Sunday, December 2, 2007

crusader football

I haven't really been into it much lately. Before last year and the whole no internet phenomenon of Doulos, I always kept track of them. While I was in college, I went to every home game. Post college I went to at least 1 game a year. Naturally, being out of the country, I couldn't go to any games last year. And I couldn't keep track online. No Crusader football in 2006.

This year, I intended to get back into it. I had plans to go to Homecoming, but it turned out to be the only weekend in a 6 or 8 week time span that I could spend at home, and I really needed to not go anywhere, so I didn't. Now, I'm wishing I had.

The UMHB football team made it to the playoffs again. And we've been doing GREAT!! The quarterfinals were today, and we won! This means that there's only one more game before the Stagg Bowl. We've made it to the Stagg Bowl once before (and lost). I think it's safe to go ahead and start planning a super Stagg Bowl party for the 15th.

I really love for UMHB to win games, but honestly, 85% of wanting them to make it to the bowl game is just so that we can have a party. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

annoying songs

Christmas songs are playing on the radio these days. I love Christmas songs. Most of them.

I just heard "Where Are You Christmas?" Ugh. It's like the Christmas equivalent to "Where Is Love" from Oliver. It grates on my nerves and then gets stuck in my head. Songs like this should be banned.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Is there anything better? Good food, family, no work. I left after work Wednesday. Took a scenic route to I-35. It seemed to take a long time, but I suspect that traffic was much worse on the freeways. And to think last year I missed all the crazy traffic time because I was preparing Doulos for drydock.

It was Rodgers' first major holiday to spend with my family - a very momentous occasion. He and Dad made the green bean casserole together. (I made truffles. They're delicious.)

Yesterday, we had fajitas with all the Atkinsons. The crazy ones did the Black Friday shopping, but those of us who are a little more sensible stayed home. We did, however, check out a new chocolate shop in Bastrop, which has truffles and bonbons made of Belgian chocolate. The strangest sounding one is the Lime Tequila Jalepeno truffle - surprisingly good. But my favorites were the Kahlua and the Espresso Rum.

We were too distracted by turkey to do nice group pictures Thursday, but here's some from yesterday:

me and Mom sitting on Claire's lap

all the cousins: Matt, DJ, Denis, Reagan, me, Claire, and Ashleigh

me, Matt, and Claire
As usual, we pulled out the Christmas decorations today. Don't have a tree right now, but we've got the mantle decorated, and some of the stockings hung (will have to get some more hooks to hang the rest).

This morning, Dad came in the living room, carrying our old Creepy Crawlers box, as if it was the Holy Grail. It still works, but the goopy stuff you use to make the bugs with was mostly dried out. So, he took us to Toys R Us this afternoon! Then, we had barbecue, and went to my favorite resale shop, Savers. I've been looking for boots for a long time. But I have no calves, so boots don't fit my legs right. I had finally decided to just get ankle boots. Then today at Savers, there was a pair of mules that kind of have a western design on them. Didn't look that great, but I tried them on, thinking that they would at least give the same look as boots if I wore them with jeans. They looked AWESOME!! Only problem is they were too small, and, being a resale shop, there was only one pair in the store. So my new mission is to find a pair of affordable western inspired mules in a 7 1/2.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

just for cat because she complained

On Saturday, my very special someone took me out on a historic tour of Independence, Texas. As you may know, Independence was the original location of the oldest university in the state, chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845. A school which is now Baylor University and, more importantly, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

There are two main clusters of historic sites in Independence. The first cluster we toured is centered around Baylor Female College on Academy Hill. There stands the ruins of the kitchen/dining hall of Baylor Female College and 4 columns and an archway which were the entrance to the main building. There are also some "early Texas homes" which are log cabin type houses. Sam Houston's birthplace is there, along with the site of his old house (of which only the spring house is standing).

