Monday, November 29, 2004
The bad news is that my computer has died.
The good news is that by tomorrow I will be back home in St. Louis. (And will hopefully get my Compy 3000 fixed.)
The other good news is that I got a tattoo. I like it.
Have a good Monday.
See some of you soon.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
I think Jared is right. I should start dreaming about swords. I’m going to put in a request to the Sandman.
But instead, I had another gun dream today. Seriously.
So after watching Australia beat England on the big screen at the Oz Bar this afternoon, I was completely shattered. (ONE beer and I was so tired.) So I went home and fell straight into bed.
In said dream, Tim and I were going to the cinema with my little brother. Tim was, apparently, a secret agent. (Go figure.) For some reason, I was like, testing to be a secret agent or something, and I was supposed to carry out a “mission”. This mission was to carry a gun past security, into the cinema. Tim hands me a gun, and I hide it…where else?...in my coat POCKET. (Good job, Mic. Way to be a secret agent. They’ll never find it there!)
Now, apparently this was a movie PREMIERE, but not one of those fancy ones. But I guess the two security guards saw the gun (“Ma’am, is that a gun in your pocket or am I just happy to see you….I mean….um…..sorry….dammit….”), because they tell me they have to search my pockets or something and discover the gun. I’m all braced for getting in trouble, but they’re like, “We’ll just have to keep this here for you during the movie. You can get it afterwards.” (So kind.)
So they disassemble the gun, Tim and security guards make jokes about ammo. We walk in the theatre and walk past Halle Berry. I freak out about her. (“You’re Halle Berry!” As if she doesn’t know that. Why am I an idiot in my dreams?) She was also very short in my dream. I think I gave her a hug. I don’t even LIKE Halle Berry in real life. I mean, having not ever known her and all.
Anyway, I don’t remember much after that, except the actual look of the theatre, where we sat (near the front, left) and hanging out with my little bro. The dream merged into another fairly soon after. I don’t think I ever got my gun back.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
High School, The Pope and Daisy Dukes
It’s too late again and against my friends wishes I remain awake, despite 3 broken hours of sleep in which I dreamt I was somehow high school friends with my friend Aaron (whom I do not know from high school). Aaron and I were also camping out in the front lawn of the high school which we apparently went to/were going to. I’m also fairly sure there were guns and a stakeout involved, but the details are fuzzy.
I’ve had several weird and/or unpleasant dreams these days. Did I tell you that I dreamt the Pope died the other week? I think I might have. In all honesty, I thought it would be kinda cool to wake up and find out he’d ACTUALLY died while I was asleep (…and before you guys go and start thinking I’m morbid…have you looked at the guy lately? It’s almost his time. In fact, I’m pretty sure his time was…yesterday...), but he’s still plugging along. That or the Vatican is in the midst of an enormous cover-up scheme, and I can’t imagine them ever doing that.
Another one consisted of me and an anonymous dream friend shopping at a thrift store, which all of the sudden gets held up by two dudes, one whom we shall call “Slim” and another whom we shall call “Fatty’. Why one would hold up a thrift store, I do not know. But me and Anonymous are taken captive and held in a back room. Again, lots of guns involved. Shoot-out ensues. Slim and Fatty get into an argument and somehow turn against each other. Slim decides we should be freed, Fatty says there’s nothin doin. (That’s not a direct quote, though.) Slim hides with us in the back room. More gunplay ensues, until I wake up, really sad that I couldn’t actually buy that pair of thrift store jeans I was planning to in the dream. Dammit.
The scariest one was two nights ago. Me and someone...my mom’s age, but I don’t THINK it was supposed to actually be my mother, are driving in a rural American area, in some Dukes of Hazzard-type car, in a Dukes of Hazzard-type environment. Lots of dust everywhere. No, I was not wearing extremely short cut-offs, but thanks for asking. Suddenly, my Older Friend Who I Don’t Think Is Mother sees a shoot out with woman whom we learn has escaped from prison or robbed a bank or something and The Good Guys (except I actually only remember women in the dream). She slams on the brakes, hands me a handgun, and OF takes her rifle, ready to get the woman, in the name of all that is pure and holy and NRA-affilliated. (Beginning to see a familiar pattern developing here? Me too.) The really sucky part was when Bad Lady keeps coming closer, to where I am hiding behind another woman and and we are BOTH shooting at the Bad Lady, behind a fence. At about five feet away, she dares me to shoot her. I cannot, of course. And she shoots me in the throat. (Ha, really threw you on that one, didn’t I? Well I don’t write these. Trust me, if I did, they’d be a whole lot more fun, and there would be less guns. Maybe.)
Ruth seems to think the last one has something to do with my glandular fever. So let’s go with that one.
Today – while awake - was fairly crap. Which is a lot to say, if one is getting SHOT at in their dreams. So for now we’ll stick to the dreams. At least I get to wake up after those.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
You Must Obey!
Today's orders... We'll all pretend its a bit of an internet scavenger hunt or something.
#1 - Sco's Photos
Ah, young love. Go check out my friend Scott Raymond's photos. He's not been blogging since May, but he's been busy being engaged and married and all that jazz, so you can hardly blame him. In lieu of his great words, we must make do with his great photos, especially of him and Brooke. (They look so fabulous together, I must say.) I really should start using Flickr.
#2 - Craig's Blog
Craig (Tubeo, on my links) is a friend of mine via being a friend of Tim's, but I'd like to think that we are actually friends (rather than....friends once removed....or worse, now, "ex-friend once removed" or something). Craig is just a brilliant writer, I think, and not nearly enough people read his blog. I think it's fabulous. Plus, I'm hoping that if more people start reading, he'll feel more pressured to post often. So...go over and lay the smack down.
