when worlds collide

I have plenty more blogs to write about Scotland and travels, but since I am BACK at Erskine now (welcome to the class of 2017!), I want to write about my first time back at Erskine since I returned from Scotland. [Note: unless otherwise stated, all photos in this post are by The Mondays Photography, LLC.]

My roommate from freshman year, Megan, married her high school sweetheart on 13 July and I was blessed to be a part of the day as a bridesmaid.  Megan lives in Honea Path, about 15 minutes from Due West, so when I came up for the rehearsal dinner and wedding, I stayed at Erskine.  [Fun fact: Erskine has guest rooms for you to stay in when you’re visiting! They are quite inexpensive, too.]

My guest for the wedding was none other than my academic dad, Lawrence (yes, the Belgian one).  He was in Miami for the summer doing research at a university and flew up to Charleston to visit me for a long weekend.  He got to meet my family, and I had company for my first time driving to Erskine in my new car.

Lawrence and I danced a lot at the reception: no surprise there.

Lawrence and I danced a lot at the reception: no surprise there.

Taking a break from setting up the reception to say "cheese" for the camera.

Taking a break from setting up the reception to say “cheese” for the camera. [Photo by Pepper Shrock]

When we got to town on Friday, Lawrence and I headed to Theo’s–one of two restaurants in DW–for lunch with my favourite professor, Dr. Elsner.  I was so excited to see Elsner after such a long time! Our lunch turned into the three of us talking for 4 hours, until I finally looked at my watch and realised that we were late for getting ready to go to the rehearsal dinner.  Elsner and Lawrence got along so well and I really enjoyed catching up with both of them.

The rehearsal dinner was my first time seeing Megan in almost a year! I didn’t know many people there (and Lawrence knew none) but I felt right at home.  Megan and Michael, her husband, both have super friendly, close-knit families.

Friends since freshman year, and now this lovely lady is married! Guess she has a new roommate now, haha.

Friends since freshman year, and now this lovely lady is married! Guess she has a new roommate now, haha.

I caught the toss bouquet!   ...to be fair, though, I was one of the only eligible ladies there.  I'm not getting married any time soon!

I caught the toss bouquet! …to be fair, I was one of the only eligible ladies there. I’m not getting married any time soon!

The wedding was Saturday evening, so that morning I gave Lawrence a tour of Erskine.  This will be my fourth year as an Ambassador for the college, and Lawrence laughed at me a few times because I was slipping into Ambassador mode on the tour.  He really enjoyed the campus, though, and seeing all of the places that I would tell him about when we were in St Andrews.  At one point we were sitting on the swing outside of Moffatt Dining Hall and Lawrence remarked, “Now I understand why St Andrews was so exciting for you!”  He was referring to how quiet and rural DW is compared to St Andrews, Brussels, and Miami.  Of course, DW has a lot going for it despite its small size, and the campus and town community is some of the strongest and friendliest I have ever encountered.

Toward the end of the tour I showed him Memorial Hall and we spent about 15 minutes swing dancing on stage.  The floor in there is excellent for dancing, in case  you were wondering.  I also sang a little bit so he could get a feel for the acoustics (also great).

Megan and Michael’s wedding was the first wedding Lawrence had ever been to!  We had to get there pretty early for preparations and photos, but Lawrence was such a good sport about it.  He brought a book and read helped however he could.  Despite having to dodge some rain, it was a beautiful day with a beautiful group of people.

Michael and Megan: look at those smiles!  It was such a beautiful day and I am so glad I got to share it with them.

Michael and Megan: look at those smiles! It was such a beautiful day and I am so glad I got to share it with them.

Megan with her bridesmaids.  What a fun group of people!

Megan with her bridesmaids. What a fun group of people!

I loved getting to see such a great friend from St Andrews.  Being at Erskine with Lawrence was an almost surreal experience: it was like two worlds, or two separate lives, colliding.  It was wonderful to be able to introduce him to my families, both my actual family and some of my Erskine family.  We also ended up having an unexpected extra day together due to some airport logistics (but that wasn’t too much of a disappointment).

One last photo before I drove Lawrence to the airport. I am beyond blessed to have such a wonderful friend, and to know that friendship endures even over an ocean.

One last photo before I drove Lawrence to the airport. I am beyond blessed to have such a wonderful friend, and to know that friendship endures even over an ocean. [Photo by me]

That weekend with amazing friends was probably the highlight of my summer.  I hope to be able to introduce others to Erskine and I cannot wait to be able to see others from St Andrews in the future.  Well, back to SLA duties and creating more memories of my Erskine experience.  Today is move-in day for upperclassmen as well! So many sweet reunions to be had, and memories to be made!

A Taste of Spain

The tempting picture in my cookbook... how could I resist?

One of my favorite ways of remembering Spain (and perhaps to try and re-live it a little) is by trying to recreate some of my favorite foods from the country.  I even received a cookbook of Spanish foods for Christmas two years ago, when I came back from my trip.  I was flipping through a week or so ago and I spied one of these tasty treats, ensaimadas – little spiral pastries topped with powdered sugar.  They are light, sweet, and a delightful breakfast treat with a chocolate (hot chocolate) or café (coffee).  They’re from the region of Mallorca, but you can find them pretty much everywhere in the country (at least in the major cities).

So, I decided to have a go at my Spanish baking skills – after all, I have a recipe and everything.  It’s not a particularly difficult recipe, either, but I had never worked with yeast before so I was a little worried about messing up the cultures and ending up with flat pastries… but hey, at least they would taste good.  I admit that it was a little bit of a challenge to find all the proper cooking utensils in the dorm, but Robinson is pretty well stocked, luckily.  The only thing that I couldn’t locate was a food mixer, so I had to knead the dough by hand, which was not a problem.  I even documented my progress in this exciting endeavor:

First, before going into the oven, after cooling for 24 hours, then rising for three...

Then, after coming out of the oven, looking pretty good so far...

 

Finally, my proud final product, lightly dusted and tempting. Not bad!

They didn’t turn out exactly like they’re supposed to, but they were pretty close (and still quite delicious).  Success!

Summer has just begun…

Summer has just started and I’ve already been to Europe and Florida. I’ve spent time with wonderful friends and my precious family. I’ve sang in some of the most beautiful churches on the earth, gotten the chance to minister to people through music, built lifelong friendships, and learned to appreciate my family so much in the past two weeks.

And the best part is…

this is only the beginning.

My summer hasn’t even gone into full swing yet. I’m hoping to work a couple of summer jobs: a couple of clothing stores, some babysitting here and there, and maybe even a new job as a barista for Starbucks?! The possibilities for summer work are all around me, so it’s time to just stop being lazy and get out there and work. Lord knows I need to make back a good chunk of the money I spent on my vacations and make some money for some future trips and events I’d like to participate in soon.

A road trip to visit my cousin while she’s in summer school is in the horizon, as well a possible trip to Australia in August to visit my best friend who’s studying abroad there for 5 months. Who knows?! Either way, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my whereabouts and interesting things that happen this summer.

I’m planning on making some unforgettable memories, in fact I’d say I’m already halfway there, so how are you going to make the most of your summer?