We got into the car to go to the second cluster, and it felt like there was something in the seat, so I got up and looked, but nothing was actually there. So I figured I either had something in my back pocket or I was going crazy. I thought nothing of it.

The second cluster includes Independence Baptist Church, Texas Baptist History Museum (or something like that, we didn't go into it, I don't know if it was open), Mrs. Sam Houston's house, old town square, more historic homes, and Baylor College on Windmill Hill, where the boys went to school. There is a nice park on Windmill Hill. A walking path, picnic tables, historic things, Judge Baylor's original grave site (as we know, his remains are now on the UMHB campus), crabapples, a write up of the history of Baylor University (pro-Ecclesia, pro-Texana).

As we were getting into the car to return to Brenham, I felt the same thing as before, but 5 times more strongly. I reached back to feel under me, and put my hand into a 6 inch gaping hole in the butt of my jeans. I guess it had ripped a little the first time and ripped completely then. I was wearing a poncho which covers my butt a little, so it wouldn't have been noticeable. But with a 6 inch gash, my whole butt was showing. Rodgers said I'd be ok because a girl in one of his classes always wears jeans that are ripped at the butt. I don't really think that's my style, though.

Friday, October 19, 2007

maybe my mind is melting

I'm having problems with the sound of lots of words now. I heard someone say "guided" about half an hour ago. And now, I've been thinking:

What's up with flowed, showed, glowed... It sounds weird to me. Alternatively, it could be flew, shew, and glew. But that really wouldn't work. Flew is the past tense of fly; shoe is what you wear on your feet; and glue is what you make out of old horses.

I start work on Monday. Then I won't have so much time to think about words. But, I also won't be writing in my blog much.

I just thought "Hypothetically I won't be writing in my blog much anymore." Because I might write sometime. I can no longer think of the word "hypothetical" without thinking of the "hypothetical dog." I know at least one of you should remember that...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


First of all, I am not a fan of clichés. I find them annoying and predictable. If someone uses a cliché in an unexpected or unorthodox way it does amuse me. But using them in unusual ways takes away the essence of the cliché, therefore making it not so much cliché and more of an actual clever remark.

I came across a list yesterday of the clichés that I hate the most. It includes things like:
  • Breakfast of champions
  • Houston, we have a problem
  • We've got company (in the sense that the bad guys have shown up, not the sense that you're having friends over for dinner)
  • What can I do you for? (it may have seemed original when everyone was saying "what can I do for you?" and someone switched it around in a surprising way, but not anymore)
There is also one phrase on the list which is not a cliché, but annoys me just as much. That is "on account of" instead of saying "because of." To me, "on account of" sounds stupid.

Anyway, that's not really the point of what I'm writing about today.

There is one cliché which wasn't on the list, though it annoys me, but I have found that it has some redeeming value. That is "the early bird gets the worm." I have said many times before how much I dislike mornings. Some days it is outright hatred of mornings, but most of the time, just moderate dislike. People who do like mornings will pull this one on me, trying to prove their point that, whether or not I like the morning, I should go ahead and make the most of it. But, when people tell me that now, I have taken to asking them "But what if you're the worm?" Now, I realize I'm not the first person to say this, and actually it could be considered a cliché, too. But, the response from people who've never heard that before makes it all worthwhile. The response ranges from the slight chuckle and "oh, clever" to [my personal favorite] the confused look of horror when someone realizes that he's thought of himself as the "early bird" all his life only to discover now that he might actually be the worm. Something about giving people that sense of doom makes me feel...empowered. I understand now why evil geniuses do what they do.

Monday, October 1, 2007


For several years now, I've been into classifying words.

The first class I came up with was fake words. There are certain words that don't sound like they should actually be real words. They are in common usage and in the dictionary. I know they are words, but they sound like they shouldn't be. So I call them fake words. Examples of fake words: platoon, doily, dandruff. The more you say them, the more fake they sound.

