Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beauty & Brawn

This past weekend was packed with activity!
On Saturday afternoon from about 1-5:30 we all primped and prepared ourselves for the evening's banquet. Yes, that's right--it took four and a half hours for all of us to get ready! We had 5 people doing hair, a couple of people painting nails...and I ironed dresses because I don't know how to either of the other two things. Then we all headed down to the school for the annual Christmas Banquet which consists of a sit-down dinner and a series of performances by the students. It was a great time!

This is the auditorium at school decorated for the dinner.

A few of the girls all ready for the banquet! (finally!)

Me, Bonnie and Jessica .

Wittlingen is another girls dorm, and for some reason there is an ongoing rivalry between our two dorms. So naturally, we let out this pent-up aggression through a flag-football game! In order to help you understand the potential complexity of this, let me set up a scene for you:
It's three days before our game and I sit down with a group of the girls in my dorm to talk about the rules of the game because they're different than regular football. Before I have a chance to begin, one of them (who shall remain nameless) pipes up and says, "So, what is the end goal of this game anyways? Flag footbal? Do we throw around flags or something?!?"
Growing up in Europe (and other places) these kids don't really know much about American football at all! So, we started from scratch with some of them and were able to have a couple of practices before our big game on Sunday afternoon. Luckily, our dorm dad, Luke, loves football and was even able to teach them a few offensive plays.

This is Luke coaching from the sidelines.

Our team has the blue flags on and Hannah is the quarterback, ready to launch a rocket!

At the beginning of the semester Maugenhard (the guys dorm upstairs) played in a rugby game against the other guys dorms, and we all dressed up in red and black and cheered for them. So our game was their chance to return the favor and cheer for us! They all dressed up and put face paint on (to match all of us) and yelled their little hearts out!

This is me and Dahee. Yes, we have red hand prints on our faces and yes, she is wearing a bumble bee suite. Dorm spirit!

Here's a shot of a play in action--Hannah (far left) is looking for someone to pass to while Kjersti (far right) runs to get open.
The game was pretty evenly matched and turned into a defensive battle. We scored during the first half and they came close a couple of times. But in the end...

WE WON!!!! The Maugenhard guys rushed the field and celebrated our victory with the girls. It was great!
I am glad that we had such a busy and eventful weekend because it's getting close to the end of the semester and everyone is weary and ready to go home for Christmas. Just three weeks left! This coming weekend will be busy again because it's our first home basketball game! It will be especially fun for me because this year I am the JV girls assistant coach! I'll be sure to take pictures and let you know how our first game goes!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Old and New Traditions

BFA is a school that changes a lot every year; but ironically, BFA is also a school with a lot of traditions that have been passed down for years. One of these traditions is the annual trip to Herbstmesse.
Essentially, Herbstmesse is a Fall carnival held in Basel, Switzerland. Every year at the end of October, we load all the dorm students (approx. 150 students) into charter buses and then turn them loose to enjoy carnival food, rides and games.

The bumper cars are always a big hit! In the middle of the picture is Rachel and Kara (in the white hat) in hot pursuit of Krista and Luke! (left corner)

Giant ferris wheel.

In the spirit of being a carnival, Herbstmesse has some weird booths and decorations! Above you see Mrs. Mais, ready to serve you a hot corn on the cob!

At this booth you can find "mega coole preise."

This is the overhead display at a food booth. It's hard to see, but Batman has a sausage for a thumb (a very effective thumbs up), and to the right of that is the hand of the Statue of Liberty holding a sausage...I don't know how to interpret that.

1st Annual 3-3 Basketball Tournament
The day after Herbstmesse (a Friday) is always a day off of school and this year there was a 3-on-3 basketball tournament! There was a pretty good turn out, 9 teams, comprised of students and staff. I hope this becomes a new tradition because it was really fun! My team, the Jetz, played hard for 2 games but then, sadly, we had to sit the was double elimination.

This is me trying to find an open teammate.

Here I am again, squaring up for a 3-pointer to tie the game...ha ha ha, yeah right!

This is a picture of Rachel just after shooting the ball.

This is Joy, sitting poised and ready to sub-in.

