AJ Bares All

If I was going to most accurately name this post I would probably call it: WTF Just Happened: The Blog Post I’ve Avoided for a Year. But I thought that might be a little offensive, so we’ll just include the title here.

At the beginning of my junior year of college I hated men, feared the world, and felt more alone than I have in my entire life. Continue reading “AJ Bares All”

Spring Break in Tijuana: Three Lessons I Learned

Two weeks ago I was in Tijuana serving alongside nineteen other twenty-something-year-olds. And to be honest, it wrecked me.

Back in the Fall I was asked by my church to accompany our Spring Break missions team to Tijuana as the videographer. I’m lucky to have a few friends on staff who know my heart for Latin America and were pushing for me to go on this trip specifically, but because I was going to do a “job” (or at least in my head that’s what I thought), I didn’t think much about it until we arrived.

We stayed in Mexico for five days (a nice balance since it was a total of five days driving across the country there and back) to serve the team at Centro Shalom. I knew no one on my team — with the exception of acquaintances I had formed through mutual friends — and to be honest, my heart was postured pretty poorly going in. I believed that my week would be spent in the background glorifying a mission without playing a real role in the work itself. I was wrong.

Here are things that I am reflecting on after spending a week on mission in Tijuana. Continue reading “Spring Break in Tijuana: Three Lessons I Learned”

Why I’m Wearing a Dress Every Day of December

If you’re living in the Palouse you may have seen me strutting around in a black dress these past six days. The same one. It’s a black sweater dress with nothing really significant about it, except the thick fabric I picked to brave endless cycles in the washing machine and the cold weather of December in the east of Washington state.

It’s been cold here, today the sky spit bits of snow that stuck for barely a moment before fading into the damp grass again, but we’re lucky to have maintained warm enough temperatures that the white dandruff doesn’t have the stamina to stick around. Something I’ve been particularly grateful for considering that my litany of allergies includes an intolerance to the cold that turns me into one massive walking welt-factory in freezing temperatures. A hindrance that is not particularly welcome during a season in which I have pledged to wear a dress throughout the entirety of December. So why subject myself to such torturous behavior?

The simple answer is that wearing a dress in the dead of winter raises eyebrows, and those raised eyebrows lead to conversations, and conversations breed opportunities to talk about advocacy, and advocacy is the avenue by which we must be approaching the victims of the systemically thriving business of slavery in the modern world. Continue reading “Why I’m Wearing a Dress Every Day of December”

A Letter to my Dad on the 13th Anniversary of His Death

Dear Dad,

Every year I wait for the sting to be a little less potent, but despite the well-wishes of others, it never gets easier. Every year that passes without you I lose more of you.

I forgot a long time ago what your voice sounds like, it wasn’t until last year when I found home movies that I heard you again, and I cried for hours because Eli sounds just like you. If I’m honest, sometimes when I see Eli I panic, because something in my heart still thinks that you’re going to walk through my front door someday and prove this is some sort  of elongated nightmare.

I think that I am more angry than anything else. I often look at the hand I’ve been dealt with so much disdain that it cripples me. I wonder why in twenty years I’ve lived more life than some fifty year olds, and more often than not this leads me to bitterness instead of empathy.

Continue reading “A Letter to my Dad on the 13th Anniversary of His Death”

Europe, It’s Been a Month.

I am currently positioned in the middle seat of a full airplane on its way to Washington, trying desperately not to jam an elbow into the ribs of my seat-mates as I transcribe this… so here’s to three hour flights (aka unadulterated writing time), too small public transport seats, and bladders the size of peanuts (see my future memoir for the time that I flashed an unsuspecting business man trying to muscle my way to the back of the plane – on a Washington-Arizona flight nonetheless; also that pun was somewhat intended…)

It has been just over a month since I came back from England and my heart hasn’t stopped aching since. There is something inside me that can’t let it go, even as I write this my computer window gives way to a sunset picture of King’s College on my desktop. Studying at the University of Cambridge was a literal dream come true, and besides the fact that it makes me feel like a badass because I can say that I studied at one of the WORLD’S premiere universities and survived, it was so much more than the academics that have left my heart yearning for the unimposing university. *insert wink emoji*

I was wholly unprepared for what I would experience during my time in Europe, and I am completely and utterly beyond grateful that I made the decision to be there. I cannot imagine a better, more life-giving and life-changing way to have spent the summer, my time at Cambridge was the hardest and greatest months of my life. I think that’s why I am still staring at pictures of formal dinners and thinking about rainy summer days on the daily.

