Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This big ol’ cone for just one euro?!?!
It’s yummy too—of this I’m sure-o!!!
Wife licks once, now twice of her purchased cream
It’s the small things which make her Venetian dream.
Ode to pizza…
Our first attempt at Italian pizza ended up being a new combination for us: hot dog pizza. Strange but still so warm & happy in our tummies.
But this one...oh wow. I rarely eat pizza in the states but one look at the thick crust and fresh spinach & tomatoes...it was definitely a good choice!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Then I realized what the shopkeeper had meant: there was an open wall directly to the canal. Three steps led down to the water, the last of which was entirely submerged. I called Kevin over to see: all this knowledge, history, and literature so precariously stored! He too enjoyed the sigh, and as we left, he made sure to let the kind, old man know that the canal was yet still at bay, leaving the books dry & safe.
Monday, December 15, 2008
My overall impression of this city is that it is enchanting. Our favorite thing to do was to just get lost in the weave of waterways & alleys. If we wandered far enough, we could find ourselves all alone with not a tourist in sight.
Despite all the beauty and grandeur, our second impression was that Venice is sinking! The chorus of this song kept running through our head as we took it all in:
If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we’ll all be fine
If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we all stay dry
‘Cause I have been thinking, this water’s not worth drinking
so if Venice is sinking, then trouble’s on the rise.
Venice has survived for centuries and there are continual efforts to keep it afloat, but the reality is that all the glimmers is sure to fade (or even submerge) in this city. Let us look at our own lives through the same perspective. Do we build our hope and beauty on things that will not last past this life? Let us not be rich toward the world in beauty and grandeur yet poor toward God.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
We live on a farm pretty much. We're out in the boonies, which means our cell phones don't really work. So if you try to call us and we don't answer, that's why. If you're just dying to talk to us or have a pressing matter of importance, try e-mail. A thrilling point of our day was when one of our techie quad-mates (see following paragraph for definition of "quad-mate") set up a router so we could get internet without making a trip in the cold to the computer lab. Gotta love techie people!
Life here feels like a mixture of camp and college. The parents, on the other hand, do not agree with the camp/college assessment of life here. They have it tough! We love to help out with the kids here. In fact, we got to babysit some friend's kiddos tonight and take them to dinner at the cafeteria (see, I told you it was like college!) While I kept the two year-old from launching his ball across the room, the wee baby fell asleep in Kevin's arms. How sweet! We's gonna make a good papa! (someday that is. that was not a feeble attempt to inform blog world of a Peek in the pod!).
Classes are going well. We meet from about 9 AM-3 PM. It can make for a long day, and I must confess that more often than I would like, I identify with Eutychus from Acts 20. If you're not sure what exactly I mean by that, click here and you'll see!
Last weekend, I ran the Richmond Half-Marathon with a friend here. The weather was super humid and the course was a bit mundane but overall I just love race day! There's so much adrenaline and excitement. Some of our quad-mates even came to cheer me on at the finish line. I finished in 2:01, which honestly I was a bit disappointed with. I was trying to break my PR of 1:56 but it just wasn't in me that day. Oh well. It was still a good time!
Speaking of running, I'm not sure if I've shared this on the blog yet but I committed to the big one...I'm training for a full marathon! OK so technically I've been training since August and most of you already know but I thought I'm make an official announcement. The race is on January 1 (yes, three days before we leave the country!) It will be in Kingwood, TX (right outside of Houston) so if anyone wants to come cheer me on, you're more than welcome! I did my longest training run of 22 miles this past weekend. I never in a million years thought I could or would want to run that far but I've realized quite the opposite. I had a lot of fun and am looking forward to the full race.
I'll try to get some more Europe pics up soon! Don't give up on us!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Becky on vacation: “We’ve only got a few days in this city! Let’s get out there and see & do it! Go, go, go!
Kevin on vacation: “Things to do…things to see…let’s sit and read.”
Kevin won the debate of how to spend our last day in Interlaken. We relaxed and set out for an easy hike during the late morning. There were not mountains like there were the day before but the bird’s eye view of the town below was gorgeous.
