Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Top Three Tuesday

After a brief hiatus, Top Three Tuesday is back and better than ever :)

1. "Get Smart" - I watched the reruns all the time as a kid and I finally went to see the movie on Friday with a friend. It was awesome. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for it at first, but it exceeded expectations. There were only a couple spots that made me tilt my head and say "Huh?". The rest was extremely funny. They upgraded Maxwell Smart for the new millennium, but they were good changes. Lindsay's rating: A-

2. "Flyboys: A True Story of Courage" - I'm not talking about the B-movie that came out a couple years ago. I'm talking about the book by James Bradley. I'm not done with the book yet, but I haven't been able to put it down since I checked it out of the library yesterday. Not only does Bradley tell the stories of the fighter pilots and bombers of WWII (especially those that crashed near Iwo Jima), but he also analyzes the history of the U.S. and Japan so that readers can have a true appreciation for why people/countries acted the way they did. It's not a book for the faint of heart though (he describes death in great detail at times). Just a warning if you decide to pick it up.

3. The BBQ place on Lake City Way. On the way to a concert Saturday, I noticed a new restaurant on Lake City Way. I still don't know what the name of the place is, but the food is great. It's as close to Southern food as I've found in Seattle. I got the catfish, fried okra, and baked beans. They were out of cornbread :( While I was there, I met a couple that told me about two other places in the city that serve Southern food. I smell a Rainramblings food contest in the works :)

Monday, July 28, 2008


The first Sunday that we were in India we went to the gathering that Sunil leads called 'satsang'. At this gathering, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and curious observers come to worship and listen to a message. In America, we would call it a seeker service, where the truth of the Bible is taught but not everyone in the room is a Christian.

The most memorable part of satsang was communion time. Instead of using bread and wine (or grape juice), they use a coconut. This may offend some people, but it makes perfect sense in context. The breaking of bread and the presence of wine mean nothing to someone from a Hindu background. The coconut, on the other hand, is used in Hindu ceremonies as a sin offering to the gods. When Sunil quotes the words "This is my body broken for you", he takes a hammer and smashes a coconut into pieces. The flesh of the coconut is used instead of bread and the coconut juice is taken instead of wine. Everyone in that room knows exactly what it means when a broken coconut is used as a metaphor for Jesus. It much more powerful than bread and wine could ever be for them.

It was also very powerful for me. In the American church, we've tamed the death of Jesus. We use small wafers and little plastic cups of whichever drink we prefer to symbolize Jesus. We've taken out the visual breaking of the bread in front of the congregation. For a society where the majority of members learn (and are affected) by seeing and doing, this might be a mistake. Not might, IS a mistake. We need to be reminded Jesus' death was not a pretty one. No death is pretty, but Jesus' was down right awful. Seeing a coconut get broken shocked that reality back into me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Exit Here

I think this is the best exit sign EVER. It's from the Taiwan airport, although all the exit signs in Taiwan have a little man running out the door. In America, we merely mark the exits with lit signs. In Taiwan, they are apparently serious about leaving their buildings and show you that you should be also.
Taiwan is also the home of the crosswalk man that starts running when the light is about to change. Why can't American sign creators have this much fun with our stuff?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Three Snapshots

I finally started going through my pictures this afternoon. I'm only through my first memory card. I've posted three pictures that stuck out to me as a good way of introducing my perspective of India. More pictures will be coming each day so keep checking back.

So, this isn't the best picture I've ever taken but it's the only one that I could find with a beggar in it (the man in the left corner, not the beautiful girl in the middle). Beggars were everywhere (at stop lights, outside shops, random places walking down the street). In this picture, we were at the station to take pictures of people going about their daily lives in the city. The man in the picture saw us outside of the station and followed us around for at least ten minutes if not longer. It was hard to listen to people constantly begging for money, but unless you have a small fortune, it's not wise to give out money because you'll get mobbed.

This is a common street scene in a shopping district of New Delhi (or pretty much any city in India). When I was taking this picture, I wasn't surrounded by many people, but usually I had to give up my own idea of what personal space is.

