|One of my absolute favorite photos from her trip...Perfectly describes our friendship.|
This is so delayed, but I’m excited to finally share it with you. Jessica came to visit me…in October. Very delayed, but I still open my planner to July because that’s where my mind is in regards to time…if that tells you anything. Also, how is it already December?! How?! Anyways, this will most likely be a long and photo heavy post so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Jessica and I get a little photo crazy when we're together...one of my favorite things about our friendship.
|Top left: one of our first photos together; Top middle: Halloween 2009; Top right: Olivet graduation;|
Bottom left: New Year's Eve 2011; Bottom middle: Chicago trip 2013; Bottom left: Denver trip 2013
Before I begin, let me virtually introduce you to Jessica. She has been one of my closest friends since 2007. We went to Olivet together, but didn’t become friends until our sophomore year. 8 years ago…again, time!!! Jessica was a social work major, but we actually met in our Christian Scriptures class. I have the worst memory, but basically, she came into that class and chose to sit by me...and the rest is history. We actually became much closer after college, which I think is pretty awesome. We had to make more of an effort since we didn't live across campus anymore, and I think that made (and continues to make) our friendship grow by leaps and bounds.
We’ve had some pretty memorable adventures. Since we haven’t lived in the same state since graduating from Olivet, there have been many trips between Illinois and Indiana. Sometimes we would meet in the middle and reunite at our social work professor’s house in Bourbonnais. It’s always fun to be back at Olivet together, our old stomping ground. (Side note, we’re old. Young people don’t say things like that.) We’re also birthday month buddies so we always try to get together in February to celebrate together. We’ve traveled to Chicago, Madison, Denver, etc…I’m telling you, we’ve had some awesome adventures. She even took the time to come visit me when I was home for six weeks this summer, which was such a blast. I am so insanely grateful for her friendship...I'll stop gushing now and get on to her visit!
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, it was my/our social work professor at Olivet who introduced me to the work being done in Romania. Therefore, Jessica has been familiar with Romania for as long as I have, which made her visit even more special (I assume). She has heard about Sighișoara and Veritas for years, especially from me in recent months. Jessica and I communicate almost daily in one form or another (texting, Instagram, Snapchat, etc). It’s pretty fabulous.
|Bucharest: Seeing the sights, eating the food, taking the naps...|
Jessica arrived in Bucharest on Saturday, October 18th. Sighișoara is in the middle of Romania, and many people fly into Bucharest which is about 5 hours south. After taking a bus to the Bucharest airport, I not-so-patiently waited in the arrivals area for her to walk through the doors…it was kind of surreal to see someone that I know from home walk through there. Surreal and completely awesome. We decided to stay in Bucharest for the night in order to see some of the sights. We checked out a famous bookstore, saw the palace, enjoyed traditional Romanian and Hungarian food for dinner, and so much more. It was a great start to #jkvisitsromania.
|Enjoying the view in Sighișoara|
|Seeing the citadel!|
|She's so classy...I'm soooo not.|
On Sunday afternoon, we returned to Sighisoara. I cannot tell you how excited I was to show Jessica around my new home! She tagged along throughout the week as I went about my normal routine at Veritas, Monday Night Supper, etc. It was great to bring her along and introduce her to everyone. We made time for her to really see Sighișoara and all that is has to offer. After a week in Sighișoara, we headed off on an adventure to see another part of Romania...Constanța!
I had never been to Constanța, but I have a two friends who lived there for 3 1/2 years and another friend who's very familiar with the area. It was soooo fabulous to have them as our unofficial guides in planning the adventure. We were able to stay at the YWAM base there thanks to those connections, which was such a huge blessing. We met so many cool people during our stay there, and it was nice to see what God is doing in other parts of Romania. A brief history of Constanța...it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania founded in 600 B.C. The Port of Constanța is the largest port on the Black Sea and one of the largest ports in Europe. Constanța has an interesting demographic with Tatars and Turkish, along with Romanians. It's a beautiful and culturally diverse area.
The whole trip was so laid back and full of peace and relaxation...it was refreshing. Jessica is a huge fan of the water...and I quickly jumped on board. I like water, but this trip increased that liking times a million. We went to the beach every day and a spent a good amount of time just sitting and enjoying the view. I found a quote after this trip that really describes how I feel about the water...
"She loved the sea. She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above. It made her feel small, but free as well."
- George R. R. Martin
Jessica and I were able to spend time in deep conversations, getting up at the crack of down to see the sunrise over the Black Sea, walking around town, laughing til we cry, dancing on the beach at sunset, and so much more. I'm about to drop a ton of photos because it was too hard to narrow it down...
|Black Sea; Casino along the Black Sea; The old city viewed from the minaret of a mosque.|
|Just being ourselves and enjoying the simple things like coffee, tea, and cute plates.|
|Couldn't get enough of that casino; Found some street art full of poppies; She's a ray of sunshine|
|How Jessica felt about getting up for the sunrise...and how I felt.|
|Mirror selfies and tiramisu!|
|Our last, and EPIC, night on the beach...complete with a dance party in the dark.|
On our way back to Sighișoara from Constanța, we stopped in Brașov for one night. I've been to Brașov a handful of times and I really, really love it there. I couldn't wait to show the cute little city to Jessica. Again, many photos were taken and encouraging conversations were had...I love our adventures! Here come the photos...
|"Angels". She pulls it off better than I ever could...|
|Love love love having tea time with Jessica...especially at cute places like this.|
|SUCH. GOOD. COFFEE.|
|Our last moments in Brașov|
Upon returning from Brașov, we had one night left to spend back in Sighișoara. We had a final meal of traditional Romanian food and did our packing. She was going to head back to America and I was off to Turkey for a conference. It was nice to be able to travel to the airport together and reflect on our incredible Romanian adventure together. There was laughing and crying and getting stuck in an elevator, a day to remember.
|Our "stuck in the elevator" photo is pretty darn great.|
Until next time, my friend. JK-Roy...you're one of my favorite people to ever walk the planet. I am forever grateful for the time spent with you here. Come back soon. And for everyone else, I'll leave you with this photo of my acting a fool.
|Just being my dorky self.|