Thursday, September 29, 2011

Meet the Staff

So this week has been the first week of actual on-campus work, which has been so exciting and definitely busy! Being so brand new at this, I'm trying to slowly tip-toe my way through the ins and outs of campus and students and new places and new people - and it's funny because tip-toeing is hard to do when you're running at 90 miles an hour. It's been absolutely nuts since we started out of the gate Monday morning, so there's a lot of learning on my feet and kind of just figuring things out as I go - especially since Ryan, my campus minister, is the only other staff person here at the UW RUF and therefore the only person to watch-and-learn from!

Ryan is a graduate of New Mexico State University and an alumni of the RUF there. His campus minister at NMSU is a pastor named Mike Biggs, who just so happens to be the senior pastor at the church I went to in college in Norman, OK. Small world, check. He and his wife Amy met in elementary school and got married after graduating from NMSU. They have been in Seattle for five years, have a 2 1/2 year old daughter named Ava and a second baby girl due in 5 weeks! Super cute kids, check. Ryan is a competitive cyclist and just went to the something National Cycling Championships something in Oregon last weekend and got 8th in his age range. I don't even know, wow, etc, yeah I think he's really good or something. Here's a picture of Ryan and his family - Amy his wife and Ava his daughter.
Getting to know Ryan has been a cool process and so far we've been working together well and getting along and learning about each other which all seem to be good and positive things. As with all campus ministers I have met in RUF, his love for the Lord and the Gospel and his family and students are super obvious which is a constant encouragement, and he and his wife Amy have already been doing an incredible job of loving and encouraging me. I'm really thankful to be serving at the UW with Ryan and to be able to learn from him and from his knowledge of the students, the campus, the city, and the Gospel. Here's a picture of Ryan and I from our first day on campus (yes, it rained absolutely all day long) with "Dubs," the UW Husky mascot! Dubs was having trouble sitting still, I guess he's shy or something. Look at me looking so convincingly like I like dogs!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Furniture Treasure Hunt & Settling In

I've officially been in Seattle for one week, but I can tell you it feels longer already! My hats go off to all of the interns who moved to campus on the eve of their first large group and the start of classes because I have absolutely no idea how I would have managed to get settled if I had not had this week to do. But now, here we are! And I finally feel like I have a slice of stability in my life to last until the quarter calms down - but it came at a price (the price being not a little bit but a lot of stress).

As an intern, you might think that I would be able to live lavishly and be surrounded by every imaginable comfort to aid me in transitioning from one stage of life to the next. RUF does do a great job of taking care of us, but our personal budgets are considered "basic subsistence," which means I live on a pretty inflexible budget. I am trying to learn to manage my finances better for this reason (I spent this morning clipping coupons & reading DIY blogs), which is definitely going to be an awesome thing to learn during this internship, but on a practical level it meant that my budget for acquiring furniture for myself and for my house was going to be a challenging endeavor when there's just not enough cash to go around.

I've experimented with craigslist in the past, even sold a few things on that forum myself, and it is a website that my mother, in particular, has come to swear by and has had great success with. I decided to take a look around to see what I could find.

Luckily for me, my friend and former roommate, Cilla, had provided me with a bed prior to my arrival. So, bed - check. Also, I had been determined to include my two end tables among the small amount of my valuables and essentials that I drove across the country - so nightstand for my room and an end table for the living room - check. At this point, my checklist looked something like this:
I started to look on Craigslist for three major pieces of furniture - a dresser, a desk, and a bookshelf. Of the things I had felt to be of most importance in my life, my clothes and my books were the main things to make the cut and therefore to make the drive from Tulsa. Since I had moved out of my house in Norman on May 14th, I had not had a permanent residence since then and so at this point I had been living out of a suitcase and boxes for four months. To say that I was anxious to get a dresser into my life as soon as possible so that I could unpack my bags would be an enormous understatement.

After about 48 hours and 25 emails to sellers, I was able to land the following gems:
Bookshelf 2
Chair 2
Chair 3
Sleeper Sofa
For a grand total of $100.

To say I was proud of myself, nay, that I was proud to make my mother proud would be insufficient to describe the pure relief that I felt to be able to begin&continue the settling process in my new home.

After renting a UHaul (Nightmare!) and having some helpers assist in the move-in process, we got the bedroom furniture settled upstairs and the sleeper-sofa downstairs to the basement where it will serve as the guest bedroom (for all the Oklahoma visitors I expect will drop by!)
This sleeper sofa was free, by the way.

I also got two chairs like this one for $5 a piece.