#3 - Listen to Patty
Patty Griffin is one of those artists that can sincerely floor you. By that I mean I honestly think that her songs are just too beautiful or too heartbreaking to listen to sometimes. And I know I sound like I'm exaggerating, but I've gone weeks without listening to her before, simply because I thought my heart would explode. She's got songs for most every mood, but she excels at heartbreak and melancholy in very everyday-type lyrics. Team her up with Anne Lamott and we've got our chick writers for the everyday.
#4 - Visit Cameron's Blog
It looks pretty these days. I like the new look. And follow his lead and take the Myers-Briggs Test. "Find your soulmate....and by the end of this, we'll all be married."
#5 - Do something today that you haven't done before.
Something good. And tell me about it. Having mono, I don't get out much. I have to live vicariously through my dotcomrades.
(#6 Bonus - If you haven't yet, go buy the Garden State Soundtrack. I'm serious this time. No, really.)
XXXXXXXXXXX and one O,
AFI's 100 Movie Quotes
Apparently, AFI is planning on draining the number "100" just a little tiny bit more, to bring us "100 Movie Quotes". They do this under the guise of “100 years of movies”, but they’ve been doing this since 1998. (I remember discussing them in high school.) Now, I’m no math expert or anything, but if these are to come out in 2005, it really should be “107 Movie Quotes” (For 107 years of movies.) But then that doesn’t have quite the ring to it, I will admit. So go ahead, AFI. Slap around the number one hundred a little more. I’m sure it doesn’t mind.
So far, they tease us by releasing a list of 400 (that’s right….four…hundred) movie quotes from which “the experts” will be choosing 100. Some are good, some are just plain dumb. (If “I’m the king of the world!” from Titanic actually makes the list, I’m doing to….do something….very drastic….)
For your personal enjoyment, I picked out some of my favorites just for you. (Most of which were my favorites before the list, but a few I just read for the first time, and liked. I’ll admit.)
So without further ado…..
"I love him because he’s the kind of guy who gets drunk on buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up to his ears. I love him because he doesn’t know how to kiss, the jerk!" (Barbra Stanwyck as Sugarpuss O’ Shea in Ball of Fire, 1941)
Ted Striker: “Surely you can’t be serious.” Dr Rumack: “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” (Robert Hayes and Leslie Neilson in Airplane, 1980)
“Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world…I feel like I can’t take it…like my heart’s going to cave in.” (Wes Bentley as Ricky Fitts, American Beauty 1999)
“Roads? Where we’re going….we don’t need roads!” (Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown, Back to the Future, 1985)
Vivian Rutledge: “I don’t like your manners.”
Philip Marlow: “I’m not crazy about yours. I didn’t ask to see you. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. I don’t like them myself. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings.”
(Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, The Big Sleep, 1946)
“It isn’t that I don’t like you Susan, because after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn to you; but, well, there haven’t been any quiet moments!” (Cary Grant as Dr. Huxley, Bringing Up Baby, 1938)
“I’d love to kiss you, but I just washed my hair.” (Bette Davis as Madge Norwood in Cabin in the Cotton, 1932)
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” (Melinda Dillon as Mrs Parker, A Christmas Story, 1983)
“Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” (Robin Williams as John Keating, Dead Poets Society, 1989)
“I do not know how to kiss, or I would kiss you. Where do the noses go?” (Ingrid Bergman as Maria, For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1943)
“We came. We saw. We kicked its ass.” (Bill Murray as Dr. Venkman in Ghostbusters, 1984)
“Good morning, Vietnam!” (Robin Williams as Kronauer in Good Morning Vietnam, 1987)
“What is you want, Mary? You want the moon? Just say the word, and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down!” (Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946)
“I was born a poor black child.” (Steve Martin as Navin Johnson, The Jerk, 1979)
“I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.” (Woody Allen in Manhattan, 1979)
“I have nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?” (Robert De Niro, in Meet the Parents, 2000)
“Must you flirt?” “I don’t have to, but I find it natural.” “Suppress it.” (Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas, Ninotchka, 1939
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” (Mandy Patickin, The Princess Bride, 1987)
“I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen.” (John Cusack as Lloyd Dobbler in Say Anything, 1989)
“Get busy livin…or get busy dyin.” (Tim Robbins as Andy DuFraine, The Shawshank Redemption, 1994)
“You’re so money and you don’t even know it!” (Vince Vaughn in Swingers, 1996)
“These go to eleven.” (Christopher Guest in This Is Spinal Tap, 1984)
“Warriors! Come out to plaaaaaaay!” (David Patrick Kelly in The Warriors, 1979)
“What hump?” (Marty Feldman as Igor in Young Frankenstien, 1974)
Sunday, November 21, 2004
You take the good, you take the bad....
So today is really very incredibly BLAH. I had a mostly good day yesterday, despite the fact that ALL of my friends, save for Ruth and Tim completely bailed on me for our (Marian, Tim and I) birthday dinner. I'd be lying if I said I felt really good about that. But even so, yesterday ended up being pretty good. I'll tell you more about it later in the week, but it included free Subway sandwiches and going to see "The Incredibles" with G-Dawg. (It was good, but I was honestly a little underwhelmed...I think its been way too hyped, so I was dissapointed.)
But I think I ended up pushing myself too hard yesterday, because today I'm fairly floored. Again, I'm still not completely dead like everyone expects me to be with mono, but I haven't done a whole lot of moving around today. And I'm very cranky. Or bummed out. Sorta both.
The good news, however, is that I found this little diddy on John Craven's blog, and thought it was fairly hysterical, mostly because I have quite a few friends with many of these qualities/items of clothing/etc. (And in all honesty, I fit a few categories myself. My ironic mustache is coming along quite nicely I think.) And personally, I think the guy in the cabbie hat looks like Shua, though I've never seen Shua with one. (Which is not to say he does not actually own or wear one. I'm just sayin.)
