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Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Sometimes, you just need a change of perspective…

The Eiffel Tower has long been known as grand and romantic, a symbol of France. Back in college, I was astounded to learn that, having been commissioned for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower had never been intended to remain. As seeing this legendary icon had become the top of my bucket list, I feared it could only disappoint. And then there it was. Big and majestic and beautiful and certainly no more than a twenty-minute walk from our current location. Little did we realize just how big the tower truly was. What looked so close was actually a good hour’s walk away.

By the time we reached it, my feet were literally bleeding. One popped blister, two average-joe blisters, and one blood blister completely obliterated my ability to stand up long enough to take the iconic, long-distance photo of my dearly sought-after tower. So instead, as we half-teetered in line for the elevator, I snapped a photo upwards–catching the iron latticework in all of its true glory. And I realized that this was the photo I wanted. Not the photo the rest of the world would care about, perhaps, but the photo that would remind me of the hard, detailed, inspired work and the massive scale of my beloved tower. Then, together with my sister, I piled into two over-crowded elevators to get to the top of one of the world’s greatest structures. The view was breathtaking–whatever the guidebooks say.

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Before leaving for France people said all kinds of things. That the locals were rude, the sights overcrowded, the streets dirty, and the gelato good. I could have expected that France. Instead, I found my own France. Sidewalks with street-musicians. A collection of food trucks where we were the only foreigners. Locals down by the water playing hopscotch and strumming guitars. Streets far cleaner than New York City. Gorgeous architecture. Friendly people. A collection of shops and Starbucks and affordable eateries in my favorite neighborhood. And, yes, the gelato was good, but it was nothing compared to the fresh strawberries we bought on the Rue Cler. Paris became my own.

I could have felt disappointment in missing my long-distance shot of Gustave Eiffel’s greatest feat. I could have felt disappointment in getting only one scoop of gelato. I could have fought for the Paris I had heard about. Instead, I found the Paris that mattered to me.

The understandable tendency, when we miss out, is to feel disappointment, but the last few weeks have given me a different perspective. Of course, there is the part of me that wants to fight for the me that could have been without Lyme’s Disease: a fiddler, a missionary, a gymnast, a businesswoman… Instead, I have decided to revel in the me that is. Just as I chose to celebrate the close-up shot of the Eiffel Tower, I choose to celebrate the path I walk. It may not be the iconic life of our favorite characters on television, but it’s mine and it’s profoundly beautiful. Now, having set aside any kind of modern standard, I am thankful for the strange, yet powerful role I play in this world. As I continue to learn about myself, I have a new appreciation for the way God directed me. The passion developing for writing students, the creativity seeping out in play-dates with my nephews and in my novels, the true friendships now returning from across the globe… It’s all because my life didn’t go the way I wanted it to. Praise God for that.

Sometimes you just need a change of perspective.

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On this quiet morning, with my parents still asleep above me and the furnace warming the house, I find myself with an unfamiliar ache. I woke up missing my Sister Kate (she’s on vacation with her husband. Good for her!) with a furry that actually made me stiff and sore. That I would miss her was no surprise at all. Kate and I have been joined since I entered the world of men. But, being a reflective sort of person, I thought that the pain of her being on vacation was a bit over dramatic. Pretty soon I realized that I might have been misplacing some of the longing for a sister.

When other sister was four years old, she stood up in church and told the congregation what she was going to do with her life. Now, twenty-six years later, she’s in the Middle East to do just that. When we traveled through the ice and snow last weekend to say our goodbyes and join in her farewell service at her home church in New York, I felt very little other than a healthy dose of affection for her. In the first place, she has lived away most of my memory-making years (for college, grad-school, and a year and a half in Southeast Asia). And in the second place, I have been prepped since birth to accept her leaving. So while I was prepared to miss her, I wasn’t prepared to feel this. It is not missing, really. I probably wouldn’t have spoken to her in the last week anyway. No. It is the deep understanding that as she pursues her calling, life will not return to the way it was. Twice-yearly hang-out trips turned shopping and Broadway in New York City are behind us. Teaching a class together, editing a novel, watching Netflix on the couch until we both fall asleep, coffee dates… Those things may or may not ever happen again.

But that ache I woke up with, once understood, could be turn to joy. Because while life will never be the same, that may be the best thing ever. Just imagine, teaching together at a University in the Middle East instead of New York, or sharing a cup of coffee as tourists in Jerusalem, or creating a novel based on the things I witness when I visit her. Yes… Life will never be the same again. And that is perfectly okay.

