Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

In honor of my first international trip to Berlin, I am writing my first real blog post!  Anyone who knows me knows that this is a huge accomplishment. 🙂 So here is a recap of Days 1-3 of my trip!

I left for Berlin on Saturday at 5:30pm EST and arrived here on Sunday around 5:30pm (Berlin time). Initially, I was slightly nervous about flying over the ocean for such an extended period of time but all of my flights (leaving Baltimore, Atlanta, and Paris) went smoothly. Of course I slept the ENTIRE TIME on ALL THREE FLIGHTS! I woke up on the flight from Atl to Paris in time for breakfast (egg-cheese-biscuit-thing, juice, banana) and went right back to sleep, and I didn’t wake up at all on the first and third flights.

My layover in Paris was interesting – the Charles de Gaulle airport has a weird layout but just knowing that I was in Paris was definitely cool. I also got a stamp in my passport book! While in Paris, I also had a couple of “interesting” conversations with people who thought I spoke French and some other stuff. Lol. I eventually learned to speak back to people in MY LANGUAGE when others greeted me in their languages in order to avoid any confusion (i.e. to avoid having to say “I don’t understand” once they got too deep into the convo).  After my final flight, a French guy started having a convo with me in French. He eventually translated into English (after realizing I didn’t understand a word of what he said) “Oh, I said that I am jealous of you. You looked like you were getting some really good sleep.” Me: (slightly embarrassed) “Oh yeah, I was tired…” Lol.

Random thought: the people in Berlin are TALL. Lol, of course everybody is taller than I am but still..they are tall.

Back to the story – My luggage didn’t arrive in Berlin with me. Oh no! 😦 Surprisingly, I didn’t panic. Filled out the lost luggage info card and headed to my hotel on the Tegel Express Bus. My trip to the hotel was also a nice experience – and I’m glad I chose this instead of a taxi. My hotel is also nice, and I have internet access so I’m good.

Today was the first day of the conference, and I needed to register and take a copy of the powerpoint for my speech tomorrow morning. Did I mention that my luggage did NOT arrive?!?! Lol. So, what’s a girl to do? I not-so-proudly walked over to the conference center and registered/took my presentation wearing jeans/tshirt!! It seemed that nobody really even noticed, or maybe they just didn’t react to it. Lol. I was trying to hurry up and leave when I was stopped by a man attending the conference. I thought he was about to kick me out or something but he just wanted to have a convo with me. He thought I was someone he met in North Carolina, and he continued talking even after he figured out that I wasn’t the right person…

I was eventually able to get outta there and I located some local shops/clothing stores to avoid wearing these same funky jeans for my speech tomorrow. BUT my luggage finally arrived this afternoon! So, now (at 7:41pm) I just need to focus on preparing for my speech, etc.

In summary: a)I arrived safely in Berlin, b) I won’t be presenting in funky clothes tomorrow, and c) hopefully, the talk will be excellent! So, wish me luck!!

I’ll be back later to let you know how things go with the talk and to update you after I really start my sightseeing adventures!

Introducing International Traveler, tanjalap!

Introducing International Traveler, tanjalap!

Well, Tanjala, who has been like a little sister to me since she realized that I was just Ranada and not <insert my full name here> that she expected to meet when we met her at Starbucks way back when to discuss a website, is currently in Germany!!! This is her first international trip, and she was chosen to make a research presentation over there for a conference.  I’m super happy for and proud of her, and I can’t wait to read about her experiences as a guest blogger! 🙂

The Present can help you understand the Past sometimes.

The Present can help you understand the Past sometimes.

Experience is a good teacher. – Miki Howard

Since the death of my grandfather, I’ve been hyper-sensitive and aware of what I’m feeling and how various experiences have affected my life.  This weekend, Rick came in town to cheer me up (we went to Six Flags and grilled on my deck!) and to do a little work around my house, and I realized in an active way that I’ve been emotionally abused before. While I’m sure I knew that, it became real to me this weekend.  My ex, who I’ve nicknamed HolyRoller in another blog, really took a toll on me.  His knowledge of Bible verses and proclivity to pray with me and appearance of “fitting in” with my idea of a good future eased me into dropping my guard down and letting his use of Bible verses to insult me or win arguments and judgmental attitudes and position that he could hear from God and thus not consider my position on anything become a regular way of life for me.  I was in that relationship for only about 6 months, but it has had long-reaching negative impacts on me.

The week before my granddaddy’s funeral, I woke up a few nights in tears and called Rick, who woke up and ministered to me.  Although he doesn’t quote Bible verses daily, he has been there for me spiritually, reminding me Who holds tomorrow and has perfect timing when I didn’t want to accept that for myself.  Rick and I have a past, chock full of ups and downs, and my temper has gotten rather severe over the years, but he’s been quite patient with me as I calm my nerves, even when I’ve gone off for no tangible reason.  So, Saturday, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he saw how chaotic my room has become and decided to put organizing my room on our to-do list instead of quoting Proverbs 31 and telling me I’m less than a woman, as HolyRoller did.  But I was surprised–because I realize that I’ve had a poor self-image based on my organization skills despite the rest of my skills just because of one person who instead of being helpful was judgmental. (Background information – he was around when I moved into my house and I chose him to help me move in because he said that he would help me organize before I got settled since that’s one of his strengths. But he said that a Christian woman would be able to figure it out/pray for God to increase her housekeeping skills, whether he helped or not. Go figure.)

And as I continue to do a self-assessment, I know my church activity and excitement about being in His house drastically waned since that experience.  I find myself wondering how I could have been so oblivious to my own health that I would allow one experience with someone to derail my relationship with God, one that I’ve been building since I was a child.  I had some real issues with the man upstairs for even letting me deal with him.  But in the last few months, I’ve been working on that and rebuilding my relationship.

And although I don’t think about HolyRoller often and don’t talk to him at all, I’m getting to a place where I can look back and figure out the purpose of that interaction.  I haven’t had that clear lightbulb moment, but I am getting hints here and there.  And for one thing, I know that in my quest for a God-fearing man, I don’t have to find one that speaks in King James version, but one that acts like the Word is ingrained him and will love me unconditionally, knowing that none of us are perfect, not even me, the girl who was been blessed with a ton of gifts and talents and sometimes gets tired of being held to the highest expectations.  I need someone who understands that although I am a strong-willed person, even I am weak at times and it’s ok.  Someone who likes me even when my hair is a hot mess and I don’t feel like putting on matching clothes or makeup (oh boy, I looked crazy this weekend).  Someone who will let me comfortable just being me with no pretenses or explanations.

Of course, I can’t see the future, and I don’t know what the future holds for Rick and me, but I do know that I am super appreciative of the stability and understanding and help he’s provided this second go-round and I have very high hopes.  Some may not “get” us or understand the connection we have, but it’s obvious to me.  He gets me, and he lets me be me, as weird or as all over the place or as high-strung or as paradoxical or as unorganized as I can be at times.  He balances me out, and God knew I needed that balance right now.  I’m working daily on a better me, and I’m happy to have people in my life that support that effort.