There are also words which I just don't like the sound of. These are words that are real enough, but the sound of them makes me cringe. I erase them from memory because to remember these words would empower them. But, for the sake of example, a certain friend of mine can't stand the sound of the word refurbish.

A few weeks ago, I established a new class. I haven't come up with a good description of these words. And actually, at the moment there is only one word in this class. I was listening to Christian radio - Adventures in Odyssey. This guy was talking about how God "guided" him. "Guided" sounds wrong to me. Guide rhymes with slide. The past tense of slide isn't "slided." It's "slid." So, I believe that in a perfect world the past tense of guide would be "guid."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

simpsonize me!

This morning, rather than doing something constructive with my time, I spent a while just surfing the 'net. While online, I discovered "Simpsonize me," which is a super-cool website. You upload a photo of your face, and then it creates a cartoon version of you in the style of "The Simpsons" animation. You can then make a few adjustments to it, as it isn't 100% accurate. It's very fun. I highly recommend it.

As I was experimenting more with this site, I found a skin tone that is much closer to mine. And some hair that I like better. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the nautilus

On my bookshelves, I have books that I like to use for reference, along with the (rare) fiction books I have bought (usually just borrow those because I only read them once anyway) and a collection of books that I enjoyed reading as a child. One of my favorite books from my younger years was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It sits in a prominent position, where I see it almost every day.

Right now, I'm watching The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The Nautilus, from 20,000 Leagues, plays a big role in The League. The Nautilus is freaking awesome! As soon as I saw it on the screen, I thought, that is the name of my truck. Now, my truck isn't as awesome as The Nautilus, but she believes in her heart that she can be as awesome as The Nautilus.

In petitioning for names for the truck, the best suggestion I got was "Nancy". I'm reluctant to name my truck after the name we generally reserve for girly boys. However, I'm a big fan of alliteration. Is is an accident that Nancy and Nautilus both begin with N? I think not.

So my truck will henceforth be known as Nancy the Nautilus, or simply The Nautilus.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

odd sensation

I'm just sitting in my bed this morning, drinking coffee, reading my Bible, checking my email, etc. It's my normal routine that I've established since I'm not able to work. Once I do get to start my job, my lazy mornings will be no more. As I'm not a morning person, lazy mornings are the best kind of mornings.

So, not doing anything out of the ordinary, I suddenly had this weird feeling. It felt like my bed was rocking back and forth. And I thought, 'Ah, it must be windy today.'

That might not sound logical to you. But, when I was living on a ship, if it was windy outside, it would rock the ship a bit, and my bed would move. So it was a logical deduction.

The weird thing is - why was my bed rocking? I'm in an apartment now, not a ship. I'm even on the first floor. My bed sits on a concrete foundation. Wind and waves should not affect me anymore.

Maybe I don't actually have my land legs - or whatever would apply to feeling like a bed is rocking when you're sitting on it - back yet.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

peanuts and cracker jacks

I cried yesterday. Not from being sad. I cried because of a beautiful, touching moment. I had a hot dog in one hand, a Dr. Pepper in the other. I was sitting at a ball park, and then some chick started singing the national anthem. I stood up, had to put my Dr. Pepper down so I could put my hand on my heart, and tried to sing along. But I was too choked up. Some times I really love America.

check me out. I'm playing it cool. I'm like, yeah, I'm at a baseball game, so what?

What do you mean "so what?!" Baseball's awesome! So many things make baseball games wonderful. I mean, there's the hot dogs and Dr. Pepper, the national anthem (after which everyone screams "PLAY BALL!!!"), movie/song clips played at various times, and drunk people.

Plus, there's other great stuff to eat. mmmmmm...funnel cake...

Hey, look - Matt got nachos...

deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious! Mom's trying to eat my hair I think.

