Aug 6, 2014

Living the the Future

I am a planner. It is just built into by DNA that as soon as I have an idea about a trip, or know the smallest tidbit of information about something, I start looking into it and planning.

Whatever part of me that houses this desire/need to plan has been going in panic mode the past few weeks and at this rate will not be letting up anytime soon. Justin is entering his final year of the PhD program and this is the time of year that jobs are being posted for the next academic year (2015 - 2016). That planner part of me is feeling very unsettled as we enter into this season of job searching and uncertainty for our future.

Because of this, I feel as though I have been living in the future. I am so consumed by questions...

Will Justin be able to find a job?  Will I be able to find a job?
Where will we be next year? Are we leaving Waco?
Will we be able to buy a house? Will we even be able to afford a house?





The list goes on and on...

I feel as though the last few weeks have been absorbed in these thoughts and fears. Though I have enjoyed my last few weeks of summer, these fears have been a constant cloud over every conversation and experience.I do not want to waste away this last year here in Waco (if it is our last year) with fears of the future. I want to enjoy this time with friends and family.

Justin and I experienced a similar time of uncertainty when he was applying for PhD programs. Before Baylor called with an offer we though we were moving to Europe, to the point where we were selling our furniture and preparing Darcy to travel to England (which is a 6 month process). During that time, I spent a lot of time in prayer. It did not hurt that I spend a good amount of time each afternoon in silence, rocking a baby (I was a nanny at the time) to sleep with a bottle. My faith walk is quite a bit different today than it was 4 years ago, and possibly not for the better to be quite honest, but one verse I hold to during these times of uncertainty and fear is Jeremiah 29:11.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  

It feels cliche to quote this well known verse, but it truly gives me a sense of peace about what is to come. 

Hannah

Jul 25, 2014

Life Update



So it has been nearly a year since my last post.... I bet no one is reading this, so if you stumble upon these ramblings, I am sorry! I want to start blogging more regularly as a type of journal of our life. I have never been good at this sort of thing, so we will see if this sticks...

This past year has gone by so quickly. It is hard to believe that this time last year I was in Ndola, Zambia with the MBA program. That was an incredible, life changing trip for me. The relationship that Baylor is building with Northrise University is so incredible and unique, I certainly hope that I can contribute to fostering a continued relationship in the future.

As for this past year in the King household, a lot of things have happened. Here is quick rundown of life for us:
 - I completed the 4th and 5th semesters of the 9 semester long MBA program (currently working on my 6th). Which means only 1 more year to go!!!
- Justin's dissertation prospectus was passed back in November and he has been working on the dissertation ever since.
- I became a certified REFIT instructor back in February and have been a permanent sub at the REFIT studio since, and LOVING IT! (If you have not heard of REFIT you really need to check them out! It is a fitness program started by 3 incredible ladies here in Waco who saw a need for clean, (both in music content and moves) friendly dance fitness program. You should check them out at www.refitrev.com.)
- Our pups are doing well. Darcy is nearly 7 and Cooper is 4 1/2 (wow, that is hard to believe!). Darcy is starting to slow down a little bit, and started limping recently but she is already getting better. (Sorry for the poor picture quality. The lighting in our house is pretty bad!)
Darcy (L) & Cooper (R)

- Justin is entering his 5th and final year of the PhD program and will be teaching one into Religion class each semester this academic year.
- That also means that he has started looking for a job, since positions for the 2015-2016 academic year are being posted now. It feels weird to be back in this situation, where we expect a big move to be pending, but have no idea where it could possibly lead!

Well, that is a lot of information in one post, so thanks for reading!

Hope to be back on here soon!

Hannah 

Aug 21, 2013

Life goes on... and a new "to us" car)

We have been back from Zambia for 2 weeks now and I feel like life is settling back into a normal routine.

The day after I got back from Zambia Justin sold his car. It was a piece of well loved 2000 Nissan Sentra that had been with us since the beginning. It drove us on our first dates, got us safely to and from Chicago and kept us going here in Waco.  With 240,000 miles, dents from someone hitting it while it was parked on our street, dents/scratches from a neighbors tree falling on it, and chipping clear coat from the tough winters it endured in Chicago, it had seen better days by the time we parted ways.
Chicago Winters     
(If you look really closely, you might be able to see a little bit of marker on the windshield from where the Chicago DMV wrote our ID number when the car was towed... (Yes, it has been 5 years and it is still there) I will have to blog about that weekend sometime, it was a doosey...

Large scratch from the tree

Another dent from the neighbors tree
I had been trying to talk Justin into selling it for a few months. He was determined to drive it until the wheels fell off or it reached 300,000 miles, depending on which came first. (I preferred that he not be in the vehicle when the former happened...). He finally decided to post it online, and off she went. We had some great memories in that red lady.

But out with the old and in with the new...

We got a great deal on a 2012 Ford Focus from our car dealer in OKC. It already had 57,000 miles, and has some pretty extensive hail damage, but that made it affordable!

This is really her best angle, as the hail damage is mainly on the drivers side.
 It is really fun to have such a new vehicle to drive, though it feels like it is a bit too nice for us in our current stage of life as 2 grad students! Hopefully it will last us a long time!

Hannah

Aug 14, 2013

Perspective

Wow, it is hard to believe that we have been back home for just over a week now. This summer has just flown by. 

As I get back into my daily routine, I am seeing small ways in which my perspective has been changed from my time in Africa. 

