22 February, 2006

A story. And an unrelated picture.

The other night we were hanging out with some friends visiting from Belgrade, and Pete made up a new game. He told different people around the room to come up with an object, an action, a location, and a couple other things and then made me write a story about it while everyone else discussed every use they could think of (and I do mean *every* use) for a turkey baster. The things I had to incorporate were: a heater, to throw, Puff the Magic Dragon, the American flag on the moon, and Neverland. You should play this with your friends some time.
Here is the result:

Bill Rutherford sat on the heater smoking a cigar. They were waiting out in the hallway, dozens of them. Some young and hopeful, others distracted and disillusioned. Their futures were in his hands, kind of. He could only take nine, of course. Five for weekdays, four for weekends.

“Jehosephat!” he exclaimed. The heat was threatening to melt the saffron-colored polyester pants he was wearing to his skin, but this had escaped his notice until just now. 'How can I decide,' he wondered. 'What should the criteria be?' He had to start soon, he only had from ten until noon. Throwing darts had always helped Bill focus in the past, and he took this up now. He threw absentmindedly, almost blindly. Most landed on the board, but one strayed and hit the tattered poster on the back of the door with a thwack!, further securing the American flag on the moon in the photograph.

Bill sighed heavily and brushed sweaty strands from his auburn toupee out of his eyes. Would he favor personality? Desperation? Looks? Talent? (Though for what he did not know.) Maybe even sheer oddness, for that type of thing would probably make the most difference in longevity in the position. Not many lasted long at Neverland Ranch.

It was time to begin, and he called the first applicant in: “Nancy Gorman?”
“Yes, sir! Direct from Niagara Falls.”
“Beautiful. Come on in… So, Nancy, why do you think you would make a good ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’? You know, it is very important for every cast member of our ensemble here at the park to be reliable and enthusiastic.”

Anyone else want to finish this?

20 February, 2006

The latest

Firstly, that story I told you a couple of days ago about my boss getting kicked out of the police station wasn't true. I didn't lie deliberately, just misinterpreted what someone else said.
Secondly, on Friday I thought I was better, but I wasn't. I am tired of being sick, and I'm hoping to be fully recovered by Wednesday. That's my plan, at least.
Finally, we still don't know what is going to happen with our visa/deportation situation. Some things we've tried have failed, but there are still options we're pursuing. Once we know I will certainly share the news.
For those of you who have emailed, thank you so much for your encouragement. Between being sick and everything else, it's been hard to keep in touch but I really do appreciate your prayers and concern!


A week ago Friday (in Sarajevo) we went skiing/snowboarding at one of the sites used for the 1984 Olympics. I tried snowboarding since I had done that once before, about 7 or 8 years ago. It was pretty fun, and I really gave it everything I had. The next few days were tough, though, because I quite literally felt like I had been both hit by a train and trampled by wild boars. Seriously, I have never been that sore in my whole life, which is really saying something. But it was worth it, I think.

For Amie

For Amie
Amie is awesome. I have been friends with her sister, Alison, since I was 5 or 6, which means that she has known me for roughly 20 years. That is crazy. Anyway, she posted this list on her blog a few weeks ago and ‘tagged’ me, which I’m guessing means that I’m supposed to fill in my own answers and post. So here they are:
10 years ago~
I lived in Redmond, WA and my life revolved around ballet. I was at the studio from about 7 am to 8 pm, 5 days a week, and that pretty much covers everything.
8 years ago~
I lived in Atlanta, GA and trained and performed with the Atlanta Ballet. I missed my family and learned a lot about life.
4-6 years ago~
I lived in Richmond, VA: 2 years dancing, 1 year schooling. I made some great friends, grew up a lot, and had a pretty good time.
2 years ago~
I lived in Seattle and learned a bit about International Studies.
I live in Croatia and am hoping not to be deported.
5 yummy things~
bambus, pad thai, Cheetos, tuna noodle casserole, absolutely anything cooked by my Grandma
5 songs I know by heart~
Omaha, Kodachrome, Wonderwall, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Puff the Magic Dragon
5 things I would do with a lot of money~
give it away, travel, go to medical school, fly my family out to visit me, build a huge trampoline connected to a pool in the summer/hot tub in the winter
5 things I would never wear~
a tie, a velour leisure suit, a cheerleading outfit, hot pink lipstick, leather pants
5 places I want to escape to~
British Columbia, Greece, Egypt, Hawaii, Scotland
5 favorite TV shows~
The X-Files, The Office* [Garreth Keenan- heck yeah!], I Love the 80’s/90’s**, Jeopardy, The Cosby Show
5 things I enjoy doing~
Snowboarding, reading, laughing, watching movies, listening to music
5 favorite toys~
computer, iPod, camera, pen & paper, frisbee
5 scary things~
10 4-year-olds in tap shoes, an intermediate hill as a very-much-beginning beginner snowboarder, dead mice in the dish drainer, huge flocks of pigeons, Will Ferrell portraying a newly birthed baby

*The original British version, of course
**This educational program is the source of virtually all of my current knowledge about popular culture, given that I was in the combined social vacuum of the home-schooling and ballet worlds for nearly the entirety of both decades.

