Look for the beautiful

There are few things in life more precious to me than sleep. In fact that may be an understatement because most days sleep is without a doubt The most important thing. Since two weeks of age, I have slept at least 8 hours a night and taken a nap in the day. Afternoon naps truly are a gift. On that rare occasion, I find myself particularly eager to forgo sleep, you may confidently assume it has to do with one of two subjects, gymnastics or saving money – Kay is witness to this as I made her get up at 3 am last year to watch worlds in addition to the many early mornings to catch cheaper flights. Today is no different. My friend Alex competes in a dual-style meet a few hours away from me today and since familiar faces are few and far between, I got up at 5 am to go see a gymnastics meet.

In truth. the meet wasn’t until 16:00 but with my propensity to get lost coupled with my desire to save money and explore, I took the early train. I actually made it to Grünstadt with no issues 6 hours early! I found a little cafe, ordered all in German, and after proceeded to go to the gym where the competition was to be held.

To my surprise it was empty except for the tiny pitter patter of feet going across the floor as young gymnasts attempted vaulting on a resi for the first time! The coach could see what I’m assuming was a very confused look on my face. She informed me that the completion was not in Grünstadt but in Kreutzal…4 hours north… And only an hour from where I live.

The rush of emotions that came over me just about did me in. I was furious at my friend for telling me the wrong place, exhausted from a lack of sleep, and even more frustrated at myself for not double checking the facts. I’m the queen of fact checking…annoyingly so. But I messed up this time and for that I missed supporting my friend. I tried to rectify the situation but the train was almost 100 dollars one way and I would have missed half the competition.

Life is about being flexible. So regrettably, I began the Long journey back home. Often times I look for blessings in hard situations and to be honest in this one I could not find one here. I spent many hours in train stations that day. I began singing church songs that we had sung the previous Sunday. To my shock, I actually think I jumped to be quite honest, a man approached me and told me that I sang beautifully and that I was beautiful. I’ve never really thought of myself as beautiful…maybe cute every now and then if I can ever drag myself out of sweats and take 10 seconds to do my hair…but not beautiful. We sat and talked for a bit and he asked for my number (Mother I declined as I know you are sitting here moving around nervously as you are reading this.) But it was nice to be noticed.

When I finally made it home after the 13 hour trip to nowhere, I found the whole family in the backyard roasting sausages and bread on the fire. Namir ran up to me saying, “Kensley, Kensley, come with me we built a fort.” It absolutely melted  my heart. He was excited to see me! They welcomed me back with open arms even though I may have interrupted their family time. They made me a sausage and bread sandwich and I felt at peace.

UPDATE

Today, I made it back to Cologne to visit the same church I did last week. Andrew was there again and greeted me warmly. It’s nice to feel like I’m making friends. After the service I met so many people who reached out. I was asked to join the praise band and I think 3 or 4 different life groups. I have plans to get coffee with Rita (From Chile) and Lynn (From Africa,) on Thursday and read some scripture. The people of this congregations have this incredible energy and I can’t wait for what lies ahead these next three months.

To be honest, I’m rather pooped today. I spent the afternoon netflixing and planning my vacation next week…Oh btw I’m headed to Belgium and France …NBD! KIDDING. OH MY GOSH I’M GOING TO BRUSSELS AND PARIS! My amazingly ginger friend, Benjamin is coming to stay with me and my host family for a few days and explore Germany, and then we will head to his home in Brussels, and then I will venture to Paris after that for a few days!

I’d say that minus yesterday, this has been a fabulous experience so far.

I miss you all!

Blessings,

~Kens

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