Monday, July 28, 2008

totally sucks awesome hated it beautiful

yes, this week i'm exploring a series of paradoxes with a bunch of other missionaries just returned from the field. a little thing called "debriefing and renewal" in the mountains of colorado. some people have come "home" for good, others are just here for a year before returning to assignments abroad. all are totally grateful for their experiences and are struggling now with varying degrees of home-sickness (for "adopted" countries) and identity crisis. yet all have been burned, bruised, and battered; the side of being a missionary that is rarely shared outside the safest of circles. this place is definitely a safe one, and i'm glad i made it out here, albeit (slightly) grudgingly.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

perfect score

north carolinians everywhere might as well roll out the welcome mat to their newest resident; yours truly just got her license.

this is a big deal for 2 reasons... a) it's symbolic of the fact that i'm putting down roots here (though i confess my heart is still mostly in maryland), and b) in order to get a NC license, you must first pass a driver's test. the test is full of obscure questions like, "what percentage of driving accidents are due to drunk driving?" is it really necessary that i know the exact percentage to be a good driver? isn't it enough to know not to drink and drive?

lucky for me, someone in my office mentioned that one could find a "study guide" (i refuse to call it a cheat sheet) online. thus, this little lady got a perfect score... booyah!

(really, what ever happened to people saying booyah?!?)

when i got back to my job, at the church, i was amazed to find kids moon-bouncing inside. yep, you can fit two moon-bouncers in our "multi purpose" space (which happens to be used for our contemporary services). who knew? and when can i bounce?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

google hearts walkers

i use google maps a lot... mostly because i'm new to town. i love how when getting directions, you can use your mouse to drag your route onto smaller (less trafficky) roads. great for bikers. but NOW there's an additional option! when getting directions, you can click "by car" or "walking." not only does it automatically move your route to roads less traveled, but it also estimates your walking time! i think this change denotes some serious behavior changes in the US. i'm so proud.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

car shopping

really, i ought to say virtual car shopping... as i've yet to test drive a single vehicle... but in my imagination, i've narrowed down my options to the perfect car. the 2007 nissan versa hatchback sl... with a sunroof. i've only found ONE with a sunroof so far, and it's in dulles, which makes me think i should fly up to dc and visit lots of friends on the drive back south. sounds like a week of fun, right? and i'd need that week to learn how to drive stick, as the ONE versa sl with sunroof happens to be a manual. no worries. i actually think i'd be a great manual driver, given 2 or 3 days of roadtripping and couch surfing. sadly, i don't have time for such ventures... not for another 2 weeks, at least... and by then my currently "perfect" car will likely be sold... eventually replaced by another potentially "perfect" set of wheels. i mean, i'll be driving this car for the next 10 years, so it's got to be just right. for now, though, the bus and bike are still fun. liberating, even. still, the possibility of purchasing a car in the near future looms large.

Monday, July 21, 2008


it appears that for every day of hanging out/working/living with middle schoolers (that would be last sunday through wednesday), i need an equal portion of sloth and sleep (thursday through sunday). but finally, i have emerged from hibernation.

i did peek my head out the door a couple of times during the 4-day respite. i went to the cardiologist for an echocardiagram. those are fun! it's like an ultra-sound, except that i watched my heart beating on a screen instead of a fetus. small difference.

i later biked to the ymca (2.5 hilly miles), tried one of their yoga classes (i was impressed) and then biked back home. it pretty much felt like 3 workouts in 1, but i'm sure that will improve as i get back to an exercise routine.

finally, i went out with some friends and met some new peeps on saturday. always fun to meet new people. then two of us split off to take on the salsa scene. i'm pretty sure that in flip-flops, i could out-dance any girl there. they could all kick my butt in heels, though. which is unfortunate, as no real salsa dancer wears flip-flops. (sigh).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


after spending this week with over 40 middle school kids, sleeping on the floor of a downtown church, fixing peeps houses (which is significantly difficult with 8th graders) in the sun... i'm too tired to write anything eloquent...
not that i ever do...
but i will say that i learned a new burping game this week. apparently, every time someone burps, it's cool to scream out random colors, "red! black! orange! canary yellow!" with no repeats... the last one to think of a color (and scream it) loses. the loser has to grunt. grunting is embarrassing. the end.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

kids and tattoos

i went to the movies last night with a group of middle schoolers. we saw "prince caspian" of the narnia series. it was good, though we had the entire theater to ourselves, which made for lots of noise and finger puppets.

anyway, before the film, we stopped in at mcdonalds for some nourishment. it happened to be connected to a convenience store which happened to have a tattoo machine--the kind where you insert 2 quarters and get a fake tattoo in return. seeing this as an opportune bonding moment, i invited the kids to pick out a tattoo for me to paste on my arm. after much deliberation, they decided i should get one of the "magic" type tattoos, hoping for a dragon. the less desirable options included silly flowers and hearts, sports and racing, or random "lovey" airbrushed types. i put my quarters in under the pictures of dragons and swords... but out popped a tattoo of two people embracing romantically, with the words "lets get it on" inscribed in cursive below. oops.

Monday, July 07, 2008

salsa hurts

i went salsa dancing last week... twice.

wednesday i went with a guy named ricardo. "lauren laughs" regulars will understand the humor in this small coincidence. anyway, ricardo took me to a place that starts with lessons before moving to just plain dancing. we did the first (beginner) lesson. easy... a tad boring. we asked one of the instructors if we could do the intermediate lesson too. she hesitated and said yes, but just to sit it out if we felt it was too advanced. psha. we rocked the intermediate class so well that the same instructor walked up to us later and asked us to audition for the advanced class that will be starting later this month: "just throw something together." okay. maybe...

i danced with the other instructor at one point, a man in pointy white shoes (mandatory for all male salsa teachers). sadly, i stubbed my toe on his shoes, breaking my toenail and spewing blood everywhere. that was fun. i really need to invest in salsa shoes.

but you can't let a broken toe nail keep you on the sidelines of life. no sir. thursday night i was back at it, only with a group of latinos. (ricardo is not latino... well, he's half... but it's a repressed half). anyway, my new latino friends all speak spanish. it was great to be in that environment again, and i understood everything, i just kept responding in french. shoot! till a moroccan guy joined us, then i had a french buddy. oh, the woes of a multi-lingual lover. still, i hope to hang with (and eventually hold a coherent conversation with) these new friends every once in a while, if only i could get used to the festivities starting at midnight.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

progressive kitchen 1

i don't so much have a "fully functional" kitchen yet. i'm reminded of this at odd moments... like when i bought a can of beats to eat on a salad, but then realized i had no can opener. nothing a pocket knife can't fix. or when i decided i'd make brownies this weekend, but had to do so without measuring cups. the result: brownie goo the entire staff made fun of.

so i'm on a mission this week/weekend to set up my kitchen. i've got dad's monster van parked in the driveway till sunday, so i might as well make use of it! so far, i've purchased a spice rack (including 20 spices), a liquid measuring cup and a strainer. odd mix, i know.

this would be so much easier if i were getting married. bridal registries are so discriminatory.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


two awesome finds this week:

1. paste. the magazine. they send you a new cd every month with new releases! how cool is that? and it's only 20 bucks for a year subscription. awesome.

2. wrnr online! in case you didn't know, the very best radio station of all time happens to live in downtown annapolis. life without wrnr has been a sad void of sound, till carolyn told me to just plug-in online! it's so much easier to get out of bed in the morning knowing "planet alex" is just a click away.

good stuff.