Just Another Brick In The Wall

I am back from the trip to the Philippines. It was an interesting week. The team made several thousand bricks. Unfortunately if you make them, you usually end up having to move them too. So we got to move a lot of bricks too. But it is good work, knowing that someone is a lot closer to a home because of our work. I am a big fan of Habitat For Humanity and the work they do.

It was not all work either. We got to see a dolphin show, learned jungle survival skills, and even got to see some cultural dancing.

I have posted many of the photos on my Flickr pages and a few videos on YouTube. Be sure to check them all out.

Currently listening to: Bon Iver -


Orion's Belt Is Shinin'

What a post that does not just include a photo with a short story? Yep, it is true, I have decided to post a little entry. I guess lately I just have not felt the stories of life have been worth posting online. Or have there been any stories at all?

But today I had a couple funny moments I thought I would share. Today has been a busy day, as I am about to leave for a week long trip to the Philippines to work with Habitat For Humanity. I also was hoping to get my taxes filed, and a few other tasks done. After doing laundry, I began to pack. During this process I decided to dress for the day. Figured I have plenty clean clothes to pick from. Unfortunately, I could not find my belt. I looked everywhere, but no luck. So I had to use a different belt. Skip ahead to a few hours later when I needed to use the facilities. I undo my belt, only to discover my pants did not loosen. Guess what? I found my other belt.

This afternoon we also had to escort the students to the train station, as the dorm staff does every weekend. As we left we got into a taxi cab, and gave him the location. He asked again, which usually is not a big deal here. We told him, and then he started entering it into his GPS device. The cab driver behind him walked up and asked him where he was looking to go. When our cabbie said our location, the other driver began to belittle him, explaining where it was, and listed every place in the area as landmarks. Our driver finally found it on his map, and tried to start the car. Surprisingly, it would not start when the gears were in the drive position. When he did get it started, his GPS unit reset itself. He began the tedious task of reprogramming the location. By this time, we could have made the trip twice. So I suggest we jump out and grab the taxi behind us. My coworkers said they would join me if I did, which is all I needed to hear. A few seconds later our new cab driver was telling us the other guy had only been driving five days. He had a good laugh about the whole thing, as did we. Ah, good times in foreign lands.

Perhaps I will bring some good stories back from the Philippines. I will at least bring back some photos and plenty of dried mango. Mmmmmmango.

Currently listening to: Bon Iver -


A Glimpse At The Good Life

PhotoFriday's theme this week is "The Good Life." You probably are wondering why a photo of the shore of Lake Baikal is a representation of the good life. Here is the simplified version of the story behind this photo:

I was traveling across Mongolia and Russia with two good friends. We stopped ended up in Port Baikal for the evening due to a mix-up out of our control. In the process we found ourselves on a hike with two complete strangers. As we walked along the train tracks outside of the desolated area, my brain began to play tricks on me. I wondered exactly why these two men had a large backpack and a full shopping bag. My brain was flashing thoughts about the Russian mafia and various ways tourists have been mugged. As the mist began to come down, and my blood was being pumped out by the thousand mosquitoes that surrounded me, I began to wonder if this was the end. Could this be where this crazy adventure of my life ends.

Our two guides then told us to walk ahead another kilometer to a train tunnel, look around for a while, and then return for dinner. We walked ahead to the tunnel, where two of us shared similar thoughts. After some laughter we returned to a campfire along the shore of the lake. The contents of the backpack and bag were being cooked over a fire for our consumption. Our guide had even made tea from various leaves he had collected along the walk. It might have been one of the best meals I have ever had.

Perhaps a little thought about death makes you realize how good life is. I was enjoying a meal beside a beautiful shore with two great friends in a part of the world I never imagined I would explore. That my friends is why I feel I have the good life. Good friends, good travels, good food, and a good God who has provided it all.


Buddha Of Suburbia

"Surreal" is the theme of PhotoFriday this week. The dictionary tells me surreal means dreamlike. There was something dreamlike at the monastery overlooking Hong Kong. For several days I wandered the city, my ears filled with sounds and eyes overwhelmed by sights. Yet, when I hiked the path up to the The Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas all of that felt like it was in a distant past. Sure you could still see the city from up there, but you did not feel the city.


Pick Up That Telephone

I was trying to do the right thing and pay my recent speeding ticket. It is a little complicated because it was sent from Switzerland to my parent's address in America, and I am sitting in South Korea. I was on the phone trying to help my parents decipher the ticket, as it is printed in German, French and Italian. Ultimately, I want to make sure the money gets to the right Swiss bank account, and not mysteriously end up in the account of a doctor of economics, who by the way wrote an amazing thesis on Switzerland and the Euro. (If anyone would like some good reading, I can loan you a copy)

They give me the number on the ticket, and I decide I will try giving it a call. It goes through, and the lady answers in Basler Deutsch. I quickly use my command of the German languages to ask if she speaks English. Her response was negative. I was hoping she would transfer me to someone who did, but instead repeated twice to call back in "fünf Minuten"

Five minutes later I call, and get a recorded message telling me this phone line is only open from 9-12 and 13-16. I do not know if she did it on purpose, but she completely blew me off. I was a bit shocked, and yet impressed.

So hopefully the money is being sent to the right place. I would hope that with all the money I am sending them for a few miles over the limit, they could be nice enough to send me my receipt printed on some fine Swiss chocolate.

Currently listening to: Liam Finn -