On a side note....I'm learning more and more about selflessness, and affirming others. Slowly but surely, eh? So today's reading recommendation, is "Coffeehouse Gospel: The Selflessness of Sharing" from Antithesis/Christian Counterculture.
"Our selfishness does not keep us from witnessing and sharing our faith; it just eats away at our ability to do it with integrity and grace."
As for me, I need a cup of tea, some asprin and a mince pie. I'm not sure what to do after that, but we shall see. I'm taking suggestions.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Hymnals and Hardship
I really do hate it when I get on Blogger, with intent to write a short blog…and I end up writing much more…and then it goes and gets deleted.
It’s very annoying.
So, instead, I’ll keep this one short. I’m still writing it in Word, just because I’m paranoid.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am finding the Christian journey harder than usual. Sure, there are always the ups and downs – all of life is like that, and our relationships with God are no different, even if they do get more stable with maturity and faith. But it seems like usually, you stay in one place for a while at least. In a funk? That funk can stay for months. Doing well? Awesome, you can look forward to at least a few weeks of “feeling” spiritual.
These days, I just don’t know. It changes hourly, daily. Its difficult to say how I’ll feel tomorrow, despite best attempts at prayer and holiness.And its so easy to let those feelings guide you swiftly straight into sin and failure. And of course, our lives and our relationships with God are much bigger than our feelings and emotions, but it would be naïve to think those emotions, which God himself created – aren’t somehow effecting our relationship with God. And so all you can do is keep walking, and try and find enough faith to believe that you’ll have enough faith tomorrow to sustain you for that day, until the next.
Hymns almost always help, you know. They are such beautiful poetry. I’ve done a fair bit of reading these days in my Church of Englands “Hymns: Ancient and Modern”, and find them to be a blessing. I haven’t gone to a “hymns-only” church since I was quite small, so while I know many tunes, there are quite a lot I don’t know. I like this, because it allows me to read it lyrically instead of musically. As much as I love music, sometimes it can actually be more powerful to just read the written word.
So that is my recommendation today. Get yourself a nice old hymnal from a used bookstore, and start reading.
Jesu, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly
While the gathering waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide
Til the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide
O receive my soul at last.
Other refuse have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
All my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of thy wing.
Plenteous grace with thee is found,
Grace to cleanse from every sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within:
Thou of life the fountain art;
Freely let me take of thee;
Spring thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
So.... a few things.....
First of all, I apparently not only have tonsilitis (or, I did....I'm MUCH better on the tonsil front, by the way), but I have "glandular fever". That's the British term for "mononucleosis". Which is the fancy long term for "mono", for you kids who sit in the back row. And yes, it is also known as "the kissing disease", Chrissy, so you can stop giggling in the corner. So you know, that's interesting. I'm tired, and a bit worn out, and my spleen feels a bit uncomfortable, but I don't really feel like I have mono right now.( I mean, I feel mucho better after the weekend horror of barely being able to move.) To which I've been told: "just wait". (My mom was pretty flat out for like 8 months.) So maybe it will get a lot worse. But maybe I'll just get an easy go of it. I'm hoping for the latter. But with a 4-6 week "incubation period", I don't know what to think. And let's hope poor Tim doesn't find out he's got it before he goes off to Europe. (Or, while he's in Europe, even. Let's just pray he doesn't get it at all.)
Anyway, my weekend was weird. I mean, mentally...besides the sickness.(And besides the mental sickness of course.... ha!) It's hard to explain so I won't. Being sick can be good for giving you a lot of time to think...but it can be really bad because you have nothing to do but think. (I was frustrated, too, because I had all this time, and a lot of reading I needed and wanted to do, and I was just too sick or tired to even focus my eyes on the page.) But I digress....
This morning...or, afternoon...I woke up to a delivery of Caedmon's Call's new album, "Share The Well". (Finally.) Now, let me say that if I'm being honest, I've become less of a fan over the years. But I still buy their albums. I just haven't adored an album of theirs since "40 Acres". But that's okay, because bands change and tastes change.
But I really needed this album right now. (I "needed" that Garden State album too...in a different way.) I needed a reminder that life is not about me, that my view should be "others-focused", rather than self-serving, only for the glory of God. And that's something that is easy to forget, if selfishness stares you in the face more often than people who need your love. Now, of course I realize that every single day we are faced with people who need our love - friends, familly, people we run into on the street. But it has been over three years since I saw a small girl holding her baby brother in an orange dirty knit cap, without shoes, standing in dirt, outside an orphanage in Myanmar. The curse of my days on the Doulos (with Operation Mobilisation) is that those sights started to become quite commonplace at that time, and it can be easy to become calloused to these eyes that look to you. Because at the end of the day, you go back to a (relatively) nice and comfortable bed on board the ship. This is not to say I was not profoundly affected by these sights, even at the time, though. And I think I knew, even then, that these were memories that would affect me at later times, in different circumstances.
Even though I have photos around my room of some of these children and memories, there's something about music that can truly engage with your heart, in recovering a memory. Smells can often cause a similar reaction. "Share the Well" was recorded in cooperation with Compassion International, and the Dalit Freedom Network (which OM India is closely associated with), on visits to Brazil, Ecuador, and India. So their music is a direct outpouring of those experiences they had. (As an OMer, I was so excited to hear Joseph D'Sousa on the album...that guy is amazing....) So maybe you can start to understand why it seemed to awaken something in me that had been asleep.
Why do we so quickly forget such profound moments in our lives?
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
More from Amsterdam
Monday, November 15, 2004
Greetings from the Heineken Experience!!!
