Tuesday, November 29, 2005

adventure after adventure...

So Thursday night I embarked on an adventure...which involved travelling and Amy.
When we left early Friday morning (by early I mean 5 something) we had our arms full of bags. Amy slipped on black ice and was down, flat on her back, hair spraying out around her head. At first she was concerned about her ankles, but upon rotation it was discovered that they were fine and we continued on our journey to the bus stop. With a glance at her hand we realized that she had gouged out a chunk of skin on her palm while attempting to break her fall, and we had no bandaids with us, or time to go get them. Thankfully a lady at the bus stop assured us that we had not missed our bus and we got out the fare in preparation of getting on the bus. It was supposed to drop us off at the train station but it didn't, so we hopped off and lugged up a hill to the train station.
Our train was supposed to leave at 5:55 or something, which was a few minutes away. the station didn't open until 6:05 and the ticket machine was refusing our bills. Praise the Lord, there was man who just happened to be hanging around who showed us how we could get a permit for travel and then pay the rest upon arrival at our destination, and we made it to the platform with a few minutes to spare. the mysterious man came down and subsequently disappeared. guardian angel number one.
We reached our stop, paid the attendant, hopped on the shuttle bus, and made it to the airport and checked in. We were also able to buy a first aid kit for Amy's hand. We did a quick clean job in the bathroom, and then took off. Our flight was uneventful, but when we landed in Edinburgh I noticed that it began to snow! right after I pointed it out to Amy they made an announcement. I was so excited to see snow! A little of it actually stuck to the ground, but only near the airport...it pretty much melted instantly in Edinburgh. Although, we did see one snowman...
anyway, there was a kind lady who gave us a little map and showed us which bus we should get on to find our hostel. so we did...but we must have missed our stop or something...because we did not see our hostel. A lady on the bus overheard us talking, and she told us to get off at the next stop. We did, and so did she, and she took the time to show us where to go and then pointed out a person who would be more likely able to help us. guardian angel number two.
It turns out that this guy didn't know anything about where we were trying to go (no one had heard of our hostel, but we weren't too worried) so we decided to set out on foot...still carrying our bags around an unknown city. we found what we thought was our street at began looking for 55. 193, 93, 40. what? It was so random. we went into a store and asked the man for directions and he tried to help us. we followed his directions a little ways and realized it wasn't helping. I had Amy look at the address one more time...and we discovered that it was the wrong street! so we walked for a looooooooooong time and finally found our street and the building number 55.
There was no sign out front indicating that this was Ocean Hostel. We went up to the door only to discover it was locked. We knocked and banged on the door. Peeked through the mailbox hole to see someone vacuuming. More banging and knocking and shouting. ten minutes later he finally answered the door. We paid him and wrote down our names...he didn't ask for our passports or any ID or anything...then he showed us to our room. We got to pick our bunks, and there were no lockers for our stuff...it was a co-ed dorm, but the bathrooms were still separate, so that was nice. Unfortunately, there was no toilet paper in the bathroom. so I asked the manager/staff/cleaner James if he had any. He scrounged around and found 2 rolls. apparently his assistant was out buying some. Ok. The bathroom was pretty dirty, but life goes on. It was better than some public bathrooms I've encountered. The kitchen could have been nice, if people cleaned up after themselves. isn't that always the story?
So anyways, Amy and I eventually made it out into the city, found a bus that we thought would take us to the castle, and set off exploring. The castle was closed due to bad weather. at this point it was already raining again. So we meandered down the streets.
A monk stopped us telling us how they were trying to raise money for books for children or something and so they made a monk rock cd. yes, a monk rock cd. how can you resist buying one of those for a couple pounds when the money goes to kids reading and no one you know has a cd of monks rocking out and he's also wearing a canadian flag? c'mon...so Ames and I bought one. we totally got played. oh, he also gave us a book of wisdom or something. we thought since we both gave a few pounds we'd each get a cd, but he only have us one. there were 3 to choose from. blues, hard rock, and an in between. I wanted the hard rock, and Ames wanted the blues, so we got the middle one. He told us we could burn it and give copies to people because he wants the world to know monks are rocking. or something. The next day we were approached by two different nuns selling the cds. are we easy targets or what?
