Travel Journal - Italy

took a trip to italy in may with my cousin mollie and am finallyyyy getting around to blogging it (it's been a crazy summer!). we spent 5 incredible days in florence eating the best pizza and pasta i've ever had, drinking cappuccino's & wine, and stopping in every afternoon for a gelato treat. 

we took a train down to naples and a ferry across to Procida, a magical island off of the coast. we spent another 5 days here getting to know every street. we had breakfast at our favorite coffee shop every morning (a cappuccino + a chocolate croissant), and spent the rest of our days walking the island, riding bikes and paddleboards, taking naps on every beach and eating at nearly every restaurant that was open on the island. 

our last day was spent traveling by train up to milan. we had one evening there so we headed into the city center and walked around, and enjoyed one last aperol spritz on the rooftop bar next to the cathedral.  

enjoy the photos. can't wait to visit italy again someday (hopefully soon!!!)

Travel Journal // Israel

finally getting around to blogging the images from our trip to turkey & israel in september! i am working on putting together a book of our trip and thought i would blog a few (ok, a lot) of the images. 

we went to so many places it's hard to keep them all straight, but a few of my favorite memories: my niece was the cutest traveler ever, we had so much fun with her. spending the morning in the garden of gethsemane and walking on the steps of the temple in the old city of jerusalem. the boat ride on the sea of galilee. eating pomegranates & incredible falafel + hummus. exploring a local market one day. walking underneath the old city of jerusalem that they are still digging up. everywhere you turned was so beautiful and full of so many stories, i wish i could have recorded everything our tour guide told us so that i wouldn't forget some of the incredible little narratives that he told us about each place, but hopefully these pictures help me remember & help you experience a little bit of it as well. 

Travel - Madrid, Valencia, Brussels

the second half of our trip was spend in a whirlwind of planes and trains and cities. we flew from paris to madrid wednesday morning. we only had one day there, so we rolled our suitcases all around the city with us. we walked around Buen Retiro Park, saw the Palacio de Cristal, had lunch at a cute little cafe, and then just walked around the city finding all of the different plazas and buildings. we stopped at the Chocolateria San Gines for the famous chocolate and churros. had some drinks at a rooftop bar, and then headed to catch our train to valencia.

the next day in valencia we walked all around to the central market, through plazas, and then to the ciudad de las arts y las ciencias. we headed to the beach for lunch and a little siesta in the sunshine. that night we went to dinner and hung out with our friend that we were staying with. 

earlyyyyy the next morning, we headed back to the airport to fly back to brussels. the last two days we spent walking around gent, and the city of brussels. we saw lots of the old churches and castles in belgium. the architecture there is amazing! early sunday morning i took a train back to the airport to fly to rwanda! i can't wait to go back to europe and visit so many other places that we didn't have time for.

Travel - Paris

post 1 of 4 from my recent travels. i have so many photos from this trip so decided to break it up into a few different posts for each of the different places we visited. i flew into brussels to meet up with my friend amy, and the next morning we took a train to paris, so i'll start with all of the photos from paris.

we had no real plans, just wanted to see as many things as we could and discover a tiny piece of what paris had to offer. the first day after dropping our bags off at our AirBnB apartment, we had the most delicious falafel in the jewish quarter. we walked to notre dame, around the louvre, through the tuileries garden, and sat by the pond bird (and people) watching. after that we wandered over to the gallery du lafayette, and went inside, and up to the rooftop for a view of the city. at dusk we headed up to see monte marte, and had a baguette on the subway on the way to see the chainsmokers' concert.

the next day we walked down the champs d'elysees, stopped at La Duree for macarons, and ended up at the arc de triumph. we were going to head to the eiffel tower, but it was pretty chilly so we headed back to our apartment to grab a couple more layers of clothes. while we were there, we spotted a little market next door, and bought from fruits, bread and cheese for lunch. we also picked up some magical crepes to eat back at the apartment. we headed back down to the eiffel tower, and walked around a bit before heading up to the top. we were at the top right when it was getting dark, and the whole city began to light up below us. we got back to our apartment around 9, and realized that we were starving, so we walked until we saw a restaurant to eat at. we had more crepes of course, this time savory & filled with vegetables and delicious sauces. 

we flew out to madrid the next morning! can't wait to visit paris again with more time, there was so much more we could have seen & done. stay tuned for the next parts of my trip: madrid, valencia, belgium & then rwanda!!!

Travel Journal - Rwanda Pt 2

yesterday i returned to kigali after spending a week up in musanze with isaac, shema, and theoneste. i met these three boys when i lived in rwanda in 2011 & 2012, and have been excited to return and see how they have grown and learned and changed over the past few years.

during the week, i stayed with each of the boys for one or two nights at their families' houses. it was an amazing experience. i wanted the boys and their families to have the opportunity to be hospitable and welcoming to me as their guest, but i also wanted to be humble enough to accept whatever conditions might arise. and i was so blessed. when i arrived with my things at their houses, they showed me to my room, where they had made up a bed so neat with sheets and a blanket. i brought with me a small gift of some food for the family from the market--beans, potatoes, carrots, fruit, and it was quickly taken away to be prepared for our meal.

i had seen all of the boys'  houses before, but they were so proud to show me where they live and what they do. i was invited into their lives and learned what it meant to be shema, and isaac, and theoneste for a few days.

i stayed at theoneste's house the first night. i learned that he used to feel like he had no hope. he didn't want to see his family or live at home, or even live at all really. but he met chad and kortney and began learning about Jesus and the hope that he can have with Him. and i saw the way he patiently sits with his grandmother and listens to story after story that she tells. and the way he smiles at his little sisters and helps prepare the beans for cooking. and he proudly showed me his family's field where they grow beans to feed their family. and i saw his hope. 

on tuesday and wednesday, i stayed with isaac. he lives with his aunt and uncle, five cousins, and his half brother. i helped his cousins peel potatoes and they showed me how they made our lunch. isaac told me about the time he lived with a different aunt after his parents died, and that when he was six his aunt told him what his parents were like. and isaac says thank you often and loves Jesus and shares Him with many people that he meets. he grabbed my arm many times when a car drove by a little too close and he made sure my bag was always secure and he walked behind me when we were in a crowded place so that he could make sure i was okay. he is a protector. 

the last night in musanze, i stayed with shema. i met his brothers and sister and mom. i asked him what he wants to do when he gets older and finishes school. he said he wants to help needy people. he also dreams of being a doctor or an engineer. shema's family doesn't have electricity, so we ate dinner by candlelight, and his mom told me how proud she is of him and how hard he works. 

during the days we took walks and saw beautiful rwanda and i taught them some photography and they filled disposable cameras with images of the way they see the world. i can't wait to see the photos. 

the boys came back to kigali with me on friday, and we have all been hanging out this weekend. today we went to the expo and saw a magic show and theoneste got his face painted and they rode a carnival ride (probably their first one!). later we went swimming for a bit and ended the night by watching movies. 

there is so much more to say, but i'll leave it at that for now. below are some photos that i took during the week. i ended up leaving my camera in my bag more often than not, and just enjoyed experiencing life with the boys this week.