28 May, 2006

Please excuse this brief interruption in our regularly scheduled programming...

...to inform you of a brilliant analysis of MI:3 and like films. Matt, over at the Burning Hearts Revolution, has produced a 6-post series sure to enlighten and entertain. Enjoy!

26 May, 2006

Split cont’d: Nedo

A few minutes after we got off the boat, we met another lady offering us rooms for the night. As Tim and Sara negotiated, another man approached and, without a moment’s hesitation, made an offer for half the price the lady had quoted. We accepted. The lady was pretty angry, but our new host, Nedo, seemed unaffected and cheerfully led us onward.

We wanted to see the place before fully committing, but, since it was before 7 o’clock in the morning, the previous night’s tenants were still sleeping. Nedo assured us they would be leaving by 8:00 and offered to make us coffee while we waited. Coffee was exactly what we needed and wanted most, so we were pleased with this arrangement.

Here is Chez Nedo- the garden, dining, cooking, lounging, and porch area:

And, yes, of course everyone looks a little tired. The coffee hadn’t been served yet. And neither had the hard liquor.

After our jolly host provided caffeine and a plethora of maps and brochures, he busted out the rakija. Rakija is a homemade schnapps-like substance, and Nedo had two varieties: normal and rosemary flavored. Refusal wasn’t really an option, so I went with “normal” while the others chose the rosemary. Tim got a double serving, despite much protest.

I tell you what, taking a shot at 7am is quite the experience. Ouch. There’s really not much else to say about it.

As we sat at the table, one of the Australian sisters (supposedly sleeping in the place we were going to end up) unexpectedly emerged from Nedo’s other apartment, where some Irish lads were staying. Nedo exclaimed, “Oh, you slept in there last night?!” She just looked embarrassed, mumbled some sort of affirmation, and shuffled quickly on to her room.

Right about this time there was some awkwardness concerning sleeping arrangements, as Nedo really couldn’t comprehend why Brian and I were not going to share a bed. Finally (I think) he started to grasp important concepts like “just friends” and “only met last week” in English. In the end he shrugged and said, “Later, then, in a few more days…” while gesturing with some vague implication regarding the whole Australian/Irish hook-up we’d been witness to. Riiight. Someone repeated, “Just friends!” and that seemed to satisfy him.

Around 8:00, he escorted us to our rooms. I guess the Australians didn’t know they were leaving at 8:00, because one of the sisters was still in her pajamas and looked pretty unhappy to see us. The place itself was pretty cool. There was a combined entryway/bedroom, a hallway/kitchen (i.e. small sink in the corner) that also boasted a 10” television, a small bathroom, and another bedroom with 3 small beds, a table, and approximately 1 square ft. of free floor space. As far as I could tell, the interior walls were constructed mainly of balsa wood and saran wrap. But we didn’t need anything fancy, so after completing our eight-second inspection, we decided to take it. We left our bags and went for a walk.

About Split: Night One

Earlier I mentioned the trip to Split. We saw and experienced many fun and/or interesting things, and I’ll try to recount the more entertaining of them for you.

We traveled overnight by boat, about 10 hours each way. Three of the four of us being missionaries, we went for the least expensive ‘deck pass’ ticket option. This meant that our sleeping quarters were none other than the narrow leather benches in the swanky on-board bar.

Check out said bar:

You can buy Red Bull there, but only if you pronounce it Euro-style: ‘Dlehd Buuuuhl.’ Otherwise you are considered unintelligible and will likely be ignored.

The evening passed pleasantly as we enjoyed some pretzels, time out on the dark and windy deck, meaningful conversation about our purposes in life, and a few episodes of “The Office” (courtesy BBC Home Video and my computer) before bed.

The actual sleeping part of the night was much trickier. Between bright-ish lights, slippery sleeping bags sliding off the benches, loud drunken Croats up until 3 and rising again at 4 or 5 for coffee, and an estimated temperature of 97° Fahrenheit, it wasn’t very restful.

In the morning we docked a little before 6:30am, (more or less) ready to begin the day. We were greeted by two older middle-aged men (one of whom resembled Elmer Fudd) who tried to convince us to accept their lodging arrangement offers. Their prices were high, so we said 'no thanks' in about as many ways as we possibly could without resorting to profanity and continued on our way. Eventually they stopped following us.