I am proud to say that the star of the winning team was Jessica! (pictured above) Her team was the only undefeated team and she averaged about 12 points per game. She scored over 20 against my team...but I let her because a good RA doesn't make her students look bad on the court, right?!?!?
Palmgarten/Maugenhard Open House
Everyone in the community has been asking for tours of the new building (with Maugenhard dorm being added on top) and so we decided to have a joint open house. The seniors of both dorms came up with the theme and planned the snack menu; all we did was buy and help prepare the food! It was great! Throughout the evening all of the BFA community traipsed through our two dorms and made themselves at home.

The theme was evolution of music and each floor of the building represented a genre of music. The basement floor was Classical, the first floor was Jazz, the third floor was Rock and the fourth floor was Electronica. The cool sign pictured above was made by Anna.

These are the dorm parents of Maugenhard with their two daughters. They were dressed up as Rock and Electronica.

These are the dorm parents of Palmgarten! They dressed up as Sonny and Cher.

Rachel, Jessica, Bonnie and Steph sporting their creative costumes.

Here are some Palmgarten girls dressed up as flappers--I'm still not really sure where they got the fake guns from...I should probably check on that, I think it's against the rules.

Here's me, Sanna and Krista. We had so much fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Starbucks trip & Shopping trip

I was a witness to someone's first Starbucks experience. Yes, it's true. Until two weeks ago, Eunji had never consumed a hot, overpriced but delicious beverage from the coffee chain we all love to hate. So in order to remedy this, we took a trip to the nearest Starbucks, just 25 minutes away in Basel, Switzerland.

Eunji, me and Krystal.

Although the visit ended with a stomache ache induced by her first starbucks beverage...the trip was an overall success.


Grocery shopping is a bit different here in Germany. It's not common at all to have a one-stop-shop Super Wal-Mart, so we typically go to three, sometimes four, stores in one day to get everything we need for the dorm. I am lucky because my dorm is located in Kandern where the three major grocery stores are, whereas other dorms have to drive up to 20 minutes to the nearest store! On Monday's the dorm parents go shopping to stock up on food to last until thursday. And then on thursday the RA's buy everything we need to last through the weekend until Monday. So this past thursday I took a few pictures of our weekly shopping trip.

We stop at Lidl first and we easily fill two grocery carts. All the dorms have a running milk order with Lidl, meaning that we tell them how much milk we're going to buy from them each week and they will stock their store for that amount in addition to what they order per week for the rest of the town (Kandern). If we didn't do this, then all the dorms would buy all of their milk and Lidl (and Kandern)would not be happy with us! My dorm orders 20-30 liters of milk per week, but the guys' dorms order at least 50-60 liters!!! That's a lot of milk!

This is our van, stacked full of empty crates. By then end of the morning, these crates will all be full and overflowing into the back seats of the van.

This is Hieber's. Hieber's is a bit more expensive and nicer than the other grocery stores. They carry specialty items like Oreo's and Ritz crackers! The other day I saw a box of "American style" cereal that was priced at 5 euros...that's like $8! So we only buy a few things here every week.

Penny Markt is probably the cheapest grocery store in town and it is our final stop.

Sometimes it's hard to control the grocery carts!

Once we get back to the dorm, its takes a while to unload everything and organize it inside. We have one large walk-in refridgerator, as well as a walk-in freezer and large pantry. This picture is of me in the refridgerator.

It always amazes me that in just a few days, all of this food "magically" disappears!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Everybody's workin' for the weekend...

Usually the weekend is a time to catch up on sleep and spend time with friends. Well, weekends for an RA run a bit differently than the average person. On a normal weekday, our time off is in the afternoon when the girls are at school. But on the weekend, they are at home and so the down time is minimal. Some weekends are filled with constant activity, and others may not be; but regardless of this, in the past year weekends for me have shifted from being a time of rest to the most tiring time of the week.
We always have a brunch on Saturday morning, and after this I supervise the girls as they do their various chores around the dorm and clean their room for our weekly room inspections. The rest of the day is usually free time for them, so sometimes we take the girls shopping in a nearby town, or we just hang around the dorm.
This weekend started off a little bit crazy because on Friday afternoon I got a call from the school saying that I needed to come pick up Hannah from volleyball practice and take her to the hospital! Everything turned out alright and she only ended up with a temporary cast on her hand. She was in a lot of pain as we were driving there and she was explaining her fear of hospials and needles. I knew that she would need some sort of motivation to make it and right then we passed the golden arhces of...McDonald's!!! So I said, "How about we stop at McDonald's on the way home?" That was just the ticket--her face brightened and anytime she was in pain or scared after that we just chanted "McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds."
I've found that I am doing much less "entertaining" on the weekends this year because of the guys dorm being upstairs. Now they just all entertain themselves and it's easy for them because in our backyard we have a sand volleyball court! This past weekend we had a mini volleyball tournament--it was a lot of fun!