And of course, singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during 7th inning stretch. Our team was winning by so much at that point, we decided to just call it a night. It had been as long as 9 innings...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I was a little reluctant to buy a car for myself. I need one. I live in Texas - this isn't the land of public transportation. But, I'm not at all sure what I'll be doing when my commitment with Wycliffe for this next year is over. If I were to buy myself a car, and then wind up not needing it anymore next year...then I have to sell it, I guess. But it seemed that the cars I would buy, that is, the cheap ones, wouldn't be worth anything when it came time for me to sell them. I don't know. It seemed like a lot of hassle and wasted money to me.

But then, I found out about some people who were going to spend this year in China and had a vehicle that they wanted to come back to. They wouldn't be driving it for a year. I needed something to drive for a year. A match made in Heaven!

It's a Toyota Tacoma. I never drove a pick up before. Of course, after I bought Penny (my old Saturn sedan), they had to do some work on her at the dealership, and let me drive a Trailblazer for 2 weeks. I'd never driven one of them before either. I nearly cried when I traded the Trailblazer back for Penny. I didn't have a name for the Trailblazer. I thought it would be Studmagnet, but even with that the boys still didn't come-a-runnin. I think I probably look pretty hot in the Tacoma though. Eventually, I'll get someone to take a picture of me in it.

I found a picture of one online that is pretty close to the one I'm driving. (I feel weird calling it "mine" because I don't own it.) So, here it is: the silver Toyota Tacoma, single cab. I'm sure the one I have isn't exactly like this one. Without having it in front of me to look at, I can't really tell what the differences are though. Besides the fact that the one in the picture doesn't have a bed cover and mine does. And my apartment (which I can call mine since I am paying for it) isn't pink, yellow, and blue, and doesn't have palm trees. My apartment is earth colors. The bottom part of the walls are rock. It's called The Canyons, so they make the building look not really like canyons but they would match or at least coordinate with the way a canyon would look.

I need a name for this truck. Not this one in the picture. This one that's sitting out in the parking lot by my building. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

pond scum

Today was the day for cleaning out the pond in the back yard. The bottom of it was covered with several inches of decomposing plant matter and fish crap, basically it was slime ... muck ... sludge ... goo ... other icky things that I can't think of. The fish, especially the new baby ones, could hide in the slime. It was disgusting.

Before we could clean it out, we had to catch all the fish. It took all three of us (Mom, Dad, and I) to catch the fish and put them in a smaller pool so we could empty the pond and clean it. I got to touch almost all of the fish. I like touching fish. They feel cool.

me, touching a fish

The part I'm trying to forget about is the slime. First, we would be trying to scoop out fish and scoop out slime instead. Sometimes we would actually scoop the fish up, but we couldn't tell at first because there was so much slime in the net. Then we started cleaning the slime out of the pond - Dad would suck it into the shop vac or shovel it into a bucket and Mom and I would haul it to dump it in different corners of the yard, of course getting plenty of slime on ourselves. We weren't as bad as Dad, though, he was actually standing in it.

a baby fish covered in slime

Dad's slimy sock feet

I couldn't wait to take a shower. Now, I feel good. I feel great. I feel clean and slime-free!

the cleaned pond, filling with water again

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Do you realize how happy I am to be having my own apartment again? Do you understand how huge this is? Huge in the sense that it's very important, and huge in the sense that, compared to having a 55 square foot cabin, an entire apartment, with multiple rooms, is very big. I signed my papers, got my keys, and started moving some stuff in this week. I'll start living there on a more permanent basis once I have my own wheels.

It's not all mine. I share the apartment with 2 other girls and one puppy! Yea!! I love puppies! So, here's some pictures:

my bedroom, with a great closet

the kitchen, where I can cook stuff

living rooms

and the puppy!! ooh, theres' my leg, too

So lately I've been trying to get my old domestic skills back. I've cooked some meals, run the dishwasher, and did laundry. All I haven't done yet is grocery shopping. I didn't like that before I left the real world,'s scary.

