Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Stories

This last weekend was great! Cara had the weekend off, so she stayed here. Friday night we cooked and then went to watch the sunset at my new favorite overlook at Feuerbach. But Auntie Anne and her crazy winds came to visit just as it started to sink behind the mountains. A tree fell- some stinkin strong wind.

Saturday morning I got to work at the BFA car clinic. I got there an hour early and had some good reflection & prayer time just sitting by the creek. And then the car frenzy began. I think we had 18 vehicles come through in 3 hours to get full body safety inspections, fluids filled and tires changed. I remembered how much I love cars and how ridiculous men can be. It was my job to keep the cars flowing smoothly in and out of the tire changing area, laying out the tires by where they should go, pulling hubcaps, and breaking lugs. All very simple prep jobs. But apparently more than some men could handle (mainly just the ones who referred to breaker bars as "thingys," consistently put lugs on backwards and tried to run lugs back on with only the torque gun). What was funny though is, for some reason, I couldn't seem to keep my balance when pulling off a hubcap. So I did something like this probably about 30 times: squat, pull off hubcap, hold for brief second, the PLOP...fall on butt.

After my hands no longer looked caucasian, Cara and I loaded up my car and headed to Denton's in Lausanne, CH. It should've been a two hour drive...

Gas is significantly cheaper in Switzerland than Germany, so I thought it would be no big deal to stop at the station right on the autobahn just across the border. But I was imagining a different autobahn in my mind, and the one we were on didn't have a station on the road. If life were a movie I would've called this bad foreshadowing number 1 from Cara: "Wouldn't it be funny if our car broke down in the French speaking part of Switzerland?" (Since neither of us speak French). So, Nuvi (my friendly but often schizophrenic GPS) directed us to the closest station- 7km off the autobahn. We were on a terrible sounding road, and this bad foreshadowing number 2 from me: "What is that sound? I guess it's the road but it sounds like a flat."

We got to the gas station and didn't check the tires. I hop out and put a 50 in the machine. Everything was automated- no one working. It ate my money and didn't turn the pump on!! (This really is smart except for when it eats your money. I wonder when the States will be this efficient).

We drove to another station; it didn't take my American or German cards, and also did not accept Euros. I had stuck my only 50 CHF in the other place. And Cara just had a 20. So she reluctantly put it in the cousin of the devil machine and had better fortune. Going to a third gas station, we finally found one that would accept Euros, so I filled her up, and we got back on the road.

Not much longer later, but long enough for us to cross into the French part of Switzerland, a woman in a convertible pulled up next to us and was mouthing and doing funny looking hand motions that we finally figured out meant "you have a flat tire, idiot."

We pulled into a parking area, and sure enough the back right was a goner. Stupid foreshadowing. Good thing I'd had plenty of practice changing tires that morning. Problem was that the lugs were on waaaay to tight, and even my JUMPING on the lug wrench only broke 2 of them. I'd broken the seal on about 200 lugs that morning without too much strain. But these things were ridiculous. Some French man helped us. I felt like a stupid, incapable American woman, haha. Poor guy broke a serious sweat, and I didn't even have anything to offer him to clean his hands with.

Moral of the story: keep a pipe in your car just in case you get a flat with tight lugs and there are no Frenchmen around.

We finally made it to D's, and he thoroughly spoiled us for the rest of the weekend. We wandered around Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), ate some great steaks & crepes, had some good wine, got to attend his always encouraging church, C3 Lausanne... just relaxed. So nice.

The trip back did just take 2 hours. I thought to myself "I hope I don't get a speeding ticket." Hopefully this wasn't bad foreshadowing number 3, but I won't know for a few weeks. Tickets here are sent by mail.

Cara & one of her girls came back to my apartment to watch football drafts, and I went to Maug to see some of my guys. A good time away and the weekend concluded with the students we love- Cara watching sports with her girls and me baking cookies for and watching a movie with the boys.