(I JUST recieved this email....two weeks after we sent it!....sheesh...)
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Child Protection, ER, and Corey Haim
It's incredible, how a little training on a certain subject can make you look at things in a completely new way.
First of all, I'm sick. And by that I mean....*really* sick. Fever, aches, worst sore throat imaginable....all the works. Pretty much stuck to my bed or the couch. This means I'm at the mercy of whatever happens to be on the horrid British telly at the moment. A few hours ago, all I had was....The Parent Trap.
Now, I'm talking about the newer remake, the one with "newly legal!" (*gag*) Lindsay Lohan, instead of Hayley Mills. Considering I don't want to move from the couch (yay for laptops), I was practially forced to watch it.
So I'm watching all the camping bits, thinking: "How are they getting AWAY with that?! Haven't these leaders ever heard of that whole Health and Safety Act thing?! What about Child Protection?! They are sending the two of them out into the woods...by THEMSELVES?! There isn't a leader at the cabins?! What are these people THINKING?!
I felt like my med school friend Susan, watching ER:
"Please, just a little coughing up of blood? HA! Blood should have been GUSHING, and I mean GUSHING from that man's mouth. I've seen a guy with just a small bleeding artery in his stomach look way worse than dear Ray.
You also don't leave a heart monitor on a patient who's DNR. Or leave them in the trauma bay.
My friend and I spent the entire episode yelling at the TV.
They should have given him pulmonary edema or an intracranial bleed or something. THAT I'd believe."
I realize I'm admitting Susan is much smarter than me, but I'm okay with that.
In other news, I love The Thrills song "Whatever Happened To Corey Haim", because come on, that's just funny.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
I officially have a crush on Zach Braff.
Humor...art....and he's not TOO pretty, but just right.
And he looks like a good hugger. This is very important. Hugs....very importanto.
And I don't have celebrity crushes. I just don't.
Seriously, can someone get me his number?
I cannot stop watching these trailers. Less than a month til UK release.....FINALLY.
Question That Has Nothing To Do With Anything:
If I started another blog, for...non-blog-type writing (prose, and some high-school-bad poetry)...would any of you read it?
More Photos....Amsterdam and Otherwise.....
(Rachel in the hostel cafe...)
(Jeannine....my cigar buddy)
(A photo of a photo of photos!)
(Sound at the Market)
(Me in the Men's Bathroom at the YWAM Cafe)
(Some of these are photos of photos because I'm too skint to get my film on file any other way....but keep that in mind...some of the colors and such are off....but some, I love anyway...)
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Amsterdam # 8 - Day Three, Part Three
I could write so much about Amsterdam, I think. But it’s getting further away, so the experiences and emotions get more distant and it becomes more difficult. And besides, I KNOW you guys are getting tired of reading about it….
But it was lovely, and I want to finish.
From the train station where I was “questioned” by the police we make our way back to Neuwmarket, passing by the YWAM building, whose big blue sign at the top shouts “Jesus Loves You” and “God Roept U” (God Calls You).
“You know….it was weird….getting off the train in Amsterdam…and I look up and it just says, you know, ‘Jesus Loves You’, in big blue letters….I wasn’t expecting that here…” Mario tells us, as we walk past…
“What did you think about it?” I ask Mario.
He shrugs. “I don’t know. I just wasn’t expecting it…”
We walk back through the tiny Chinatown, remembering our own past Halloweens, what we dressed up as and what parties we went to….the pushers are just starting to come out for the night, and the foreign guys group together to prowl…
“That’s what actually makes me kinda sick…” says Rachel. “Those big groups of American and British guys that come over for the hookers…ugh….”
We end up at a café whose name I can’t remember, sitting outside so we can enjoy our cigars with coffee. The waitier is nice enough, but perhaps flirty in that general, non-gender-specific or sexual way, in order to garner favor. The kind of guy you like, but find slightly irritating due to his insincerity and obvious desire for a good tip.
Jeannine and I light up our cigars, ironically with her “special” cigar matches from The Cigar Box that she bought in Edinburgh. (It bums me out that Jeannine was in Edinburgh not long ago and I didn’t know her.) Mario is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he’s never really had a cigar and he’s okay with that. The chill in the air was perfect, with mittens and overpriced coffee. The Autumn was obvious in Amsterdam, in a way that isn’t quite the same here in Edinburgh, in a way I couldn’t try to capture in writing, except to say it reminded me a little of Autumn back home in Missouri.
Jeannine has gathered large orange and brown leaves as part of her “costume” that she didn’t end up wearing tonight. She still manages to stick them in her hair, and turns out just looking like a reindeer who took a wrong turn in Des Moines and ended up in Holland.
Until this night, I wasn’t sure that Jeannine was a Christian, because we hadn’t really talked much about it. The two of us start talking about theology – perhaps in response to talking about my college course, I don’t remember – and branch off into so many topics. What is heaven going to be like? What is the purpose we have here on earth, if its such a short time in comparison to what comes after? What are the major differences between the Evangelical church and Eastern/Russian Orthodox Church? What about the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed and its effect on how we view the Trinity?
These things went on for hours. Mario is not a Christian, and is fairly confident in that. He listens though, and joins in respectfully. He’s the kind of semi-athiest that you enjoy having in your discussions of religion….
We get cold when we run out of cigars and coffee, and head back the few hundred yards to the café at the hostel, where we (or, me and Rachel) can get free coffee. The conversation continues, and Mario opens up some more. He shows us his card-size print of the Virgin Mary that his mother back in Mexico gave him for his travels, and tell us about the time she asked him straight-out if he believed in God. When he honestly answered no, she cried. We talk about evangelism (though that word is not used), whether there are many ways to God, if there is a God, and how useful, and perhaps even necessary faith is.