Also, there was a wedding a week ago. Here's a few pictures from that:

Claire, Matt, and the attendants

me and my bouquet of bluebonnets :D

at the rehearsal - my happiest moment... (yeah, I'm wearing a kimono - that's a Japanese dress/robe, not a sword.)

Friday, August 10, 2007


[Some people are wondering about the twitching eel. We didn't actually eat it while it was twitching. It was cooking in front of us while it was twitching. Once it's cooked all the way through, the twitching stops. Quite convenient for eating! Here's a picture of it. Too bad you can't see it moving...]

I am FINALLY home!! I loooved my adventure and sailing the seas and all that, but it is sooooo gooooood to be home. Ah...

So many great things about being home. Food I was missing, dairy products, good water to wash my hair in (my hair was so icky on the ship it was like millions of tiny daggers, now it's soft, bouncy, shiny), my hair straightener, good sleep at night, and of course seeing all those people I love. That's not to say that I didn't love people on the ship. There are sooo many people from Doulos that I miss A LOT. A lot of them I'll probably never see again. It's very sad. Buuuut...not so sad that I regret coming home. I'm so glad to be home. Have I said that yet?

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Guess I abandoned my blog for a month and 10 days. It's just wrong. I can't believe I could have fallen so far. I will go hide my face in shame now.

But first...

I am in South Korea for now. Have been here for some number of week. I don't really remember. They all blur together. Not that Korea is boring. It's just hard to have a sense of the passage of time on the ship. I'm sure you've all experienced something similar.

I have a story to tell, but those involved in this event were quite embarrassed, so I will change their names...

One good friend of mine is from South Korea. I met him when we were both working at Camp Tejas, the summer of 2004. We'll call him Uykni. Since I am now in South Korea, I emailed him so that we could meet up one day and see each other again. Last Tuesday was a national holiday, so he came to the city the ship is now in, bringing with him his two friends, Nosaj (man) and H.Y. (lady).

They took me to all kinds of famous places in this city. They had never been to most of these places themselves, but found them on the internet. The most remarkable part of the day was lunch, which Nosaj insisted that I forget about, but which I intend to remember for the rest of my life. It wasn't what they were expecting, and they were embarrassed to have taken me to this place. That's mostly why I find it so amusing...

There is a very famous fish market in Busan. We walked through it and saw all kinds of sea food, most of which was alive. H.Y. often would ask me what the English name for different things were, but usually it was things I'd never seen before. Different ladies kept trying to get us to go into their shops for lunch. It was all in Korean, so I'm not really sure why, but we refused to go into several of the shops. But finally, one was deemed good enough.

Nosaj negotiated for our lunch, so we could have a better price. He also ordered. Once the waitress was gone, he told me that we were having eel. It was fine with me.

It took a long time to bring the eel out, though, which was odd. They bring it out and put it on a burner on the table, so it cooks in front of you. It shouldn't take very long to bring it out if they don't cook it first. Once she brought it, we realized what had taken so long.

She put the burner down and turned it on. Then she put the pan of eel on it. There were onions, some kind of bean, and pieces of eel, which were twitching. She had just killed, skinned, and chopped up the eel. She served us everything but the head.

It took forever for it to stop moving. H.Y. didn't think she'd be able to eat it. Nosaj begged me not to look at it. Uykni kept stirring it up, which agitated the already twitching eel pieces. I laughed, which may have made it even more embarrassing for them, but I couldn't help it. I told them it was my adventure.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

my own saliva

This is a hilarious story. I don't know if it will be funny for you. It was funny for some people who weren't there when it happened, but they knew the people involved. You weren't there and don't know the people involved, so I'm not sure if you'll think it's funny. But I laughed so hard I was crying violently before I could recover. And I nearly peed my pants.