Around 5 PM, I was getting a bit restless with Kevin-style vacationing. I was ready for another European adventure! When we checked into our campsite, we were given a free bus pass so I figured what better way to see the city! Buses run on routes so from where they leave, they have to return, right? Right? So I convinced Kevin to hop on a bus with me. The views were indeed breathtaking. We watched the sun sink behind the mountains, its last rays of the day spreading a glimmer over the massive lake. After about 45 minutes, Kev starting getting antsy about my joyride. I told him to relax and gave him my logic about bus routes. Sure enough, we made it to the end and the bus turned around…or so we thought! The driver must have noticed this off couple who had been sitting on his bus for over an hour: the clueless & content wife with the naïve grin on her face & the quiet husband with the concerned, furrowed brow.
“Where are you going?” the driver asked in broken English.
“To Interlaken,” Kev replied.
That was all it took for me to panic! We were stranded on a bus! We ended up returning to the town called Thun (pronounced Toon) and having to purchase train tickets back home. I felt just awful. My “free” sightseeing tour completely backfired, and I had even chided Kevin for his misgivings. But I was so thankful for Kevin’s graciousness. He never said “I told you so” or rubbed in my mistake. He even told me that he’d like to be able to laugh about it. So to honor my husband’s request, a poem retelling our (honestly my) folly:
The fools down in Thun-ville
The tall and the small
Had gotten on a bus
Just to see it all
But alas when the bus did not turn ‘round
The small fool let out quite a sound
“Oh no!” she said, “What are we to do?”
“We’d be back at home if I’d listened to you.”
“No worries,” he said to assuage her fears
as she did her best to control the tears.
So the fools stuck in Thun-ville
The tall and the small
Wait for a train—
The savior of all!
A lesson learned: It’s quite worth knowin’
What the driver says when asked “Where ya goin’?”
Here are our friends, the Swiss gnomes.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The snow-capped Alps jutted into the cloudless, blue sky while the other peaks, who lacked the altitude to receive snow just yet, lumbered below. The tall Alpine trees dusted the mountain face and seemed to be the only frame of reference to show just how big these mountains were. Truly breathtaking! We often found ourselves getting angry at our camera for not being able to accurately capture everything surrounding us. We could not, however, let our awe cease with what was in front of us but had to acknowledge the beauty and the creativity of the God who created it all. I once heard someone say that we don’t go to the Grand Canyon to feel good about ourselves but to be in awe of true beauty entirely external from self. As we sat in admiration of it all, we couldn't help but to glory in the source of true beauty: the God who created it.
Though the morning temperatures required my five shirts and three pairs of pants, the layers came off quickly as the hiking began. We had intended to make a five hour hike to the summit called Schilthorn but ten minutes into the hike, we realized that it was going to be a LOT more work than either of us had bargained for. So we settled (but can you really “settle” for anything when hiking in the Alps?!?!) for a simpler hike to a few of the surrounding towns. Now that I've figured out how to load videos (a grand conquest in my technologically challenged pea brain), you'll be getting a whole lot more of them! Here is a video of my favorite thing in the Alps:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So it turned out our first mistake wasn’t so bad after all, just a little ding in the budget. Needless to say, we started day two with an extra amount of energy.
(Mom, this picture is for you & Uncle David!)
The name Interlaken means “between the lakes” and there is a pleasant stream that runs through the heart of the city connecting the two lakes. We wandered around town and up and down the paths following the river. We finally ended up finding a campsite called the River Lodge. At the end of the trip, we decided that it was by far our favorite place we stayed. It was very small and we ended up getting to know most of the people there (the English speakers at least!) In fact, we met a group of four Aussies who were just as sick as dogs. It turned out that they had drank some of the water from the river the flows through town. Their rationale: all the bottled water says it comes from the Swiss Alps! At least they had a good sense of humor so they could laugh & puke at the same time.