We had about 20 guys and girls come out and play (all from Palmgarten & Maugenhard).
This is me with my team--I think our team name was Nacho Cheese...I still don't really know why.

This is a picture of me hitting the ball right into the net--I was kind of the weakest link.

This is Andrew, Hadad, and Kjersti taking a break between games.

Me and Krista took charge of the music for a while: we changed it from annoying rap music to "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood...we weren't allowed to be the DJ's anymore after that.

We didn't have an official winner of the tournament, but it was fun to all play and laugh together. One other thing happened this weekend and although it was a small instance, it is just so typical of the many random situations that I find myself in:
On Saturday, Julia came and asked for some super glue to fix the sole of her shoe. A little while later I was in my room and there was a frantic knock on my door and I heard someone say "Lizzzzzzy!!!!!!" I opened my door and this is what I saw:
This is Julia...
She glued her fingers together.

With some hot water and a little bit of time she was just fine; but I must confess that when I opened my door and saw her, I just turned around and laughed! ...And then I took her picture!! Oh, the joys of dorm life!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

the beginning of year #2

These first few weeks have been an interesting mixture of rest time, fun time, and work time. I arrived back in Germany on July 31, had a day of rest and then new staff orientation started, which I am a part of because returning RA's help train the new RA's. Incorporated into these 2 weeks of orientation are countless meetings with all the the Residence Life staff to discuss topics like dorm issues and the upcoming year in general. Then this past week has been a time of preparation for our dorm, and we have had a lot of work to do!

As most of you know, there has been major construction going on for the past year with the end goal being: add a 4th floor to our [previously] 3 floor building so that one of the guys dorms can move in. Well, the construction was completed yesterday (yes, yesterday) and now my dorm (Palmgarten) occupies the basement floor and the first floor, while Maugenhard guys dorm will occupy the third and fourth floors. Here are a couple of pictures:

There was a lot of clean up work to do in our part of the building, as well as shuffling a lot of furniture between the floors. But the most exciting (and time consuming) project that we had was a new TV room for the girls! Last year, our TV room was on the third floor and had a beautiful view of the rolling hills outside; there was a foozball table and a ping pong table, as well as extra space to just lounge around.
Weeeell, that is now Maugenhard's TV room, and our new alloted space for a TV room was an old, dark and dingy storage room on the basement level of the building. eeek. The carpet was all stained, there's no daylight that comes in and it was a serious step down from what we all enjoyed last year.
So, myself, Bonnie (fellow RA) and Luke and Stephanie (new dorm parents) tackledthe project that would have made Ty Penington with Extreme Home Makeover proud! Here are a couple of pictures:

This was a project that we considered to be a priority because there is a lot of change going on this year in our dorm: moving floors, new dorm parents, and guys living upstairs! We wanted to create a comfortable, fun room that the girls could enjoy, and I think we did it!
  • The new students arrive on Sunday; we will have 2 new girls: Eunji, a freshman and Krystal, a sophomore.

  • We will have 19 total girls in the dorm this year; this is 7 fewer than last year, which I am excited about because the group dynamics are a little bit more manageable.

  • On Monday the returning students arrive and classes start on Tuesday!

  • I can't wait to see all the girls--I have high expectations for this year and can't wait to see all the girls I missed so much this summer!

Here are some specific things you can be praying about:

  1. changes in the dorm--needless to say, having a guys dorm move into our building will completely change the pace of life that we're so used to here at Palmgarten. Each dorm will run separately, but I know that there will be issues to address along the way concerning students and staff. Please pray that we, as dorm staff, will have the wisdom to deal with each new challenge and be a positive example for the students.