24 May, 2006

Seriously, very funny stuff.

Wow, I just read this and couldn't stop laughing. If you've ever worked retail, this should touch your soul in a deep and healing way.

In other news, Brian weighs in on The DaVinci Code: "...I disagree with you on Tom Hanks' mullet. Its greatest value is during the running scene. While Tom Cruise looks like a GI Joe on crack [when running], Tom Hanks looks dignified, respected, and, well, fast. It's the whole weathervane concept. The metal chicken on the roof only shows the direction, while the weather sock shows direction and speed..."

post script

Sorry if that last post was a little over the top. I was feeling pretty frustrated and essentially just used this forum, once again, for a tidy little self-therapy session without much filtering or organization.
Just to clarify some things (in case you read it, or started to try to read it and gave up because I kept jumping around and throwing out abstract comparisons…):

~ I love my friends here and the time I get to spend with them. It can be discouraging at times when we hit a brick wall in communication or if there are things that are really important to me that get trampled. But I love the challenge, and I love the relationships, and life is not ultimately about me or my failures or my opinions or my ability to convey things.

~ Life IS about Christ. It is about truth and about loving Him and knowing Him and serving Him. If you don’t agree with me, I’m not surprised. And I don’t care all that much if you think I’m an idiot or a bigot or narrow-minded or tragically deceived. I realize that if I’m wrong, I’m totally screwed and that’s an option I’ve taken into consideration.

~What I DO care about is continuing to search for truth and encouraging others to do the same. There are many lesser points of theology, interpretation, action, and expression that people may disagree with me on and that I myself may shift in over time. But I desperately want for people to care enough about truth, about reality, even about themselves, to consider - honestly and genuinely consider - who Christ is/was and what the point of His life was, and whether His claims about Himself are true, and if it does or does not matter to us today.

I believe it matters immensely. But you already knew that.

Let the nations know they are but men.

Work was hard today. I came home after two intense, one-on-one, 2-hour-long conversations feeling frustrated and tired and unable to organize or communicate my thoughts. Friend #1 is struggling with feeling lost and depressed and purposeless and alone. She wants God so badly, but continues to lack any feeling of closeness or comfort.

Friend #2 is happy. She considers herself a devout Christian, and thinks that all the religions are basically the same anyway so they should just unify and get along. She knows she’s not perfect, but feels confident that God sees that she’s doing her best and feels regret when she does bad things, and believes that He will be satisfied enough with that to at least let her into a level/section/circle of heaven better than that where any really bad people might (by grace) be allowed in. And if there is any remaining sin, purgatory will take care of it. And if there is no heaven at all, then that’s fine, too. I mean, if that’s the case, what are we going to do about it, anyway?

In light of these conversations, I prayed:

“Dear Father,
I’ve had about enough blasphemy for one day. So many people here claim the name of Christ, but do not seem to know, honor, or fear You on any level. Am I judging wrongly? Is this just my own prideful reaction? What is enough for salvation? What is required? Do I have any right to say that doing one’s best and feeling remorse for sin is not enough to satisfy You? And how can I tell what anyone’s (including my own) “personal best” is, anyway? Isn't that just focusing on a new or alternative kind of legalism? The contrast between (Friend #1) and (Friend #2) is stark. It’s not that sorrow is more important than joy. Or that angst is more valuable than peace and contentment. It’s that truth is more important than ease.

Lord, what is the difference between: a) my own resting in Christ’s sufficiency and fighting feelings of condemnation that I might find peace and freedom in Your grace, and b) (Friend #2)’s total complacency and acceptance of her lack of perfection, lack of knowledge, and lack of interest, believing that You will be merciful to her in recognition of her “doing her best” whether or not she is willing to accept truth or correction?

Where is the line between resting in faith and slipping into a coma of apathy and false security?”

It’s not about sincerity, or effort, or confidence, or remorse, I don't think. I think it is about the object of our faith, and Who He Is. It is about the truth, and whether or not that object of our faith is sufficient and worthy of trust, of worship, and of sacrifice. Is the object of my faith Christ? Or is it myself and my own inherent charisma or goodness? Or is it a blind belief that everything will work out okay in the end? Sincerity, effort, confidence, and remorse might flow from a realization of the truth, but they are secondary.