Our campsite even had a community kitchen where we could prepare our meals. Hot food ended up being quite a luxury on a shoe-string budget. Our tent overlooked the river, and there was a lawn area where we could relax, read, and enjoy the first bit of European sunshine.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The thing you need to know about Eurail passes is that you don't purchase trips; you purchase days. So you can ride the train as much as you want to in a given day. If City A and City B are seven hours apart, why don't you ride the train for three hours, stop and wander around a city for a few hours, then get back on a train for four more hours? Less train claustrophobia and more European fun (most of the time!)
That is how lovely Zurich fit into our itenerary. We left Munich and headed south, making a pitstop here. I had printed out a guided walking tour before we left the States. It led us down Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world's most exclusive & expensive shooping streets. We stopped and shopped along the way, picking up a Louis Vuitton purse for me, an Armani suit for Kevin, and paying for it all out of the new Swiss bank account we opened. Then we placed our purchases in our backpacks...oh wait...this is supposed to be realistic account of our trip. No fiction. OK, OK...
It was a very clean road with cobbled streets and no car traffic. It eventually led us all the way to Lake Zurich. It was a beautiful, sunny day, which was a welcomed change from Munich. We really enjoyed the expanse of the lake. It reminded me a bit of Chicago but...Swiss.
We then got back on the train and headed to...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
We landed in the morning after our red-eye flight and spend the day walking around town. We went all over the place, with our backpacks in tow. We eventually found our campsite and set up our European home for a welcome (yet very chilly) night of sleep. (Disclaimer: this is the best picture of me that you will see during the entire trip. When you're bathing in campsite showers in the freezing cold and wearing the same thing nearly everyday, it just doesn't bode well for looking cute.)
Day two was spent at Dachau Concentration Camp. We had visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC during the spring, which was a very moving & well-designed museum. But actually being on the grounds of where these terrible things took place was sobering. We couldn't help but be reminded of the depravity of man (not just the Nazis but all of us) and how in need we all are of a savior in Christ. This picture is of the entrance gate to the camp. It says "Work Shall Set You Free." It was an exhortation to the prisoners to work hard in hopes of earning their release but ended up just serving as a tantalizing mockery.
To make a perfect day of absolute extremes, we went to Oktoberfest that afternoon. By that time, the weather has turned cold & rainy. Germans & their beer are akin to mailmen: nor rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night will keep me from my...beer. The grounds were packed with people in their lederhosen. What a sight!
Though Munich was not our favorite of stops, we of course we glad to be there. We stayed for about two days and then headed south to...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'll try to post some Europe pictures & stories over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
So here are the details of it all: we left Louisville and went on a spree of visiting friends and family all over the place. It was hard work doing all the visiting but we were so thankful to have the opportunity to do it. And going to sleep at night knowing that I didn't have to go to the office in the morning made things quite enjoyable as well.
In mid-September, we attended a conference with our company where we were officially appointed. It's always a joy to be surrounded by people who are in the same situation as us, pursuing the same end goal.
Then a few weeks later, we got on a plane for our big adventure: backpacking through Europe. This was definitely not a vacation! We carried everything we needed on our backs, wore the same clothes day in and day out, and slept in a tent every night. We visited Germnany, Switzerland, Italy, and France and loved everything we were able to see and do. I'll try to post some pictures & stories later.
Now we're back in Louisville, trying to recover from the jet lag and gear up for the next phase. On Monday, we will be moving east to attend an 8-week training session to prepare us for the big move in January. We're looking forward to the routine and consistency this will provide for us. We've been homeless now since the end of June, and I think the longest period of time we've slept in one location is about a week.
So that's what is going on with us. You'll have to forgive this bare-bones post but I figured it's better than nothing!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
One of the things we’ll miss most about Louisville is our rowdy bunch of four & five year old kiddos we got to hang out with on Sunday mornings. We loved teaching them, laughing with them (and at them), and learning from them. If I could skip infancy, I’d just give birth to a four year old. I’m sure all you parents can come up with a million and one reasons why that is a terrible idea, but let the youth be naïve, ok? We’re thankful for all we learned about parenting and family, most of all the fact that your kids don’t have to drive you crazy all of the time. Sure, they’ve got their moments but gentle correcting and shepherding can create and enjoyable family. Again, I’m sure some of you parents understand the dynamics of this way more than I do, but hopefully one day soon we’ll learn.