  2. new dorm parents--Palmgarten has new dorm parents this year, Luke & Stephanie Welbourn. They are a fantastic couple who bring a lot of energy and fresh perspective and I am thrilled to be working with them this year. It was sad for us all to say goodbye to Les & Elva Porter who were the dorm parents for the past 4 years, so please pray for a smooth transition. Here is our picture: (me, Luke, Stephanie, Bonnie)

  3. staff shortage--overall, there are some gaps in the staff of BFA this year, particularly in the Residence Life department. Typically each dorm (7 all together) has up to 4 RA's; but this year only one dorm has 3 RA's, the rest only have two...We are trusting that God will provide us with the strength and wisdom we need to run the boarding program with so few people, and also that He would provide new faces to help fill in the gaps. (staffing opportunities can be found at :))

Thank you all so much for keeping up with all that is happening here. It was wonderful to see so many of you while I was home this summer and I hope to be able to keep in touch throughout this school year!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well, we all hit the ground running after spring break and it seems like none of us will get a break until school is out! As I type this, the varsity soccer teams and the track teams are away at their national tournaments. The girls soccer team has a great chance to win, they were ranked as #1 going into the tournament! Tomorrow is the final day of play and so we all have our fingers crossed! :)
Sadly, I was not able to make it to a track meet this season, but here are some pictures of Kjersti and Katelyn, 2 of our track stars!


This is Kjersti running the anchor for one of the relay races. Kjersti is only a sophomore, but is one of the best runners on the team.

This is Katelyn--she is a senior this year and has been granted a track/field scholarship to a college in North Dakota. We compared her long jump scores to the high school scores in the state of Minnesota (where she is originally from) and her score places her in the top ten in the state!


This is Jessica C.--she just headed the ball, but I couldn't snap the picture in time! This is her first year playing soccer at BFA--she has really proven herself as a player and has loved being a part of the team.

Joy (in the blue) is a junior in our dorm and this is her second year playing junior varsity. Their last game was this past weekend and they scrimmaged some of the staff and alumni.

If you look closely at this picture, you'll see a girl with red hair to the left of the goal post--that's Jessica K. and she just scored a goal! She scored 3 goals in the game this past weekend!

Oh Krista...this is Krista--this is her first year at BFA and she was one of the junior varsity captains. Unfortunately, she severly sprained her ankle a few weeks ago and had to sit out the remainder of the season. But as you can tell, she is pretty stubborn and just couldn't sit on the bench anymore! :)

BFA's Got Talent
In April we had the first ever talent show at BFA, appropriately named "BFA's Got Talent." There were about 20 performances showcasing a variety of different talents: singing, dancing, acting and even karate and nun chucks skills!

This is Charity, a senior from my dorm, and her boyfriend Brandon performing a fun song from the movie High School Musical.

This is a group of girls from my dorm dancing to a song--they practiced A LOT and for many nights after this I woke up in the middle of the night with this song in my head! (...but of course I can't remember now what it was! :))

All the RA's (all 22 of us) pulled together a last minute performance of "the evolution of dance." This "routine" was made popular on youtube by a comedian and so we tweaked some of the songs and made it our own. It was so fun! Basically, it's a montage of songs beginning with Elvis all the way to present day and so we got to do tons of fun dance moves like the twist, MC Hammer moves, the macarena, etc. There's a video on my facebook page of the performance if you want to watch it.

Here we are doing Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Im the one in the front row, second from the right.

"We're All in this Together" from High School Musical.

Junior/Senior Banquet
Every year the Junior class organizes a nice dinner for the senior class as a sort of farewell. The dinner was held at a nice restaurant/banquet hall in a town nearby and everyone came all gussied up.

This is Ellie, me and Bonnie--Palmgarten RA's.

Anna and me.

This is Lizzy H., Ellie and me...a Lizzy sandwich...

These are the Juniors from this year, only 2 weeks away from being seniors! They're very excited.

This is a group shot of our juniors and seniors--we had a great time!

All the girls are beginning to pack up their rooms and the seniors are preparing to leave BFA for the final time. Most of them have been here for at least 2 years, and so you can imagine how difficult it can be to say good bye to friends you've lived with and gotten to know on such a personal level; not knowing if you will ever see them again, but knowing that things will never be the same again. Please pray that the students will have healthy closure to their time here.

But, the good news is that I will be coming home soon! I leave here on June 19th and will arrive in Georgia on June 20th. It has been almost a year since I've been home, so I am beginning to get antsy! I look forward to hearing English spoken as the dominant language, seeing all of you, and eating Chick-fil-A!