“I don’t want this to be about pride, or about being right about things, or about the quality of my view of/walk with/service for You. This is about You and who You Are and what You deserve. You deserve so much more than I give You. I need wisdom and words and truth and understanding and boldness and patience. I want to see the blasphemy and blindness and arrogance in my own life. I fall down at Your feet again, empty-handed. Amen.”

Then, a few hours later, we got a message from Sara that another friend realized a few days ago that Christ is the answer, that He is the way to God and the only solution for sin. That she doesn’t deserve to go to heaven, but that Jesus died for her and has forgiven her. This is the most encouraging thing I have heard in a very, very long time.

Thank You, God. Thank You for showing me that it is possible. Thank You for breaking through to someone.

Close Encounters of the Bizarre, Amusing, and Awkward Kind: A Prelude

So, about a week and a half ago, some of us traveled down to Split (a city down the coast a ways) for a few days. We experienced a lot of things, but to be honest, the trip seemed to start even before we boarded the boat…

After a delightful afternoon of ping-pong and general romping about, the team headed back home on the bus. I needed to stop by Pete and John’s apartment to pick up some sleeping bags, and they weren’t going to be home, so I got the keys from Pete. As the bus rolled along, Marni and I found ourselves in an engrossing conversation (the subject of which I can’t recall). In the back of my mind, there was a gentle, nagging reminder that I shouldn’t forget to get off the bus early to go to the guys’ apartment.

Somehow, some way, I remember thinking, “Oh, maybe it’s the next stop. Yeah, the next time the bus stops I should probably get up and see if I need to get off there… or maybe one or two more stops…” This was all lightning fast and very fuzzy, and at the very same time I saw that the bus was actually stopping right then. And that the door up front was open but the one right by me in back wasn’t. So, some kind of panic reaction went off in my mind, and I bolted out of my seat, skidded down the aisle as fast as I could, and leapt out of the door mere milliseconds before it would have caught my shirt in closing. Mid-way between the bus and the pavement I also remember thinking, “No. This is not the stop I wanted to get off at. It’s definitely way too early.” Taylor and Pete waved hesitantly, looking stunned, amused, and concerned. I didn’t look at anyone else’s face. Everything in me willed the bus to get out of sight as quickly as possible. So embarrassing. I had a good 5 blocks to really reflect on my own ditziness. And then after I got the sleeping bags, I had another 20 minutes while walking home for mild-mannered grumbling about the heat and the time and how I didn’t really need the extra exercise I’d unwittingly opted for.

After packing I met up with Tim, Sara, and Brian to head to the boat. As we were walking, I was trying to explain to them what/why/how re: the whole jumping off the bus thing. Prone to dramatic gesturing as I am, at one point I smacked into a free-standing bakery sign on the sidewalk with my backpack. Alarmed, I whipped around, and, seeing a stout, nearly life sized but still 2-dimensional, wooden, mustachioed baker on the sign, I apologized. Aloud. My friends laughed at me. I laughed at me.

It never ends. I do stuff like this all the time. Get ready Mom, you get me all summer long!

21 May, 2006


My sister works at Starbucks. I’m really glad I don’t work there anymore. Today she told me about this comment card left at her store: “My friend received a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino today that had a non-head style, non-head style (pubic), hair on it.” Sick. It’s nice how they thought of another way to communicate the type of hair, then went right on ahead and clarified anyway. Makes me think of another story involving a limousine that I’m not qualified (or inclined) to relate here. Shudder.

Then she told me about a recent secret-shopper evaluation (known as a ‘snapshot’ in the land of the green mermaid) that was rather unfavorable. The reviewer complained that they were greeted in the drive-thru with, “Hi. Starbucks!” followed by a strained pause. Obviously this employee did not have a proper regard for customer service. (Though I would give them an A+ for efficiency and common sense.) The official appropriate greeting goes something like, “Hi, Welcome To STARbucks!!!!! My name is Amanda! Would you like to try our new Banana-Choco-Coconut Frappuccino Supreme today?!?”

Sheesh. After a year of half-hearted ‘izvolite’s, I’m probably gonna go into shock when confronted with corporate American customer-friendly (i.e. sales heavy) interactions of this nature.

