Thursday, December 12, 2013

We love you, Tata Madiba.

So much has transpired in the last few days. Apart from searching for the right words and forming them into paragraphs, I have decided to give a short play-by-play of the events. However, I may come back to this important time in future blog posts. As of right now, it is simply too much to process. I hope this gives you all some idea of what Soweto and South Africa have been like in the aftermath of losing an extremely influential leader and loving person. Hamba kahle, Madiba. (Go well, Madiba - "Madiba" is Mandela's clan name)

Friday, December 6th, 2013

6:30 am – Wake up like normal. Turn on the tv to SABC 2 to watch the news as I eat breakfast. Found out that Nelson Mandela passed away the night before.

7:00 am РGo to the cr̬che. Was asked if I had heard the news.

11:00 am – Have a staff meeting at DAM. Begin the meeting with a prayer thanking God for Madiba’s life and legacy and asking for support during this time.

1:00 pm – Go on a short walk to buy kota for lunch. Hear a 4 year-old girl singing a song in Zulu on the street. The only words I could understand were “Nelson Mandela.”

5:00 pm – Decide to head to Vilakazi Street, where Mandela lived before being imprisoned.

5:20 pm – Reach Mandela’s house. Surrounded by singing, dancing, and celebration.

10:00 pm – Check the tv to see if The Vampire Diaries is on. No regular programming. Still constant coverage on Mandela.

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

11:00 am – Go to Vilakazi Street again. Different atmosphere from the night before. Still celebrations, but more tourists and vendors.

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

9:30 am – Walk across the yard to church. Presiding Bishop of ELCSA is present. His sermon is full of praise and admiration for Mandela, but reminds us that even Mandela needed help from God.

3:00 pm – Attend a Freshlyground concert. Opening song’s first line: “Daddy, please don’t go - I couldn’t face this lonely world without you.”

Monday, December 9th, 2013

2:00 pm – Asked by coworkers if I was planning to attend the memorial service the next day. Hadn’t considered the possibility yet.

9:00 pm – Look up information about the service for the next day. Decide to leave the flat at 5:30 am.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

5:45 am – Walk out of the flat and head out to find a taxi.

6:15 am – Finally find a taxi. Lady sitting next to me asked if I had packed snacks because it was going to be a long day.

6:30 am – Taxi driver pulls over and tells us to get out, run, and catch the Rea Vaya bus that would take us to the stadium. Before we leave the taxi, he hands back our fares and says “Good luck.”

6:45 am – Arrive at FNB Stadium. Approach the gate among a group of people singing and dancing together.

7:00 am – Decide to sit in the upper level to avoid the rain.

7:30 am – Dread having to wait for the next 3 ½ hours for the service to start.

7:45 am – Upper level seats begin to fill. Singing and dancing commence. There is one song in English: “Mandela you’re my president. Mandela you’re my president. My president. My president.” The time begins to fly by.

11:00 am – Family members and dignitaries begin to arrive. Each is announced and shown on the big screen, followed by cheers from the crowd.

11:30 am – Service begins with remarks from Mandela’s family and friends. Crowd cheers especially loud when Mama Winnie Mandela is shown on screen.

2:00 pm – US President Barack Obama is announced. Some of the loudest cheers yet erupt as the crowd comes to its feet.

3:15 pm – Event director has to interrupt President of India Pranab Mukherjee’s speech to scold a band for playing too loudly in the crowd.

5:00 pm – Desmond Tutu gives the benediction. Before he begins, he says, “Everyone must be standing before I will give the blessing!”

5:45 pm – Begin to find the correct bus to take us home. End up waiting among hundreds of others in an overcrowded bus station. Instead of speaking complaints, more songs are sung.

8:00 pm – Arrive back at the flat. Get ready for a normal day of work in the morning.

A fellow attendee proudly waves the South African flag.

The crowd in the bus station, waving signs and singing songs. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Clapping Hands

Does anyone remember the hand-clapping game that goes like this:
                         Double, double, this, this
                         Double, double, that, that
                         Double, this, double, that
                         Double, double, this, that

Well, that one was a popular game to play on the playground (and anywhere else, really) when I was growing up. Today, a few young girls taught me their version:
                         Double, double, chicken, chicken
                         Double, double, lickin', lickin'
                         Double, chicken, double, lickin'
                         Double, double, chicken, lickin'

I don't know about you, but saying "chicken" and "lickin'" sounds even more fun than saying "this" and "that."

