Tuesday, September 30, 2008

awkward silences

alright. let me explain "guided communication" on eharmony.

step 1: guy sends me 4 pre-fabricated multiple choice eharmony questions (i never instigate conversation... call me old fashioned).

step 2: i answer 4 questions and respond with 5 pre-fab questions.

step 3: guy answers my questions

step 4: i send "must haves/can't stands" or "mhcs" in eharmony speak (yes, they have their own language).

step 5: he sends his mhcs.

step 6: i send 3 questions that i actually get to make up myself...

and that's as far as i've gotten... because 2 guys have yet to answer my questions. i think this is the one that stumps them:

how do you feel about homosexuality? a member of my family is gay. it's hard for me to wrap my head around at times, but i love this person dearly. just thought i'd put that out there.

one of the guys hasn't responded in almost 2 weeks. i only blindsided the other guy just yesterday. and the jeopardy theme song plays on...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

and i'm back

south africa was awesome, though i took very few pictures (it wasn't that kind of trip) and bought nothing while i was there (other than decongestants for my cold... why do i always get colds in africa?)... i DID get to see 5 of my students from benin!pictured are anthelme, alexis, yves, jonas, pelagie and me.
i stayed in a "luxury tent" 2 hours north of jo'burg. i wasn't sure what that meant until the porter at the hotel ushered me to my room, at which point i exclaimed, "holy crap!" (i have a way with words.) the thatch roof made it a "tent," while the heated floors, huge bathroom, plush furniture and chandelier made it "luxury." it was a paradoxical week to say the least. worlds colliding on so many levels. thanks for your prayers; it was quite the blessing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

off to africa

i'm leaving for jo'burg, south africa, tomorrow morning. i haven't packed. i'll be gone 9 days. i have a theology test 2 hours after i get back to the US, so i'm typing my little fingers off, trying to get as much information into my computer as possible so i don't have to lug the dictionary of christian theology and the dictionary of the christian church along with me. good times. i did do laundry this morning, so at least i've got that going for me.

i'll be staying in a "luxury tent." i can't wait to see what that means!

i'm pretty psyched that i get to spend a week working with YFC again. it'll be great to work with youth from all over the world (it's an international youth leadership conference), and it will be great to see some missionary friends too.

i'll admit, though, that i'm really going to miss my kids here, and the peeps i work with, and my friends. i'm so glad i'm going to miss them. it feels good.

please pray for my safety, thanks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

picture perfect

a few words about posting pictures on eharmony.

first off, you probably don't want to post a picture of you hanging all over a girl (if you're a guy)... and you certainly shouldn't post a series of pictures of you with the same girl over and over. no one wants to see how hot (or not) your ex was.

if you do post a picture of you with a girl, there's no need to add the caption "i'm on the left" if you're standing on the left. chances are, we can figure that out... one would hope.

shirtless pics (for guys) are a little risky. they appear especially stupid if it's clear that you're taking a picture of yourself... shirtless. really?

beware of cheesy captions. "it's 5 o'clock somewhere," "i'm too sexy for my shirt," or "i love kids!" to name a few.

if that really is who you are, then keep it up. i'm all for authenticity. some girl (not me) will totally dig it.

that said, i probably ought to post the lone picture posted on my profile. i'm sure it's worthy of critique as well. it's not on this computer though. i'll just tell you, it's a semi-profile pic, my hair thrown up in a mess, no make-up, and a couple of discreet elephants in the background. it's how i normally look, minus the elephants... which i really posted to see if anyone would notice the context of the picture in the first place.

here is said picture...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

i love my church

this isn't a new phrase. i've been saying it since i moved here, but friends in baltimore know i used to say it there too. what can i say. i'm a church lady.

but really, my church is amazing. last sunday was parish day, when we celebrated the beginning of the church program year. we had blue grass, fried chicken, games, face painting, and of course... a climbing wall.
seriously? yes. and if that's not cool enough, the wall was donated in thanksgiving of... me. i mean, some people get altar flowers donated in their honor, but what says "we're glad you're here" like a rock climbing wall? pretty much nothing. my church is awesome.

i found myself thinking the same this morning, as trumpets heralded the start of the worship service, a string quartet played during eucharist (the music just about made me cry), john preached a great and thoughtful sermon, and everywhere there is a sense of "we are so glad you're here..." whether you're a kid or an old man or a youth minister. and the altar flowers smelled nice too. i love it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

online dumping

i was a little surprised the first time i got an email saying, "there comes a time in every relationship when one must decide whether to continue or move on... so-and-so has decided to close communication with you for **insert reason here*** at this time. we feel it's important for you to have the opportunity to respond, should you choose to do so." that's a paraphrase. anyway, i was like... 'i got dumped?!? but i don't even know you! i haven't even read your profile yet!' but then i was like, 'wait a sec, this means i can clean the losers out of my inbox. woohoo!'