Andy, Cat, Daniel, and I were hanging out last night. Andy had brought some cake along with him. It was yummy chocolately goodness. In an effort to retain our vocabularies (something that's close to impossible on board, thus the need for practice), we were describing the way Andy was eating his piece of cake. Cat said that he was eating it "fluidly" or "with fluidity" or something like that. Daniel pointed out that the cake is actually a solid, not a liquid, and therefore fluidly is an inappropriate description for it. So she defended herself by saying that, as Andy was chewing, the cake was mixing with his saliva and becoming liquid. Andy was thoroughly disgusted by this, and said "Ugh! I'm eating my own saliva!" After the first round of laughter, Cat said that he was practically kissing himself (when she drinks after someone, she always says, "We're practically kissing!"). Andy was even more repulsed by himself then, saying, "That's even worse!"

Now every time we eat or drink, we face the fear of swallowing our own saliva. But it's a risk we are willing to take.

We are pretty sure that Andy himself didn't understand why we thought it was funny that he was disgusted with the fact that he was eating his own saliva. And that makes it even more enjoyable. :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Outing

One great thing about going on outings with a lot of the ship’s company is that everyone takes pictures. We a network drive where we can share things with each other. So, a couple days after an outing, you can get on the drive and take everyone’s best pictures. It’s great because not everyone gets great pictures of everything, but when we share, we all win! Sorry, I know that’s cheesy, but I’m leaving it that way.

This is the central sculpture of the Peace Park. He’s 10 meters high, which I think is like 33 feet. Everything about him is symbolic, and I have a picture of the sign describing all the symbolism, but I don’t feel like typing it all out right now or finding that picture to put on here. You can google it.

This is me and my beautiful roomie by the peace fountain. The water shoots out in the shape of a dove, but you have to be above it to tell.

You’ve probably heard of origami, and probably made something in origami at some time or another. The most classic, traditional origami figure in Japan is the crane. All the colorful streamers in this picture are made from stringing together hundreds of origami cranes. They are a symbol for peace. There are many symbols for peace in Japan.

Most parts of the A-bomb Museum, we weren’t allowed to take pictures, but there was a row of paintings in the hallway that we were allowed to take pictures of. Here is one. I wanted to buy some postcards of the museum. I thought I could get a multipack that had pictures of the museum itself, some different exhibits, maybe one of the mushroom cloud. But the postcards were all very gruesome. I’m pretty sure one of them was of this painting. In the end, I just didn’t think I’d want to send people postcards with pictures of people burning alive and things like that, so I didn’t get any. (Just in case it isn’t clear, the white part in the mushroom cloud is just the camera flash, not part of the painting.)

At the martyr shrine, Kris, Cat, and I were so proud to be the first of our group to see the chapel. Most people didn’t even realize it was part of the shrine till they saw us standing where we are in this picture. They all called up to us asking how to get up there. We told them it was a secret and magic. Eventually some of them made it up there, though.