so anyways, we didn't really look at the book or listen to the cd until we were back in London Sunday night...and I think they were Hindu. I didn't know white people were Hindu, but there's something about holy cows and stuff and so I was really bummed cuz we totally missed an opportunity to witness to them because we didn't ask enough questions. poopsen.
Anyways, Friday afternoon we did the touristy shop thing (judging by the tartans, I need to marry someone with the last name Galloway) and had tea in this cute cafe. We had sandwiches and shortbread and scones and cakes and tea...but the shortbread left much to be desired. I guess I've been spoiled my whole life with excellent shortbread, and this was from a box. sadness...we had been looking forward to the real thing!
Friday evening we went to a cute Christmas market and watched people skating downtown...it reminded me of home with the lights and Harrison Park and oh, those are two things I miss. Anyways, everything closes at 5 except for pubs so we didn't know what to do...so we went to a movie (thanks to nice guys working in a cafe who gave us a newspaper and showed us where to go even though we didn't buy anything) and it was so cute! We laughed and cried...it was so fun to watch a chick flick with Ames again.
Saturday I set my internal alarm clock (because we'd both forgotten to bring one) and we got up on time. We were sidetracked (or lost, depending on how you look at it) on the way to the castle and went for a hike up this hill that overlooks the city which would have been beautiful if it wasn't pouring rain, but it was still really nice. We decided that it qualified as our hike, even though we had planned on going on a real one, because the weather was not so nice.
I also bought an alarm clock at a catalogue store...quite the fun experience!
The castle is supposed to take two hours to visit...it took us about three and a half. It was so cool...and we even got to see a reenactment of a red coat soldier. It was very informative. I felt much smarter after, but I forgot most of the things I learned. Except for sideburns. I'm sure the other things will come back to me eventually. OH! I learned why the book of James in the Bible is James. Because in every other language it's Jacob, and so I wondered if it was James in English because of King James but apparently it's because of the Latin. so that's cool to know. The Jacobites up in northern Scotland were James' originally. Or something.
Anyway, the castle was cool, but we still hadn't had any haggis neeps and tatties, so we ventured down the Royal Mile to look for a pub with the cheapest haggis. we found it, but they were out of haggis, so our search continued. We found another pub and tried the delectable meal. It was so good! but the portion was really small. good thing we brought food along with us to cut down on expenses!
Sunday we got up early (partially due to the alarm clock, but mainly due to the snoring men) to catch a bus to catch our train, but the buses don't run very often on Sunday mornings and we had to take a taxi...the first time I was in a car in almost three months! When we got to the train station we were delighted to discover that we had first class tickets! We were served tea and coffee and good shortbread and chocolate cookies and peanuts and wine and sandwiches and crisps every fifteen minutes. well, not all of them every fifteen minutes. but something. It was incredible! and the scenery was great...we went through Dunbar which was cool (Amy's last name is Dunbar). Then we got slowed and stopped due to flooding. 10 minutes they estimated. no problem. that turned into 30...then 45...we went back to the last station and everyone unloaded as we were to be bussed around the flooded area and onto a train at the next station. Somehow Amy and I got on the first bus, and just as it was pulling out the rest of the people had a mass exodus back into the train station and onto the train...we were not allowed off the bus. After we'd been driving down the road for about 15 minutes we looked out the window and saw our train going by...one man on the bus was talking to his friend on the train. bummer! the bus ride took about an hour and a half...by the time we got onto a train we were very behind schedule.
We arrived in London 3 hours after we were supposed to. Long day! and also...it made us miss our Delirious concert. We got there as it was starting, but the line up (queue if you will) was down the block and around the corner with hundreds of people still trying to get in the already full theatre. I e-mailed Eran, and then we had Burger King. When we finally returned to Amy's room I had an email waiting from Eran and so I was able to call him and we chatted for a bit which was really nice. Pray that he finds a job soon (and that he takes one, even if he doesn't think it pays well enough). It was so good to talk with him though.
Monday was uneventful as I returned home...it was a lovely vacation though, and it was so nice to see Ames again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