i've been on a cleaning spree.

every day, around 3am, i get a new crop of matches. usually 5-7 guys. the matches are ridiculous. today i had 5 guys from georgia. georgia? next they'll be matching me with peeps in oregon! two of today's matches also happened to be 40, meaning they are closer to my mom's age than my age. unfortunately, that's not one of the reasons you can select for closing a match... "lauren has decided to close communication with you because she thinks you ought to date her mother." and really, i wouldn't let them date my mom. i'm just making a point.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

initial thoughts

i'm going through matches about as fast as i go through a bag of m&m's. i try to shoot 'em down before they even get a chance to look at my profile. that's because eHarmony, in it's infinite match-making wisdom, keeps setting me up with crazy fundamentalist types. i mean, were i to date a guy, i'd like him to be a Christian. definitely. but where are the normal Christians?

okay there is one that contacted me. he actually skipped past all the cheesy questions in "guided communication" and requested "fast track" so we could go straight to emailing. i was a little wary to accept his fast track request, but then decided it's all part of the experiment, so i gave it a shot. he'd actually sent me a nice email, saying that he, as a minister/professor, understood what i meant in my profile when i talked about wishing people didn't get weirded out when i tell them i'm a youth minister... that they start rewinding the conversation we've just had in their heads, trying to remember if they've said anything incriminating. the subject heading of his email was "beer and jesus." he said that when he encounters that situation, he invites the person to talk more over a cold beer, and then they usually chill out a bit.

that's todays update. also, i will say, this is slightly time consuming.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

taking the plunge

it's official. i'm experimenting with online dating.

see, it started with little nudges from my friends, little jokes or threats here and there. nothing persuasive, though, since i'm honestly content as is. then i was talking to a friend last weekend about her online dating experiences, and we agreed that even if you don't end up dating someone, it's a good way to learn more about yourself and others. that got me thinking.

i filled out the personality profile. mostly so i could just see how they described me. it all seemed accurate, except when they said i could be described as "avant-garde," going against the norm, pushing the boundaries of what makes most people comfortable. what? but i'm so traditional! oh, yeah... i guess i did travel to pakistan (and hope to go back soon)... and i did live in africa... and i did quit my steady job to be a missionary. maybe that's "pushing it" a bit. fine. just because i think that's normal doesn't mean everyone else does. who gets to define normal anyway?

after finishing my profile, i was sent a few matches. whatever. but then two of them tried to contact me! they asked a few pre-fab questions, i tried to respond, but wham! i was shut down. apparently you have to pay to respond. hmm... is it worth it?

well, i took a vote over dinner with friends. really, i didn't have to take a vote because everyone was on board. i will indeed try this online dating nonsense, and i will keep you posted on the drama that ensues. don't get your hopes up. right now i'm just answering questions. i wouldn't consider dating a single guy i've been "matched" with so far.

two side notes: 1) apparently this online dating thing is quite common. two of my dinner buddies tonight had personal experience to add to the mix. 2) from what i can tell so far, guys like to post pictures of themselves with nieces and nephews. is that supposed to be endearing? boy, this is going to be a long 3 months.

Monday, September 01, 2008

keep back!

yesterday i went wall climbing, which happens to be a ways out of town, so that provided some driving practice with friends. i did alright, except when i stalled out 3 times at the same traffic light... watching it go from green... to yellow... and red again. when i finally did go, i peeled out a bit. later in the same day i had a solid 3 second peel-out. you could smell it. i was beginning to think i'd made a huge mistake purchasing a 5-speed vehicle.but today was a new day, and i had to get out on the road. i mean, i HAD to. apparently i left my last name off one of the gazillion forms i signed at carmax, so i had to make the long journey back out there... on the crazy expressway... all... by... my... self. i took a deep breath, grabbed my roll of blue masking tape, and put a big sign across the back of my car that reads "KEEP BACK... i'm learning." i ventured over to the church parking lot for a bit of a warm-up, feeling my way in and out of that tricky first gear, and off i went.

and i made it! without a single stall-out or peel-out! no one got on my back. i watched in my rear-view mirror as one lady died laughing after squinting to see the fine print on my home-made sign. ah, what a day.
then, on the way back to my house, i put the hatchback feature to good use with a trip to home depot. i needed a big piece of wood (2 ft deep, 4 ft long) to finish making my desk before school starts this week. can i please tell you how easy it is to fold down the seats in my groovy mazda3? oooooh so easy. i slid my desk top in, pulled the door shut, and thought, 'that, missy, is why you have a hatchback.' it made my day.