It was amazing to see Mario’s thought process over the course of the hours, and to watch his brain working in the midst of conversation. I get the distinct impression that we are the first Christians to actually care about him. He sees that we do, and while we aren’t trying to prosthelyse, we are simply sharing the best thing in our lives, and that’s something that we want him to share. “I just want to know about Mario, and learn what makes you tick and how you work, and in the course of conversation, of course what makes me tick and what makes me work will come out of that too,” Rachel says to Mario. I think perhaps this is often the most effective form of ministry.
At the end of the conversation, Mario says that he can see the value of faith, but that it has to be a personal relationship of faith. This blows my mind, because it seems such “Christianese”, and he’s managed to come out with this all on his own. “YES!” we all seem to say around him. That’s exactly it!
This is what seems so hard for so many people to grasp, and Mario seems to have at least gotten that far.
Mario eventually heads off to meet up with another friend, and Rachel, Jeannine and I continue.
“I honestly think God is pursuing him. You can see it,” Rachel says. And we agree. “You want to see what’s crazy?” she adds….
She breaks out her small journal. She reads a part of what she wrote earlier, when we were at the YWAM café together. It was a prayer for Mario, that his remaining few days here wouldn’t be in vain, but that he would have a chance to really see God’s love for him and hear about it. It’s interesting that we still find ourselves at times surprised at God’s answers to our prayers…
We stay til past midnight, and head back to the staff house. We both had to get up at a decent hour, but with journal writing and Bible reading I end up again up til 3am….
The next morning, I pack up to leave. Rachel is kind enough to again take my large rucksack on her back since I would be hopeless at balancing it all the way there, and she’s used to it. We unhook our bikes in front of the house for the last time, mourning the fact that our bikes will now be by their lonesome, and will miss each other.
Breakfast is in the café, filled with hostel folk. I eat with Mario, Jeannine, and Bill. Bill is from the States, works in concrete and came to Amsterdam for a week, just to sit in coffeeshops and legally smoke weed. That’s pretty much all he plans on doing, for the entire week. Well, at least he’s honest. And at least he’s staying at The Shelter.
Rachel has a ministry class to go to, and Mario has to clean this morning, so I have to say goodbye to both of them at the hostel. Jeannine is free, and offers to take me to the train station.
On the way up to the platform, I thank her very much for coming to the train station.
“Oh no, my pleasure. I’ve traveled so much, I know its always nice and important to have someone to wave you off at the station.”
We hug goodbye, and my train pulls away to the airport.
And for now, I’ll leave it. The rest is mundane travel and flying details. Except to leave my impressions and feelings of the place…which will come soon. And that will be the last time I’ll speak of the place for a while, I promise. :)
Tracklist: “Fair: by Remy Zero, “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John, “Wrong Man” by Derek Webb, “Galileo” by Indigo Girls, “Place Your Bets” by Jeremy Casella
Ingredients to a good birthday....
1.) Good friends.
2.) Good pizza.
3.) Good movie.
4.) Good whisky.
5.) Good cigars.
6.) Good chat.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The Big Two-Three...
Monday, November 08, 2004
I'm going to take a break from my Amsterdam stories (which I know are already over a week late), to talk about Peter.
Peter Capell is a man that I knew from my time on board the Doulos. He was absolutely one of the most passionate men of God I've ever met. He sincerely wanted his every breath to glorify the Lord, and committed his life to the mission field with OM.
After a fight with cancer (which had spread to his brain, lungs, liver and hips), Peter died this morning (November 8th) in New Zealand, surrounded by his family. In his last days, his family - including Becky and Denny Capell (his brother), and their four children,(Saskia, Gemma, Ted, and Samantha) whom I was very close to on the ship, and remain close to - took shifts, reading scripture and Daily Light passages as he grew increasingly disoriented.
While its so hard to understand in so many ways - it seems so unfair, that this man so committed to the cause of Christ was taken so young, in his early 30's - it seems okay, because we know now he's at peace. And yes, his family - most of whom are so very strong in their faith - can rest in that, and know God's peace, it's still painful.
If you can pray, please especially keep his wife Hasmig and their new baby, Keziah Miracle Capell in mind. Hasmig and Peter were married less than a year. Keziah was born just five days ago. We're thankful he got to see his daughter before he died, but I can hardly bear to think of the pain that Hasmig is going through right now.
From an email by his sister-in-law, Becky:
We so want to thank each of you for the prayers that you have faithfully prayed on behalf of Pete and our family. Halfway through this morning’s Daily Light reading, it says “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him and He will save us: this is the Lord…we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
God’s promises are true!
(Hasmig and Peter)
Amsterdam #7 - Day Three, Part Two (Sunday Night)
From that café, we go to the next…
The walk from Dam Square to the train station is fascinating…as fascinating as the city, this bizarre mix of humanity at its best and its worst….
Some people bar hop. Rachel and I café hop. We head back to the YWAM café. On the way, we catch Kim going by on her bike, and pull her over. She comes in to chat for a while, along with another girl from the hostel staff (it starts with an “L”, I’m sure), and I just remember chat about macaroni and cheese. As for me, I go back to the bathroom because its so cool.
That and because I really have to go to the bathroom by this time.
By the time Kim and the other girl leave, the swank leather couch and chair have been left empty, so we take it upon ourselves to fill it. Rachel and I both write in our journals and drink our chai tea….
