There’s a rich metaphor in marshmallows, but that’s not likely to show up in this post. Read Maggie Dressler’s future autobiography for that.

Instead let me take you back to a moment in my childhood, a core memory, where marshmallows are flying around a wood panelled room as young adults laugh and send projectiles around my parents and I. My sister was probably hiding in the other room. My mom was probably launching fistfuls of soft bullets right next to Karin. Honestly, all I remember is Kari and couches and loads of marshmallows. I think it actually happened multiple times on different retreats, so I’m not sure if the wood panelled walls were with Kari and the couches or not. But there’s a blending in my mind of every college group retreat my parents led having a marshmallow fight, and I know for a fact that during a long season of my life my parents gave a bag of marshmallows as wedding gifts to the members of that group as they married over the next several years.

I used to be a chubby bunny champ in my youth. I won a competition or two during high school. But I’m not a big fan of actually eating marshmallows. I’ll stuff them in my mouth and spit them out after; I’ll roast them and pass them to someone else’s s’more more often than building my own. Usually I’ll just eat the graham crackers and chocolate. But marshmallows mean something in everyone’s life, and I’m a fan of Veronica Mars too. (Actually, I’m a fan of Shannon and our bonding over that show more than the actual show which has some problematic issues but some great drama.) We’re getting off track here – there’s a reason my post is a day late and titled “Marshmallows.”

I had a great weekend that started out with a Christmas party involving the staff from our church and the trust that shares and office with us. I happen to really love these people, and I think they love me too. I genuinely enjoyed the lunchtime party and laughter as five Walking on Water silver mugs with a surfing Jesus showed up in our white elephant gift exchange. It was a completely different vibe from the Candela German choir white elephant gift exchange. Honestly, the rules for both of those are different to any white elephant gift exchange I experienced in America. That’s the fun of living internationally.

Friday night I was hosting a Christmas party for the youth leader team, and I’d bought a few bags of marshmallows for a fun game where people had plastic drink cups on their hands and had to grab the squishy lollies from the center of a circle of competitors and place them on their own plate. Since my table was loaded with food, I tore open the first bag and handed it to a friend to dump on the floor where people were already seated after our casual meal. “Are you sure?” three people asked me as I said we’d just dump the marshmallows on the floor. “Yeah, of course,” I replied, ready to watch this game unfold in hilarity. I wasn’t wrong about the hilarity, but I was wrong about how much of a mess New Zealand marshmallows make. They’ve got way more corn starch dust than American marshmallows.

Fortunately, they vacuum up great.

The little girl who watched young adults throw marshmallows around a reatreat in Oregon had no idea she’d be leading a group of high energy adults who’d be throwing marshmallows around her own home in New Zealand twenty-five odd years later. What a life; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I have had some amazing life-on-life moments this past week, and I love that I’m so at home here four months in. There was loads of food left over on Friday, and I knew I needed help to eat it all. I also knew I’d promised Laurie a photo of my dining table filled on a Sunday as she so frequently fills her table on Sundays. As I chatted with some friends after church, we made plans for them to come back for dinner since they had other lunch options, and I snapped a picture for Laurie before we dug into loads of tacos and chocolate chip cookies. There was lots of laughing and games, and I ended up driving around looking at Christmas lights later with a few friends. I commented on how it’s been ages since I’ve driven around looking at lights; despite that being such a common American Christmastime tradition, it’s less common to do in Germany. What fun it is to find new ways to have fun that are reminiscent of my old experiences but still so different.

I’ve still got a few more things to do before fully being settled here – like putting up art on the walls, but one of my youth leaders is a builder who said he had free time during the holidays to help me out. Alicia and I braved the mall this afternoon to buy a few remaining items to make this house a home, and I had a blast organising my desk and closet with the latest new details. What a gift that I get to wake up and go to work down the street at this incredible job where I get to plan out how to communicate the transforming hope of Jesus to young people in this city.

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