Monday, August 31, 2015

Movie Soundtracks to Help You Think

Noise constantly fills the air in Chicago, and so I have had to find ways to escape and focus. With a cheap pair of in-ear headphones from Amazon (they're awesome!) and a student subscription to Spotify, I've been able to find my own little bubble of focus just about anywhere. I actually love it now.

Here are three suggestions for you of movie soundtracks that I listen to these days while I'm studying or doing homework. They are often instrumental, or if there are words, they're in another language so they're not distracting! So here you go - hope this brightens your day!

1. We Bought a Zoo - this soundtrack by Jonsi, an Icelandic artist, is inspiring and ethereal, with bright notes throughout the music.
2. Song of the Sea - this hand-drawn movie is one of the most beautiful ones I've seen, and the music reflects the mysterious and magical world of the movie. It's more on the celtic side, and some of the songs sound a bit more ominous because they are the background to the dark rainy days in the movie, but otherwise the soundtrack is enchanting.
3. The Hundred-Foot Journey - with a bit of Indian flair, this music is uplifting and a reminder of the sweet movie that it accompanies.

Happy focusing!

Meanwhile, I will continue to fight this cold that I'm coming down with (seems like I always get one at the beginning of the semester?), drink lots of lemon and honey, and work through writing a paper on my theology of Children's Ministry. I think some of that focusing music will be of need! That, and prayer. Where would I be without Him? 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Search: Floriole

Michelle and I are in search for "her place" in the city. I have a spot here in Chicago that I love, and it's my safe haven that I go to do homework at and just to breathe. 

Strangely enough, "my place" is right in the heart of the city, where most tourists and business people go, but that's what I love about it. Intelligentsia is a hub of all sorts of people coming in and out, but it's always interesting and I love feeling a part of the city community right there in the middle of everything. I put my earphones in and have my own little world there. 

Today, we began our journey to find Michelle's "place". It rained today, but Floriole charmed us and we enjoyed this getaway. 

Here is our breakdown of the highs and lows of Floriole:

- It's spacious - the high ceilings provided plenty of "air space" and there is upstairs seating available as well with a huge wooden table, which is great for spreading out homework. 
- It's bright - There are windows on almost every side of the coffee shop, which lets plenty of light stream in, even on a rainy day. There are skylights on the ceiling too, so it's perfectly lit. 
- It is one of the best bakeries in Chicago - it's a well-known place! They have a few gluten-free options too, like their chocolate hazelnut cookies, or their buckwheat scones.
- You can get a coffee refill for a $1
- The crowd is classy - and I even got to meet a professor from DePaul today who was super sweet and originally from Colombia.
- They have pitchers of water, so you can just get some whenever you need it (not a given in Europe, which is why I mention it!)
- Lunch options - usually from local and in-season ingredients

- It's pricey - you pay for quality, so it makes sense, but it's not ideal if you want to make this a regular place. 
- It's a bit of a walk - from Moody, we have to take the train (which wasn't running today due to construction, so we had to take a bus) and then walk a bit to get to Floriole. It's great on a nice day, but in the winter it might be a bit more of a trek, and it's not ideal for a quick stop-by. 
- Michelle didn't love the skylights because they seemed out-of-place to her. I liked them though! 

On the way back to my apartment, Michelle so kindly shared her bright umbrella with me. You'll see a little glimpse of my new home in the reflection of the puddle. 

The search for Michelle's place will continue. This car smiled at me before I got home, and I think it was a successful Saturday outing. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

First Week

I have finished my first week of classes already. It's hard to believe. I know it's just going to continue going by quickly here, which is bittersweet.

With only three semesters left (including this one), I'm recognizing the significance of every class I take and the weight of the knowledge that I hope to gain. The classes that I will take in these next semesters could be some of the best of my "Moody career". I look forward to them, but of course I recognize the responsibility connected with not only the classes, but with what I will have learned. Once you learn something, you are able to use it in real life.

It becomes even more serious when I start seeing the specific applications of what I'm learning - I will need this knowledge for whatever work the Lord has for me in the future! I'm taking Systematic Theology, Issues in Counseling for Youth, Foundations for Children's Ministry (Theology and Philosophy of children's ministry) and Hebrews. Yes, I have a lot in store for this next semester, including plenty of work too! It's so worth it though.

In the midst of everything going on this week with moving into a new apartment and getting used to classes, I took advantage of a free afternoon and a free visit to my favorite museum. The Art Institute is free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5-8pm. Usually I will have my PCM (Practical Christian Ministry) on Thursday afternoons, but that doesn't start up until next week, so I giddily planned my afternoon visit. I only had an hour at The Art Institute, but it was wonderful as always.

Here are two Pissarro works that were eye-catching on this visit.

I adore the Art Institute. I could spend hours and hours there. It was such a refreshing short visit this week and a much needed reminder of a place I absolutely love in Chicago. Yes, there are things to love here, just as there are in all of the places where pieces of my heart reside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Because I Can Today

Happy National Dog Day. Today is a day that's simply an excuse for posting pictures of my favorite pup, Kaylee. She came to find me in my room one evening in Croatia, and it made me the happiest.

Enjoy the cuteness and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Now in Chicago

I could never have imagined way back when we vacationed together with our families in Croatia that I'd get to live a sliver of life in the States with this incredible friend.

We grew up together in Czech, and as life continues to move forward and we find ourselves in college, in jobs, living "adult lives" in the States, I am beyond thankful to still have Hayley not too far away.

Hayley moved up to Wisconsin this May, and she didn't have hardly any access to internet this summer, so getting to see her in person today in Chicago meant the world. Of course we reminisced as old friends do, but I also got to hear about her new job and community and we shared hopes and dreams, as well as all the random things in between. Hayley - what a gift your friendship is to me! Thank you for coming downtown today.