Back at the hostel, dinner with the whole group sounds unappealing to us, so we stay in the café and eat the usual egg, ham and cheese combo, and hang out with Jeanine and Mario and Kurt and listen to “Enter the Worship Circle” by Waterdeep and 100 Portraits. It’s an album I’ve not heard in ages, and realize that I missed. Mario pours over “On a Shoestring” travel books of Europe, plotting his next moves, with Rachel and I giving direction on where to stay and what to do in Budapest. Jeannine tells her wonderful and elaborate stories with big gestures. Somehow, she brings up the topic of cigars, and I state that I’m a fan. This makes me ten times cooler in Jeannine’s book, and I’m now her new best friend. We quickly decide that we need to find some Dutch cigars, to celebrate Halloween…
Rachel, Mario, Jeannine and I found ourselves on the hunt, my camera in tow with Mario’s tripod. We spot a newsagent/tobacco shop, and go in to check out their cigars. Jeannine asks for one, and the man at the counter says, in a Dutch accent: “You don’t want that one. It’s not a cigar for women.”
Yes, of course this sends Jeannine completely mental.
Seriously, it was high-quality, entertainment, watching the two of them spar for a few minutes. In the end, she gets the cigars she wants.
Rachel has to get out money, so we go to the train station, where we know there’s an ATM. While Rach gets out her money, I set up a tripod for a long shutter shot of the loads of people moving around the station.
Of all the things that one could do in Amsterdam, you’d think it would take more than this to get questioned by the police.
So, you know, the Dutchies are the tallest people in the world, I think, and these two cops were no exception. They come up and ask me, in Dutch, if I can speak Dutch. Well, no, but I know well enough to understand that they just asked me that. Rach automatically answers “No”, for me, and they start questioning me in English, asking why I’m taking pictures. Umm, because I’m a tourist. And I like photos. “But why all this….setup?” I then have to explain long shutter speeds and all that and they are completely disinterested, but glad that I do, in fact, seem like I’m not plotting something bad for the train station. They still take it upon themselves to make me feel like a bit of an idiot. I’m not impressed, tall Dutch policemen, thankyouverymuch. They leave me to it.
They are quickly followed by a drunk guy who starts trying to chat me up. Jeannine, being a long experienced traveler, stands up in defense of me – not that I necessarily needed the defense, but its always good for folks to know they are outnumbered. (Rachel and Mario were only a few feet away, so I never felt like there was an actual problem, except that the guy was annoying.) Jeannine places a hand on the camera strap, for extra protection of my not-so-cheap camera. Eventually, drunk guys friend comes to drag him away, speaking Dutch. All in all, it was an exciting 5 minutes.
(TBC - Sorry, I meant to finish it this time, but I'm just way too tired tonight....)
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Amsterdam #6 : Day Three, Part One (AKA Last Sunday)
LISTENING: “Lazarus” by Jeremy Casella
READING: College reading on the ministry and theology of Paul, the Church in society, commentaries on Eph 5:3-14, and something vaguely called “solution focused thinking”.And when I can’t be bothered with that anymore, I’m reading “Searching for God Knows What” by Donald Miller.
FEELING: Weary, but content
Back to Amsterdam….it almost seems so far away now….
(In usual present-tense, in keeping with the previous posts…)
Sunday is a day of rest, and Rachel and I are all about resting.
I have recently come to realize….I very much need laid-back friends.I'm blessed with many. As previously stated, I’m glad Rachel is one of those friends. We decided to sleep in, and with my Super Amazing Black-Out Shade (Seriously, I want to order one of these for my window at home, but they must be ‘Spensive, Lucy…) I accomplish this with great ease. Due to the quietness of the house in comparison the the previous mornings, I think it MUST be much earlier than I suspect…but no, it just happens to be about 10am. Yikes. Yeah okay, it’s definitely time to get up.
If there’s one thing I love (and I love many things), it’s a lazy and slow morning. I like to mozey. (Mozy? Mozee? Take your pick.) I love to roll out of bed, pull back the curtains, take a long hot shower and enjoy a cup of tea before things get messy during the course of a day.
And so I do all these things.
Eventually, I’m all showered up, and with a cup of tea next to me, I’m reading my Bible. Rachel knocks on the door, and comes in and we discuss the day. We briefly consider Anne Frank, but decide against it, partly due to money, partly due to the fact we don’t want to go back out that way. By this point, I’m fairly sure I’ll be back to Amsterdam soon enough, so I’ll eventually get to see it. (And I wouldn’t mind actually reading her diary again first. I haven’t done so since high school.) We decide that today is our day for coffee and books together. (There are few things more enjoyable, I think, than reading with a friend. It’s right up there with lazy mornings. If one can combine the two things in one day, in a beautiful city, it’s pure magic.) In the living room/kitchen, Jackie recommends we go to a café near Dam Square, which is all glass windows, looking over the whole city. We think this is an excellent idea.
To save money though, we head to the hostel to eat lunch for free. Same 'ol stuff…soup, cheese, meat, sprinkles, etc. It’s like Doulos all over again. Except with a lot less water around the place.
We leave our bikes, and walk to the café, which is a good idea, since I can more easily take a lot more photos…and this is my last day.
The square is busy as always. This is where Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is, and some big palace, and just about all the important shopping stores and malls. And their “National Monument”…..
Rachel: “I bet everyone here finds it hilarious that their National Monument is a big phallic symbol…”
Me: “Somewhat appropriate, however.”
Being a weekend, the place is more than busy. Rach and I note the crowds gathering in front of the Royal Palace, and the few street performers. The street performers are a funny bunch – either really talented, or really lazy, sometimes both. At least two – the Grim Reaper, and the guy who looks like The Mask - just sit there, completely still, with hats out for money. Grim Reaper occasionally pokes at his tin cup with is long shepherds crook, a bit forlorn (which just ends up being funny…have you ever seen a Grim Reaper forlorn? I didn’t think so…). There’s also a lady painted metallic silver in a sort of southern belle yellow dress, and a man (woman?) on stilts making balloon animals. I take some zoom shots of the balloon stilt person, and then try for a great side-on photo of the “silver belle”, but she sees me, turns slowly and shakes her finger at me, as a “no”.
