29 September, 2006

Meduza vs. The Bomb

Meduza was kind of a popular place to hang out last year. This summer, over a little matter having to do with the mafia, the place was bombed, and now it's just a pile of wreckage.

Some thrifty person is determined to make the most of it and salvage as much as possible. And to him I say: Good luck with that pool table remnant, I hope you have a lot of fun with that.

The debris is pretty impressive, huh?

Group Photos

Scheduled photo shoots are pretty much a drag, but we had some fun today taking team pictures up at Trsat.

Pirate, Philosopher/???, Sad Baby Tiger, Pirate, Tiger, Pirate

An "approved for general public use" photo.

The roommates.

John likes monkeys.

That about covers it.

Random Entertainment

Whenever I feel stressed out or depressed or tired or sad or anxious or just not 100% for whatever reason, one of the best antidotes is laughter. You just can't beat unexpectedly funny things that induce good, hard, loud laughter. Towards the end of last week I received 4 emails in one day that were so funny I could hardly stand it (3 of them were from my sister), and my attitude was consequently revolutionized.

The following links may not make you laugh out loud- usually somewhat personalized humor works best, and some of these are more interesting than funny- but I hope that you gain at least marginal entertainment, if that's what you are looking for:

~Sarah May left these links in the comments section a while back. I kind of want to try to recreate the experiments myself.

~This gem was discovered while watching The Learning Channel with some friends shortly before I left for Croatia. Keep in mind that this is a serious website, not intended to be humorous.

~A report from the front lines of the battle between good and evil in suburban America.

~Finally, if you're looking for a good movie, I highly recommend Little Miss Sunshine. I saw this about 8 hours before leaving the U.S. It was so awesomely unique and funny and engaging that I actually forgot all about Croatia for almost the whole film.

24 September, 2006

All together now...

The other night we went past a restaurant and saw this, a bunch of older couples dancing together. It was really sweet, but we were in the car, so it's a very poor photo and you can barely see what's going on.

An Afternoon With Mirela

Yesterday Taylor and I went to visit our friend Mirela. Mirela is unique and brilliant. She reads widely, speaks multiple languages, paints, writes, studies philosophy and pharmacology on her own, plays the violin, and articulates her strongly held opinions very well. She's moving to Slovenia for school pretty soon, so we enjoyed the few hours we were able to spend with her here in Rijeka. We ate pasta and grapes off the vine, and talked about art and stories and God. She took us to a nice big field with a great view of the sea and plenty of fresh air. And we got to meet her dog, talking bird, and cat.

The bird was pretty funny and kept making whistling and coughing noises. Apparently, when Mirela and her mom brought their kitten home for the first time, the bird exclaimed, "Mačkica!" (the word for small cat). This surprised them because they'd never spoken the word in front of the bird, but the previous owner had taught it to him.

While we were sitting and talking in Mirela's room, the cat jumped in through her window, carrying a small lizard straight from the garden. She proceeded to dismember the animal and eat or stow the various portions right in front of us. In the picture you'll notice the tail. What you can't see here is that it continued to jump, spin, quiver, and twitch for a full 10 minutes- completely independent of its body or organs. It was kind of gross, but weirdly interesting, too.

The view from Mirela's balcony

22 September, 2006

"Chuckles' Cousin" or "How Taylor Got Rabies"

The Audi TT

This is our car. It's kind of a beater, and the TT part stands for "Tiger Tank."

We all piled in to go to church on Sunday- it was a tight squeeze. Our friend Andrej just burst out laughing when he saw us, and kindly took this picture.

Another angle...

Taylor provides a little more detail here.


Earlier this week we went to Zagreb for a few days to get together with our national director and the teams from Zagreb, Split, and Sarajevo for some planning and some bonding.

Here's Sunny at this weird, creepy café that was mainly empty, but had a bunch of scary paintings on the walls.

And here's John sporting a purse. Not even a man-purse, just a regular girl one. I think things have gone too far.

This is part of the Sarajevo crew. We like them a lot.

The first few days...

Here's the team having lunch with Dario at Index, the student cafeteria.

