Friday, June 29, 2018

An Impending Farewell

For all 29 summers of my life, I have spent time in Harbor Springs, Michigan. It seems random, I know. A little town almost to the upper peninsula of Michigan. A girl from Nashville, who has always been a Tennessee native. But my mom's side of the family has had a house up here for generations, and if you took one breath of the fresh air and felt the breeze off Lake Michigan as you cruised in to town on a bike, you would completely understand why we make the trek up every summer. 

Sadly, this summer will be the last.

When I was a senior at Wake Forest, my grandmother passed away suddenly. Since that terrible day in 2011, my parents have had the house up here (shared with my aunts) but it just doesn't make sense to keep a second home that is 800 miles away and costs more than my annual salary in taxes alone each year.

We have been talking about selling it since Ma's death, but it always felt too sentimental. "Maybe one day we should sell this place." Well, that day has come. My parents listed it this spring and it rendered multiple offers immediately. They picked one and we will officially give up the place at the end of this summer.

With all the talk of selling, I was really sad. When I learned how much money it was selling for, the practical side of my brain kicked in and I was like, "This makes total sense. It's what we need to do. It is ridiculous to be spending that much money on a vacation home that we seldom use." And then I got off the plane yesterday, and the sentimental side kicked right back in. I had forgotten how this place has the innate ability to transform you into a relaxed, better version of yourself!

I feel like I am in a position where I know I have to break up with the guy, but I am still crazy about him and want just a little more time hanging out. And I know I have the next 10 days to relax in this wonderful place. But it just feels like there is a dark cloud looming over, knowing this summer will be the last. 

The worse feeling of all, though, is that it feels like losing my grandmother all over again. It feels just as harrowing as receiving that phone call on a sunny Thursday afternoon. And that is the most heartbreaking part of it all.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Felicity Grace Price

When my niece was born in the fall of 2016, I immediately hopped on a plane to San Francisco to meet her. I knew I would be obsessed with her, but I had no idea that I could love a tiny human that much! And the more her cute little personality comes out, the more I love her...

Two weeks ago, I persuaded Ali and Jonny to leave Felicity in Nashville for 5 days for "Camp Grandmama". I was pretty proud of my accomplishment because 5 days is a long time to leave your less-than-two year old AND it was a last minute decision. But my parents and I were SO glad that they did...we had the best week with sweet little Fizzy.

Felicity is quite the little artist (which is not shocking, considering who her mama is!)

Aunt Bea is, to put it nicely, an obsession. She has a stuffed animal named "Aunt Bea" that she takes everywhere, but the real life dog is her absolute favorite.

We had such a blast toting Felicity around Nashville! She went to dinners with friends, ate lots of Las Paletas, went on plenty of walks, and genuinely just enjoyed exploring.

Fizz also learned some new making the famous Carroll chocolate chip cookies and going "Beep Beep" in Pooch's car!

One day, I invited some of my precious students from school to come to the zoo with us and Fizzy girl. They were SO sweet with her and she loved speaking with them in Spanish (and meeting their Mom, too!).


Felicity was not a huge fan of actually swimming in the pool, but she loves "agua" in about every other form!

I would also like to give myself a pat on the back for flying solo, on a 5 hour flight, that ended up being 5 hours delayed, back to San Francisco to return Felicity to her parents. She was a champ and we arrived in style!

And then we had a lovely weekend with her parents in California, before I sadly had to say "bye-bye" and head back to Nashville alone.

But, thankfully, Felicity is starting the campaign to get her parents to move to Nashville!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The immigration crisis.

Tonight, as I dropped four rising 12th grade girls off after swimming at my parents pool, we were talking about their upcoming senior year and going to college after. One walked away from the car laughing saying, "Oh Mees, you know I can't go to college because I'm illegal." And less than two minutes later, one of the other girls who was still in the car said, "Oh Miss Carroll, I have been thinking a lot about all this awful immigration and deportation stuff, but the one good thing I was thinking was, 'If I get deported, I bet Miss Carroll will come visit me in Honduras since she likes to travel.'"

Let me back up a minute. For those of you who do not know, I work as a social emotional counselor in a school setting. That means I work with students on anything and everything, ranging from suicide to peer pressure, sexual assault to immigration, and conflict resolution to relationship drama. I also happen to speak Spanish, which is the spoken-at-home language for more than half of my 650 students. As you might imagine, I have some thoughts on the immigration crisis.