A beautiful rose ice cream cone. It only costs 100 yen, that’s like 80 cents! Totally worth it. Delicious, cheap, and beautiful, what more could you ask for?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I went on an outing yesterday to Nagasaki. When I noticed how close we'd be to it while we're in Fukuoka, I wanted to go, if only to be able to say that I've been somewhere an atomic bomb was dropped, especially since I've been to Los Alamos, where the bomb was developed, and the museum there.
The day started early-meeting on the quayside to load buses at 6:45 am. Nagasaki's only around 60 miles away, or something like that, but it took more than 2 hours to get there. Seems like we stopped every 20 minutes.
First, we went to the Peace Park. It is built on the ruins of a prison, the closest public building to the hypocenter of the bomb. All that remains from the prison are the bottom few inches of the walls. There is one main statue symbolizing the threat of nuclear weapons and the need and efforts for world peace. Many countries have donated statues and sculptures for the park. There is one from St. Paul, MN, a sister city to Nagasaki.
Then we went to the main attraction, the A-bomb Museum. There was a lot about the effects of the bomb-physically what would happen to people. They described effects of the heat, effects of radiation. They had some rubble recovered from the city after the bomb: glass bottles melted together, coins melted together, metal stairways twisted up, clothes stained by blood. The initial flash of the bomb bleached things, and left images where other objects blocked the light. There was one picture of a wall with the shadow of a person and a ladder burned into it by the flash. There was one melted glass bottle that had a human hand bone fused into it. The museum focused a lot on the children (both the survivors and those killed by the bomb). There were pictures of small charred corpses. There was also one part that focused on steps taken worldwide to prevent nuclear warfare in the future. Nowhere in the entire museum did they mention any reason for the bombing. It was just "this is what happened." There was no why. It could give someone the impression that the maniacal Americans just dropped the bomb to kill children (and monks, I remember something about monks). One wall had a timeline of events leading up to the bombing. They mention dates that it was decided to develop it and the allies deciding to use it. But even there it doesn't mention that anything was done by Japan to provoke this. It also doesn't say, "We didn't do anything that would make them want to bomb us." But that's to be expected. I expected it at least. They can't get away with saying that it was done for no reason, but they prefer to forget the bad guys of that period in their past. We learned that a lot of countries don't require grade school kids to study history. I tend to not retain most things I've learned in history class, but even I know something about what happened back then and why, and many people of other nationalities that went with us to the museum yesterday don't.
After that, we went to a shrine built in memory of 26 Christians who were martyred at some point in time. Cat, Kris, and I spent most of the time in the chapel at the shrine. It was so peaceful. 6 of them were European missionaries and 20 were Japanese Christians. They were crucified in 1597. There is a museum there, but we didn't go into it because we spent all our time in the chapel.
We also went to a church-the oldest in Japan. But you have to pay to get in and we didn't want to, so we shopped for souvenirs, all of which were too expensive to buy, and went into another church with beautiful stained glass (which was free since it was actually a church and not a tourist attraction). A couple from Georgetown, TX, had signed the guest book! It was exciting for me. I got to say, "Hey! I used to live there!"
After that we drove up a mountain to a park overlooking the city and then went back to the ship.
I'm very glad to have gone and to have seen the A-bomb Museum and the Peace Park. That was the best. Also, outside the museum was an ice cream vendor. She put the ice cream in the cones using a type of spatula. She added small layers of ice cream at a time, creating a rose out of the ice cream. It was more icy than creamy, a lot like home-made ice cream, but more beautiful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


While we're here in Taiwan, we're trying to go on as many outings as possible. One of the most awesome outings I went on was a great adventure, but so spontaneous that I didn't have my camera with me to document it. We explored and went places that we weren't sure if we were allowed to go. We got as close to the statue of liberty as we could. It sits atop a building that looks as if it will fall apart at any moment. We also went up in the tallest building in Keelung, which is only 33 floors high, and we only got to the 32nd. The tallest building in the world is in Taipei, which is about 45 minutes away. It's the Taipei 101, 101 floors. I haven't been, but I know the viewing level is around the 85th floor, though there are rumors that you can go to the 92nd. They never let you to the real top of these kind of buildings, I learned that in Chicago.
And now for the adventures I did document. All the info girls went out for dinner Sunday night to celebrate Kaylee because it was her last day with us. Caz had been to a restaurant earlier and decided we could all go there since it was close and reasonably priced. She said that the sign said "Family Steakhouse" on it, and it was the only sign in that area with English writing so it stood out. We couldn't find it. We asked people if they knew where it was and they had no idea what we were talking about. We finally did get to it, though. Turns out, the sign actually says "Familp Steakhouse." Maybe that's what the confusion was...