Is that move somehow supposed to make me want to give her money?!
As I put my camera back down, I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of a guy, no more than 10 feet away, taking a photo of ME taking a photo. I’m not sure whether to be freaked out or flattered. I don’t think he got his photo, because I put the camera down so quickly, but he just smiles, maybe a bit embarrassed, and keeps walking. He has a decent-sized (maybe not professional, but at least good amateur) camera set-up, so I lean towards the flattery side, rather than freaked out. I’ve taken similar photos of people before, with no intent to plaster them on my bedside table or anything. So I’ll go ahead and think that he was just trying to take a nice arty “people” photo, rather than…other, weird things.
So yes. I was now even more determined to get a photo of this chick, out of PRINCIPLE. And I do. She doesn’t catch me this time. HA!
I also get photos of the Native American band playing. Rach and I discuss how odd it is to be in Amsterdam and find Native Americans.
My favorite dude has to be the guy playing bagpipes, in full Scottish attire. Seriously, I come all the way to Holland….and hear bagpipes. The least he could have done was wear some wooden shoes or one of those pointy white hats or something. Or perhaps have given out free cheese samples.
Eventually, Rachel and I fight (and I do mean fight) the crowds to get to the shopping centre where the café is.
Its really nice. Very pretty up here, if extremely overpriced. But I enjoy talking to Rach, discussing the idea of my coming back to Amsterdam to work next summer, before she leaves in September. We throw ideas and plans around, and I actually get really excited at the prospect. The idea of NOT going back to Amsterdam at this point seems ludicrous. It’s so close to Scotland, really. And as the weekend has progressed, I’ve actually really felt passionate about the city and the ministry that is happening here. It’s something I want to be a part of…..
Friday, November 05, 2004
(Bruntsfield Bus Stop)
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Amsterdam #5 (Day Two, Part Two)
So we left off at the Heineken “Experience”. (Sorry for the delay, Craig, I had classes yesterday!) I’m bummed out a little, and miss Amsterdam, and Rachel and Mario and Jeananne and Kim and bikes and the hostel and maybe even ham and cheese….
After that, um, experience, and dropping by the market to get my new coat (HURRAH!), we head back to the hostel in time for dinner. It’s not all that eventful (veggie burritos and potatoes). Rachel has to work from 6:30-12, so I accepted Mario and Kurt’s invitation to head out for a wander around. We went the non-red light district way, which led us to the posh streets with posh houses. It’s really beautiful, though. Kurt (a staffer) is leaving in a few days, and is heading back to the States before he goes to Peru. Through the traveling train of thought, we end up talking about what I did on the Doulos, with both the guys asking questions about it. As we walk back near the hostel, Mario heads back to meet with another friend, and Kurt and I continue to the YWAM café as planned.
“Does the café have toilets I can use?” (I ask because you often have to pay or something. And if this was the case, I’d have just stopped in the hostel.)
“Ooooh yeah. And they are pretty much the most amazing toilets in the world. Well, the guys toilet, anyway.”
“Well there goes that idea – I’m a girl.”
“Doesn’t matter – its only a one-person toilet, and this one is so cool, the girls go in it all the time.”
Hm. I was intrigued.
The café was busy, it being a Saturday night and all, but we found a table. Upon suggestion by both Rachel and Kurt, I ordered the chai tea, despite the fact they sell beer too, which I find interesting.. (Good move. They bring you a little dish of honey with the tea. Mmmmm. So nice.)
Upon ordering, I make a mad dash for the toilet. And yes, he was right – pretty much the most amazing toilet ever. The entire thing – ceilings, vaulted walls – was mosaic tile and mirror. It was really really incredible. I took a ton of photos, actually, and you should see them soon.
Kurt is a good guy, and it was good to hang out with him. A fellow Wheaton grad of Rachel’s (a lot of Wheaton-ites end up at the hostel because they bring a group of students each summer), he is originally from New Hampshire, and may well be the first person I’ve actually met from New Hampshire. We talk a lot about traveling, where we’ve been and where we want to go. We talk about churches, and our home churches and how messed up they became as we got older, and how much we miss community that was once found in those.
He’s promised a friend that he’d stop by before 9, and want some alone time to catch up on reading and journaling, so he heads out eventually.
It’s a fascinating thing, watching people walk past those big windows, going to and from places they probably shouldn’t or maybe they should. I take a lot of photos and watch people and only write a few postcards before I take the walk back through Chinatown to the hostel.
Rachel was at reception, so after checking the net, and hanging out in the hostel café, I go back behind the desk to keep her company. (I took the Bonhoeffer book, but of course getno reading done, since we just talked.) And that was us, enjoying coffee and stroopwaffles until she was finished at Midnight.
Another bike ride to the staff house proves to be just past midnight.
By the time we get there, around 1am, we are shattered, but the house is still hopping. I find it strange, in relation to my experience on the Doulos, how much freedom the staff has. I mean, its great – a large group of girls stayed up til 4am discussing creation and evolution, and didn’t have to worry about curfew or anything else – but just completely strange to me, in a community house setting. I chat with Mikaylie, an Aussie I’d met the night before (“we ALMOST have the same name!”) and Daniel, a tall South African who reminds me of a friend I knew in high school. Daniel finds out I was on the Doulos (which visited SA not that long ago), and I am told he last cut his hair (its quite long now) on the Doulos by some guy, he forgets his name, but he shaved his head. Interesting.
Rach and I are tired, so we head to our rooms, cup of hot chocolate in hand for me, looking forward to my comfortable bed, in my quiet room.