off to the UK

The ballet was amazing for those of you who were wondering. I'll have to go to another one again sometime. We had really bad seats at first, but then we noticed where people hadn't sat and went and sat where we could see the whole stage, and that made the experience much more delightful. and less painful (from not having to sit in an awkward position).
Last night I cut Magda's hair with an audience. I only took about half an hour, but it turned out ok I think. I like it at least.
After my shift today I'm going to London to visit Ames and then we're going to Edinburgh for a few days, which I'm really excited about. It's not the highlands, but it's Scotland, so I'll be satisfied with that (for now). Then on Sunday we're returning to London to go to a free Delirious? concert at her church (Hillsong) and hopefully *please pray!* I'll see Eran there. So it should be a great weekend and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


so currently I am being trained as a receptionist by Rala. it's been fun. I (we) booked three people for 6 nights and had to rearrange dorms and all that fun stuff that I see receptionists doing all the time but have never done myself. It's like a puzzle game...and we solved it. woohoo!
Yesterday was a fun day...I was making meatballs, and so I was chopping onions and Jimmy sneaked in and scared me and I told him to never shock me again when I had a knife in hand. Yeah, so anyways, we had a cool conversation about how God has been blessing him. He has a job, within his trade, is going to make an excellent wage, has an apartment, is going to celebrate Christmas for the first time in 6 years (he'll have a Christmas tree), and apparently he's going to give up alcohol (but not pot) because it is destroying him (and he's been smoking pot since he was 15 and it's never done him any harm). So there is much to praise God for! amen! Let's pray that he really does give up alcohol because it's a very unhealthy addiction, and he's tried to give it up many times before...yeah
Oh! funny story (I thought at least). Yesterday I tied the top half of my hair back cuz it was falling in my face and I was cooking. Panos looked at me and said, "You should wear those glasses everyday." and I said, "I do wear them everyday." and he didn't believe me and I tried to convince him that I've worn them every day except maybe one that he's seen me and he probably just noticed that my hair was different. He adamantly disagreed with me, and continued to say I look really nice in these glasses and I should continue to wear them, and he notices what girls look like and he knows for sure that it's the glasses that are different. So I asked Martin if he remembered if I wore these glasses often or not and he couldn't recall, and Panos said that's cuz he has a girlfriend so he doesn't look at girls, and then a little while later Panos admitted to me, "you're right. You do always wear glasses during those Bible Discussions every morning." haha. ok, maybe it's not that funny, but it was at the time.
Last night Susana, Rala, Ryan and I watched 7 Felicity episodes...Ryan is so hooked! I think we've created a monster. It was hilarious to watch with him, though. He even teared up in parts (when none of us girls did). Wow. Neal is seriously questioning Ryan's manhood. Also, after we stopped watching them he had his arms full with his computer and speakers so I offered to open the door for him. He said "Oh, this is my room right here!" and so I opened the door...to Zac and Courtenay's room. haha. except then I let it shut and forgot that he'd have to come back out and wouldn't be able to open it, but when he finally did come out the three of us girls were in the hall incapacitated by laughter.
Well, my shift is over and I'm going to eat and then go to a Ballet! with Rala, Nynke, and Rose. good times. I'm excited.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

last few days

well, our network has been down for a few days, so there's probably a lot of catching up I have to do, and likely many things I'll forget to share.
Thursday was staff day, so after a lovely lunch together we cycled to the rink, which took a lot longer than it should have, but it was still fun. Once there Ryan commented, "I've never seen anyone ski outdoors before!" so I asked him what kind of skiing he had seen before, but it seems strange to me to think of indoor skiing, but that's what he said he was used to. I figured they must just do weird things in the desert. Then I looked where he was looking and said "Ryan, they're skating, not skiing!" oh my. and then I discovered that they only have unsharpened hockey skates and speed skates here. And so first I tried the hockey skates, which was not disastrous (I could still spin a wee bit, but two footed not one), but was definitely not what I'm used to. And also due to the wet ice and unsharp blades it was difficult to skate. So I switched to speed skates which is weird because there's and extra decimeter sticking out the front and that took a little getting used to but they were definitely much easier to skate in than the hockey skates. and to walk in them it's good to march. Anyways, it was a lot of fun, and I only fell once, and that was on top of Rala and it's on video. And Marco got to hold girls' hands. So I think overall it was a success. Then we warmed up over hot chocolate which was quite delightful, and then we had pizza and then I went home to bed. The only sad thing was I didn't get to say goodbye to Shanka, and now my twin is back in Georgia (the state, not the country).
Friday...was the hostel night. We did a hunger banquet. The turnout was not as great as we'd hoped and expected, but I think it went really well. It had a good impact on those who were there. I had a fun conversation with a girl from Liverpool, and she and her friend came to Zolder with us tonight, so that was cool. Oh, Nathalie came with me to De Poort this morning and when we left the bridge was up because of Sinterklaas coming, and there were Zwarte Pete's everywhere, and so many people, children, adults everywhere! It took us about half an hour to get through to the other side, haha. But we stopped for a few minutes to see if we could see Sinterklaas, but one of the Zwarte Pete's informed me that he wouldn't be appearing for another 15 (or was it 50?) minutes still and we didn't feel like waiting any longer cuz it was cold!
Ok well, I know this is a short summary, but I'm going to bed now cuz I have a full day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

