You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2010.

The other night I had a terrible dream. Here is the Sparknotes version: Chinese dignitaries were staying in my family’s house and they happened to watch a Youtube video where my friend Annie lit a banana on fire like a candle. They thought it looked pretty cool, so naturally they had to try it, and they burned down the house, killing my dad and a little old lady! It was awful. I cried myself awake, and then typed up a full synopsis (which I cannot bring myself to post here, as it is too depressing). When I called Dad later on that morning to make sure he had not actually been killed in a freak banana fire, he did not answer. The terror! Actually by that point I’m pretty sure I thought it was funny. And I did get to talk to him later, no worries. He even gave me a way to turn bananas into hallucinogens, which is probably a parenting no-no.

Last night I went to Taiwanese Culture Night, which was both fun and enlightening. They had some carnival-type games, and I won a prize at the ring toss (depth perception WIN). There was a presentation which included a kung fu dance with shiny golden fans. I want to learn kung fu. They even fed us dinner! Sigh. It was SO DELICIOUS.

I sat next to one of my friends who is a Chinese student getting his master’s in political science. He provided a running commentary on the political history behind the decorations and costumes, which was quite helpful. Somehow we ended up discussing Jesus, sin, prayer, the gospel, etc. He had a lot of really good questions, and knows more about the New Testament than a lot of Christians do! This conversation lasted through the dance performances (I know, how rude), through the dinner line and then dinner, and then he went to RUF (the campus ministry I go to) with me and we continued our discussion. He has a deep respect for Christianity and faith in general because his grandparents were Christians and seems to be very hungry for truth. Please be praying that his heart would be opened and that he would understand the love and grace of the gospel and the hope that comes from that!

On a completely unrelated note: this website is entertaining if you’ve ever thought it would be fun to control a solar system. You can pick how many planets and moons you want and mess with their orbits, then start it rolling. Mine keep crashing into each other spectacularly or hurtling off into the depths of space, which is one of many reasons why I am not God. See if you can get a binary star system to work, mine keep ending in almost immediate explosion.


My friend Lydia had a second driving lesson on Sunday, and it ended in disaster. After five minutes of driving, the engine stalled and never restarted, so we eventually pushed it into a parking spot and abandoned it and walked home. Later I went back and Rhonda the Honda was more cooperative. Still,  she has broken my trust. Forever, perhaps.

My crockpot passed away at some point during the night of the 20th. This is a tragic blow for me because we were very close.

My galoshes have large gaping holes in the toes. Galosh! Oh my gosh!

These are pretty much my only complaints with Life at this time, which I guess means I am very blessed. Time to go rock morphology! (No pun intended.)

This morning I found a note on my bedside table that said this:

“Let’s talk

about spaceships

space’s hip

humpty dumpt”

It was in my handwriting, so I can only assume I wrote it in my sleep. To me, the hilarious part is that it sounds like something I would write when I’m fully awake and coherent. And I was thinking about Humpty Dumpty yesterday. Where in that poem does it say he’s an egg?? Nowhere.

Maybe it’s just me, but that face strikes terror into my heart and reminds me of how much I miss Fritze. Anne, could you possibly duplicate this shot?

Happy Thursday! I know I just wrote a thing about how much I love Sundays, but Thursdays are pretty great too. Some reasons why: my week is winding down, I have a large bag of lentils in my fridge, and tonight is Kraettli the Greatly. I’m making brownies.

Yesterday was Gordon’s birthday! He’s 23 now, can you believe that? Here’s a fun fact: He used to be the youngest baby in the world.  (It runs in the family.) I have many fond memories of my dear brother, but here’s one that popped into my head yesterday. Gordon, remember that time you had them play “Walk Down This Mountain” at True Life because you knew I liked it? You’re a great big brother, and you managed to retain your sanity even with three little sisters.  I hope your birthday was lovely! Good grief, you are so old.

I saw a German shepherd puppy yesterday and it made my day.

The library and I have been good friends lately. I’m in research mode for my senior essay, so I’ve been going on grand book hunts looking for particular language philosophy books (which I then have to read = significantly less fun). I’m always impressed at our library; they can get a hold of any book you can think of, even the obscure ones written by crackpot linguists with snarky anti-establishment undertones.

I am hoping that if I talk enough about how great OU is, it will encourage Anne to come here. Anne, come! Think of all the literary resources that would be available to you!

Time to get back to reading all about Socrates and the naming of things.

I like its shoes.

These people sing “We are the Champions” (originally by Queen) in Tatar. They all look so joyful! I suppose I would look that happy too if someone gave me a fur hat and a tambourine.

Happy sigh. It’s Sunday! Sundays are my favorite day of the week this semester. This semester I decided to actually treat Sunday as a day of rest, which I’ve never really done on purpose. In the past, I would usually be restful if it was convenient to be restful, but getting things done definitely trumped resting. This resulted in more of a procrastinate-then-scramble-to-get-it-done system, which is exhausting! Any kind of rest that you get using that system ends up being poisoned by the cloud of Whatever You’re Supposed To Be Doing that looms over your head. SOOO all of that is behind me now. This semester, I am doing no classy things or worky things on the Sabbath. Just church and spending time with friends and/or Jesus. This has led to activities that I normally wouldn’t have time for on a Sunday, like:

  • Teaching a friend how to drive so she can get her license before returning to France
  • Having lunch with my Taiwanese neighbor and discussing in great detail the words to the hymns we sang in church that morning
  • Arts and crafts time with Rachel (after we finish our project I will put up pictures!)
  • Going on reeeeally long walks
  • Guitar/banjo/mandolin/bass/djembe jam sessions with friends
  • Movie nights with friends – my favorite this semester has been Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Pumaman, and tonight is Munich
  • Ok, so probably none of those sound terribly exciting, but trust me, they are a lovely lovely break from the normal chaos.