But my favorite part of the Familp Steakhouse was not the fact that they use a p instead of a y. It was the open/closed sign. The open side:
The closed side:
At least, I assume it was something like an open/closed sign. It was in the front window. We think it's a good business plan. Either you're running the business or you're drinking tea. What else is there in life that's worth doing? ;)
The next day, I went out again, in search of an adventure. There is a hill nearby with temples on top, which we can see from the ship. So, we went out to find out. We did find it, and a Martyr's Shrine. The Martyr's Shrine had lots of dragons on top of it, which are way cool! I love these dragons!
To get to these temples, you have to be very dedicated. There are tons of stairs. So after a brief rest at the shrine to recover, we continued up the stairs to the temple. It is beautiful!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Adventure in Taiwan

Our adventure begins at Taiwan's Great Wall. Nothing like the Great Wall of China, as far as I can tell (I've never been to China). There is a paved trail that took us to a suspension bridge. Crossing the bridge was fun, but afterwards, the real work began. After the bridge, there is a trail, which is made of logs that are sometimes a walkway and sometimes more like a ladder, that runs along the ridge of some mountains. Small mountains, but steep. The trail was, by far, the most physically demanding part of my Taiwan adventure.

My dad taught me that, when hiking in the mountains, the biggest rule of survival is "Nobody falls-nobody dies." I didn't fall. Other people weren't so careful...

The next part of the adventure wasn't so exciting. (We really couldn't take much more excitement after the Great Wall, but we wanted it anyway.) We roamed the nearest town, looking for some kind of excitement. We didn't find any, though, just a 7-11, and it was probably better that way.

I learned, though, that you really don't have to go very far to find adventure or excitement. It can be found even in my own cabin. Here I am, sitting in my bunk, minding my own business, and I come this close to being skewered by wooden chopsticks.

Emma learned that the adventure involved in crossing bridges is not in the fact that you could fall off of them, but the fact that trolls tend to live under them. You can see, she's very frightened, but aren't those the cutest trolls you've ever seen?

The good news is, after all these adventures, all the excitement, all the life threatening experiences we have, we can always come together for a nice cup of tea. mmmm, boy. What a way to end the day!

Another great thing about adventures in Taiwan is the signage. Check it out:

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Monday, April 2, 2007


I think I haven't written the whole time I've been in Taiwan. I don't have internet access, so I can never actually look at my blog. I just email in my posts.

About being in Taiwan:
I'm becoming an expert at using chopsticks, and I'm trying to learn to speak Chinese. I had this theory that if I stare at Chinese words long enough the language will eventually become clear to me. There will be a sudden moment of breakthrough. I will go from looking at symbols that mean nothing to me, to reading and speaking Chinese fluently. So far, it's not working out for me. I've been at it almost a month. So far all I can say is what people have taught me: hello, how are you, thank you, my name is Rachel, Doulos (it's something different in Chinese).

Next week I'm going to see Taiwan's Great Wall. I've never seen the Great Wall of China, so I can't compare the two. As far as size goes, Taiwan's wall is probably less great. But, as far as "wow, this is great!" goes, it could be more great. But, being that I will have only seen Taiwan's, I may never know...

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It seems like it's been a while since I put any pictures up here. So here's a photo diary of what I've been doing lately:

First of all, Christmas came! Finally! I got three packages on the same day. One was a birthday party in a box, complete with party horns, plates, activity book, paints, and a movie to watch (all built around the theme Disney's Little Mermaid). Of course there were presents also. The other two were Christmas presents. Here I am with one such present. I love Texas! Look at my goofy, crooked, happy grin!

My alterego-Speckles the Clown-was born in the Philippines. I don't think there's any explanation for this picture besides that...

I went to one of the malls claiming the title "Biggest Mall in Asia." I'd believe it with this one, it was ginormous. It has this giant globe in front of it, too, which is what I'm holding in this picture. All the continents and islands are grey, except for the Philippines, which are black.

Ferdinand Magellan is creditted with bringing Christianity to the Philippines. What you see behind me in this picture is a cross encasing what is known as Magellan's Cross, which he set up in this exact location. It's the oldest historical thing in Cebu, maybe in the Philippines, can't remember...