Practice What You Preach

If I knew I’d be learning a lesson in flexibility the moment after I posted my last blog, I probably wouldn’t have written it.  Pre-departure stress got the best of both me and my technology, and as my computer decided to slowly begin to stop working (emphasis on SLOWLY), my patience went with it.  The day before I left the continent was not the time for my so-called lifeline to America to stop working.  and i was FRUSTRATED.

However, I learned a very important lesson through everything.  If I’m going to talk about learning about flexibility and using this semester to overcome challenges, I better be able to back it up.  My computer not working is such a trivial problem in the grand scheme of this amazing opportunity, and like always, God worked it out.  I knew He would, but trusting in frustrating situations like that is, well, frustrating.  and hard.

But here I am, in the Amsterdam Airport, writing to you on a fully-working computer.  And that’s how cool God is.

I began my day at Messiah and said goodbye to the most amazing people I know.  Patty and Shannon drove me to the airport in Dulles where I met up with the rest of my group.  Considering they are all sitting near me and Paige is definitely reading over my shoulder, I’ll tell you how awesome they are.  😉  But really, what an amazing group of people and I’m so excited to share this experience with them.

Unfortunately, sleeping on the plane is proving to be more difficult than I expected.  And since unlike SOME people I didn’t use over-the-counter enhancements to lull me into a 5-hour sleep session, I’m ultra tired.  Thus, I’m about to sleep on this tiled floor in Europe (yes, emily murphy, EUROPE.  blech).


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The Malaysia-Thailand Holiday Adventure: A Look at the Best, Worst, and Everything In Between

The beginning

The end

Want to find out the “in between”? Continue reading

Posted in Malaysia, Thailand, Trav | 7 Comments

You Won’t Ever Know Anything

In elementary school, I won the V-sit and reach.  You know, the thing in gym class during the presidential physical fitness test where you sit with your legs outstretched and try to push that little metal bar as far forward as you can.  Either you are remembering with me in anguish or you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Regardless, the V-sit and reach tested flexibility, and Lisa Clark and I were fifth grade champs.

Today I wouldn’t even be able to touch the metal bar with a 39 1/2 foot pole (it’s still christmas in my heart).  I am horrendously inflexible and my physical education teacher mother would probably be ashamed of my poor showing.  However, this is all going to change.  One word: UGANDA.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in preparation for my semester abroad, it’s flexibility.  No, I haven’t been stretching, and the transition from literal stretching to metaphysical stretching has probably lost a couple of people along the way, but here’s the bottom line: “You won’t ever know anything.” A wise young woman by the name of Megan Krusemark uttered these words to me as my first piece of advice for leaving this country and heading to the heart of Africa.  Seeing as how Megan spent the last four months doing the exact same program as I’m beginning, I think I’m going to trust her.  She could say bring a large stuffed animal monkey that only cost $2 at Salvation Army and you better believe I’d make room in my new Eastern Mountain Sports traveling backpack/suitcase.

So as I prepare (I use that word very lightly), I’m already beginning to heed Megan’s advice and go with the flow.  I have no idea if my clothes are acceptable.  I have no idea if I have enough baby wipes.  I have no idea if the fact that I was almost late in taking my malaria pills is a precursor to this whole experience.  But I am completely sure on one fact: God is in control.  This opportunity has only presented itself because of many doors opening in my favor, and to that I give God all the credit.  So although I “won’t ever know anything,” I know that He knows everything. And with that simple truth, I can finally take a deep breath, shake off the stress, and enjoy these last two days in the states (i’ve always wanted to say that… states.  bahah).


P.S.  from now on, my posts are probably going to be much more disorganized.  there will probably be no capital letters, no opening paragraphs, no enticing childhood stories.  please continue reading, because the amazing things God is going to do during these four months are going to trump any comic tale I can try to muster up.  I love you all.

Posted in Cody, Uganda | 5 Comments

Thailand meets France

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if Thailand took over France?  Well the answer is… it would be DELICOUS!   And that is exactly what happened last week when Thai L’elephant opened in its new location: 301 Bridge St. former home of Le Creperie.  For those of you who are unfortunate enough to have never been to this particular thai establishment, you don’t know what you are missing. The atmosphere is as warm and inviting as the staff and the food is out of this world.  The owner is a wonderful young woman named Nui.  My first experience (back in its old location) was apart of our girls night out thai tour.  A certain Ralf Sherry, otherwise known as dad, decided to start having montly thai nights with a select group of ladies (Val, Heather, Emily, myself and Amy)  to hangout, eat, drink wine and compare the many local thai restaurantes.  Needless to say that once we found this gem all others were out.  We now use any excuse to go including birthdays, weddings, movings ect.  

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Curry on Christmas?

Before moving to Japan, my knowledge of Asian geography consisted solely of facts gleaned from watching 20 seasons of Survivor (and that Bangkok was the capital of Thailand due to the infamous, and awesome, middle school joke). Weren’t all nations in Asia made of white sand beaches, huge spiders, and men wearing boars tusks in their hair?  For all I knew, Kuala Lumpur was Atlantis, some mystical city that only exists in the minds of dreamers.  Ko Phi Phi, Ko Phagnan, Chiang Mai…weren’t these all MSG-laden dishes I could order at my local Wicked Wok?

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Posted in Japan, Trav | 5 Comments

Reasons To Ruv Japan #2: Indoor Shoes

Being a guy rules. Being a girl, well…not so much. A sampling of reasons:

1. Men can go the bathroom standing up, allowing me to easily and conveniently engage in one of my favorite pastimes; peeing outside (especially in the snow).

2. During childbirth women are subjected to incredible physical pain (or so I’ve been told). Men can stream 3 NFL games and update their facebook on their IPhone while “helping” with the pregnancy (or so I’ve been told).

3. When men (much better looking than me) gain intimate affection from a large variety of female friends they are considered “The Man”. When women do the same, they are called names that oftentimes start with “sl” and end with “oot”.

However, there is one arena where fortune favors the femmes, much to my perpetual irritation: Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Reasons To Ruv Japan, Trav | 7 Comments

My Zam Life: Parasites and Potter!

My obsession with all things ‘Harry Potter’ may make me unpopular at parties, but its an addiction I refuse to let go. When I discovered that I would be in Zambia when the final two movies were released I almost considered turning down my invitation to service. Almost. I thought to myself, “Don’t worry Val, you will be able to see it in January when it comes to Lusaka.” Little did I know that it would be coming to the one and only Zambian movie theater in early December. I am not allowed to leave my village until the end of the month, and considering the fact that there is only one theater, the odds of it playing for more than three weeks are very slim. So was it my undying love and dedication to a certain red-headed fictional character that subconsciously caused my body to succumb to a disgusting and vicious parasite? I will never know for sure… but as gross as my situation is right now, I am all smiles.

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Posted in Val, Zambia | 4 Comments