On being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see.

Tonight I talked to my future teammate/roommate Allison on the phone for the first time. She is really nice and everything, but the conversation was brief and a little awkward, as can be expected from such encounters. It was hard to know where to begin and what to say about Croatia and life and ministry here, and what she can expect in the year to come.

I certainly wasn’t prepared for this year, and I doubt I could have been. But what did I learn? If it was so unfathomable and unforgettable and defining, how can I capture it and communicate it and remember? What is the point?

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine here and she was telling me about her family and the things she’s struggling with and how she’s depressed and that she’s thankful she can talk to me about it. And when I asked her what she would ask God if given the chance, she said, “I would ask ‘What’s the sense in life?’” I guess that’s my question, too. Because this year has to have been about more than English Workshops, cultural faux pas, missing home, playing pranks on the guys, or describing the oddities of our lives via our beloved blogs.

It’s nearing the end of May already. Where are we and how did we get here? I feel triumphant for having made it this far. I feel grateful for my incredible teammates and the fun memories and the things I have learned and the ways we’ve all grown. And I feel disappointed because I’ve lost sight of why I came here in the first place.

I have not seen first-hand a Croatian life transformed by the power of Christ. I have not seen the city of Rijeka turned upside down by a sudden hunger for the truth. I have not seen friends I continue to meet with and pray for be set free by the grace of God.

What have I seen? I’ve seen a seagull attack and capture a fish and proceed to peck at it, then lose track of it under a tarp. I’ve seen my flaws exposed like never before. I’ve seen a new friend rapidly approach an unexpected death. I’ve seen people with opposite personalities and chronic conflict choose to learn to love and care for one another. I’ve seen students who swear they’re not interested in Jesus or spiritual things keep coming back to hang out and talk about what is important in life. I’ve seen how desperately important truth is, and how badly we all need love and grace and Christ. I’ve seen how maddening apathy and blindness can be and how heartbreaking life is without real hope based in truth. I’ve seen that there is work to be done here, but the task is infinitely beyond my capability. And I’ve seen my own lack of faith revealed for what it is, plainly and unromantically.

So where does that leave me? Humbled. Saddened. Repentant. Hopeful. Praying for greater faith. Faith that things will somehow change here. Faith that God is able to open eyes and soften hearts and make reality clear even when everything we try fails. Faith that He is still the greatest and that in the end, good will win.


Tay-tay came home from the market today with a lovely bunch of wild asparagus. Long, thin stalks of it looking fresh and promising. She grilled them up with a nice lemon-butter sauce, and we split the batch onto two plates and began to eat.
About 2 seconds in, both of our faces soured in pain and disgust. I’m pretty sure grass would’ve tasted better. We laughed and took a picture, though I don’t really know why. She told me to blog about it, so here you go. A post about gross asparagus. I think this is a sign that I seriously need to readjust my self-editing mechanism.


Today was pretty boring. I washed the dishes, did a few loads of laundry, started packing up my things to move to the new apartment, went running, set up some coffee dates for next week, and did some other random things. The day was punctuated by many battles in the ongoing war with my computer cord.

Somehow, probably due to a cheap adapter, the charger/plug-in thing for my laptop got fried. For a few months there, it worked okay if one was willing to spend a few minutes wiggling it and listening to some electrical snapping, crackling, and popping. Then, a few weeks ago, it got a lot worse. Even 15-20 minutes of delicate coaxing and forceful jamming failed to produce a connection. So I pretty much gave up and resorted to using the Serys’ cord whenever I could borrow it. But today I got desperate and finally got mine to work for a little while- enough to charge it to about 94% (a few hours worth of use). Then I accidentally kicked it with my foot. ARGHHH! After that, no dice. Every hour or so I tried again. Alternately praying for and cursing at the device didn’t make a difference.

My frustration continued to mount. I’m still pretty t.o.’d about the whole thing. Why do I let stupid stuff like this get to me? I’m supposed to be all patient and mature and stuff, but really I’m a whiny brat when things don’t go my way.