Hand-clapping games are the best, no matter what country you are from.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Everyday Experience #2 - Cooking and Eating

This blog post is about one of my favorite things: food. Many people have asked me about the food that I have been eating here and how it is different from home. I will attempt to adequately describe a few of the wonderful foods that I have been cooking and eating during my time here thus far.

Note: Sorry for the lengthy post, but I just LOVE FOOD!

Most of the time, I cook all of my meals in my flat. The other two volunteers and I buy our groceries together and usually eat together. This is so nice because it splits up the duties of shopping and cooking. Sometimes it is not nice when we argue about what type of meat to buy or who should cook each night. Luckily, those small arguments do not happen too often.

Our kitchen consists of a fridge/freezer, microwave, sink, electric kettle, and two-burner hot plate. Unfortunately, there is not much to work with in the cooking department. However, we have become masters of the hot plate and can cook some pretty delicious (and fairly healthy!) meals.

                                                            The infamous kitchen.   

 A classic supper for us would be chicken (usually seasoned with “chicken spice” – pretty easy to remember when to use that…), some type of noodles (they usually take a while – I still haven’t seen our hot plate get hot enough to actually boil water), a sauce (usually made of tomato paste, some type of dry soup mix, water, onions, peppers, salt, and sometimes mushrooms if I get my way), and some type of vegetable (our favorites are broccoli and spinach). Sounds pretty good, right? Get this – it actually is!! I have become surprisingly good at cooking this meal. Unfortunately, it is still the ONLY meal I am good at. I have a feeling it may get old after a while.

Other than cooking for ourselves, there are many other options around. First of all, the mall is only about 2 km away, and there are a bunch of options there, including McDonald’s, KFC, pizza, burgers, etc. Although these are nice comforts from home, I tend to choose more South African things when I want to eat out. Probably my favorite South African fast food item is kota. Kota is a type of sandwich, and from what I understand, is mostly found here in Soweto. It is made of fluffy white bread, filled with seasoned chips (French fries), an egg, polony (a type of meat), burger, and cheese…. and probably about 4,000 calories. However, it is so delicious and only R11.50 (about $1.15)!

                                      About to take my first bite of kota - a heavenly experience. :)

My other favorite food to buy here is chips (French fries) with salt, vinegar, and spice (I’m honestly not sure what the “spice” is, but it is some type of seasoning that kind of reminds me of seasoned salt). I have found the one shop that makes them exactly how I like them, so I have ignored the unhealthiness and bought them quite a few times so far. The small portion is R10 (about $1) and the big portion, which is twice the size, is R13 (about $1.30). I know the small would be enough for me, but why not spend the extra 3 rand to get twice as much, right?!

As for traditional food, I have tried quite a few things. One of the most common South African dishes that I have had is pap served with chicken or beef. Pap (pronounced like “pop” – it becomes very confusing when I forget and call soft drinks – or “cold drinks” here – pop and they think I am talking about pap) is made of mielie-meal (ground corn) and looks like mashed potatoes, in my opinion. It basically has no taste, but it works well to complement other dishes. I have had pap served with chicken or a type of beef stew. Sometimes, especially at large gatherings, such as a wedding or funeral, other sides are included as well. This can include potato salad, chakalaka (a mixture of vegetables, sometimes beans, and seasonings – sometimes very spicy, but super delicious), or other side salads.

                                            Pap, chicken, and chakalaka. Photo cred: Google

Some of the more unique foods I have tried include tripe (cow stomach), achaar (an Indian food made of mango pickled in oil with other seasonings – VERY SPICY, and honestly not my favorite thing…), liver, and chicken neck. Some people say that I need to try mopane worms because they are so good, but others say I shouldn’t let them get anywhere near my mouth. We will just have to wait and see on that one. J

         Achaar - a favorite of Sowetans, but not of me. Photo cred: Google

Overall, I have at least tried everything that was set in front of me. The running joke is that people should just tell me to try something, and then tell me what it was after I take a bite.

Food is such an important part of culture and I have been blessed to be able to try traditional foods while still keeping my stomach happy with peanut butter and jelly and other comforting items.