We are excited to join the families in our city overseas. By the time we get there, there will be roughly 8.5 kids (I say .5 because the ninth will arrive about a month after we do!). We’re hoping to be able to use some our lessons with these kiddos too.
And we’ve made it to the end! From A-Z, now you know all things Peek. I would promise not to take another 6 month hiatus again but who even knows what I’ll do? So you’ll get no empty promises from this blogger. Life is actually quite interesting right now so there is certainly plenty to blog about. Thanks for hanging in there for all 26 letters!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Chris & Sarah are by far our best friends in the whole wide world, and we are so thankful that we got to steal away with them for a few days. We’re also thankful for the full year we got to spend together in Louisville. We just love them. We want to raise our kids together and do life together. Eventually, they want to end up on our side of the world so we’ve got big plans to reunite in 2016. Until then, email and phone calls will have to do. They always have had a heart that wanted to love…
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
It was difficult to end our season in Louisville because we just loved it. We had several friends go above and beyond to make our closing days special. Since we lived in on-campus housing, our lease had to end either in June or December. Not helpful for a family who intended to leave at the end of July! So we sold our furniture, vacated our apartment, and spent the month of July living with Chris & Sarah, the Bitner family, and the Bonura family. In hindsight, I’m really glad it worked out that way. We got the stress of packing and getting rid of a lot of our stuff out of the way early so we could focus on relationships at the end of our time. From going away parties to hanging out, we felt so loved by all of our friends. So thank you to everyone who helped make our closing days special. We feel that we will not soon be forgotten as we trek off to the other side of the world!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Kevin was skeptical at first. To assuage his fears, I made a coffee can with a whole cut out of the top to begin funding our trip. I think I only collected about $22 (including a $20 bill) but nevertheless the sweet man agreed that we could make the trip.
So we’re going to Europe! We fly out on September 22 and get three glorious weeks across four countries. We’re flying into Munich, Germany (during Oktoberfest), will travel down through Switzerland, then through Italy, and swing through France before heading back to Munich to head home on October 15. We’re working with an extreme shoestring budget, so that should make things interesting. If you have an Europe tips/pointers or things we HAVE to see, let us know!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Enter Kevin. He tries to be tough, he really does. But it’s hard to forget that one time in college when he went to get an immunization for an overseas trip. Four nurses ended up picking him up off the floor.
So once upon a time, this unlucky pair gets to go to the doctor. In May, we flew to Virginia for some interviews and physicals with our company. When I say physical, I mean we were poked and prodded in nearly every place imaginable. And then comes…the needles. Kevin, being the chivalrous and sweet husband that he is, let me go first. I warned the nurse that it will be in both her & my best interest to lay me down. Oh and don’t forget that no one has ever in my whole life has been able to draw blood from my forearm. She didn’t seem phased, found a spot to lay me down, and went away with that needle on my right forearm. After what seemed like endless stabbing, she commented that I must have small, rolling veins. Hence why I told her not to even try for my forearm but that is neither here nor there. So she tries for the top of my hand. She found a vein but it was so cold in that office that my tiny, rolling veins had constricted to the point where they weren’t going to give up my blood without a fight.
To make a long story short, two nurses, five stabs, two barf bucket warm water bathes for my cold hand, surgical gloves, and an X-ray blanket later, my nurses were pleased to have the blood they needed to set me free. They bandaged me up like a boxer and sent me on my way. To make it an unlucky pair and not just an unlucky patient, meanwhile Kevin tried to be brave and watch his blood. No good. He passed out.
