Deciding Where to Stay based on Price

We went to Disney World on our honeymoon. It truly was magical. We decided we wanted to go back on our five-year wedding anniversary.

Five years and three kids later, we went to Disney World. Yes, we were a little crazy, but we were so excited to take the kids! We knew it would be a completely different experience, AND IT WAS! We had a blast, but in a whole new way. Somehow taking children made it a different kind of magical. We definitely want to go back.

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I Value My Relationships

I showed up to a birthday party at a friend’s home. The invitation said the party would start at 3:00pm, and we figured the party would last about two hours. We get there at 3:00 with a cute present wrapped and my child excited and ready to play. We walk in and are greeted by the mom, and she tells us where to put the present and where to go to play. I ask if there is anything I can help with. The home is decorated, and snacks are put out. Read more

The Future is Bright

Americans love looking forward into the future. Things get better from here, and there is always room for improvement. In the future, we can build and grow, and those are very good things.

As we continue looking at aspects of American culture, it will actually get harder to understand just how we are different because these concepts are so ingrained into our worldview. Not only may they be hard to understand, but to think that other cultures do not think the way we do may even make us think they are wrong. I hope to challenge that gut reaction and take a look at the beauty in the differences. Read more

The Family Adventure Awaits…

The flight was so long! I had never been on a flight longer than a couple of hours before. The take-off and landing were exciting, otherwise it felt like a bumpy car ride with about one hundred strangers and a handful of people I knew. I picked up my luggage, and the anticipation was too much to bear! I just flew over the Atlantic Ocean and was in a land far removed from my own. Read more

Confusion from the Unexpected

He sat there, looking at me. A man. His hand was outstretched toward me…longing. His clothes were tattered, frayed beyond the worst piece of used clothing I own. He was dirty and, though the area smelled of body odor from being in the big city, I imagined he smelled from lack of personal hygiene as well. I could tell he was blind in at least one eye, but his face was a bit mangled so it could have been worse than I knew.

I did not know his story. I did not know the struggles he went through. I did not know if he had any support at all. I did not know how hungry he was, and I honestly did not know how to respond. Read more

Expect the Difficult

The leaders announced it was time to call parents. Everyone traveling with me pulled out their phone cards. (In 2003, cellphones for children were unheard of, and roaming charges were crazy expensive!)

I vividly remember walking past the phone and the line of children leading up to the phone. My parents could not afford a decent phone card, so mine was to be used only in case of emergency. As I walked past the line—knowing I was not going to talk to my parents for three weeks and it really was not that big of a deal to me—I recall children crying because of how homesick they were.

Going to the United Kingdom as a teenager without your parents and without being able to contact them is quite an ordeal. But I think I was just born to travel, and it did not phase me too much. However, every child is different! Even as a teenager I knew not to judge the kids who were homesick and missing their parents. Now, having children, I know even better how different children respond to different situations. Read more

A New Normal

I woke up in a new and unusual place. The family I was staying with was very different from my own. I was surprised by how quiet it was. We had been in the United Kingdom for just under two weeks, and all we had been exposed to was cities. Cities busier and more bustling than I had ever seen coming from Alabama. Yet, here I was staying in the home of a wonderful family who lived “in the countryside.” They had opened their home to me and another student on this trip, and we were soaking up every minute of it! Read more

Close to Home

 We opened the book. The children had picked it out at the library, probably because of the vibrant colors and pictures on the front cover. They had come running up with it in the air saying, “Read it, please!” I conceded and sat on the floor. The book was shoved into my face, and the children huddled around me like they were looking at a precious gem! I opened to the first page, and their imaginations went wild. They were transported to another part of the world, in another time, and surrounded by different people. My heart was full as I reveled in their wonder and the way they clung to this new experience. Read more