And again, sleep quite soundly.
A better shot of the groovy new coat. Of all the random pics, this is Ruth's favorite.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Amsterdam #4 (Day Two, Part One)
Well dear Phil was right….the computers where pretty shot yesterday, so I wasn’t able to post. Now, I’m back at my Speedy Gonzales wireless broadband laptop and I can blog til my little hearts content. And I have a lot to catch up on. It may take me a while though.
I also realize that at this point, you’re probably getting tired of my Amsterdam stories. And that’s okay. Because a major reason why I’m continuing is because it’s a lot faster and more detailed to type than to write it all in my journal…which I will, too, but this way I won’t forget some things. But, ya know, feel free to just look at the photos.
So, we’re back to Saturday Morning.
Rach and I are the best at just hanging out. We really are. And this is very important when you are spending a holiday with someone. We take the morning quite slowly, waking up around 9am to the blaring of music in the common room downstairs. It sounds familiar, and though I never actually can tell, it might have been the Supertones. I should have asked Kim later on, but I forgot. (Rach was sure it was Kim’s kind of music.) Shower and Bible reading and toast with egg and ham and cheese ensue.
On the docket for Saturday:
-Visit Anne Frank’s house.
-Eat lunch at the famous Pancake Bakery, Rachel’s treat, for my birthday.
-Go back to the market to get my coat.
-Drink more coffee.
By 11, we’d hopped on our beautiful little bikes (Rachel’s being more beautiful, not that I’m bitter) and head in the direction of Anne Frank’s house and the Pancake Bakery (which are near each other).
And the line for Anne Frank’s house wrapped all the way around the block.
And so, we parked our bikes. And head in the direction of the Pancake Bakery.
They didn’t open til 12, so we end up browsing another market, but you’ll be thankful to know I didn’t spend any money at this one. It was more of a proper flea market. They were selling live rabbits. I didn’t ask what they were to be used for. Old men smoke pipes while people browse their collection of random knick-knacks. A colorful one-man band plays what seem to be Children’s play instruments, but manage to make a noise enough to get a few coins out of passers-by. I walk past a cat asleep in the window of a house and I still wish I’d have stopped to take a photo.
Rachel was right about The Pancake Bakery. Seriously, I’ve never had anything like this. (Well okay maybe some things that are similar, but not really this good. Ever.) I forget the name of what we get, but its a HUGE Dutch (read: not sweet) pancake with pesto, basil, mozzarella cheese, and tomato. I cannot express to you how good this thing really is. And we’ll leave it at that, because otherwise, I cannot do it justice at all. Just go to Amsterdam and try it. Seriously.
And as a bonus, they have a bucket of stroop (kinda like molasses) to play with. We think you’re supposed to eat it, but it’s a lot more fun to play with.
At some point, I have to pee. The restrooms are upstairs, and there is someone in the ladies toilet. A few minutes later I’m still there, and a very prim and proper man in a suit quickly strides past to get to the men’s room. (Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go.) He opens the first door, then the second, then VERY quickly turns right around and comes out the door, with a hugely exaggerated rolling of the eyes. A few seconds later, a raggedy – but seemingly sober and normal – man comes out of the bathroom. He’s apparently failed to lock the door. Or the second door.
(Personally, I think they could be kindred spirits in the Dutch chapter of the "When You Gotta Go You Gotta Go" Club.)
Thank heavens that I am not standing in a place to see that.
It certainly adds entertainment value to my trip to the loo, however.
Back at the bikes after stuffing our faces, the line has gotten no shorter. We do a little thinking, and decide that today will be the day to visit the Heineken Brewery instead. Huzzah.
More bike riding ensues. The ass is definitely in more pain, but its kinda easy to forget, because you’re busy avoiding things cars and people walking in front of you.
If someone can tell us why there is an animal skin hanging from a light pole in front of the Heineken Brewery, we’d be interested to know. So get the word out.
Now, let me warn you that the Brewery Tour….is NOT THE BREWERY TOUR. It’s fun, its hip, its cool. But they don’t actually brew anything there anymore. (Heineken says they are Europe's Largest Brewery. I'd sure like to know where it IS, because this isn't IT.) This is why its called “The Heineken EXPERIENCE”.
The bonus is that you actually get to experience a fair bit of beer. Three half-pints. And a Heineken glass in a nice little tin.
As well you should, I say, for 10 Euro.
Now, I have to say that the the best part of the entire Heineken Experience for us (besides the beer) is…..are you ready……BEING a bottle of Heineken! Be jealous! Be very jealous! It’s actually a movie, but runs while you’re standing on a platform. The platform jerks you around while you watch this movie of being a bottle of Heiny, going from washing (Rachel and I hope for a shower, and are disappointed) to filling (we look up and open our mouths, and get no beer….we are even MORE disappointed) to shipment. The final song is “Celebrate Good Times (COME ON!)” while you are apparently being "enjoyed" a party. (Chrissy and Jason, get your heads out of the gutter.)
(They leave out the part where you get chucked out onto the street and shattered into a million pieces, followed by getting run over by a car, swept into a garbage bin and sent to that Big Landfill in the Sky.)
Cheese Factor: 8. Unintentional Laughs Factor: 11.5.
A Splattering of Photos from the Weekend
Rachel was OBVIOUSLY pretty excited about this skirt. Yes, she ended up buying it.
We thought this manniquin was hella scary...but she made for kinda a cool pic, with a little flash action. Good color.
Out the window of the (amazing) YWAM cafe @ Sam's Inn (dwaze Zaken)
They don't call it The City of Bikes (among other things), for nothing.
Jeananne, Mario, Me and Rachel out on the town.
(More to come...I took a heckuva lot more on my film camera than I did my digital.)