In the near future, I have been asked to cook some traditional American dishes (?), so if anyone has any ideas for me, I would be glad to hear about them!

Happy eating!

P.S. For anyone that knows anything about South Africa, you will notice that I failed to discuss the classic South African braai. I did that on purpose, because I plan to devote a whole post to that one topic!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Love with this Moment

I was sitting in my room when I heard it. I heard the unmistakable sounds of beautiful South African voices singing.

Not knowing where the sounds were coming from, I venture outside. Before I know it, I find myself sitting on the ground, listening, and falling in love with the moment.

The weather is perfect – not too hot and not too cold. Wispy clouds fill the nighttime sky. I can see the moon and a few stars peeking through.

The singing continues, coming from a house across the street. I may never know if it was a choir rehearsal or simply a group of people who decided to sing together. Whatever the purpose, the outcome is beautiful. Gaps between songs are filled with discussion and laughter.

A few houses down from the singing, two boys play with a soccer ball. In the distance, I can hear the joyful shouts of more children.

In addition to the noises made by people, the nighttime sounds of nature are also present. I hear the constant chirps of crickets, the buzz of other insects, and the soft whoosh of the light breeze.

I am lost in the moment, overcome with the beautiful sounds of singing, laughter, and nature.

Before I know it, I am brought back to reality by the loud sound of a train passing. I have spent the last thirty minutes lost in the sights and sounds around me. I have spent the last thirty minutes thinking, listening, watching, and thanking God for making sure I experienced this moment. I have spent the last thirty minutes in awe. I have spent the last thirty minutes feeling a wonderful sense of peace and joy.

I am in love with this moment.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Everyday Experience #1 - Laundry

Doing my laundry here wasn’t something I really thought about before I arrived. At home, it was such a normal, everyday experience that I didn’t put much thought into it.

During in-country orientation, new questions kept popping into my mind, such as “Do I have to provide my own toilet paper?” “When a light bulb goes out, where do I get a new one to replace it?” and “How will I do my laundry?”

For the last question, Tessa (my country coordinator) said something like this. “There is a washing machine there for you to use, but I was told that it also requires some ‘manual labor’ to wash your clothes.”


Based on that answer, I had no idea what to expect. I was honestly picturing myself having to literally shake the machine to imitate the churning of clothes inside. For something that I never gave a second thought, the thought of doing laundry was suddenly daunting.

When I arrived in Soweto, I asked the German volunteers here for advice on doing laundry. They said that there is a washing machine for the volunteers to use located directly behind our flat, but it is broken. Luckily, there is another machine, but we have to share it with other people, so sometimes it is hard to find a good time to wash. Finally, the machine works pretty well when actually washing the clothes, but it struggles during the spin cycle.

When I needed to attempt my first load of laundry, I had Giulia, my flat mate, show me how to run the machine. She said that I should turn on the machine, push every button once, and then hit start. I have no idea why we have to push every button once, but I just go with it and it works pretty well. After starting the machine, I wait for about 45 minutes, then go to check.

                                                  The working washing machine, located 
                                                                  just outside of the main kitchen at DAM.

Usually, I find my clothes sitting in a pool of water. This shows that the wash cycle is complete, but the ever-cumbersome drainage and spin cycle is struggling to begin. One of my neighbors said that the best way to make the spin cycle work is to have a small child sit on the machine. Since I am lacking in the “small child department” I simply lean on the machine and put pressure on the lid, which usually makes it spin for about two minutes before it stops again. This process of leaning, spinning, stopping, and leaning again continues until 1) my clothes are no longer soaking or 2) I am sick of leaning on the machine. Usually it is the latter.

Finally, it is time to hang my clothes on the line outside. Our clothesline is located just behind my flat in the garden. So far, it has been pretty windy here, which is good for quickly drying clothes, but creates a new challenge for keeping my clothes on the line and off the ground.

                                        Some of my laundry hanging on the line behind our flat.

I have discovered which clothespins are the strongest, and therefore work best for heavy items, such as jeans.  I came upon that discovery after having many items fall from the line onto the dry, dusty ground, which caused the items to now be muddy and almost as dirty as before I started laundry.

