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Arizona

since i’m taking a gap year, my dad expressed his desire to go hiking somewhere, so we were planning on going to seattle mid august but we pushed it back because he was scared i wouldn’t have enough time to study for my gre. so we decided to go to arizona right after i turned in my apps instead.

i don’t usually do this (blog about my travels), but i figured it’d be nice to document my experiences and the things i’ve seen for personal reflection or to use in future adventures or something haha. so here goes.


DAY 1 – 10/2/17
my mom dropped us off in the morning, and i slept the entire plane ride there because i knew we had a long day ahead of us so i wanted to be well rested. arizona was 2 hours behind so there wasn’t too much jetlag but my stomach definitely wasn’t use to the time difference 😛

we got our rental car from advantage but found out our tire pressure was low so we got another car which took around 30 minutes. we drove out of phoenix to grand canyon which took around 4 hours. it was long but my dad and i were just chatting away with my music playing at a low hum.

we get to grand canyon and it. is. cold. the temperature dropped from 90 degrees to 60 something really fast and oops me i only brought tshirts and shorts for this trip. the forecast said it’d be around 70 degrees so i thought i’d be fine but i thought wrong ><

we walked around the rim and drove to different view points to try to see different sides of the canyon and lucky us, the sun was setting so we got to see the sunset. what was really interesting is that arizona has no clouds and the sunset had blue, purple, pink, and yellow in it! it was beyond beautiful. i tried to take lots of pictures of the canyon and the sunset but my pictures don’t suffice and can’t capture the vastness and the color of them both. so sad.

it got dark real fast so we checked into our hotel which was inside the canyon thank goodness and we ate dinner there too. there was this huge line so we decided to get the pasta buffet – the food wasn’t too shabby! it was nice to have warm food after being blown by cold wind haha. we headed to our hotel room afterwards, showered, and slept. there wasn’t much service or any service at all. what was cool about the hotel was that it was pet friendly and the shower had a 5 minute hourglass to challenge customers to take 5 minute or less showers to save water. it was super cold and there weren’t extra blankets, so i covered myself with pillows instead looool.

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DAY 2 – 10/3/17
we woke up early to trek Bright Angel Trail. it’s a trail that goes all the way down to the colorado river and apparently it took double the time to go uphill than going downhill. it’s also advised not to make the trip to the very bottom and back up to the top in one day – there were signs warning people about it because you could get really sick 😮

my dad and decided to only do 2 miles. it was still kinda chilly but the sun was out so it wasn’t as bad as the day before. he gave me his shorts to wear so at least i’d be covered. i wasn’t super warm but it was some sort of layer over my skin 😛

going down was really easy but my knees were definitely shaking whenever we took breaks. i surprisingly also had really good signal (both service and data) in the canyon lool. i tried to video call jeremy a couple of times to show his the canyon but he wasn’t available sad. we hit our mark and decided to head back up. it. was. tough. haha it did take us double our time and we had to take breaks every 10 minutes. it was getting harder to breathe because we were going up in elevation (we went down 1200 feet) and the air was cold. i found myself breathing through my mouth but realized shortly after that that might not be such a good idea. i’m really glad my dad thought of and bought hiking sticks because i think the hike up would’ve been a lot more difficult otherwise. whenever we took a break my heart was pounding and good thing we had snacks and water to hydrate and re-energize us.

we finally made it out of the canyon and decided to visit other viewpoints before heading to our next destination. we rode the shuttle up to hermit’s rest and then drove to the geology museum. there were surprisingly a lot of people at grand canyon and we were in shock of how crazy packed it would be over the summer. it was pretty interesting to read through how the canyon was formed and kind of crazy how big and deep it was O_O we pretty much saw all of the canyon from its varying angles and even in the canyon, so we decided to head out so we could see horseshoe bend before it got dark.

we drove to page, which was about a 2 hour drive, and i slept most of the time there heh. we finally get to horseshoe bend and the sun was about to set. i hurried my way on the trail and holy crap there were sooo many people there. i tried to squeeze my way in between people to snap a good pic but honestly, i was so scared someone was going to get accidentally pushed over the edge – that’s how crowded it was. i eventually made my way over to one side where all these photographers had their fancy cameras set up and i was like !! this is the spot. they know what’s up. and wah-lah! i was right. i got a really good picture of horseshoe bend.

