Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to Abilene! Back to the Books!


Ok, so I have lots of fun stories from Greece and Turkey involving (but not limited to) princes, 16 year olds, old Cuban couples, Spanish coffee, corn, TDHs, baklava and prostitutes. But first...I have to hit the books. Since I've gotten back I've tackled 10 journals and a 10 page paper. Before the end of the week I have to write 3 sermons, and before the end of the month I have to write 42 (yes, you read that correctly!) (mostly small) papers. And do 474 pages of assigned reading. Ouch.

The fun and games are over.

It is difficult to go from this:


To this:


But I will be able to make it because soon I will be here:


I still need to buy my ticket (AH!) but the plan is to leave for Brussels September 5th-ish. That gives me only 17 more classes to teach. I am pretty sad about leaving my students (I have worked with some of them for almost 3 years!), but we are scheming a way for classes to continue with volunteers once I am gone (especially because the funding ends when I leave).

(If you are interested, or know someone who is, you can see this Reporter News article: http://www.reporternews.com/news/2010/jul/16/funding-end-to-alter-english-program/).

And I am also going to be able to make it because I will graduate in December. Hopefully I am entering the last of my paper writing days. But for now it's all libraries and coffee shops in my future--if you need me, you will know where to find me!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's All Greek To Me!




Some Greek fun...

The phrase thank you in Greek is Ευχαριστώ, which is pronounced "Efxaristo." Sound familiar? It's where we get the word Eucharist from. It means with literally grace, or gratefully. Interesting no?

I kept saying it to our server tonight as we ate dinner, and he told me I needed to learn another word. So I tried the word for OK, "endaxi," (which I learned from my Couch Surfing host!) and that went over pretty well. Then he told us that the english word "OK" is actually from Greek.

Apparently the Greek sailors in New York would write όλα καλά, or "Ola Kala"--which means basically all good, on ships or packages that were ready to go, ready to be shipped. Huh.

And then, the last Greek word I could throw out there?

OPA!

Anyway, we had a FULL day of trekking up and down the Acropolis (we were not quite following my philosophy of "work smarter, not harder"). I'm beat, but so far so good!

OK (remember--its Greek!) some pictures below.


My couch surfing host Filenia and me at the port


Her super sweet mom came with us and bought us lunch!

Parthenon

Align Center
View of part of the city (5 million people!) from the theater in the Acropolis


Tough life!

Friday, July 9, 2010

OPA! I MADE IT!



(As an aside...blogger is trying to talk to me in Greek. Confusing!)

I made it! But it sure did take me a looooooong time to get here. To start out, I knew it was going to be a long trip--I was scheduled to fly from DFW to Newark, transfer to JFK in NYC and then fly to Brussels, from there to Budapest and finally to Athens. Whew.

Now, with all those flights, the last thing you want...is for the first one to run late. My flight into Newark was an hour late. Because it was late I missed the shuttle that I planned to take. When I finally got the completely unhelpful lady working at the tourist info booth for the Port Authority to explain where the next bus would pick up, and actually found the place, I had a pretty sure feeling that I was going to miss my connection.

See the lady told me her shuttle was faster, even though it took you into the city where you changed to a different bus to take you to the airport. She said each leg of the journey was about 30 minutes.

Lies.

It took me almost 2 and a half hours. Granted it was NYC rush hour, but I don't know what that lady was smoking. That plus a crazy bus driver who wouldn't let me get on the bus (and the news isn't lying--they are having a HEAT wave up there!) until he adjusted every single thing he could think of inside, went and looked at the lights, the tires, the mirrors and then went inside and used the restroom. All without even looking at me. Ouf.

Anyway, once I made it to JFK and stood in another line I got a nice polish lady who helped get me rerouted. They wanted to charge me and make me over night and pay more miles, blah blah blah, but they finally put me on the flight to London that was leaving in less than an hour. Off I went, and then I connected to Athens from London.

It was SUPER stressful, but in the end, while not quicker, it was probably easier than making all the other stops.

Once I got to Athens (we were about an hour late leaving because of the strike) I realized that none of the trains/metros were running with the strike. Before I even could figure out what I was going to do my couch surfing host found me in the arrivals area! She came to pick me up!