Other things that annoyed me today:
~The US dollar continues to drop like a rock.
~I was simultaneously cleaning the kitchen and making coffee and kept cleaning up after- or, rather, before- myself. I do this to Taylor all the time, but didn’t realize how aggravating it can be until today. Reach for the spoon you were using- it’s already in the sink. Turn to grab the cup you got out for the coffee- it’s back in the cupboard. How my roommates put up with me, I’ll never know.
~The list of things to do was not shortened nearly as much as I had hoped.

20 May, 2006

The best 6 minutes of your day.

Francine posted this first, and it is truly amazing. Go here and enjoy.

Check out the butt on that.

Someone recently pointed out to me that I have a terrible habit of instantaneously switching from covert glance to all-out gawk when investigating new or unusual sights, usually of the human variety. The picture is just to illustrate the type of thing I might be turning to see, after being advised/directed by a friend. (And this woman was, in fact, the object of interest during an actual occurence of the following sequence of events.)

Things usually start off well enough with a deliberately subtle and slow turn to look, then: BAM! My eyes get wide, my face springs into a sloppy grin or horrified sneer, and it’s over. I’ve given myself away. A shameless, rude American, boldly laughing in the face of cultural sensitivity and acceptance of those with different fashion related belief-systems. I MUST get better at keeping my cool. Even years of training provided by my mother (we quite enjoy people-watching together) has not prepared me for life overseas.

All In A Day's Work

Like I said earlier, we started the day out with a meeting. Then we spent some time assembling/preparing materials to hand out at some showings of the DaVinci Code movie this evening. Look at everyone working so hard! (Yes, this is for you, Matt.)

Then it was time for some mandatory team fun. It was Sara's turn, and she chose to have us meet at our new apartment- which we haven't moved into yet, but already have the keys to.

We made banana splits and played pinochle and Bang! and listened to some totally awesome music on Tim's computer. Some favorite tunes/artists: Smells Like Teen Spirit, Man in the Mirror, The Freshmen, Beastie Boys, Van Halen, Like A Prayer, Know When to Hold 'Em, Matchbox 20, and many more timeless classics and 90's pop-rock hits. So many songs I'd forgotten about!

I can't really say much about these pictures other than John is pretending to take a nap, and Andy and Pete are pretending to decide some important matter by breaking a wishbone... I love my team.

Tonight, between sessions of handing out stuff about the The DaVinci Code at the movie theater, we did actually watch the movie, and it was pretty lame. Tom Hanks looks totally creepy with that greased-out mulletish hairdo. And Paul Bettany's character was kinda freaky. Now I'm pretty tired, so I guess it is time for bed.

19 May, 2006


So today we were sitting in staff meeting, and we started talking about the going away party we want to throw. Pete was saying we really need to barbecue a ton of meat on the back porch, then, in a gesture of politeness and appreciation of good health, he mentioned that we could have vegetables, too. But he said ‘wegetables’ because we all know that Croats tend to pronounce ‘v’s like ‘w’s, and it’s funny. Then he said, “Yeah, we’ll have plenty of weggies, too!” And that made us think of wedgies, so there were jokes flying around the room about how many wedgies we’ll have at the party, etc. We were all laughing pretty hard, since our senses of humor are resolutely juvenile, and, besides, who doesn’t like to laugh during business meetings? A few people suggested we pull ourselves together and move on to the next topic, with only semi-successful results. Then Andy declared loudly, “Yes, let’s move on to the next topic: Debriefing! The debriefing follows the wedgies!” And looking down at the agenda, it was plain to see that the next topic was indeed a discussion on when/where to hold our debriefing for the year. The whole team collapsed in hysterics.

18 May, 2006

Bagpipes Española

A few days ago, between insulting someone’s accordion-playing grandfather and talking about the appropriate height for urinals, I recall discussing this brilliant piece of writing. Please read it. It will make you laugh.

Sportsmanlike Behavior

For last week’s team hangout time I directed the group to the parking garage roof of our local German superstore, Kaufland. At this point, you may be skeptical. Some of my teammates were, too, but only until they saw the totally sweet set-up including: a café, huge chessboard, rad playground, and 3 outdoor ping-pong tables. That’s right, it was tournament time. Earlier in the afternoon, Taylor, Pete, Brian and I bought the necessary equipment, and we were ready. Everyone played a few games to warm up, then we split up into a highly technical system of pools and brackets. In the end, Sara dominated. We were all a little worried for a bit that Brian was going to steal the title from the Rijeka Tigers on their own turf, but this disgrace was thankfully avoided.