- I am not running home to turn on the TV. I was (and still am)  a bit of a TV junkie. I enjoy sitting at home with Justin and cuddling with my pups on the couch and watching shows. While in Africa, we did not turn on a TV once. I really did not miss it, I appreciated the time we had in the evenings as a group to talk about our day and share other stories together. Some of my favorite times from the trip were spent at that apartment at Northrise just talking. 

- I have another lens through which to see Waco.  Some of you may know that our transition from Chicago to Waco was a difficult one. Though we expected it to be smooth sailing since were were both from what we considered similar towns, we had a tough time settling in after being in such a big city for 2 years. I can now appreciate Waco in a different way. No, it is not Chicago, but Waco has its own beauty. I can appreciate the fresh cut grass and flower beds outside of the buildings downtown. 

- I appreciate the amenities we have here in the states that I have always taken for granted. We have the ability to run to the store at any hour to pick something up. We have easy internet access available just about everywhere we go. Most importantly our paved roads.

I am so very grateful for this incredible experience I was allowed to participate in. Going to Africa has certainly changed my perspective on a number of things, and I hope future trips will continue to help mold me as a person.

Until next time! 

Hannah


Aug 8, 2013

Back in the USA

Sorry for my radio silence over the last few days. We made it back to the states safe and sound, with no issues. I was pretty worthless right after we got back and am just now getting back to normal. 

I hope to have some more reflections about the trip up soon. 

This trip was an incredible time, and I would go back in a heart beat. 

Hannah

Aug 3, 2013

Day 15 - Buses/Ndola

Today was another long travel day. We started this morning at 4:30 so that we could leave the resort by 5:00 and catch our 5:30 bus from Livingstone to Lusaka. The bus ended up leaving shortly after 6:00 and we got to Lusaka around 1:30. The bus was better this time, with only 4 seats per row, rather than the 5 seats per row we had on the last Lusaka/Livingstone trip. The bus had entertainment with movies playing. Apparently, Africa has a character that seems to be a mix of 3 Stooges/Mr. Bean/Get Smart named Mr. Bones. We ended up watching (or being forced to watch, depending on how you look at it) 2 or 3 Mr.Bones movies. The first one was a bit of a novelty for the first few minutes, but it got quite old watching the same schtick (someone falling into dung, running from wild animals, etc.) over and over again. 

Once we got to Lusaka, we left the bus station and went to the local mall for lunch. It seems as though the mall food courts actually offer decent food, compared to the states. I was really surprised at this mall, it look like something you could find anywhere in the states. We did not have much time to look around, because we had to catch our flight from Lusaka to Ndola. I am so grateful that were able to fly from Lusaka to Ndola, another 6 or 7 hour bus ride would have been really tough. 

Once we landed in Ndola we spent the evening at the Northrise apartment. I must say, there have been a ton of wonderful things about this trip, but I have really enjoyed the time we have had with our Baylor group just sitting around and talking. 

After dinner, An and I came back to the hotel to repack and get ready to leave tomorrow. We will be going to brunch in the morning around 10 and heading to the airport shortly after that. Our flight toJohannesburg  leaves at 1:00 and lands around 4:30 or so. We will have about a 4 hour layover in Jburg before catching our flight to London.  We will have another 4 hour layover in London before catching the final long leg to Dallas. After another 2 hour layover our final flight to Waco leaves around 3:30. 

I cannot believe the trip has come to an end. It feels like we were just leaving Waco to come here.  

Thanks for reading!

Hannah

Aug 2, 2013

Day 14 - Livingstone/Botswana

What an incredible day! 

We started this morning at 6:30 with breakfast and then headed out for our safari. Which started before we even left the hotel grounds with a few zebras. We drove about an hour to the border for Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.  We exited Zambia and got on a boat to cross the river over to Botswana (about a 2 minute boat ride, as the river is no wider than a mile). Once we were in Botswana, we got in a safari vehicle (an open air SUV that holds a 10 or so people) to take us to the Botswana immigration office. We had an issue with the other female student on the trip who is from China. Apparently she needed a visa to get into Botswana. Though we thought everything had been checked out before the trip, apparently the organizers were told incorrectly that she did not need any additional approval to get into Botswana. In the end, she was not able to go into the country with us. Thankfully, there is a wonderful couple with us from Northrise, and the wife stayed with An and they came back to Zambia and spent the day in Livingstone. 

Once we made it through immigration, we were taken to a house where there was tea and coffee ready for us before we left on the safari. The first part of our safari was on land in one of the safari vehicles. On the way to the game park, we saw some elephants on the side of the road. Once we got into the game park we saw tons of elephants and giraffes. We also saw sables, impalas, kudu, and 2 lionesses. The one thing I thought we would see but did not was zebras. I think I got some good pictures, so hopefully I will get some on here after I get back home. 

After the ride, we grabbed lunch at a local lodge. The lodge was beautiful and the food wasn't to shabby either. After we finished lunch we went out for the second part of our safari by boat. Man. That was an incredible boat ride. The Chobe river has an island out in the middle, and during the dry season (which is now in Africa) elephants and other animals are forced to go to this island to find food. We saw 6 elephants swimming across the river to the island. That was an incredible site. They came out right next to our boat. I got some great pictures, but they really do not do experience justice. We also saw water buffalo, impala, water bucks, hippos, and tons of birds. 

Once we completed the safari went made the trek back to Zambia, and the hotel. One the way back we found out that Bill Clinton is staying at the hotel right next to ours, and the two guys on our trip saw him by Victoria Falls. 

I cannot believe that we begin our journey home tomorrow by returning to Ndola, before we leave for the US on Sunday. 

This has truly been an incredible experience. I certainly hope this is not my last time in Africa, or Zambia. 

Thanks for reading!

Hannah