The past two weeks have gone by so quickly that I almost cannot believe that it is already October. I have now had to turn the page on my Big Bang Theory calendar, leaving Leonard and Penny in September and enjoying the four guys in female superhero costumes. Besides my calendar changing, lots of other things have changed as well. Most recently I have changed my hair and cut it short! I am loving it and the ease that it brings with my daily routine.
Going beyond my look, I have also had lots of new experiences, including visiting a Mosque, which is the religious space that Muslims worship in. It was truly enlightening to be part of a service that was so different from my own. It was filled with deep thoughts and prayers that you committed your entire body to. The men and women or as they like to refer to themselves, the brothers and sisters of the Mosque could not have been nicer to us. We were welcomed with open arms and lots of hugs from the women who were thrilled to share their tradition with students who are studying the Word. After the service they fed us the most delicious fried fish, brown rice and some sort of greens...mmmm. While we ate we sat in discussion with the speaker from the service who wanted to assure us that he wanted union and cooperation with other faiths to try and help the city of Philadelphia. By the way, all of the students who visited the Mosque and stayed for this conversation were women and there was no animosity or shift in the topic due to that fact. We were spoken to as students who have a love for ministry and throughout the day I always felt completely respected in that.
In class I have still been finding my passion in biblical studies and the Old Testament. Today I am speaking to my OT professor to discuss my program and how I can tailor it to this passion. I find the OT has so much to offer and it gets looked over so much, but it is rich with stories and deep thoughts about faith. One thing that I have noticed in the OT is that nothing is easy, but that is how life can be and the men and women that we put on a pedestal are still just people who make mistakes and are not perfect. I love this aspect of the OT and I cannot wait to learn more. My class has just gotten out of the Pentateuch (Genesis - Deuteronomy) and this week we begin the former prophets. I am also taking on more work with my Hebrew class so that i can have a solid foundation for later graduate work. I have a study group that I go to and usually pack my lunch in a wonderful Tiffin box:
Beyond class I have developed some great friendships with women here. I needed a little more female companionship and I definitely found it with some of the women on my floor and even a friend off campus who has a son my age. Seminary definitely crosses boundaries in who your peers become and it truly adds to the experience. I am LOVING it! Getting off campus to study with a friend at her house and eating my first homemade Philly Cheese steak! It was delicious by the way and a soft pretzel that is also a Philly special. Or possibly getting in the car to get Taco Bell and along the way home stopping to buy a dress and cupcakes. The friends that I am making here are very different than I have experienced, but wonderful all the same.
Also in these past two weeks I have celebrated a milestone, FOUR years with my wonderful boyfriend. It was the first anniversary that we have been apart, but it was still wonderful all the same. I had a lovely Skype date with him where I laughed more than I had in a long time. He can always make me laugh. He also sent me a fantastic gift, here are some pictures from opening it:
In this package was a beautiful card, Reese's (my favorite candy), Lindt Dark Chocolate, Synder's of Hanover pretzels, spices that he snagged from me and is returning, a roll of quarters (for laundry) and finally...he burned me all three LOTR movies (extended editions), all of the special features and all three soundtracks! It was a truly wonderful gift!
Well I will conclude here and send you more updates in a couple weeks and who knows what news I will have then!
Talk to you soon,