Coffee with Zoran on the Korzo

MUP - the police station - is closed...again.

20 September, 2006

One Day Late

As I reminded you all last March, September 19th is officially "Talk Like A Pirate Day."

Sorry I didn't get to it yesterday, but this is a good basic overview and refresher course for all present, former, and aspiring pirates, or tiger pirates.

Thanks, Monica, for bringing this to my attention!

A Conversation With Dario

This took place immediately after we arrived by bus in Rijeka last Thursday evening. Dario had just met Andy and Allison (which added up to about 10 seconds of interaction with them) and was driving me and some of our bags to the apartment:

Dario: So, how do you like the new team?
Me: They’re great, I think we’ll have a lot of fun this year. You’ll really like the new people.
Dario: It’s Andy and Allison, right? And they are married?
Me (trying not to laugh): No, no, they’re not married.
Dario: But they are “together”?
Me: No, just friends!
Dario: Have they been friends for a long time?
Me: No, they just met, we all sort of met at the same time.
Dario: Really!!??!
Me: Yeah... Just like our team last year.
Dario: Ahhhh! That is so great. This is the beauty of your group!

Old News

Like I said, things have been busy the last month or so, but in the midst of the craziness I’ve come across a few key news items that you may find as helpful as I did:

➢ Important insights regarding cross-cultural travel.
➢ New developments in the modern relationship between wildlife and high culture.
➢ And finally, for all you ninjas out there, there’s this.

18 September, 2006

This time I'll try not to forget.

Before heading back over here to Croatia, my life was pretty much consumed with raising financial support to be able to come and trying to get ready to go. On Friday, September 8th, I was at about 65% of what I needed. At that point the numbers had changed very little over several weeks’ time, and I pretty much figured that it wasn’t going to happen within a few days. But I sent out an email and a bunch of people were praying, and by Tuesday was up to about 85%. Additionally, some people had raised extra support on behalf of those of us who were low and we were able to leave on time. Through unexpected means and in unpredictable timing, God proved Himself faithful and trustworthy and able to defy my own lack of belief once again.

It’s funny how extreme and emotional and all-consuming it all seemed to me when I was in the middle of the questions: What is going to happen? Why isn’t my support coming in? Does God really want me in Croatia? How will I have time to pack and get ready when there’s so much to do and I don’t even know if I’m going?

But as I look back I see so many things to be grateful for, in spite of my confusion and distraction and frustration at the time. For one, our whole team made it! The same type of thing happened last year, so I don’t know why I doubted this time. For another, God used the experience to remind me of the many, many people He’s put in my life that love me and whom I love. So many friends and family members prayed for and encouraged me continually- an embarrassment of relational riches was made apparent once again and it’s hard to really even express my thanks. Finally, to top it all off, I got to have some fun, too! I had prayed for a while to have a little time at the end of the summer to rest and get ready for the year. For a little bit I was feeling frustrated and ungrateful because it just didn’t happen. But then I was thinking about it and realized that it really did, and I wasn’t looking. Even though life was still busy and I was easily distracted by my to-do list, God undeniably provided some good, fun, recreational, and meaningful time with the most important people in my life. So, yeah, in the end: no complaints.

Thanks, family! Thanks, friends! Thank you, God.

14 September, 2006

Back in action.

So it's been a busy few weeks, and I know that the 3 or 4 of you who regularly check this have been eagerly awaiting an update. Maybe I'll go back and fill you in on the last few weeks later, and maybe I won't. (I'm planning to do it, but am wary of making publicly declared promises on the internet.)

Anyhow, at this very moment, our sleep-deprived and slightly sweaty troupe of 5 is sitting in the living room of our apartment, surrounded by small mountains of luggage. Yes, there are only five of us, not six. John is still en route and we're not sure when he'll get here. He's told part of the story here, but last we heard he was in Washington, D.C. and that is not explained in the blog entry. We're hoping to see him tomorrow.

Praise God for safety while traveling, miraculously provided finances that enabled us to come, Dario (who helped us get from the bus station to our apartments with luggage), and Zoran (who updated us on the John situation).

More later, we're glad to be here!