18 days. I'll be heading down to Florida to go camping on an island called Cayo Costa. I'm excited to be in swimsuits and sundresses every day, I just really hope this Rudolph nose goes away by then.

Enjoy whatever weather you have today.
love love.
Chels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ba Gypsy.

First off: I apologize for the lack of recent posts on here. But, I promise this is a good story.

While boarding the bus one morning, Stefan, Ike, and Aaron started sharing a story about the night before. Sandy, their 14-yr-old host brother, was apparently fascinated by gypsies. He was asking question after question about them. "Have you ever seen a gypsy?", "Do you ever want to meet a gypsy?", "What do gypsies look like?", etc. We were laughing and talking about how funny it was that someone would be so interested in gypsies, but Sandy's a funny guy and we enjoyed the laugh.

Later that night, we were at a host family dinner at Mama Lillian's house. Nkhongono, Mama Lillian's son and the boy's little host brother, who hung out with us almost every day, started asking questions about gypsies, as well. I think he overheard us talking about Sandy's fascination, but it was funny that we had all these random questions about gypsies. I've honestly never put that much though into what it takes to be a gypsy. This proceeded into an obsession with gypsies for our little pal Nkhongono.

Stefan, one of our team leaders, had already started making lists of random things on the trip. Nkhonogono's new found obsession was just another reason for another list. So, the "what it takes to be a gypsy" list evolved. The list included things such as wearing hair scarves, wearing long flowing skirts, being able to see where your eyes are not (aka, using your peripheral vision), naming your child after a continent (like my host sister, Musonda did with her daughter, Asia), denying possession of gold in your pockets, actually having gold in your pockets, etc. (The list was VERY long). I think something about having sass was also on the list. I happened to be quite sassy with my team sometimes.

Anywho, after this list making, Nkhonogono looks at me as says "Ba Chelsey, YOU ARE A GYPSY!!" Apparently I met enough requirements on the list to be classified as a gypsy. Therefore, I am named Ba Gypsy. It stuck and was all that he called me for the rest of the trip.


This is what I was wearing the day I was declared Ba Gypsy. Feel free to decide whether or not you agree with Nkhonogono. (Yes, I'm wearing a skirt, too).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Next Few Days..

The days began to consist of more scheduled and planned sessions starting on day 3. We had Bemba-learning sessions each morning, and then went to Hope Village after we ate some lunch (aka, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips). Hope Village looks like this:

The bola (soccer) field
 The Church
 Hope House
 The School
 The School
While we spent more and more time with the kids at the house and from the community, I started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of love these children and the community had for us. Just by our team coming to their village, we were showing that we cared, and in return they showed us so much more love and hospitality than a lot of us have ever received. On the 5th day of the trip, we drove through the village of Tawapia (where many of the school children live), and it was incredible how the children would light up when one of us waved at them or said "Muli Shani", which means "Hello, how are you?" The fact that Americans were in their village - not just any African village - meant so much to them. By this point of the trip, tears welled up behind my eyes more times than I can count. It's indescribable how beautiful the children are; how loving and joyful the people are as a whole; how much they love to dance and praise the Lord; how simplicity is so full of happiness; and how pride comes from entirely different things than what we call accomplishments in America.

We spent New Year's Eve at the church, along with the entire congregation. In Zambia, the new year means so much more than just a night to throw a party and get friends together - they are truly thankful to have lived through another year, and to be blessed with the year ahead. We praised God together as we celebrated life and acknowledged the struggles that were overcome in 2010. Of course, in true Zambian time, the countdown happened about 5 minutes after the actual stroke of midnight, but Ba Charles had to finish his sermon before the countdown could begin. It was such a beautiful service, and it has caused me to look at the whole celebration of New Years differently. It's not about a kiss, a date, a new dress, or how extravagant a party is; it's about the fact that God has given us another beautiful year to live out our lives praising Him.The new year should celebrated just as we did that night - hearing the word, thanking God for life, and dancing for Him, together, in community - a whole body celebrating the One who created us.

Dancing in Zambia is interesting - to say the least. To be completely honest, my hips do not move like the Zambian women's hips.  I was embarrassed to dance from the moment Ba Margaret took my hand and pulled me up front at the New Year's service, but, even still, it was fun to dance at New Year's, and to watch the kids at hope dance in their welcome ceremony to us. It was happy. And it was fun. At the welcome ceremony, Anna was the most fun to watch, as she's the smallest in the house, and shook her hips the most of any of them. She even had Ba Charles laughing hysterically.

video
This video isn't of the Hope house welcome ceremony, but it's the welcome ceremony that the school held for us before we left. It's a perfect example of how they dance.. (and that's my Rita girl with the red fabric wrapped around her waist)

Basically they're awesome. Little Shakiras all over the place. I loved it. I loved watching them dance and do something that they were so good at, that embraces so much of who they are and where they come from. It was beautiful. And hilarious, at times.

At this point in the trip, the Zambians were teaching me beyond what words can teach. With so little verbal communication, it amazes me that they taught so much, but what I learned from them is more than some people could teach me in a lifetime. My world was being turned upside down and I'd only been there for a few days. I knew that God was present in every interaction and moment spent with the people I got to meet, and it was beautiful.

Chels.