They are super sweet--she picked me up and made me some coffee as we chatted on their veranda, and then latter cooked me up some spinach risotto and Greek-ish cheese cake. Yum. And they aren't sketchy at all! ; )

OK folks! That is the update. I think we might take a drive here in a bit to see a mountain that overlooks the city and then I will be off to the hotel to meet the Logsdon group. I'm hoping everything is on the up from here!

A couple more pictures below: (on top is grand central station, NYC)

NYC! Once I realized there was no way I was making it, I just enjoyed the views!


Finally in bus number 2...a bit sketchy-er but with a much nicer driver.

Finally to London Heathrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Amazing Race

I leave in just a few hours for Greece! Unfortunately, I think tomorrow and Thursday are going to be loooong travel days. I'll leave my house in about 5 hours, then head to Newark, then to JFK, then to Brussels, then to Budapest, and then to Athens. Whew. It totals right at about 24 hour worth of travel.

I am telling myself it will be just like the Amazing Race. Oh my gravy!

The really interesting part will be when I land in Athens. Turns out they have scheduled a massive 24 hour nation-wide strike for Thursday. Cool. Apparently the air traffic control people are only striking for 4 hours and as of now, my flight is still on the schedule. And luckily, I scored a place to stay outside of the city center. With some locals. ...

I am couch surfing! I am really excited about it actually...athough it might be interesting getting to their place depending on if public transit is up and running or not. But they play in the Athens orchestra, how fun is that? Anyway, (even though all of my friends, psuedo parents, and life coach are out there cringing) I will be glad to stay with someone who knows their way around, especially with the strikes and things in Greece being a bit on the rocks lately. I promise not to get "taken."

OK, off to get a couple hours worth of sleep! I can't wait to hit up all the airports, smell all the perfume, look at all the duty free items, and listen to the dozen This American Life podcasts I have put on my ipod. Oh, yeah...and do the course work which I still haven't done. But I'm trying not to think of that right now (obviously...).

See you in a couple of weeks friends!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happiness



Maybe there has been a bit of a cloud over me this past month. It was brought on, well in part due to the actual clouds that have been hanging around and causing things to bloom that haven't bloomed in years (read: horrible allergies), but also by the stress of weddings and new bosses and classwork and dozens of hours logged on I20. And as of yesterday, a dead battery in a thunderstorm. BUT...

It is lifting. There's a kick in my step for several reasons...

A) I found a really tasty Thai place right by my house in Fort Worth.
B) I finally gave in and bought Train's latest album. I know it's probably lame, but I love Train. And I really love the song "If it's love." It even mentions Spain! It's a bad dance party waiting to happen.
C) I don't have to teach for 3 weeks!
D) I found my gold hoop earrings!
E) I bought my ticket to Turkey today. I leave for Europe in just a few days! (Also, the nice, nice lady at American Airlines got me on a same day flight out of Miami on my return. That means I don't have to overnight there, which means I don't have to/get to couchsurf there, which means my parents, life coach and friends don't have to worry about me being abducted into the slave trade anymore.)

But the biggest reason is this...



My niece Emma is finally HERE!


My nephew's family has been in the adoption process for FOUR years, and finally they were able to bring Emma home from China today! After so much time and so many prayers it was so sweet to see the little lady! It's nice to have another female in the family at last! : )



Meeting Emma at the DFW airport. And, check out that sweet bow that the awesomely thoughtful Krystal Phillips made for her! She plopped it straight on her head and loved it!


The welcoming party at the airport


Tickle time


My nephew got some fancy samurai pajamas!


She has the twinkliest eyes : )



Friday, July 2, 2010

Papers

So last night I was up till 2:30 determined to finish a paper. It has been almost 2 months since I wrote a paper, and I was a bit rusty. Trying to get to page number ten, all I can say is that I am incredibly glad that theology departments require you to learn and use Turabian form (as opposed to MLA, etc.) and this is for one reason only. Courier New. It's a totally accepted font, and it's HUGE.

I used to save it for only desperate situations, figuring professors knew I was slacking, but then I gave in. It adds entire pages. And, I figure since it looks like a typewriter font professors are somewhat nostalgic towards it too. : )

Anyway, it made me think of this gem (I did say there might be haikus...)

Oh Courier New
multiplies like loaves and fish
page count miracle.

The End.