John performing an impressive under the leg stroke.

Marni talkin' some smack.

When we weren’t playing table tennis, we were enjoying the nearby playground. Amazingly, no major injuries were sustained, despite several nasty spills (after being bucked off the spinning-tire-on-a-spring contrivance*) and repeated X-treme merry-go-rounding.

This one's pretty self-explanatory.

Hitting the deck.

7.2 seconds...so close.

*Sara, that's for you. Contrivance = a synonym for "contraption" or "mechanism"...

Tim's Birthday

For Tim's birthday we headed out to a newly-discovered field 5 or 10 minutes out of town for some fresh air and frisbee playing.

Here's Tim sporting some fashionably altered birthday trousers...

And enjoying a) a new spear/harpoon gun contraption and b) a new speedo.

Some festive party-goers.

Later that night we ate Mexican food and watched Tombstone. It was fun.


Last night we had some students over to watch the movie Amadeus, then we discussed jealousy/envy. The movie was long, but we had a pretty decent conversation afterwards. The reason I bring it up, though, is that listening to all that Mozart reminded me (again) of how much I love music. Deeply and obsessively. All kinds. So, now I’m inspired to bust out some classical stuff I’d forgotten about, and maybe some jazz.

Then, last night I was wasting time on the internet and happened upon the KEXP-sponsored Sasquatch Festival lineup. AHHHHHH! I am so sad that I can’t go this year, and truly jealous of people who can. Last year I went with my friend Ashley, and to be honest, the intense heat and thick haze of pot smoke nearly did us in, but it was so worth it. And this year there are 17 or more bands that I really want to see. I can’t wait to get back to the good old NW and see some live shows, and Poker Matt said we could go see something this summer, which will be awesome. I’m pretty out of the loop in terms of the current musical landscape, so anyone else who knows what's going on and wants to go to stuff this summer, let me know and we’ll make it happen.

07 May, 2006

Meeting people is easy.

Here I am, living in Croatia. The last 9 months have been filled with various ups and downs, and many fun (and wretched) “learning” experiences. It is weird to me that life here feels somewhat normal now, and people that I did not know at all a year ago are now my closest friends. I suppose that is sort of inevitable when you are sent off to a foreign land with only 8 other people, but it is sort of cool to realize that now I know and deeply love my teammates and I would never have these friendships if I hadn’t have come here.

Throughout the year we have had a handful of opportunities to interact with other Americans, and (as Taylor and I discussed on Saturday) it has been a bit nerve-wracking every time. First, Sara’s brother Jesse and friend Matt came out in September. Then 7 people came out from the University of Montana at the end of November. We met some people from Montana State University in March, then Taylor’s family came the next week. After that, Samantha and Dave came from U of M, in April, Pete’s mom and sister came, and this week Tim and Sara’s friend Brian is here.

Now that I’ve listed them all, it seems like a lot. BUT the common denominator is that it’s always awkward. Maybe not on the outside, but definitely on the inside. Invariably, we’ve always heard a lot about the people before they arrive, so in a sense, you feel like you already know them a little. Then you meet in person, and there are so many decisions: Do I introduce myself, or wait for someone else to do it? If it’s a big group, do I go around to each person? If I’m coming late to a restaurant, do I just sit down or walk over and shake hands? If it’s a teammate’s family member, are hugs expected, appropriate, optional, or just weird? At what point do I start joking around and making sarcastic remarks without them taking me seriously, thereby necessitating an even-more-awkward explanation that, in fact, I was just joking, and, no, I don’t actually swim in the poo canal (or, even worse, no, I was not just joking, I really have fished in the poo canal). Saying good-bye is even weirder, though, since most of the time we have no idea if we will ever see one another again.

Taylor and I talked about the initial discomfort of meeting visitors for a while, and in the end we figured there is just no way around these things. The stiffness of the first meeting has always been worth it, though, since we’ve had a great time with everyone we’ve met. So, thanks to all who have visited. Come again, and bring friends!