So three cheers for the unlucky patients who survived their arch nemesis—the needle!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Call me crazy but my short time frame gave me no choice! The reception ended a little bit before midnight and I made the three-hour drive to Austin. I wanted to visit my parents and my baby-booming friends. My friends Sally & Justin Lopez had just welcomed their first little one, Annabel, and my friends Amber & Logan Gentry were pregnant with their second son. So I got to hang out with my friends’ babies, which is always a bit surreal. But I guess that’s just what you do in your mid-twenties, right? After a quick lunch with my parents, I drove back to Dallas to catch my evening flight. Lots of people to see, lots of things to do so how could my trip have been any different?
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
They say that 25 is supposed to be a difficult birthday but birthdays don’t really phase me. Maybe I just say that because I’m still young. Who knows? But I like to think that each year is a gift from God and that age means wisdom. Someone please remind me of this every birthday, ok?
For my day-o-birth, Kevin took me on a picnic to one of my fav parks in Louisville called Cherokee Park. We had lunch out on the summer lawn and watched this strange group of people beat on each other with medieval weapons made out of PVC pipe. Strange. Very strange. Chris & Sarah came and joined us shortly after and we all watched the strange people and their comments much resembled ours. Strange. Very strange.
The most interesting event of my birthday was my gift. As a curly haired gal who appreciates convenience, there’s not much time invested in my hair when I can just scrunch it and go. But my dear husband loves it straight. I straightened it everyday on the honeymoon for him but it certainly takes time. I had told him I wanted a Chi straightener a long, long time ago. Well, the sweet man ordered one for me for my birthday, but then did some research and found out that there are tons of fake Chi's sold online. Once mine arrived, we looked at it a little more closely to see if it was fake. I even took it to a salon across the street from my office to compare it to theirs. Sure enough…as fake as my Gucci wallet I bought at the Pearl Market in Beijing. Unless of course my Chi was made in both Houston and Korea, like the box said. So we sent it back and the curly hair lives on.
The best part for wife about birthday presents that don’t work out is that she gets the surprise of another one. The worst part for husband about birthday presents that don’t work out is that he has to come up with another birthday present idea. Still pending. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, it’s still great to be 25.
Dear Philip, if you read this (which I'm 99% sure you won't, please don't be mad at me for posting this less-than-flatering picture of you. I can't stand posts only of me. You are my equalizer. Philip is way more hard-core than I am. He's running an ultramarathon in October. An ultra, for anyone who doesn't follow the terminology, is any distance beyond a marathon. This race he's running is around 30 miles.
Any marathon dreams bouncing around my head? We'll see...
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
As I’ve shared with you all before, Sarah wears the domestic hat in our family. But come Easter, I thought I would give it a try. To be honest, three months later, I have no clue what I made but I’m nearly certain that the Breadmaker was involved. It’s like my secret weapon of domesticity…or my only weapon. The fact that I can’t remember what we ate should be a reminder to all our us hostesses that your hosting is not about food, it’s about fellowship. We enjoyed one another’s company, and most of all, celebrated the sweet reality of our savior’s resurrection. And the fact that Christ was raised from the dead is just as relevant now as it was three months ago on Easter!
I quit my job about two weeks ago as well. It was sad to leave the coworkers that I had labored to love & serve over the past two years, but there was a great sense of satisfaction as well to be finished. Kevin & I came here for him to do school and for me to work in order to pay tuition. He’s done so I’m done. It was a crazy place to work, and I’ve certainly got entertaining stories to prove it. And now that season is closed.
Sell stuff…check. Quit job…check. Cram all possessions in car…check. Say goodbye to people that we love a whole, whole lot...check. Now what? We’re now making a grand tour to visit friends & family in Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. It will be a wild ride so pray for our hearts as we transition through it all.
As previously stated, it doesn’t snow in Texas. Though my sweet sister-in-law chides me for my southern interpretation of snow, even she would agree that our early March snow storm was pretty intense. (I think she would say that at least…) Kevin was gone for the weekend to Texas for Travis’ wedding so I got to wake up early and watch the flurries fall. How serene! Then I went outside to play with some neighbors. The seminary where we lived has an amazing hill for sledding, if you can avoid the trees that is.