Ahoj!

Taking a leap of faith and ready to explore new opportunities outside the minute city of Kearney, Nebraska, I somewhat called home for the past four years, I submitted my resignation letter to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Unexpectedly, the new head of my office asked me to continue to work remotely until I decide concretely what to do next, which I accepted following prayers with my close ones. Prior to this transition, I planned to briefly travel overseas in hopes of refreshing my mind and not stress myself over work and the future while away and, after looking into many options, decided on Prague, the Czech Republic; many of my friends have studied here and my mother has told me a couple of times about the beauty of the city.

Of course, knowing my travel style and with only three-and-a-half days to explore, I knew physically this would be the furthest thing from vacation, which proved to be true. From July 9 to 12, 2019, according to my Health app, I covered 31 miles on foot and climbed an equivalent of 196 floors. Starting day one in the afternoon due to the flight schedule and focusing on figuring out the transportation system, I had time for the Prague Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge, both of which included going up to the top of the towers, and a one-hour boat tour with Prague Boats, which I barely made on sprinting nearly two miles due to constantly getting lost. I began the second day with the full admission to the Prague Castle, not realizing the multitude of buildings within that would require me to spend six hours there alone; these comprised the Old Royal Palace, the Story of Prague Castle, Basilica of St. George, Golden Lane, St. Vitus Cathedral, and Rosenburg Palace. I paid separately to ascend the seemingly endless stairs to the pinnacle of the Great South Tower, part of the St. Vitus Cathedral, which I recommend only to people in shape. Following, I hiked up to the Petrin Lookout Tower on the other side and climbed to the top of the monument, where I could capture a breathtaking panorama of the city.

Breathtaking panorama of Prague from the top of the Petrin Lookout Tower

For day three, I booked the all-day Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Tour with Cayman Travel, the unquestionable highlight of my trip. This tour consisted of only four people, including me and the tour guide, which allowed us to build a closer relationship while inhaling the gorgeous Creation of God from both the German and Czech Republic sides. Being able to answer questions about the Bible and talk about the love of Jesus on our ride back to the starting point wins my most grateful memory; if God used that moment to plant the seed of faith in these individuals, my purpose of this journey is fulfilled. I spent the last full day visiting The Celts exhibition, part of the National Museum, the Dancing House, including drinking hot chocolate on the top floor, the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius and its crypt, and the Infant Jesus of Prague and then shopping.

American Airlines’ randomly and without a legitimate reason canceling my first flight from Prague to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, only hours before scheduled departure spiraled into the most frustrating and inconvenient flying experience I have ever dealt with, forcing me to argue with perhaps the rudest ticketing agent I have encountered, toss out some of my valuables, miss one flight and be stuck in Chicago, Illinois, overnight, miss church, and contact tens of agents of multiple airlines to retrieve my bag they lost. Nevertheless, I would rather focus on the positive. I was pleasantly surprised to realize I have set foot in nineteen countries since the summer of 2013, and I patiently wait in excitement to see God’s purpose of showing me so much of the world. I thank Jesus for allowing me another one of these indelible journeys and safely bringing me back home.

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Fourth of July Tradition

10-year-old marathoner! 🙂

Participating in the Brownville Freedom Run Half Marathon in Brownville, Nebraska, on the Fourth of July has become a tradition for the past three years. This year, however, I did not firmly decide until the week of due to a subtle yet lingering soreness in my right foot, many symptoms of which hint at a developing stress fracture; therefore, I for the first time in 47 races registered the morning of the event, as online registration had already closed. I have not been able to run as frequently or hard as I normally do in the past month and thus added occasional swimming to my training.

With the foreseeable heat and humidity this time of year in Nebraska and not entirely confident in the state of my right foot, I did not set a specific time goal. The majority of this course takes place on rugged trails, but my adrenaline kept me from feeling any unbearable pain in the injured foot, even though I felt the sting for nearly the entire race.

I, still on pace to break two hours around mile 11, thought to sprint the final half a mile, but miscalculating the finish line led me to kick too soon for how little energy I had left, at which point I only focused on finishing strong. Concluding 13.15 miles in 2:02:25.4, first time in almost a year not comfortably coming in under two hours, I felt slightly demoralized until realizing most runners I spoke to after ran significantly slower than their capabilities. The beauty of summer running (and an injury), I guess!

I thank Jesus for protecting me throughout the race, as always. Happy Birthday, America!