For those of you who are missing summertime, here is a glimpse back on my time in my hometown in July. I love Western PA in the summertime. I also love watching my nieces and nephews explore the creek (honestly, we say crick) that I grew up visiting on the family land outside of town, finding salamanders and crayfish among the rocks. 🙂
Here’s an added bonus to this post. A couple of my dad’s magnolia trees are thriving here in the north and had many beautiful blossoms this year! I’m not sure if I’ve shared the background story of his magnolias on the blog before, so here it is:
Magnolias hold a very special place in my heart (Southern Magnolias to be specific, but one can’t be too picky up here in the north).
For the last twenty years or so, my dad tried to grow Southern Magnolia trees at their home in Pennsylvania. I don’t even know how many he planted over the years. Many bit the dust quickly, some lasted a few seasons, and every once in a while there would be a blossom or two. Back in the summer of 2014, I was laughing at (with?) him as he watered his magnolia trees, reminding him that they really aren’t meant to live in the northern climate. He chuckled and said, “Well, we’re sort of delaying the inevitable here.” He knew they wouldn’t grow into huge, flourishing trees, yet he faithfully filled those buckets and continued to water them and enjoy them while they grew in the yard.
Magnolias have become a reminder of Dad for me. They remind me to live in the moment, “water the trees,” appreciate the little things, and enjoy life itself, because in the end everything is temporary. This makes me super thankful for biblical promises like the one in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal,” but this is already too long to add a sermon into the mix.
All that to say, this is why magnolias make me smile, remind me to appreciate each moment, and encourage me to trust God with the unknown and not-promised future.
Aren’t these blossoms beautiful?
I had the honor of photographing my beautiful niece’s wedding to a great guy named Collin on Saturday in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
Here is a sneak peek of what is to come when I’m able to share more photos from their joyous celebration. Enjoy!
Stop back soon for some more photos from the wedding day and my long overdue Southeast Asia trip report!
I’m still working on editing the pictures from my fancy camera and preparing more detailed blog posts about my time in Cambodia, but I did want to give Singapore it’s time in the spotlight like I did for the others. Here are some of my thoughts and observations from my brief time there a couple weeks ago. I realize that one week in a place doesn’t make you an expert. Since I spent most of my time with my cousin and her family, I didn’t really get to know the native Singaporean culture. Nonetheless, here are some thoughts and highlights from my time there:
- I had to work a little harder to come up with fun stories or interesting observations from my time in Singapore because, well, I felt pretty comfortable there since it’s pretty western. It’s a very modern city/country/island and reminded me a lot of London or Sydney since there’s so much British influence.
- I definitely experienced a bit of culture shock when I flew from Phnom Penh to Singapore and saw this recycling display in the airport. There is recycling in Cambodia, but their methods of collection are pretty different.
- Another form of culture shock came when I saw the prices of things. We paid $2 for an unlimited amount of time for the fish massage in Cambodia.
- It was really fun to hang out with my cousin (ok, technically she’s my second cousin, but we grew up in the same town, so she feels like a first cousin) and her family on the other side of the world. It was great to reminisce about growing up in New Wilmington, PA and the quirks and fun of having lived in such a small town.
- Singapore is two hours behind Sydney, so we were able to Skype with my sister’s family while I was there… a mini family reunion via Skype. I loved it. 🙂
- The Night Safari next to the Singapore Zoo was really fun and unique. I got to see wolves howling in unison. It was pretty funny to see raccoons on display as a novelty (since I just had to go outside on trash night to see a raccoon in person when I was little!).
- Singapore is very orderly, clean, and organized.
- They take this order and cleanliness so seriously that they have signs like this in the subway station:
- (Durian is a fruit that is quite smelly… I tried it once and remember it tasting a bit like what I imagine dirty feet might taste like)
- I learned a new word: alight. Instead of saying “get off” or “exit” at a stop, they say “alight.”
- My cousin had an app on her phone to request a taxi. The taxi was pretty much waiting for us at the curb when we got off the elevator from four floors up.
- They have signs in the buses and subways that tell people to be polite and give up seats for elderly and pregnant passengers.
- I was on one bus where the bus driver stopped the bus to ask people to move and get up for an elderly passenger.
- Singaporeans are very hard-working people. The morning I went to catch the bus to Malaysia, I looked a bit like a backpacker. It felt like the song “One of These Things is Not Like the Other” from Sesame Street as I stood there surrounded by a bus full of businessmen and businesswomen dressed up for work.
- I rode on the Singapore Flyer (their version of the London Eye) on a rainy day and enjoyed seeing the very unique Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino (three towers with a “ship” on top) from a different angle.
- Also, I discovered that if you take enough poor attempts at long arm photos of yourself in a place, people will offer to take your photo for you. 🙂
- When I saw the sunshine the next morning, I hopped on the bus to go down to check out the view from the top of that building and experience the “ship.”
Stay tuned for some more posts of what I’ve been up to lately and many posts of pictures of my adventures from the fancy camera!