Paris is Always a Good Idea

Paris Fashion

Surprise! I’m leaving for Paris today!

I typically plan vacations months in advance, but this is a bit of a whirlwind trip for me – the spontaneous decision to go along with a teacher friend who is using her summer break to backpack through Europe. I will just be joining Rachel for the first part of her trip (France!) before heading home, leaving her to explore Germany and Great Britain on her own.

To get myself in the mood for La Ville Lumière, I have been doing some fashion sketches incorporating the architecture of quintessential Paris. Check out my Instagram @auroraroschen for more!

Eiffel

Garnier

Triomphe

Authentically Aurora

Advertisements

Happy Q2!

Smiling in field of flowersAlthough I am partial to sweater weather and pumpkin spice lattes, the second quarter of the year is also a personal favorite of mine. The first week of April brings with it sundresses, wildflowers and clear blue skies. Gloom period is over, and the earth comes to life again as though waking from a long slumber.

I underwent a hibernation of my own during the first quarter of this year – my fast from dating. I’d told myself that, in light of the seemingly endless incoming (and outgoing) line of men in my life, I needed to take a break from dating this year to refocus and center myself; to reinstate God as my First Love.

My hope in so doing was to to rest in my singleness, learning to be content in this season and celebrating all of the unique opportunities afforded to me as an unattached young woman. It’s been a great first quarter. I’ve gotten to invest deeply in some key friendships, taught Sunday school to elementary children, started mentoring a group of high school kids, gotten certified to babysit foster kids, arranged some new a capella mashups, begun fashion illustration (check out my Instagram) and started looking into a few different travel destinations for a girls’ weekend away.

When I started on this journey, I wanted to make the commitment specific and measurable enough that I could be held accountable and not bail when the first cute boy of the year looked my way, so I gave a soft commitment not to go on any dates for 2016. However, I also wanted to give myself flexibility as life circumstances changed and my heart matured; I didn’t want to be legalistic about the commitment or put God in a box as to how He wanted to refine me in this area of my life. I didn’t feel a strong conviction to give a definitive commitment for an entire year, so I gave myself the option to reevaluate at the end of every quarter whether or not I should continue my break from dating.

So as the end of March approached, and with it, the end of Q1 2016, I prayed and asked God what He thought. Then I met with the girls in my bible study and asked for their input as well. In both my personal time of reflection and in the feedback from the group, there was a consensus that I have successfully hit the “reset” button on my dating mentality and could now move forward with starting to date again, this time with a God-honoring perspective on both the physical and emotional aspects of a relationship.

I am not in a hurry to jump back into dating. My days of online dating are behind me. But I am open to the possibility of exploring whether some of my godly male friendships could grow into something deeper. I’ve had seven guys waiting for this moment – the moment I would allow them to pursue a relationship with me.

Just thinking about juggling all of those possibilities had me nearly breaking out in hives, so I’ve already told five of the seven that I am not interested in a romantic relationship with them. Care to guess which of the seven has captured my attention?

Jay – a police officer I met while volunteering for the Passion Conference in January who sends me shirtless photos of himself from time to time

Jordan – the massage therapist and divorcee I met on the Bahamas cruise

Ike – a friend for over ten years with whom I’ve done international mission trips and who is graduating from seminary in May with plans to be a pastor

Hovik – the Armenian auto shop manager who lives in my apartment complex

Grant – the banker I met at church who takes me to a concert every year

Seth – a chemical engineer who volunteers in our church’s kids’ ministry with me

Joe – an A/C mechanic in my bible study who is built like a lumberjack

Authentically Aurora

Talking is Hard

WordSometimes words don’t come out right. And sometimes that’s awful and heart-wrenching. But sometimes it’s hilarious.

Meet 23-year-old Evan, a recent college grad who just moved to town. For the first time in four years, Evan finds himself outside the bubble of all-night parties and PC gaming and, as a result, his communication skills are a bit rusty. At lunch last week, Evan discovered that communication outside of texts, tweets and status updates can be challenging. Yes, Evan, this whole face-to-face human interaction thing can be difficult.

Girl 1: “So, Evan, do you have a girlfriend?”

Evan: “Not for long.”

[Awkward silence. Everyone looks around the table.]

Girl 2 [timidly]: “So… you’re planning to break up with her?”

Evan: “Oh. No, I meant that we haven’t been dating for very long.”

Girl 1: “Oh!” [laughs with relief] “Does she live in town?”

Evan: “No, she’s still in school. She’s at Fish Camp right now.”

Boy 1: “Ooh, so you’re into younger women! Going for a college freshman, eh? Nice!”

Evan: “No, she’s not a freshman. She’s 16.”

[Awkward silence. Everyone doing mental math.]

Boy 2: “Wow… uh, yeah… you do go for the younger women…”

Evan [waving his friends frantically]: “No, no, no… I mean, she’s class of ’16 — 2016! She’s one of the camp counselors at Fish Camp!”

[Sighs of relief around the table.]

For any future updates about his relationship, Evan will be utilizing Instagram, which enables him to communicate entirely using pictures and not words. 

Gaston

Authentically Aurora

Meeting Fabio (a Throwback Thursday post)

FabioI recently alluded to my run-in with the one and only Fabio Lanzoni.

At the request of Bitter Ben (one of my favorite bloggers of all time), here is the full scoop on that story!

Several months ago, I agreed to meet a friend for dinner at a local crunchy, granola, all organic, no-animals-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-your-food kind of place.

We met for an early dinner, so this hip restaurant was relatively empty as we walked up to the counter to place our orders. At least, it was empty except for this exceptionally tall and broad-shouldered man who was completely blocking the cash register while staring up at the menu behind the cashier, trying to decide what to order.

Internally rolling my eyes at this guy who was so oblivious to the fact that there were people waiting in line behind him, I tapped him on the bicep (he was too tall for me to tap him on the shoulder) and said, “Excuse me. Are you ready to order, or do you mind if we go ahead?”

He turned to look at me, surprised – he had kind eyes – and said warmly, “No, please go ahead.” He gestured with a wave of his arm for us to move ahead of him in line.

So I stepped up to the register, stated my order, and was surprised to see the girl at the register gaping at me. I stared back at her. “What?” I asked.

“That’s Fabio!” she hissed at me under her breath.

I had no idea what she was talking about. You renamed your turkey burger “the Fabio”? That’s weird.

She must have seen my blank expression, because she said again – this time jerking her head in the direction of the broad-shouldered man – “That guy behind you! It’s Fabio!”

Oh. Cool…?

I knew I was supposed to have some kind of a reaction, but I just shrugged, paid, and moved along. All I knew was that Fabio was some guy with long hair who used to pose for the covers of romance novels. Since I don’t read romance novels or fantasize about long-haired men, I was pretty nonplussed.

Soon after my friend and I sat down, women of all ages flocked the tall man, batting their eyelashes and asking for autographs. I looked him up and down, curious. He’s not an unattractive man, but honestly, in person, he almost seemed like a cartoon character. His features are so distinctive and almost disproportionate that he reminded me of a cross between Disney’s Tarzan (facial features/hair) and Kronk (pure bulk).

I hope he appreciated that I treated him like I would have treated anyone else. I imagine it would be nice to feel like a normal person rather than a celebrity to be tip-toed around or used as a prop for Facebook and Instagram bragging rights.

Even if only by one woman and only for one moment, Fabio got to experience a bit of normalcy that afternoon waiting in line at the cafe. And hey, after sitting in a pew with Lyle Lovett harmonizing to church hymns, what’s a run-in with the Icon of Eye Candy?

Authentically Aurora