Luckily, the warm and breezy weather makes for very fast drying. For most items, about an hour on the line is enough. For others, I must leave them out there longer, and hope to remember to get them later. Fortunately, I live with some pretty great people who bring my jeans to my door should I forget them on the line for an extended period of time.

I have heard many stories about fellow YAGMs learning how to properly hand-wash their clothes, and I am extremely grateful to have the almost-fully-functioning washing machine that I have. In the few times that I have hand-washed my clothes, I think they end up smelling worse than before I started washing them.

Basically, doing my laundry here is different than it was back home, but I have learned to adjust and be flexible. Isn't it strange how even the most mundane activities can teach us lessons in life? Way to go, YAGM program. I have even learned lessons by doing my laundry.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Grace Space

During orientation in Chicago, we compiled a list of rules for our time together.  One of these rules was to “allow some grace space for yourself.” Basically, this means that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. This rule was very helpful during orientation in Chicago and during in-country orientation as well. However, I have found that the idea of “grace space” has become even more prevalent and useful lately here in Soweto.

Throughout much of my YAGM experience so far, I have been feeling inadequate. During Chicago orientation, I was feeling in awe of the other YAGMs and feeling like I didn’t fit with this group of amazing people. During in-country orientation, this feeling was intensified. The other South Africa YAGMs are such inspiring and great people; how could I possibly belong in this group?

Here in Soweto, I have been wondering if what I am doing is enough. Am I working hard enough to step out of my comfort zone? Am I trying hard enough to learn a new language? Am I being open enough to create new, lasting relationships? Am I actually teaching the children anything? Questions like these seem to be constantly running through my mind.

When I am feeling overwhelmed with these doubts or feelings of inadequacy, I remind myself of our rule during orientation:

“Allow some grace space for yourself.”

Although nothing that I do ever seems to be enough, I know that God has provided me with the strength and courage to do exactly what needs to be done. I must learn that “being" can be more important than “doing.” After all, “We are human beings, not human doings.”

I must remember that I am who I am for a reason. I am here in Soweto for a reason, even though that reason may not ever become clear to me. I must constantly strive to be my best, but not let that get in the way of living. The relationships I have built and will continue to build are important, both to me and my community. Although I may not see it every day, my presence here is noticed and important. God entrusted this role of YAGM to me, and I must have trust in that plan.

Dear current, former, and future YAGMs, friends, and family, please don’t forget to allow some grace space for yourself. You are all beautiful people with a wonderful purpose in this world. You are loved, cared for, and relied on more than you know. Don’t allow yourself to feel inadequate as compared to others. You are unique and incredible in your own way, and that’s what makes this world such a wonderful place.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Is that Zulu or Sotho?

The title of this post displays a question that I have asked more times than I can remember. From my experience so far (three weeks already - woah!!), most people in my area speak either Zulu or Sotho (pronounced Soo-too). However, I am still fairly slow at recognizing when either language is being spoken. For the most part, the people at DAM speak Sotho, so most of the time I can just assume that is what I am listening to. At the mall today, however, a salesperson started a conversation with me and tried to teach me how to say "How may I help you?" This was when my "go-to question" came out. Turns out, she was teaching me Sotho, which was a relief for me because that is what most people have been trying to teach me. Rather than attempt to learn both Sotho and Zulu, I think that one new language is enough for me. :)

In my short time here, I have become partly fascinated and partly annoyed with languages.  I am fascinated because I have sat in on so many conversations of which I had no idea what was being discussed. There have been many times when I have been the only person who doesn't speak the language at all. I have had people try to teach me words, then chuckle when I try to pronounce them. I am also frustrated because I have noticed that I am literally the only person I know here that only speaks one language. Every South African I have met speaks their mother tongue as well as English. The German volunteers I work with speak German and English. I only speak English.

To add to that frustration (and fascination), the English I grew up with is not the same as what is spoken here. I have created a list of a few examples, which is both amusing and confusing for me and others:

-It's not "I have to go to the bathroom," it's "I have to use the toilet."
-It's not "over there," it's "that side."
-It's not "six thirty," it's "half-past six."
-They aren't "diapers," they are "nappies."
-They aren't "french fries," they are "chips."
-It's not "pop," it's "cold drink."
-It's not a "sweatshirt," it's a "jersey."

These language differences, whether between American English and South African English or between English and Sotho, are both barriers and opportunities. This experience is giving me the opportunity to learn a new language (or two?!) as well as discover new ways of communicating.