...will post pictures once I get them from Cara. I don't like taking pictures because they don't turn out like I imagine them to. I didn't get Dad & Jenny's knack for photography.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Things I Ponder

Lately I've been wondering what it takes to have genuine, healthy community.
I wonder what it takes for adults to share their joys and struggles earnestly.
I wonder how to encourage students to not be naive without simultaneously corrupting or scaring them.
I wonder how to train them up to respect the urgent things in life but to focus on the important.
I wonder what it is in the fields between Palm & Feuerbach that makes my allergies kick into high gear.
I wonder why Dave Barnes' songs, more than other artists', make my heart like butter.
I wonder what life will be like this summer without students or most of the staff around. I hope that I'll use the free time to pray and do something about these things that make me think... and maybe I'll go to Mallorca to ride a motorcycle across the island. Maybe :)

I've been writing back and forth with a friend in the States about the genuine community thing, and he's been a big encouragement. Thanks Jake! Please join me in praying for the BFA community (where we happen to live) to be a place in which lives are changed for Christ.

I know I have not been pulling my weight in encouraging the community. I know our faith is not about how often we study the Bible, how many prayer groups we go to or anything works-related. But how can I pour my life into the students I am here to serve if I am not constantly having my cup filled? And I haven't been. Please pray for a new passion to spend quality time with our God. More than anything else... more than wanting to chop down the pretty trees by Feuerbach so I can run without sneezing... I want to want to know God more richly. I want to want it.

My friend Guy (thanks Guy!) has also been helping me talk through community, and he sent me this video on relationships.

Unfortunately I'm not technically savvy enough to know how to put the video directly on here, but that's the link to it on facebook.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

Have I told you guys lately that I love these students? I love and am so proud of them. They bless and challenge me every day that I get to spend with them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Nine Month Change

Every nine months or so I get an overwhelming urge to do something new- a thirst for change. I've always chalked this up to the combination of being a woman- maybe we just can't hold things in for more than nine months at a time- and living within the 9 month school calendar for so long. Whatever the case, last night I was laying in bed thinking the same old thoughts of "I'm trapped! What am I doing?! I haven't done anything new lately! Ah!" It was panic setting in, and then the realization that next week will be exactly 9 months from when I moved to Germany.

I've been going through this panic/ restless cycle since the age of 15, the year I got my first job, traveled out of the country for the first time, and got my driver's permit. Since then, I've moved 9 times, changed jobs 17 times, owned 8 vehicles, and gone to some form of school for 5 very different careers (none of which I'm currently doing).

I can recount my life for the last 9 years in 9 month stints with a few exceptions: I stayed in my Eastside Evansville apartment for a whole year. I worked for Dr Brown almost 2 years (and would've stayed longer had I not moved to another continent). And I plan on staying here in Germany well past 9 months! Thankfully, relationships are exempt from my this restlessness. I don't ditch them like used cars. Actually, several of my best friends I met in that same year. I guess 15 was a big one for me.

So, now I need to figure out what big change to make so I don't keep laying awake at night feeling like my skin is crawling from being in one place for so long. If you have ever taken a glucose tolerance test, that is what my nine month panic feels like. For those of you who are fortunate enough to not have been asked to take this devil test, let me explain.
1. Fast for 8-12 hours.
2. Go to hospital.
3. Nurse draws blood.
4. Drink a nasty sugar drink and then sit in a hospital room for about 45 minutes trying not to think about all that sweetness pouring through your foodless system.
5. Draw blood again.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as many times as the doctor sees fit or until patient passes out.

Side note, the nurse did offer me a golf magazine in an attempt to captivate my attention for the hours that it felt like ants were crawling under my skin. And surprise, surprise, I passed out before I'd been stuck enough to have conclusive results.

THIS, is what my restlessness feels like... ants crawling under my skin, and as hard as I try to think about something else, it just doesn't happen... and then I pass out. Haha.

Ok, back to figuring out what change I'll make within the next week. Although changes in my living space, job, and car could be coming soon, I need something to tide over the thirst until then. Maybe hobbies.

I wrote that post yesterday morning. Since then I've been trying out the hobby thing, and it's actually working. I don't feel the ants crawling as much! I've gone for 2 runs, a good walk, and done lots of pushups and situps. I've read 2 books, cooked, cleaned, practiced drawing, done hours of grad school research, listened to some GSC sermons, and talked with the family. Mainly it's been the reading and grad school research that has kept me occupado. I feel like this is what people who drink lots of caffeine feel like.

If I were in the States right now, I would buy a motorcycle (preferably a Vegas Low because it's like sexy bike except my size) and ride to my least favorite state (Louisiana, with Mississippi at a close second) to get some gumbo. I'm really craving wind and gumbo right now :) I'm sure that buying a new toy would satiate the thirst for a while.