This is not new for me. Over the past several years, I have had a front row seat to the trauma caused by the atrocities at the border. And what I realized tonight is how de-sensitized I have become to these horrible labels and the effects of the trauma that many of my students have endured.

I have a student who refused to speak for weeks upon his arrival to school, only to find out later he had been detained for three months at the border. Alone. In a cell.

I have a student who regularly tells me, "Oh Mees, if I was still in El Salvador, I would be dead." And as traumatic as that is for a 17 year old boy to realize, what truly breaks my heart about it is not for this boy at all. It is for the thousands and thousands of kids that I don't know. That, for a myriad of reasons, did not make it out of their gang-ridden countries and died there.

I have a student with scars all over her arms from climbing the wall to get into the United States.

I have a student who told me about how he, his older brother, and little sister set out of the United States, but the little sister got caught by border patrol and he has never been so scared in his life because they didn't know what would happen to her but had to keep going.

It is chillingly normal to have a student come in crying, or a family member call to let me know, that the students' parent(s) have been deported.

I wish that I had some earth shattering resolution to this multi-faceted global crisis. I do not. But here is what I do know. As a believer, I feel called to treat others as I want to be treated. As a human being, I feel called to treat all people with respect and dignity. And I can assure you, that has not been the case at the border in recent years, but especially in recent months. 

I wholeheartedly disagree with splitting up families. And I know that if I was born in a dangerous, gang-ridden place, I would most certainly hope that I would be allowed to move to a country where my life was not constantly at risk, where I could live safely and be given an education and afforded opportunities for my future. 

I also wholeheartedly wish that you could get to know my students. I feel incredibly privileged to know them and know so many of their stories. I wish you knew the 17 year old boy, who makes the honor roll, is captain of the soccer team, picks his two younger brothers up from school each afternoon and works as a painter every weekend to split the rent with his single mom. I wish you knew the mom who buses tables at a restaurant that I frequent, who's two boys have been awarded full scholarships to one of the most prestigious high schools in Nashville. I wish you knew the 16 year old girl who uses a fake social security number because she is so desperate to work at a fast food restaurant 20 hours/week, who translates for her entire extended family of 20+ people and makes sure that all her little siblings and cousins are enrolled in charter and magnet schools to be getting a good education, all while maintaining a 4.0 and being one of the most compassionate humans I have ever met. Because these are the kids that crossed the border illegally. And these people are the future of America that this country needs. 

So, for now, you can donate here if you are able. You can march in your respective city. You can call your local lawmakers. All of which I highly recommend, but I also urge you to personally get to know immigrants. Get connected with a family who is new to the country. Become a mentor for a student who is learning english. I promise it will broaden your understanding in the best way. 


I'll be right back!

All two of my readers can rejoice...

...because, after a two year hiatus, my blogging days are back! 
Hang tight for a few days and regular posts will be coming your way.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What is filling my brain...

Today is a snow day. Which I greatly appreciate. I always enjoy having the time to doodle and draw. Here is what is filling my brain at the moment.

What occupys your mind?!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jamie and Leah's Wedding

This weekend, my kind-hearted oldest brother married the lovely Leah…and I could not be more thrilled for them!

The ceremony was sweet and Christ centered. Since Leah's family is Korean, they did several Korean traditions during the ceremony. One of them was walking down to hug and thank both sets of parents, which I thought was such a sweet moment.

The wedding was in Atlanta, and one of the wonderful perks of being the groom's family is that all of our extended family, close friends, and so many people I wanted to see were there and we had the luxury of having the time to hang out and catch up!

The dance floor was hopping, my favorite being my soon-to-be 90 year old grandmother who was tearing it up as usual :)

One of the things I loved most about the weekend was all the high compliments that so many friends and family members spoke about Jamie and Leah and the way they constantly love and serve those around them in a quiet, humble manner. I truly admire that about them and cannot wait to continue to watch that for years to come.

As a part of another Korean tradition, Leah changed into a Homboak (which my mom was also sporting!) for part of the reception. Once again, she looked lovely and the festivities continued!

I'd be lying if I didn't say that as much as I love my family, I'm not thrilled about my current 9th wheel status that I now hold seeing as I am the only single one left. Here is a fun picture of the original Carrolls…

and then the up-to-date Carrolls...

I could not be happier for the newly weds, and I am so excited for their future together! I love you two!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Cheers to 2016!

Hello my long lost readers,

So 2015 was wild and busy and this blog unfortunately took a back seat to the demands of daily life. But I am back and promise to post more in the new year. Here is a quote that I eloquently written wish for excitement and blessings in the year to come.