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This weekend I got invited to accompany my sister Kate and my mom to New York to spend some quality time with my sister Julie and, oh yeah, see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Yippee! I worked like a mad-woman until 2 on Thursday when I jumped in the car. Then I had about four hours of homework to do on the way down. Once I got to Julie’s house at 10:45, I had to search for a citation and load it to my school website. Of course, I couldn’t connect to the internet where I was because my computer didn’t like their router. Julie lent me her laptop. I rapidly got my homework done and submitted it a half an hour before the deadline. Yes, I did.

School was pretty much just a back drop after that and the girl weekend took over. I inflated my air mattress in my usual spot and desperately searched for shoes at the Palisades Mall. See, a fracture-where my fracture is-makes certain shoes (all of mine) hard to get on my foot. With hours of walking in the city ahead of me I figured I could make out with my flats. And then the snow came. At 8:30 at night, Kate got it into her head that we should do round 2 of shoe shopping so we hit Target and Payless and struck out. I managed my boots quite well in snowy NY City and my fracture is only slightly more swollen. Well worth it for what I got to see!

We almost didn’t make it to the city. The snow was so bad and several cars were off the road. Julie had studded snow tires and prayerfully, we made it into the city just as the snow stopped. From there, we went straight to the Discovery Museum where the scrolls were hosted in a dynamic presentation. All those years of studying Scripture and the half a year at Bible college I used to connect the dots the secular museum left out. The scrolls were so beautiful, so intricately written.

There were some elements of a video presentation they had that just made my eyes widen. The original team working on the scrolls had used Scotch Tape to put the many pieces together and had smoked while doing it. There were some facts that made me shiver too. Well worth the $30 we paid. After that, we got a great burger at a busy place and shopped around Times Square. It was good to be with family!

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I’m back! I have too many stories to cram into one blog post alongside the pictures I must share. Crazy sales’ people calling, “Do you need some Broadway tickets? How about a puppy? A three legged-doggy?”… No internet connection, so camping out at a Dunkin Donuts for two afternoons… Teaching my sister’s class…. Meeting her friends (most crazy, all fun)… The orientation I went down for being canceled…

I’ll try to hit the highlights. It was awesome to live with my sister for a week. I set up my aero bed in the corner of her apartment and was quite happy with her coffee pot mere steps from where I awoke each morning. We fit a lot in one small week: shopping, teaching, working, hanging with friends, an entire day in the city, seeing the botanical gardens… You get the idea. The gardens were stunning. I could have sat there and created scores of stories more enchanted than I had yet conceived.

Our city day was Friday. We got off a late and headed for the wrong address, but eventually we parked the car and walked the streets of New York City. We saw the Metropolitan Art Museum, ate at a pizzeria, walked and walked, took the subway, saw Times’ Square, shopped the first two levels of a giant Forever 21, and finally landed at Wicked. I could not have anticipated the excitement I would feel at getting to see the show for the second time. Jackie Burns and Chandra Lee Schwartz did an incredible job as Elphaba and Galinda. And our seats were about five rows from the front. I could see every expression and hear every beautiful note. It was an awesome show (and I do mean it inspired awe). Julie and I splurged on the five dollar souvenir cups and had a throughly good time.

Publishing while out of state was, as it was last year, a challenge, but we navigated well. All was completed and the book got off today. Working on it kept me fairly busy over the week and, sadly, I did not finish reading the books I had hoped to. Maybe this week! I must admit that I am sore and tired from so much walking and then sitting in the car, but I am overjoyed that I went. Driving to and from NY was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. In fact, I had such an easy drive (only having to honk at one car that tried to run me off the road), that I considered going to Virginia and seeing my friends there before coming home. But busyness overcame my plans. I start college officially on November 15, but I have much to do for orientation and working for Rebirth Publishing until then.

Check out the fan page of www.jessiemaehodsdon.com to see the new cover and read the introduction to Xsardis. You’ll see my new fish there, too. His name is Xsardis–the official trilogy fish for the chronicles. With his red color and his mowhawk-like fins, he swims around a set of ruins that might remind you of Maremoth… My sister Kate and I purchased him today (a gift from her and my mother as a reward for finishing the book). The three of us also toasted to sending the book off with sparkling apple cider–a tradition I took on last year at college. Probably more on the trip and the book to come in another post, but that’s all for now.

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