daily happenings

so today began as a gloomy sort of day...pouring rain and cold wind...so instead of going to the market in the morning with Rala to buy those 10 euro red shoes I knew she'd regret not buying, we stayed in my gezellig room and chatted and played cards and did other warm cozy rainy day type activities until it was time for her to go to work. And then I decided to brave the weather (ok, truthfully, I could see blue sky) and go shopping. Once outside I ditched the idea of cycling due to the fact that it's easier to window shop while walking and I took off in the direction of Dam Square.
ps, Rala just said something funny while I'm writing this so obviously I have to put it in: referring to her pants which are too big for her; I said she could get pregnant and then they'd fit to which she replied: "they're more like birth control pants. I won't get pregnant because I look fat in them." and also, Shanka can get pregnant while wearing "nothing." and Rala says "your own drool is what makes great hair days" These are the sort of random conversations that occur while living in a community for 30 international people...
Ok, back to my day. I went to a Christian bookstore and bought some books for the hostel *Thank you to those at my church who donated money so I can bless others with it!* and then I ventured to H & M and bought gloves (cuz I'm sick of my hands freezing while riding my bicycle and my mittens are too thick for this early in the season) and then I went to Hema and bought a pair of socks which are tall and will help keep my legs warm (oh, I am so thoughtful) and they are also cute, which is a must when buying socks. Oh, speaking of socks, everyone was commenting on mine tonight at Alpha, haha. but they're my cool frog ones, so obviously how could anyone not compliment them? And then on my way back I noticed a sign on a little shop that said "Tulip Museum" so I ventured in to the shop full of tulips and tulip related articles and in the basement is the musuem. It's very well done considering it's only one room. I feel very educated in the history of the tulip, and especially of it's role in the Netherlands. Of course I was previously aware of the tulip rage, but for 3 tulip bulbs to be sold for 30 000 guilders when the most expensive houses of the day cost 10 000 guilders is, well, crazy.
Ok, well, I'm going to play a game with Shanka to help repress her disappointment in the fact that she missed the worship time by a couple hours.
Also, I'm am super excited about staff day tomorrow because we are going skating! (ice skating or regular skating? That's what Ryan said. oh, frame of reference. Ice skating for sure.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


My twin (Shanka) and I spoke three sentences in a row at the exact same time (and the exact same words) when initiating a conversation with Benedict from France and England. So it becomes more obvious daily how much we really are twins. As if there was ever any doubt...
Welp, on that note, I'm signing off...probably to watch good ol' Napoleon Dynamite...never really imagined myself succumbing to it in Europe...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

dirty showers

so I was talking with Rala yesterday and I mentioned how when I went to take a shower they were all plugged up with puddles sitting around the drains *grossness!* and so I had to clear the drains before my shower and whoever had showers as her chore should really do it because they're disgusting. and then she's like "um, it's my chore. I haven't done it yet." and we had a lovely laugh about it and she said I should write about it in my blog. So I did, cuz I can't think of anything more interesting to say.
Also, Rala threw a tube of toothpaste at me and it hit my cheek and now there's a lovely bump. Which is really funny that I got a goosegg from toothpaste.
I'm going to church tomorrow morning which is exciting cuz it's been way too long since I've had a Sunday morning off...so woohoo!
welp, that's all folks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

wax figures

Rala, Tina and I went to Madame Tussaud's today. (Marco didn't join cuz he'd rather go with sweet Polish Magda, which is understandable.) We had fun, laughed a lot, took a bunch of pictures, and were extremely thankful to have gone for free because none of us would have paid the full amount to go there. hmm lalala. I think I'm going to go to work soon...but probably I'll write more later because I might be up all night. but probably not. I have nothing exciting to say.
Oh wait! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

fun times

tonight all the jordan staff except Adeleida and Katya were chilling in the cafe (along with about zero guests and a cleaner or two) playing Dutch Blitz. thanks to my sis for sending it to me. except it's a faulty deck...sadness. But it was really fun, even if Marco hates me now.
Last night Ryan, Dave and I went to a concert...dang. Harpists amaze me. Also, we were probably the only ones under the age of 65.
Oh, the other night Ryan, Dave, Maurice, and Joost toilet papered our room...they did a really good job and it was funny. We took some quality pics, but I can't put them on here due to technical difficulties. Sorry bout that.
Oh! Freek fixed my bike *Thanks Freek!* so I'm back on the road again with style...or something...but my handle brake actually works for the first time since I've had the bike. woot woot! haha.
Oh, we took some fun pics last night at the Iamsterdam sign. hmm, I say Oh a lot I think.
so...there's much for me to say. and I don't feel like saying it. Although I am a soothsayer. Ask Rala. Alright, time for this girl to head bedwards due to the morning cafe shift which will be here sooner than she'd like. Let's hope that the electricity doesn't go out midshower tomorrow morning like it did today...that was a wonderful start to my day, haha.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

look out canal!