The first project was to paint the dresser, desk, bookshelf, and chair. With help and advice from both Mark and Cilla, we eventually decided to try to tie in the furniture with the bedspread. want also to point out how well the bedspread matches the walls of my room - and how the walls were painted that color when I moved in and I've had my bedspread since freshman year of college. It's the little things.
The color of the chair was inspired by the lamp, and was meant to be a sort of extra pop of bright color.

Here are the results of my treasure hunt, and I must say I like the finished product very much (something for the wall above my bed will come in time).
The dresser and bookshelf ended up a light but bright shade of yellow-green called "granny smith," which was very close to the greens of my bedspread.
The bookshelf sits next to the desk and the nightstand.
Under the window is where I decided to put the desk and chair, and on the opposite wall to put bookshelf 2 and the mirror. The desk was an unstained wood and we gave it a coat of a light caramel-brown with the salmon chair for accent.
I've got a beautiful view out of my window from my desk!
This $5 chair was an unstained wood with white seat that I decided needed to live a more exciting life! So now it's pink/orange.
I absolutely loved this antique mirror that I found on craigslist and knew I needed something special for the blue of the walls in my room - I've always had white walls, so working backwards was a first for me!
This bookshelf was left in our house from the previous tenants and no one else wanted it so I found a perfect spot for it and paired it with the mirror!
The corner at the foot of my bed holds some very treasured things - a shadow box of memories from OU, a poster from The Katie Tracy Band's glory days, a wall hanging from my trip with RUF to Peru, and the magic-maker - Mr. Guitar.
This painting was one that I got while still in Norman from Guestroom Records on Main Street with a Groupon that I had and I love the color it brings to that wall.
So glad for the ways the Lord has blessed me this first week already, and I'm SO glad to be feeling settled in my new home!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amateur Seattleite: On Location

It's unbelievable but after 2.5 days/32 road hours/2093 miles/7 states I AM IN THE RAINY CITY! AND it ISN'T raining! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me both financially and through prayer because this adventure is finally underway! I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Mom and I left Tulsa on Thursday night and spent the night in Hays, KS before moving on to grace the interstates of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington before arriving in Seattle on Saturday night! Along the way, we were able to have lunch with my dear friend Sam just outside of Denver, which was such a pleasant treat (at this insanely awesome French crepe restaurant)! We also were blessed to be able to stay Friday night with my friend Josh (both of these friends are OU grads/RUF Alum!) at his apartment in Salt Lake City where he was so gracious to host us for the night! It was a long trip and exhausting, but we were so ready to get here and thankful to have a pretty uneventful trip up (in the best way possible!) Mom and I entertained ourselves by 1) listening to sweet music by Stephen Gordon (thanks, Bentern), Indelible Grace, Sigur Ros, Les Miserables, and some other favorite bands from the itunes library, 2) read aloud from "Freakanomics" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," 3) watched/listened to the movies "Oklahoma!" and "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Notting Hill." We stopped when we needed to but made excellent time and enjoyed our time with one another as well!

A family from Greenlake PCA here in Seattle hosted mom and I while she was in town since I'm not exactly settled yet (!) which we were so thankful for! On Sunday morning, we went to church at Greenlake PCA which is where my campus minister, Ryan Hughs, and his family attend church and several RUF students go as well. My friend Mark leads the music there as well, so it was a treat to see him that first morning. As the senior pastor got up to begin to speak my mother unexpectedly said to me, "That's Mike Kelly!" I was confused as to how she would know this and looked at her quizzically - she explained that she and my dad had been at seminary at the same time as Mike in St. Louis at Covenant over 20 years ago! It's been incredible and eery to see the connections that continue to appear between my life and the people here in Seattle, and this was just one more link! We talked with Mike after church and the service was very encouraging and I'm excited to get involved in the community here! I will probably visit a few other churches in town before I decide, but Greenlake would certainly be a wonderful and healthy place to be.

Mom had never been to Seattle, so in the afternoon we did a bit of sightseeing around the city! We came and saw the house I will be living at (!) and then saw the sights around town: Gasworks park, the view from Kerry Park, the Fremont Troll, saw my roommate from last summer (Cilla!) and Eli, then went downtown to Pike Place market and took the ferry across to Bainbridge island to see the city at sunset from the ferry, before ending our evening with Compline at St. Mark's cathedral on Capitol Hill. Mom got to see a lot of the city and we had a beautiful day to enjoy it!

Today mom and I got to go down to the U District and see the campus and Mom was able to meet the staff from SYM that I worked with last summer! (For all of last summer's musings, feel free to visit: This afternoon I took mama to the airport after we had some awesome Thai food for lunch, and took my first official step into adulthood: I am now a college graduate who has moved away from home, and my mother is no longer with me. Although she did buy me six sweaters today, so maybe I'm not such a grown-up after all.