Forty-Two Stairs From The Street

Was it all just a dream?

This last week has been odd. I've done a lot of things that were so familiar to me, but yet distant as well. Swimming in the Rhine, dining at the Isle of Innisfree, listening to Klonakilty, driving on the autobahn with Radio Regenbogen cranked up, attending the Anglican Church of Basel, having lunch with a gal I had lunch with years ago, waiting for my spaghetti ice, and standing on the balcony in my old apartment were just a few of the things that took me back. A few times as I was driving around I began to wonder if the last two years were just a dream. Everything this week felt so normal, even when speaking my broken German. It really messed with my mind at times, as it did feel like I had just woken up from a long nap with the strangest dream. A dream about living in a country where I didn't know the language, let along the characters they use to make that language up. A dream with strange, interesting, and exciting characters.

But I am pretty sure that my time in Korea, my travels, my experiences, and the friends I have made along the way are real. At least I sure hope so. And if it turns out to be just a dream, it was a dang fine dream as it had some pretty interesting and complex story lines compared to the rest of my dreams.

Then again, I'm now feeling like the last week was just a dream. Either way, I am off to Turkey for a week. And in doing so, say farewell to a country that loves the Hoff. So if I don't see you soon, perhaps we will meet in my dreams...

Currently reading:

I Walk The Line

When the tempterature hits near ninety nine
And you sort of wish the sun did not shine,
There is one thing to do that feels so fine.
That is to float along the river named the Rhein.
Tonight on a balcony in Basel is where I did dine,
A pleasant meal accompanied with some wine,
And you know that I really could not decline
For even Jesus enjoyed the fruits of the vine.
I still ponder about seeing a Mongolian shrine.
At the butchershop I worked I would pump brine
Into turkey breasts and the hocks from the swine.
Sometimes sorting out life can be hard to define
In the end I am just looking for a simple sign.

Currently reading:


Since You've Been Gone

It's Haiku Friday
Which took a break for travel
And will again soon.

Chairman Mao Lighter
One hundred and forty yuan
I got for fifteen.

I thought that was it
They were going to kill us there
I guess I was wrong.

Lots of time to kill
Looking out the train windows
Hey, another tree!

Fermented mares milk
It was better than I thought
At least the first sip.

Arab food for lunch
Eating it in a tree house
Twenty buck humus.

I've got a fast car
Just like Tracy Chapman sang
I'm autobahn bound.

Clean clothes once again
And a shower every day
At least for this week.

Off to Turkey soon
To see some Biblical towns
And pistachios.

Just finished reading:


Where I've Been Or What I Won

The great big train adventure is finally done
And we sure had more than our share of fun
Like riding camels under the Monglolian sun.
It is a shame I didn't get a photo with a nun.
Now the solo part of my trip has just begun
As I hang in Basel, where I once did run.


Now As The Train Pulls Away

Just wanted to toss an update out there to let my family, friends, and fans know that I'm alive in well in Russia. It has been an amazing trip so far, and the highlights could fill this page. We arrived the same day into Irkustk as this horrible accident. Now we are waiting for a train to head to Moscow. A train that will take over eighty hours to get there!

A question I have asked myself several times along the way is how did I get here? I know the basic answer is by the Trans-Mongolian railroad. But I'm talking deeper. What steps in my life caused me to start to venture out of my little town and my comfort zones? What decisions got me to the point that I found myself riding a camel in Mongolia or having a meal on the shore of Lake Baikal? Any thoughts or ideas are welcome.

If anyone is reading this in the greater Kandern/Basel area, I'll see you in less than a week. Those in the greater Istanbul (not Constantinople) area, we will party in about two weeks. And barring any Uzibekistan or Turkish prison, I'll be seeing my friends in Taejon in three weeks.

Well, I've got to go buy some bread and meat for the train ride.

Currently reading:


Travel With My Friends

Ten years ago, I was sitting in Dublin, Ireland with the challenge of finding something in 2 Timothy 4 to share to the four of us who had assembled there for the summer to serve as missionary interns. Verse twelve jumped out at me for some reason. It might have been the simplicity of the verse, it might have been the unique name, either way, I started looking to see who this Tychicus guy was. The few verses that mention this guy talk about how he is a "dear brother and a faithful servant" and one who was sent to "encourage your hearts." As I read these few verses, I was challenged to live a life that those words could apply to me someday.

Well, years have gone by, and at times I still think about good old Tychicus. Now I sit on the edge of a trip similiar to his. I am heading to Ephasus. Sure I'm not taking the same route he did, but I'll walk the same streets he once walked. I'm excited about this.

In the same way, I'm excited to see what God has ahead of me on this trip. For the couple weeks, I'll be spending it traveling by train from Beijing to Moscow with two amazing guys. Iron sharpens iron is the phrase I am expecting of our time together. But in Moscow we go our seperate ways. From there I'll spend time in Germany, France and Switzerland with some friends and former students. Then it is off to Turkey. I still don't have many things planned about this trip, partially out of creating a sense of adventure, part out of leaving it open to what God has in store. (So if you are along the way, drop me an email, and if I check it, we can hook up.)

But in the end, I hope that those I come into contact on this trip would see me as a faithful minister, a dear brother, and one that has encouraged their heart...

Currently listening to: The Big Trip iMix

Nothing Like A Train

As a distraction from packing, I created an iMix for this big trip I'm about to embark on. The ironic thing is that I am not taking my iPod. The only entertainment I have with me is a deck of cards and a copy of The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I guess these two guys will also provide entertainment for the first two weeks.

But if I had my iPod, these are some of the tunes I might enjoy on this trip:
1. The Wanderer - U2 with Johnny Cash
2. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
3. The Great Wall of China - Billy Joel
4. Train In The Distance - Paul Simon
5. China - Randy Stonehill
6. Russians - Sting
7. That Train Don't Stop Here - Los Lobos
8. Stranger In Moscow - Michael Jackson
9. Another Travelin' Song - Bright Eyes
10. Lost In Germany - King's X
11. Fly Away - Lenny Kravitz
12. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants
13. Eastern European Girls - Letters Lost
14. Turkish Delight - David Crowder Band
15. Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? - Rockapella
16. What Susan Said - Rich Mullins

Currently listening to: The Big Trip iMix