I'm hoping that my time here will open my eyes and ears to the multitude of languages around me. I pray that I become more comfortable with using Sotho in conversation, and that people continue to be patient with me as I learn. I also hope and pray that people don't get annoyed with me as I continually ask whether they are speaking Zulu or Sotho. :)


P.S. I have been given a Zulu name! It is Nhlahla, which means "lucky" in English. I have only recently been able to pronounce it, and there are some people who only refer to me as Nhlahla! Cool, huh?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Learning to Live

I have heard it said that South Africa is where first and third worlds meet. Based on my experience today, I found that to be true.

The Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) department, one of the areas where I devote a lot of my time here at DAM, held a retreat for its staff in Joburg. Personally, I was so excited to go into the city and experience something new. However, I was surprisingly affected by the stark differences between my little neighborhood in Soweto and the area of Joburg that we visited.

                                            Here is a shot of a few of our group members and the park
                                                           where we spent the afternoon. It was a beautiful place
                                                           and a great experience, but it stirred up some interesting
                                                           and unexpected emotions.

In one short week, I have become fairly comfortable with the area where I live despite the fact that it is very different from what I am used to at home.  It is not filled with mansions and sports cars, but instead with modest homes and wonderful people who have graciously welcomed me into their community. While driving through Joburg and seeing many houses and cars nicer than ones at home in Minnesota, I was surprised and confronted with the income disparity here in SA. 

It also hit me that this income disparity is present throughout the world. While the extremity of this phenomenon varies, there are always people in need and people with excess. Many times, these two extremes are living in close proximity geographically, but can be portrayed as being light years away.

As Christians and as citizens of the world, I think our challenge is to recognize these disparities and find creative ways to engage our neighbors, regardless of their situation. Giving money to charity is usually the first thing people think of when considering ways to assist the poor, but I think it is even more important to simply live with and learn from others who are in different economic and social situations. The citizens of the world must learn how to live together in mutuality and respect before any injustices can be solved.

Lord, please give us the strength and courage to engage our neighbors. Help us to live together in mutuality and respect. Let your light shine through anyone and everyone we meet, and help us to recognize that light when it is almost blinding us. Be with the citizens of the world as we learn to live with all of humanity. Amen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Incredible People, Incredible Words

Since arriving here in South Africa on August 23rd, I have met some pretty amazing people. They are full of wisdom, courage, joy, and so much more. I am constantly amazed at the words and phrases that come out of their mouths. Due to this wealth of knowledge that I have come across (and my handy-dandy little notebook), I have some awesome quotes to share from the last few weeks.

Note:  I did not keep track of who said what, so I will not give individual credit for each quote. However, please know that I did not (and probably could not) say anything nearly as incredible as these people.

“God is a God of time. He is not early or late.”

“We’re not here to fix Africa. We are here to listen, learn, and maybe go back and fix our own society and church.”

“The essence of traveling is not to find places that remind you of home. It is meant to expose you to different things and ways of life.”

“Motho o boteng” (In Setswana, this means “person is deep”)

“Time is an opportunity to strengthen/deepen a relationship.”

“In the US, the time determines the event. In Africa, the event determines the time.”

“When we don’t make time for God, time becomes our God.”

“I’m here to love God and my neighbor, whatever that means.”

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

“You are here to learn how to live with humanity.”

“Spend time with people. Even if they differ in color and culture, they are still in the image of God.”

“Out of every nonsense, there is a sense.”

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Time to Catch Up!

Wow! These last few weeks have been a whirlwind. First of all, on August 14th, I left home and flew to Chicago for a week of in-country orientation with all 60 of the 2013-2014 YAGM volunteers. That week was so incredible, and filled with good conversations and even better people. I am truly blessed to be able to join in the journeys of the other 59 YAGMs. You guys are so great. J

After saying some tearful goodbyes (yes, even I cried when I had to say goodbye… that shows how much we care for each other), myself and the other 9 South Africa volunteers flew on the second-largest plane I have ever seen to Frankfurt, Germany. After a fairly long layover, in which some of us took to exploring the city of Frankfurt, we left on the largest plane I have ever seen in my life and flew to Johannesburg, South Africa!