17 February, 2006

Nothing to report

Thanks everyone for your prayers and encouragement. We're looking into a number of options right now, not the least of which is having our infamous landlord Faruk (see December 12th entry- sorry I'm too lazy to link it right now) pull a few strings for us. It has been maddening to try to work with the authorities here. Apparently our boss went to the police station in Zagreb yesterday to ask for a list of approved schools and they kicked him out because they didn't feel like looking it up. Awesome.
Anyway, God is in control and I trust that it will get worked out somehow. In other news, over the last few days there has been some kind of nuclear war going on inside my digestive system so I've spent a lot of time on the couch, my closest companion: a bucket. Thankfully I'm feeling much better today and might even eat something in a little bit.

Oh, and Tim just told me that Washington's #8 agricultural crop is pot (aka 'marijuana'), "edging out sweet cherries" according to the report. That's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

14 February, 2006

Deportation? yay.

We had to go to court today regarding our pending visas. They told us that we will most likely be deported in about 2 weeks, unless we can somehow enroll in the university before then or work the system and find a loophole. This is very frustrating and unexpected, and I don't have the patience to go into great detail about how and why this all happened- besides, it would probably bore you to death. Sooooo, for those of you who are so inclined, please pray that 1) we will be able to stay in Rijeka and 2) if we can't, that we can all go somewhere else together and that God would give us the strength, resources, and emotional endurance to make it through the transition.

It should be an interesting few weeks.

09 February, 2006


Yesterday there was some craziness here due to the Mohammed cartoon controversy. Outside the Austrian, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish embassies there were some very heavily armed riot police (the guys up above were only moderately armed). I only have a picture of the Iranian embassy, though. Weird, huh?

I guess the Croatian papers printed the cartoons, too, so the demonstrators were burning Croatian flags. That’s not too good for us, so we decided not to wear our favorite Croatian t-shirts today. Don’t worry, Mom, we’re totally fine and things appear to have blown over.

More about Sarajevo

Sarajevo has an extremely rich, if disturbing, history.
This plaque reads “From this place on 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia”:

And here is the bridge where they were shot, marking the start of World War I:

This is the 'eternal flame,' a monument established in honor of those who died in World War II:

According to legend, the flame never went out during the most recent war.

The most recent war was pretty awful. Evidence of the destruction is everywhere, and it is hard to imagine how much worse it used to be.

Last night we watched the movie “Welcome to Sarajevo.” You should watch it, too. There is a lot of actual footage spliced in, and even though I’ve only been here a few days it is so weird to recognize the city in the movie and think that just a few years ago people here were living through hell and I had absolutely no idea that any of it was happening.

Tim, Sara, and I met this guy in a coffee shop on Tuesday who experienced the war first-hand. His family escaped to Croatia early on, but decided to come back in order to face what was going on and not abandon their friends. He made it back into the city before all the roads were closed off, but unfortunately his family did not. So, from the ages of 9 to 12 he lived alone with his uncle in Sarajevo under attack. He was shot 3 times. Later on he lived in the U.S. for a few years- in New York until Sept. 11, 2001 and then in Colorado. Now things are going well for him- his family is back here, he is in school and has a job and a car. He speaks Bosnian, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic (in which he has memorized the Koran), and maybe a few other languages. He is probably the most interesting person I have ever met and I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to live through the things that he has.

Bosna i Hercegovina

We’ve been in Bosnia this week. We departed from Rijeka at 2:20am on Monday by bus and arrived in Sarajevo at 10:00pm by train. We spent the time sleeping, reading, talking, and watching episodes of House, this doctor show I have successfully gotten half the team addicted to. The city is difficult to describe, so I’ll use a lot of pictures. Something that can’t be captured on film, though, is the Islamic call to prayer we hear 5 times a day. There are mosques all over the place. Here’s one:

There are also a few churches, here’s one of those:

The old Turkish area of town is jam-packed with shops selling scarves, souvenirs, and various copper creations.
I bought a key chain with a shell on it- think siege, not sea.

They really love their chess here. There is an oversized chess set in one of the squares constantly in use, rain or shine:

One thing that is quite familiar is the prevalence of pigeons. Big, nasty flocks of them.

And here is the bird-man himself:

Can you find the pigeon?

Here’s a closer look:

And, finally, a commentary on the futility of mankind’s quest for posterity:

A few more almost-but-not-quite-familiar sights:

The conference

I was thinking about writing all about the mid-year conference, but others already have and by now too much time has passed to really do it justice. But here is a group photo for your viewing pleasure:

04 February, 2006

Here's some pictures of Hungary...

Pete, Sara, Tim, and Taylor riding the tram in Budapest

A cool sign in Budapest (with the covered market in the background)

The second largest synagogue in the world

A random university building

An amazing pair of elfin shoes

The Hungarian parliament building from across the Danube

Bowling was pretty awesome. As you can see, I am going so fast the camera can’t even capture me mid-bowl. Yeah, that’s right. I broke 80.

So hot right now

St. Stephen’s Basilica from a few blocks away

St. Stephen’s Basilica up close

Krista is amazing!

This is where I live, and I think I'm starting to like it.

The Korzo decorated for the holidays

The poo canal by night

The Rijeka Tigers on Christmas Day

Making gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve

A reenactment of the Bohemian Rhapsody scene from Wayne’s World during the karaoke contest in Trakošćan