And now that its been a few weeks, I think I’m ready to try to articulate the ways that living in England this summer has changed my life and the things that I have learned.  Continue reading “Europe, It’s Been a Month.”

Nuremberg, Germany

The Freibott family roots drink from the same river the city of Nuremberg was borne of.

A city whose history stretches back through centuries, founded around the 1040 building of the castle of the duke of Bavaria, King Henry III. The settlement became a Bavarian city and saw the flourishing of arts, a thriving educational status, a blooming industrial commerce, and the rise and fall of the Nazi Party. During World War II the city saw Nazi rallies and trials, the bombing of the city, and the Allied trials of the Nazis. Since the war-torn state of the 1930s the city has rebuilt itself and its reputation and is now a beautiful Bavarian city in the southern part of Germany, allowing its history to direct its empathy and its contemporary status as the second largest Bavarian city.  Continue reading “Nuremberg, Germany”

Isle of Wight, U.K.

A few weeks ago I had a magical weekend, and I’ve finally got a spare second to reflect.

After a full week of classes in Cambridge, my friends and I took off for the Isle of Wight, an Island “forgotten by time,” as they say. A place of retreat into natural beauty and the sights and sounds of what I have always imagined to be the quintessential English town, all by the sea.

I was first made aware of the Isle of Wight by one of my professors from my home university who grew up on the island. She mentioned that I had to make a trip down while I was in England and after a little research and some help we figured out how to make the trek. I gathered a few friends from my program here and we were off. We left from London in the morning to arrive in the historic town of Portsmouth for a Ferry to Ryde.

From the moment that you arrive, it is a picturesque affair.
Continue reading “Isle of Wight, U.K.”

London, England

Remember a few months ago when I visited New York and basically thought it was the greatest place on the entire planet?

New York was a special place for me because it was messy and full to the brim of people. I love the idea of a city bustling with thousands of faces – of stories – from every corner of the world; and that’s exactly what London is: a city with millions of people everywhere.

One night, I stood at the corner of what had to have been an eight-way intersection and laughed like a madman because I was in extrovert’s paradise. Continue reading “London, England”

Reflections on Summer (And My Summer 2016 Plans)

Its time to talk about my summer plans!

I haven’t talked much about this summer yet, honestly, because it terrifies me, slightly. But, we’re all friends here, and in the spirit of transparency here it is.

I have been accepted to the Pembroke-King’s Programme at the UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, WHERE I WILL BE STUDYING FOR TWO MONTHS THIS SUMMER!!!

Yeah, Cambridge. 

Continue reading “Reflections on Summer (And My Summer 2016 Plans)”

20 Things I’m Bad At As an Adult

As I am writing this it is 8:30 pm and the sun is just now setting, casting the empty white walls of my apartment under the spell of an orange and pink sky. I am thinking about the color palette of a coral bedroom with gold accents, the idea of an ocean-themed bathroom and a farm-themed kitchen space, matching furniture and plate sets, and the idea that one day I will be grown.

In this moment I can hear the bustle of a fan on the floor beneath me because my washing machine went out two days ago and saturated the hallway carpet and linoleum floor with lukewarm water that has tainted the entire apartment with the stench of stale water. This recent washer debacle coupled with my recent two week “tour” of the Northwest, has led to a series of conclusions.

When my washing-machine started spitting its contents onto my recently cleaned floor, I made a startling observation – I called the rental agency via a series of alternate phone numbers and after receiving no reception, I dialed my Mom.

My Mom.

Continue reading “20 Things I’m Bad At As an Adult”