afterwards, we made our way to our hotel. found an italian restaurant to eat at and this was where i started to feel a little sick. my throat was scratchy and i was like hmmmm if i don’t wear more clothes these next couple of days – i’m definitely going to get sick. luckily there was a wal-mart nearby so we bought clothes after dinner and went back to the hotel. the food was pretty good at the italian restaurant (bonkers) and service was quick. i ended up buying these joggers and a purple sweatshirt – things i would wear even back at home which is good haha. got back and video chatted jeremy super quick while my dad was in the bathroom and showered and slept pretty early because we had an early morning the next day.

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DAY 3 – 10/4/17
we woke up super early to catch a boat tour at wahweap. my throat was super sore and it hurt to swallow – i caught a cold rip me i was right. i didn’t eat much because i didn’t want to get sea sick but the boat was actually more stable than i thought it was going to be. there were benches lined up for us to sit on so you couldn’t really feel the boat move all that much. we rode through lake powell to rainbow bridge which took us an hour and a half. there was a audio guide which made time pass by more quickly.

we finally got to rainbow bridge and we trekked a mile or so before reaching it. crazy that it was naturally formed by water and the statue of liberty can fit underneath it – that’s how tall it was! spent an hour and a half there before heading back to the boat and slept all the way back because the hike was tiring but also i was feeling especially tired cuz i was sick. didn’t want to get more sick so i bound my head with my hood and hat lol.

afterwards we grabbed lunch at mcdonald’s and headed over to antelope canyon. apparently you can’t bring purses or anything – only your camera and water. we met at the parking lot and then the tour guides drove us to the entrance of antelope canyon. we drove over (maybe a 5/10 min drive) and it was a lot smaller than i thought 😮 there were a lot of people inside so we had to squeeze past people while walking through it. we went around 4pm and it was really dark inside so not the optimal time to go. but all those pretty pictures on google are from the photography tour where pros go in when there’s no one inside and they can take all these fancy pictures :O we did manage to snag a few good ones but definitely wouldn’t have seen certain things without our tour guide. there are flash floods that happen and when they do, they close all their tours. one tour guide brought his group anyway even though they were closed and they died o-o the tour guide lived…

anyway! (didn’t know how else to transition out of that lol) we drove to flagstaff to spend the night and ate at some italian restaurant which was also pretty good. then we went to the hotel, and i got to talk to jeremy for a bit before taking a shower and heading to sleep.

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DAY 4 – 10/5/17

we got to sleep in a bit and then we passed by sedona. it was a pretty scenic view for that hour drive. we stopped by the chapel of holy cross. i really wasn’t feeling up to walk or do anything and i knew we didn’t have that much time. i had a nose bleed in the morning (too dry merp) and i had a dry cough. i felt pretty lethargic and had muscle pain here and there – i just felt sick for lack of better words lol. my nose wasn’t stuffy though! but merp cough.

we then drove to phoenix, returned the car, and my dad was telling me to rent cars from big companies because little ones had hidden fees and try to trick you in paying more 😮 we boarded, i read orphan train (pretty good book!), and we landed.

got back home, ate dinner, uploaded my pics, took a shower, video chatted jeremy, and went to sleep (:

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it was definitely a tiring trip and i think especially so because my body was working hard to fight off the bad sickness stuff and to keep warm. but it was really nice to spend some quality time with my dad as he shared about his childhood, his family growing up, and just talking about other random things here and there. it was a good trip! i got to see a lot for my first time there, but it’s definitely good to be back home.

Arizona

082717; Sunday

Because of Hurricane Harvey, I wasn’t planning on going to service today because I wasn’t sure how the roads would be, and I didn’t want to drive in potentially flooding roads. Turns out, FBCC was going to live stream service, so I decided to do that instead. Unfortunately, when I went to the website, it said that service was cancelled altogether, so I decided to just have a really long devotional and these were some of the verses that I read this morning (:

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:11-12

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and  God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 16-17

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3, 5

082717; Sunday

Faithful Discovery

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I feel like a broken record when I say this, but here it is again.