But since I am here without driving privileges or good spicy food, I suppose I'll dig into my new New Testament Survey book.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WW I Trenches

I know I said yesterday that I would take pretty springtime pictures, but I went to explore some WWI trenches instead. It was pretty incredible running through the maze of trenches gripped with the stupidity of breaking off from my group and wondering which turn they took, crawling through the caves, and seeing the bomb craters, amazing view from the top of the mountain and the enormity of the cemetery. So here are some pictures from both the French and German sides:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to the Fatherland

In the two weeks that I was gone to the States, spring hit western Europe in full swing. It's gorgeous here! Radiators are off and windows open- inviting the the pretty flowers to bring on my sneezing. I'm going out this afternoon, so I'll take some pictures for you guys. I hear local honey and tea are supposed to help negate allergies, so I plan to test that theory.

Next time I go to the States, I would like to go for 3 weeks. Two weeks was just too short to squeeze everything in! Most of my time was spent meeting with people one-on-one to talk about what's been going on in our lives for the last 9 months or so. Man, it was awesome. I didn't want to come back. One-on-one life talks and driving are my favorite things, and I got to do that for two whole weeks! No work, responsibility, bills... just good stuff, so of course I didn't want to leave.

Several people have asked about the Alabama license. I got it! So now I will try turning it in for a German one. I still can't legally drive here, but that's a step in the right direction.

The trip back was much less eventful than the way there. There were 14 people on my flight from Evansville to Detroit, so I had my own window and aisle seats. And from Detroit to Frankfurt I had the same set up. I got to curl up in a little ball on the two seats and sleep my way back to Germany. And there were no crinkling chip bags, snorers or mouth-breathers, or seat-kicking kids. Ahh...nice. I had Easter lunch with the Youngs and then spent the afternoon visiting with the RA folks who were congregated at Sonne.

When I moved here last summer, I brought 2 suitcases of clothes, a 5 gal Rubbermaid tub of shoes and books, a laptop, and a backpack. Although that is already PLENTY of stuff and much more than anyone needs to survive, this time I brought back some just-for-fun stuff to make this place feel like home. Like my ballet slippers... I've had them on all day, just because they make me feel dainty and make me want to dance. And CDs! I missed musical variety!! And my favorite jeans that are full or holes and covered in paint stains that will be of use when working on the dorms this summer. Some other completely unnecessary but much loved belongings to cross the pond: my favorite heels (aka witch shoes) that are completely safe on the flat roads of Indiana but will be hazardous on German cobblestone, hair extensions for those days when I miss having long hair, and Boggle.

Now, if you'll excuse me, a perfect song just came on to put my ballet slippers to use, so I need to go dance on my balcony.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

from Southern Indiana

Writing from the comfort of my parents home, I'm happy to report that home is still comforting.

It's been so great to be here. The train ride & flights here were something straight out of a bad comedy- the mouth breather behind me on the train that made me ball fists and fight from turning around and smacking him awake; the chip chomper who had snacks to last the entire 9.5 hour flight on my right and the loud complainers on my left, the screaming seat kicker behind me, and the man who leans his seat all the way back even during meal time in front of me. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much. But 7 out of 10 doctors say that it's good for the bottom to feel the pangs of sleep deprivation (that which comes from let's say 42 hours without rest) every once in a while so that it appreciates regular sleep.

Mom, Dad, and another friend met me at the airport. I was very thankful for no welcome home throng since I'd been holding my ire at bay for so long. I was a tad bit grumpy :) We went to Dad & Mom's, ate the wonderful meats Mom had cooked, tried to reacquainte with the quads, and I was out by 7:30.

Monday held driving cars (yay!!), surprising some friends at their work places, riding in a semi to Owensboro, getting lost in the city in which I lived for almost 2 decades, some great Chinese food with family, and working out in a gym. I miss 24-hour fitness centers. Or any fitneses center actually because who am I kidding? I can't stay awake past 9:30!

Tuesday I got to meet two new baby friends, have chick flick time with my sister, drive my Mom's scooter around, and eat steak...mmmmmeat.

Today = more babies, guitar hero and Mexican food :) Life is good when days are spent just having one-on-one time with people (and working out and eating).

Next on the list: visiting my grandparents in Kentucky tomorrow, the Alabama BMV on Friday, and Georgia sometime Friday night/ Saturday morning. Be back Saturday!