After arriving here, we met up with our country coordinators, who are seriously awesome, and began to process what this year may look like for us. This past week was literally one of the greatest in my life. Not only was I exploring this beautiful country, but I was doing it alongside nine of the most incredible people. I am so grateful for the other nine South Africa YAGMs for making this transition smooth, enjoyable, and full of grace and kindness.

Now this brings me to the present. I have just arrived in Soweto, South Africa, which is where I will be spending the next 11 months! After spending probably too much time unpacking and finding homes for all of my t-shirts (why did I bring so many?), I had a great night of fellowship and food with a few of the other volunteers and staff with whom I will spend a lot of time. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the organization I will be working with (Diakonia AIDS Ministry or DAM) and the city that has now become my home. Just as I was feeling sad about saying goodbye to my wonderful YAGM community, God has provided me with another community here in Soweto. How cool, right?!

Whew, that was a lot. Sorry about writing a novel-length post, but I felt bad about not posting at all since I left home! Hopefully this has given you all a glimpse into my life for the last 2 ½ weeks. Soon, I will begin posting about my daily life here in Soweto! Ahh!

Lots of love,

Emily J

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Hello wonderful family and friends!

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I have been working at the wonderful and beautiful camp called Good Earth Village in Spring Valley, Minnesota this summer and I have not had a ton of time to blog.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email with my placement for YAGM!! I cannot explain the excitement I was feeling when I opened that attachment. After calming myself down, I read the letter that told me I would be living and working in Soweto, South Africa! Soweto is a large city located just outside of Johannesburg (see the map below). While there, I will be working for the Diakonia AIDS Ministry (DAM). This organization is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) and ministers to people affected and/or infected by HIV/AIDS. I found this website that does a good job of providing an overview of DAM and the services offered there: While I do not know what exactly I will be doing with DAM, I have accepted the fact that I will not know everything in advance, and I must instead discover many new things once I arrive.

I am so excited to begin this journey of living, working, and involving myself in the community of Soweto and DAM! Thank you to everyone who has been by my side throughout this journey so far.

If you would like to stay up-to-date while I am in Soweto, here are a couple of ways to stay in contact:

     -My email address is Please don't be afraid to shoot me an email - I would love to stay in touch!

     -Obviously continue following my blog! I will update this as often as possible!

     -My mailing address while in Soweto will be: Emily Dahle, c/o Diakonia AIDS Ministry, Box 1210, Roodeport, 1725, South Africa. Feel free to send me letters, postcards, etc. I love being pen pals!

Finally, here are a couple of maps to show you all where both South Africa and Soweto are located:

Much love,

Emily :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's really happening!

Hello all!

And here begins my blogging journey... I will attempt to be interesting and insightful, but most importantly, I will attempt to be myself and give you all a glimpse into my life. Here we go!

As most of you know, I will be spending the next year in Southern Africa with the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program through the ELCA. I am INCREDIBLY excited for this opportunity and can't wait to see what God has in store for my future! I'm hoping that this blog can be a place to keep everyone at home updated on my adventures as well as give me a place to process all of my thoughts and feelings throughout this experience.

Ever since finding out about my placement in Southern Africa (FYI - the program is called YAGM in Southern Africa because the church body that we work with also has some congregations in neighboring countries, but I will almost certainly be placed within the actual country of South Africa), I have been on cloud nine! As the summer gets closer, I am starting to realize that it is really happening and I could not be more excited!! Every time another one of my fellow YAGMs post on Facebook or share one of their blog posts (you should read theirs; seriously, these people are incredible) I am overwhelmed with this feeling of joy and happiness. Geez, I just can't get over how blessed I am for this opportunity. God rocks.

Now that I have talked your ear off about YAGM, I feel like I need to mention my upcoming graduation from Wartburg College. I can't even begin to describe the gratitude and appreciation for Wartburg and all of the wonderful people I have met along the way! Today, I was taking pictures around campus and all I could think about was how much I am going to miss this place! However, I will always identify myself as a Wartburg Knight and I know I will always be able to lean on the huge family that I have become a part of during these last four years. Ok, enough mushy stuff. I'm getting emotional again.

I will leave you with a picture I took on Wartburg's campus earlier today. For any future college students that may be reading this, seriously come and visit. You won't regret it.

-Emily :)