This transition has been nothing less than difficult. With transitions comes inevitable change – friendships, environment, and seasons of life (long-distance and applying for grad school). Though I knew this year was going to be hard for me in many ways, I knew it was also going to be a good one too. I knew that God was going to challenge me, grow me, and strengthen me as I rediscovered what it meant to place my identity in Him instead of other things like man’s recognition, man’s praise, man’s words, titles, responsibilities, academics, image, and so much more. All those things have been so prevalent in my life from when I was a freshman in high school to a senior in college. Coming back home, all of that has been stripped away. I knew that though, but no matter how much I tried to prepare myself for it, I knew it was going to be one heck of a ride.

There was something freeing in not having anymore responsibilities and titles placed on me. It felt like a weight was lifted from my chest, but at the same time, it’s scary. For something that I once identified with and held so dear to my heart, it was hard to be stripped from all of that – like a part of me disappeared, like I didn’t really know who I was anymore. And that’s where the journey begins…where God revealed to me these newfound discoveries about myself as I was tempted and overcome by the evil one, but redeemed by His abundant grace.

For a week or so now I guess you could say I felt a lot of spiritual warfare. I recently found out that the way that satan attacks me is through my thoughts. All he has to do is place one thought in my head, and though I try to fight against him and to remind myself of God’s truths, it’s hard. I eventually let my insecurities and fears take over my thoughts, and then I would speak and act out on fear and a plethora of other emotions. What doesn’t help is that my emotions go everywhere and so whatever I say and however I say it gets twisted and muddled because I can’t even verbalize what I’m thinking nor do I know what’s going on because I can’t think straight. In those moments, I was fearful and insecure and in a weak state of mind. I got so tired of fighting that my body just kind of gave in, and as each day went by, it felt like I was getting weaker as he was getting stronger – like he was creating the illusion that God wasn’t there to help me. Kinda scary, huh?

But as I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect and process through everything, God turned and redeemed all of my brokenness and sinfulness into something beautiful. After the first incident, someone told me to spend time with God – which granted, I had already stopped because I didn’t feel like He was doing much – so I did. She told me not to just splurge out everything to Him but to ask Him to reveal my heart to me. Why was I feeling the way I was? Where was all of this coming from? What’s the root of the issue? As I prayed, worshiped, and stared at my computer for a while, I decided to blog. My mind felt clearer, my emotions subsided, and everything started to make sense.

I found myself tapping into a lot of past hurt from my experiences growing up, and it was really difficult for me to look back at something that I had pushed aside for so long. It was paining, really, to delve into it and to discover how intricately connected my past was to my present and how it was only now that I was experiencing the repercussions of those experiences. Every fight, every issue, and every conversation now had a sense of clarity. In the midst of flared emotions and raised voices it was hard to process and to take a step back to breathe and to pinpoint what exactly it was that was going on.

Though, yes, a lot of my emotions stemmed from my past experiences, I’m learning that it is still incredibly difficult to control my emotions so I don’t act too rashly on them. I’m learning that even though I said I was trying to get better at it, I still fail greatly many times after. I’m learning that satan uses our slip-ups to his advantage to twist the truth by twisting the situation and our thoughts. I’m learning that even though he does that…it’s always okay in the end. Why? Because I have seen over and over and over again God’s faithfulness and sovereignty as He sheds light into what seems to be complete darkness. And though I was tempted, though I fell short, though I succumbed to my emotions and the lies…God redeemed me. He took all of that and showed me something greater – His constant goodness and His abundant grace. Even though I know my brokenness and my sinfulness and my shortcomings and everything that makes me ugly, God sees something beautiful. He sees His child. He sees so much potential in my growth in becoming more like Him. He sees what we don’t see when we’re blinded by the truth-stained lies that satan planted in our head. He knows where we’ve gone astray and the best part of it all? He knows how to get us back and to bring beauty and light into the darkness of our lives.

