Becoming a Junior

I am a college junior. And while I do feel the cliché response of, oh my goodness, how did I get here, time is flying, it also feels like the most ridiculously natural thing in the world. Not only am I a junior, I feel like a junior. Here’s a few reasons why:

1. For the first time I’m living off campus in the most darling house! This means that while I have the extra responsibilities of providing my own furniture, and remembering to take the trash to the curb on garbage day, I also have the extra freedoms of using nails to hang paintings on the walls, and lighting candles, or for that matter, possessing a lighter! I’m on a minimal meal plan, so I’m beginning to cook for myself. While most of my meals have been simple quesadillas or chef salad, I have managed to make homemade refried beans, and tried a new recipe for roasted chickpeas. I’m also dealing with adult situations such as paying rent and setting up Internet service. Sometimes it feels like my life is an endless cycle of calling customer service and going to the bank. Lately, my housemates and I have frequently exclaimed, “Too much adulting!” But as much as being an adult can be a hassle, it feels natural and right to be in this new place of independence.

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2. The first day of school felt remarkably undramatic. Even after four months away, going to class didn’t feel out of the ordinary. Maybe that’s because, as my friend Kaylee reminded me, it was my fifteenth first day of school, but regardless of why I felt so comfortable, I think it truly shows just how at home I feel on my campus. I know how to get where I need to be, I understand the many systems that are in place, I constantly run into people I know, and for the first time, I get to be the one to authoritatively answer the endless questions of freshmen. Being an upperclassman is a wonderful thing.

Home Sweet Home3. In this moment I feel rooted, yet scattered. The roots come from knowing I am where I belong and being willing to pour into this place, even though I suspect I won’t be here for much longer. I am invested in my university, plugged into my church, and in love with the place I live and the people I encounter on a daily basis. The scattering comes from traveling, and leaving pieces of my heart in faraway lands. Not to mention that half of the people I love most in the world don’t live in Oregon. This juxtaposition of being rooted yet scattered leaves me in a place of tension to be sure, and yet, I also feel a peace. While this time of life is transient, it’s also incredibly beautiful!

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So this semester I’m going to live into the reality that, no matter how short this season of life will be, today I am a college junior.

A Piece of Home

Three weeks ago I moved away from my home and family to the land of no sales tax and lots of rain, aka Hipsterville USA. It was the biggest transition I have ever made. Some days I legitimately feel like I have been dumped on a foreign planet, but even in the midst of all this upheaval, I have been able to find pieces of home. On one hand, home is the place you live and the people you live with, but on the other hand, home is part of your identity. It is an integral part of you that will never leave, no matter who you live with or where you go. Home is the underlying currents, those threads of your life that transcend location. Pieces of home remind you that life is beautiful, and God is good.

For me, music is a piece of home. The house I grew up in was always full of music from every genre imaginable. One of my favorite genres is seasonal music. My mom has certain CDs that we are only allowed to listen to during certain seasons. My family follows very strict rules for when we can listen to seasonal music. If we listened to seasonal music all the time it would lose both its sense of novelty, and its sense of tradition. Before I left for college, I made sure to load up my iPod with fall music. When I sit at my desk and work through my mountain of homework, I listen to the fall music and think of home. I see my mom cooking a delicious dinner while my siblings and I sprawl all over the house with our homework after a long day of school. Once my dad comes home from work, the whole family gets to be together in the glorious fall evening. I may be almost 400 miles from home, but whenever I hear Woods by George Winston, I am instantly transported to my childhood home. Music is a piece of home that lives within me.

When life hands you a season of change, what are your pieces of home?

My Home

Dear Kaleo Family,

Thank you for everything! You have blessed me with a community beyond my wildest dreams! You have shown me the ins and outs of foster care. You have helped me wrestle with, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” You have prayed for me. You have called me out when I was in the wrong. And, you have taught me how to love with complete abandon.

From the always memorable Kaleo Kamps

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to the wisdom-filled women’s retreats.

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From a hilarious wedding flash mob

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to a beautiful new building.

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From countless Sunday gatherings to family dinners, birthday parties to meaningful conversations, group runs to kids galore (75+ with more on the way!) you sure know how to enjoy God’s big, beautiful world!

I will miss every single one of you more than words can express! I know, however, that no matter where God sends me, Kaleo will always be my home. Keep in touch, and I’ll see you in November!

Love,

College Girl Kelly