Exodus 20:9-10 says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God,” and I think that the six days of labor or pretty important to the Sabbath concept. I’m glad God included that in the instructions, because otherwise I would get addicted to the Sabbath and only do that. Aaaall week. Instead I am trying to work hard (for the glory of God) and then take a break and rest hard (for the glory of God). God definitely knew what he was talking about when he said to do it that way.

Also I believe it’s important to not be too legalistic about it. I have a tendency to want to know exactly where the line is – can I read a book for class? What if I enjoy this book and it doesn’t feel like a chore? Can I clean my apartment? But Jesus talked a lot about the Sabbath and made it clear that it is about what is going on in your heart, not just about things you’re doing. And this summer, I found out (fortunately not firsthand) that, in order to avoid exerting themselves on Shabat, some Ultra-Orthodox Jews will pick up rocks the day before and pile them at waist-height so they can throw them at people who break the Sabbath (i.e. drive, chop vegetables, try to stop riots, etc). And yeah, that’s a very extreme (and darkly funny) example of what NOT to do on Shabat, but legalism is a slippery slope, and I don’t want to end up with the mentality that it’s only something I have to do.

Also, I feel like any discussion of Shabat is incomplete without a mention of Hebrews 4. Jesus is our rest and we who believe enter that rest! I am very excited about this. This semester God keeps blessing me with a sense of peace and comfort and rest that is not limited to just Sundays.

I’m curious: how do you feel about the Sabbath? Do you treat it any differently than the other days of the week? (Don’t worry, if your answer is “not at all,” I promise not to go old-school Jerusalem on you and start chucking rocks.)

Anne is up in Chicago this weekend being a bad influence on Frances and touring UIC. Have fun, ladies!

In Chinese class on Monday, I learned that Coca-Cola’s name in Chinese (“kekou kele”) translates as “delicious and happy.” That is some good marketing. I think Pepsi didn’t have such good cross-cultural luck though. Last year my Taiwanese professor told us that the motto “Come Alive! You’re the Pepsi Generation” got translated into something like “Your Ancestors Will Return and Dance With You.”

There are wild kangaroos in America?? My socks have been blown off! No more socks. (I actually am out of socks and need to do laundry, but that’s irrelevant.) There have been occasional sightings around the country, including some in Waukesha County! You Wisconsin people should keep your eyes open. And if possible, catch one.

Last night in my Israeli film class, we watched Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer, which was the first ever Israeli-produced movie. It’s about Israel’s War of Independence, and it’s my favorite movie we’ve watched so far in that class. If that period of history interests you at all, I heartily recommend it.

Speaking of tragic historical dramas and doomed romances, I saw Titanic the other night, which I had not seen before. (Gasp! I know. What kind of existence did I lead before seeing this movie?) It was epic and over-the-top and left me emotionally exhausted. But I’m not sure I understand the hype. Why do people love it so much? That is a sincere question, so if you know, do share.

Aaaand as we all know, there’s a big holiday coming up! Sunday! Chinese New Year! So put on some auspicious red clothes and eat some fish. Congratulations and be prosperous!

This website is devoted to pictures of Tom Selleck, waterfalls, and sandwiches. It’s pretty fun to scroll through and look at all the pictures, and then you realize that they are, indeed, all pictures of Tom Selleck, a waterfall, and a sandwich. And then it’s still kind of funny.

Behold! Yonder, through the trees. Looks like meatloaf.

Long time no update! It’s hard to find enough time to eat, let alone blog. The semester is going well, I would say, but every day is the longest day of my life! Nevertheless, I am maintaining my tight grip on sanity (as always), and maybe now that I’m mostly caught up on homework and papers and readings, things will calm down.

Our weekly Kraettli gatherings kicked off last week, and we had a rather impromptu potluck dinner on Saturday that resulted in a lot of pasta. (Which I’m always ok with.) Most of our Europeans left at the end of last semester, and a lot of the newbies are Asians. Rachel and I have been enjoying their goofiness and openness. I’m trying to take more pictures this semester, and learning that I have to take them quick, or else everyone does the peace sign with both hands. Photographic evidence of this phenomenon follows.

This is the rare Japanese Joe bird, precariously perched in our living room! Please notice that he is wrapped in a cloak. This kid cracks me up.

Andrew, Rachel, and Hui! Andrew one-ups the Asians by whipping out the WOW sign. Three fingers on each hand instead of two? Wow!

I have a spoken Chinese class two nights a week, which I enjoy immensely! The teacher doesn’t like me very much because I told him I didn’t want to learn the writing system because it’s too hard. (I worded it in a somewhat more polite manner, but he still seemed a little offended, and no one in the class backed me up. Traitors.) Also, last night in class I also came to the realization that since all my classes have been taught by Israelis for the past few years, that has probably made my attitude toward language-learning a little more argumentative and belligerent than is necessary. In the Chinese culture, you’re supposed to treat teachers with a lot of respect, and maybe not be so confrontational about being taught the Beijing dialect. Now that I’m aware of that cultural difference, I will be the most respectful student EVER. But aside from the student-teacher dynamic, I really enjoy it, and I can carry on a very very basic conversation and even recognize a few of the characters! Wow!!

That is all the information I currently have time to relate. Maybe next time I will tell you about how much I love bean soup.