so I rode Rala to the Shelter tonight on my bike in the wind...and it went very well. A car even passed on the narrow road and it was fine. but then later there was another car coming and a parked car on the other side of the road was sticking out and there was no room and my brakes are really sketchy and I steered away from the coming car towards the parked car and to avoid hitting it I steered right for the canal which was about a foot in front of me. but thankfully Rala hopped off and helped stop it (the whole drag feet thing isn't super effective) and the canal stayed the way it was...bikeless (at least mine) and meghanless. haha.
Rala lead Bible Discussion tonight on prayer. A girl, Grace, from Malaysia came which was super cool cuz she told me before she decided to go that it has been 10 years since she last went to a Bible study. And she added a lot to the conversation...it was really good. Eran asked a lot of good questions (of course). I never quite know if I should take him seriously or not...I always answer him as though he really means what he says. He loves the role of devil's advocate, but I really think it's at least partially serious. He said tonight he doesn't mean the questions for himself, he's just curious and wants to find out more what we believe and if he was talking to an athiest or a person of different beliefs he'd simply change his questions to challenge their beliefs. but I think on some level at least he really means his questions. and I like that. he asked us to pray that he'll hear God's voice, so please pray along with us that it will happen and be unmistakeable. Haha, the other day another guest, Richard, was eating lunch with us and he found out that Eran is from Israel. He proceeded to ask Eran something about the conflict, and Eran oh-so-innocently asked "what conflict?" and so Richard said "Between Jews and non-Jews" and Eran said "I don't know about this conflict. I'm interested. Tell me about it" and this went on for about five minutes with Richard getting extremely frustrated and loud, and Eran quietly egging him on. It was really amusing, but it made me wonder how often Eran is playing me like that. oh well, I'm happy to answer his queries anyways.
Oh! I got my first Christmas present today! from my dear sis. Dutch Blitz. oh yeah baby! haha...I'll teach these Dutchies how to play...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


So I think I'm discovering more and more flaws in modern thinking (especially as applied to Christianity) and I'm embracing postmodern thinking more...not that I think it's perfect either. Because I don't. But I like that we're going back to the Bible and beginning to rethink traditions and realize that while they are not necessarily wrong or contradictory to God's word, they don't really fit anymore. For instance: "the Sinner's prayer." I hate that phrase. But modern Christianity makes it into a formula or a checklist...I do this and this and this and poof, I'm saved! or I pray a prayer so I have my ticket into heaven. The Bible doesn't mention anywhere about praying a prayer and *poof* being saved. It's all about a relationship...yes, choosing to believe in Jesus, that he is who he says he is. And building a relationship with God through Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit. It's such an ongoing thing, a process, and I like that postmodern thinking has brought us back to what the Bible says in this regard.
Today in class we were talking about apologetics regarding the Word of God. I think everyone's expectations were that it would be a modern sort of discussion...here are the facts that prove the Bible is true, blah blah blah. Personally, I'm glad it wasn't that...I like the fact that personal testimony about the Bible is a better way to "prove" the Bible is true in postmodern culture, even though there is still a need to give facts to some people. I think there's no way we can ever "prove"God or Jesus or the Bible or whatever...people will always find some argument. But they can't argue with personal experience...well, they can, but then they're just calling you a liar. and people seem to be more open to feelings and experiences than facts. from what I've observed at least.

complete side note from postmodernism: I rode Rala on my bike yesterday, which was my first experience with riding someone on the back before. there were no disasters, no crashes, nothing like that. But I can say with confidence that I defined the term "zig zag" and if there was a video dictionary, I would be that term cycling Rala. But I did improve when I got going faster. and when I wasn't laughing. In this case, laughter is a dangerous activity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The other day Rala and I were walking to the Jordan and on our way we passed a little boy in the doorway shouting "Hallo!" at everyone walking by. His father was lying down behind him to make sure he didn't run away, but was clearly enjoying the pleasure it brought his son to greet passersby. I think that's like God...He's right there watching out for us, and enjoying our joy at the same time. It's a beautiful thing...I don't know if my words are making sense, but it's such a beautiful picture in my mind.

Yesterday Shanka (my twin) and I went out for Chinese...and it was delicious and I ate with chopsticks...but the way too efficient waitress took them away from me! I was going to keep them (and they were nice ones, not your typical wooden break apart restaurant ones) and so I am disappointed, but Neal says I can use his whenever, so it's all good. You can't eat oriental food without chopsticks...it just doesn't feel right.

I wish you could experience the smells and tastes and sights here...mmm, so delicious! perhaps they are not always positive, but it's such a full sensory experience. I love it! with that being said...come visit!!