Good Times

There is no shortage of blogging-inspiration here in Rijeka, but life has been busy. Spring has sprung and time is running short. There are students to hang out with, a summer project to prepare for, events to coordinate, an apartment to move into, language homework assignments to do, Frisbees to throw, newsletters to write, emails to send, dishes to wash, bills to pay, phone calls to make, etc.

There are three big things I am particularly thankful for right now, though:
1) We got an apartment for next year that is amazing- everything we could have wanted in terms of space, location, features, price, and so on.
2) We have a car for the next month at least and maybe even the next year. This has been really helpful already, and even though we can certainly get by without it, it is a huge bonus. It’s an ’84 Audi- not pretty, but it works.
3) Our work permits went through!!!!! Now our lawyer is 99% sure we will get our temporary stay permits without any further problems. Our visa/residency situation has been an issue for most of the year, so this is huge.

Thanks, God!

Ladies and Gentlemen: My Boss

Go here and listen!

01 May, 2006

Hunting Season

Taylor is now the official greeter-person of Rijeka. If you know her at all, you know she likes meeting new people. So she is pretty excited that tourist season is beginning. This is a relatively small city, with a population of only 150,000 or so, and after living here for 8 months now, Taylor is eager for new faces and new friends. She saw four back-packers today, two of which were young, masculine Spaniards (she speaks Spanish fluently). Cha-ching!

Later this evening, we were out walking, and started talking about architecture. Some people we know are fascinated by architecture and know all about the various periods, styles, etc. This is surprising to me because I am interested in a *lot* of things, but find architecture to be as boring as heck. In explaining this, I said, “I mean, I'm more interested in rodeo cowboys than architecture…” Michelle promptly declared, “Well of course, rodeo cowboys are hot!”

Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially springtime. Tourists and rodeo cowboys be warned!


Sometimes people announce milestone posts like 100 or 200, etc. This is post #107. Cheers!

From Tobin.

I woke up this morning and discovered the following text message that my youngest brother had sent during the night:

"Alexis...honestly i miss you so much. I need to call you like asap. I love you and am thinking about you a lot. Be healthy be safe. MUAH!"

So sweet! *sniff*

WCs in Croatia

We are in the process of apartment hunting. Our current apartment is a little quirky. We have 4 couches, a HUGE desk and armoire- both in the bedroom, roughly 12 or 13 chairs (one of which has wheels- fun times on our slanted floor, we can roll down the hallway), a defunct freezer that is twice the size of our refrigerator, and a “forbidden” room packed full of our landlord’s belongings that we have sealed off with plastic because it makes Taylor sick. The three of us share one bedroom (for a little while we all shared a bed). And our bathroom is large enough to park a mid-sized automobile in.

Last week when Taylor went to look at a few apartments, there was one we were pretty excited about- it had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms! Well, when Taylor got there, she was a little disappointed to find that the 3rd bedroom was not included in the price, so if we wanted it we would have to pay extra. “Not a huge deal,” she thought, “on with the tour!”

She checked out the kitchen, which wasn’t bad, and then the fun began. There was a door in the kitchen leading to one of the bathrooms. This door consisted mainly of frosted glass. In the kitchen (just wanted to make sure you got that part), next to the sink. On the other side of the door, there was a shower to the right, and a toilet/changing area to the left. So you could be standing at the stove grilling some chicken and glance over to see a freshly-showered person walk by the frosted glass on their way to pee or get dressed. Nice.

The second “bathroom” was situated in the following manner: In one of the bedrooms there was a sink in the corner. Straight up, just chillin’ in the corner. Near the sink there was a door. The door led to an outdoor balcony. On the balcony there was another door, on the other side of which was a toilet. Just a toilet. That was the extent of the second bathroom. Sink, door, deck, door, toilet.

Two questions: Who? and Why?

A shout-out to an anonymous buddy.

One of my friends had a bit of a hard week. Some stuff happened in my friend’s family, and now he is trying to deal with it all in a Godly way. I would like to say that I greatly admire _____’s attitude in all of this. He is demonstrating patience, perseverance, forgiveness, humility, and love in the midst of difficult circumstances. I am confident that God will work this situation out for His glory and the good of those who love Him, and can see that He is already using it in my friend’s life, even though it’s hard. If you are the praying type, please pray for him.
To _____: We love you!