Though it was tough, God revealed a lot about myself that I didn’t understand clearly before, and I feel like I can equip myself better because of it. I know now that my identity has never fully been placed in Him before, and I’m on the road to understanding what that means and what that looks like. I know now that my emotions are not reliable and are often twisted by the lies, insecurities, and fears in my head. I know now that satan loves to use disagreements, arguments, and struggles as opportunities to attack and do damage on relationships with people and with God. I know now how to fight back. Though there will be times when I feel weak, He is strong. Though there will be times where I feel lost and helpless, He is my guide and helper. Though there will be times where I feel misunderstood, He knows my heart. Though there will be times where I feel ugly, He sees me as beautiful.

It’s been a crazy 2 months, and though the aftermath of this storm is still riding out its waves, I know God will heal the wounds that I’ve inflicted on myself and on other people over time. He is our gracious redeemer who brings peace and comfort to all, and with Him, I am victorious.

Thank you, God, for revealing yourself to me and for this faithful discovery.

Faithful Discovery

Long Distance

I knew coming into this season of life would be full of transitions, hardships, and growth, but of course, you never know how difficult it really is until you get there.

Well, I’m there

and it’s just not fair, y’know? I knew long distance with my boyfriend would be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be this hard. Not having his physical person here is hard, not being able to call him up and hang with him whenever we’re free is hard, not being able to run to him through my highs and lows is hard, not being able to be there physically for each other when we’re struggling is hard, not being able to experience certain things together is hard…and the list goes on.

While I know that living independently, being apart, and experiencing life on our own is good in its own sense, it’s still hard. It’s frustrating, really. I think mostly because I see all these couples around me – finding small groups together, celebrating little things together, experiencing these changes together, and my boyfriend is…thousands of miles away. It just sucks, and I’m angry that this is how it is for now and that there’s nothing I can do about it. I guess that’s just part of the transition, huh.

Part of why long-distance has been so hard for me is because as I’m transitioning in my life stage, my relationship is undergoing its own transition, and the two are so closely intertwined. If I’m struggling with one thing in life, it’s somehow projected onto my relationship and vice versa. Even this! All of this anger and confusion was projected towards my boyfriend while we were talking, and I was snarky which led us into a heated discussion about a touchy subject (oops).

I know this is just something that will pass over time, and I have to learn to be okay but for now…

it’s not fair.

Long Distance

Birthdays

I love birthdays.

There’s something special about this one day where you can surround yourself with your friends and family. This one day where people allow you to be a little bit selfish. This one day where you can’t help but smile because your heart is happy and full.

But today was different. Maybe it’s because I’m growing up and I’m transitioning into this new life stage that it’s different – I don’t know. You see, in years’ past I always had a huge celebration – the kind of celebration that was exactly what was described above. Today…I celebrated with one of my best friends. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but it was really different from all my past birthdays. I tried so hard to convince myself today that this whole week was technically to ‘celebrate’ my birthday…my boyfriend came to town on Saturday, I’m meeting with my cousin on Thursday, and I’m going shopping this weekend. But at the end of the day, I guess today was the day that really mattered to me. It’s still my birthday, y’know? I know this may be a really trivial thing, birthdays and all, but this transition into adulthood has been really difficult for me, and no matter how many birthday wishes I received on Facebook, they’re not here, with me. Coming back home, I realize that I’m basically starting all over from scratch. Not really having any hometown friends left except a few, I have to develop new relationships, which is fine. Things are going great, don’t get me wrong! It’s just the unfortunate thing is that building a relationship with someone takes time, and it’s only been a couple of weeks. So even though I know I have people that love me, and I have friends, I still can’t help but feel this alone on my birthday. Sigh maybe this is just how it is when you get older…you still have to go to school, you still have to go to work, and you just celebrate with less people. No matter how I felt earlier today or how much I prepped myself for the emotions that were to come, at the end of the day….today was okay.

So here I am, the day is coming to an end, and though my house is filled with light, I feel dark and sad inside. And with about 30 minutes to go…

I loved birthdays.

Birthdays