dartmouth massachusetts

So, tomorrow morning I’m getting on the plane for the very first time. It’s also my dad’s first time flying. We’re going with a group from church on a mission trip to help a church in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
I’m excited about flying, but also nervous. So, send me some prayers and happy thoughts. Please.

I won’t be posting a one shot probably until Tuesday. I’m super sorry about that! I was gonna queue some, but I ran out of time. 😕

I love you guys. Thanks for being awesome!

Above is a photo of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev on April 15, 2013- Just a few minutes before they set off the first bomb.

The brothers had been in the United States for nearly a decade. Ethnic Chechens, they came with their family to Cambridge – fleeing violence in their homeland for a better life in America. Immediately, 8-year-old Dzhokhar immediately seemed to just fit in.

Larry Aaronson, a history teacher at the prestigious Cambridge and Latin High School said Dzhokhar was a great kid. “I know this kid to be compassionate. I know this kid to be forthgoing. He’s a great athlete, a sportsman, he’s never been in trouble,” Aaronson said. “He was just generous, he was compassionate, he was thoughtful.” A steller athlete, Dzhokhar was the captain of his high school wrestling team and he was popular.“Lots of friends on the teams. I mean, he was always with other kids. He’s not a loner. He was not a loner. He’s not anybody like that,” said Aaronson.

Dzhokhar was so impressive, that in 2011 – the year of his high school graduation – he won a $2,500 dollar educational scholarship from the City of Cambridge. He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and chose to study nursing, talking about wanting to help people. “I never saw him out of emotion, never in rage, he was just a real relaxed kid,” friend Francis Barry, a sophomore said he liked hanging out with him. “It still hasn’t sunk in that the kid on my couch was the kid planting bombs in Boston,” he said.

“There’s nothing about him that would suggest anything like this - politics, religion – nothing,” said Aaronson.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Dzhokhar took the oath to become an American citizen.

On the surface, at least, the younger Tsarnaev brother seemed to be thriving in America, but his older brother, Tamerlan, was clearly struggling. The 26-year-old once had dreams of boxing in the Olympics, representing the United States.

Tamerlan was a top Golden Gloves boxer. But for all his talent, it seems he still didn’t feel entirely welcome here, telling a photographer who took photos published in 2010, “I don’t have a single American friend because I don’t understand them.” Tamerlan became violent towards his wife and began brainwashing her into converting to Muslim. He talked heavily about his religion to almost anyone who would listen.

Just a few years before the Boston bombings, big changes happened in the brothers Tsarnaev’s lives. Their father left the United States, moving to Russia and leaving Tamerlan to take on a more paternal role in his younger brother’s life. Dzhokhar’s friends noticed.

“His older brother didn’t approve of his partying lifestyle. Religious and he really didn’t condone drinking and partying and that stuff,” 

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni was bursting with rage over what had taken place. He claimed that Tamerlan forced Jahar into helping him out,  "The older brother involved him. Even the worst gangster would not involve his family member, especially younger sibling, into something dirty and cruel like this,” Tsarni said. “He’s just another victim.”