Six places in my life that have had some influence on me as an individual:
a. Grammie’s house. Grammie (and at one time Grampy) lived in a house right up the street from where I grew up. Grammie still lives there – my dad and brother live there now as well. I have many fond memories of the house and the backyard. We used to hold our Fourth of July Birthday/Anniversary party, Christmas Eve, Easter, etc up there.
b. Houghton, NY, or more specifically Houghton College. I spent four years of my life here, learning and exploring life, love, spiritual relationship. After four years, I have come away with two of my closest girlfriends and a few others whom I know I can count on.
c. Iringa Tanzania. I spent a semester living outside of the town of Iringa in the heart of Tanzania during my sophomore year. It may be hard for some to imagine, but this semester was probably the hardest relationship-wise in my life. I remember being in some challenging places with the students on the trip, the Tanzanians (think: homestay/language barrier) and being away from family. I learned I could be happy living out of a suitcase in a tent with a sleeping bag and an outhouse and limited electricity/running water for three months and hey, maybe even more.
d. Fes, Morocco. I went on a student travel tour of the country over the course of three weeks, learning about economy, travel & tourism and language. We spent most of our time in Fes, doing observations within the medina with shopkeepers, meeting with language teachers etc. But my best memory of the trip was our camel ride into the Sahara Desert. A group of us woke up in the early morning to hike up the nearest dune. We watched the sunrise and sang before tumbling down the sand.
e. The base of Mt. Elbert within the Colorado Rockies. This is the place of the pivotal moment in my faith. I was in such physical, emotional, spiritual pain as everything I had been hiding under the surface came to a head and exploded in my face. It is pretty amazing what happens in exhaustion. You can read about it – actually, I don’t think I’ve ever written about it. Well, you can ask me about it sometime.
f. Litchfield Connecticut. I lived with my grandparents for a year while I went to school in New Haven. I really enjoyed living with them and cherish the memories made. Growing up I never really got to see them so when I asked if I could live with them, I know they were thrilled. I am so glad I was able to do that because now I live four time zones behind and 3,000 miles away.