India wasn't all beggars and crowded streets though. This picture was taken at a seminar that we went to in Indore. The Indians there were amazing people that stole my heart. I loved seeing them smile and interact with us. Much more on Indore later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Short Update

Wow. Twelve days without blogging. That has to be some kind of record for me. Life has been pretty crazy since I returned from India. Only a couple of days after I got back, my family came to see me in Seattle. We had a great time even if I was jet-lagged. We went down to the Redwood Forest in California and to Mt. Hood near Portland. Even though I was exhausted, being with my family re-energized me emotionally. My sister stayed a couple extra days after the rest of my family went home. We got to go to Gasworks Park, the Woodland Park Zoo (which isn't that far from my house), and the outlet mall in Marysville. She also got to meet my Bible study group which was exciting for me even if nobody else was excited about it.
I still haven't even looked at my pictures from India. Something about having to relive all those emotions and memories keeps me from it for now. I'll probably work up the emotional fortitude in the next couple days. Once I do, I'll post a few pics for you proving that I really did go to Asia :)
For now, I'm relearning how to live life in Seattle. So much has changed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back in America (or 'Re-entry Stress 101')

Well, as you can probably tell from the title of this post, I'm back in America. After three weeks in Asia, I'm back at where I started. At least physically.
So, there's this thing called re-entry stress (or reverse culture shock). I'm pretty sure I have it. My time thus far in America has almost been like a dream. We landed at the Seattle airport around 7:30 last night. It took us almost two hours to get our luggage, go through customs, get our luggage again, and drive home. Because my stomach is still on India/Taiwan time, I heated up a frozen pizza at 10:30. As I was waiting for my pizza to be done, I noticed only one thing. The silence in my apartment was deafening. I sat in my room looking around and noticing how quiet it was. Asia is not quiet. Even at night there is noise. In India, it was the AC running and the car horns blaring. In Taiwan, it was general traffic noises. My apartment in Seattle is just quiet.
This morning I woke up at 5am. I could try to blame it on my phone beeping every 10 minutes to tell me that I had a text message, but it would only be a bad excuse. I was wide awake. I tried going back to sleep for over an hour, but it didn't work. So I got up and got ready for the day. Because my fridge was completely empty, I ate a Clif bar and went to the grocery at 8am. If you want to avoid people and get fresh produce, grocery shopping at 8am is the way to go.
Shopping for food threw me into a state of shock. There were so many choices and the prices were so high. At one point I was just staring at something on the produce aisle. The nice Safeway guy asked me if I needed help with anything. I wanted to say "Yes, did you know that I could probably feed a small Asian army with the money that I'm about to pay for my groceries." But all I said was "No, thank you" and pushed my shopping cart along to get some overpriced orange juice.
After unloading my food at home, I went to get some gas. My transmission was acting funny before I left so I thought I would take the car to the transmission guy so he could read the code. After I got gas, I turned on my car and looked for the check engine light. It had gone off thus making my trip to the car guy totally pointless. By the time I returned home disappointed that my car was acting like it was functioning right, it was 9:45. I decided to take a short nap because I was starting to get a little tired. I set my alarm for 11am. I woke up at 6:30pm. So much for getting stuff done today and fighting the jet lag.
Right now, I'm just trying to process what I experienced in India while reacquainting myself with my own city. This is going to be one weird week.

Friday, July 4, 2008

India: Part 2

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity that I'm still processing. Last Friday, we took a twelve hour train ride from Delhi to Indore. In Indore, we got to hang out with some amazing people that taught me a lot about what it means to serve and the need for change. After a couple days in Indore, we took another twelve hour train ride to Nagpur. We stayed in a building that's associated with the movement we're working with. We sat in on a meeting of caste leaders in the area. We also got to visit a typical Indian village to see how most Indians really live. Then, a couple days ago, we took a fifteen hour train ride to Agra, which is the home of the Taj Mahal. We got to Agra at 2am and went to a hotel. By 9am, we were at the Taj Mahal.
Seeing the Taj is one of the things that is on my 'Thing to Do in Life' list, but it wasn't how I imagined it. Don't get me wrong. The Taj was BEAUTIFUL! It was really hot though and I almost blew chunks/passed out. The white marble does a great job of reflecting sun light, making the monument one extremely hot place to be on a bright day. We stepped into the shade after seeing the Taj and it had to be twenty degrees cooler, no kidding. Also, the rest of Agra is a tourist trap. My advise to anyone going to see the Taj is to go and see it (and the Agra Fort next to it) and then get out of town fast. Since 1996, Agra has been totally dependent on the tourist industry because they shut down all the factories to cut down on air pollution.
At 8pm yesterday, we got on the train for a two hour ride back to Delhi. Being back in Delhi is kind of a relief. It feels like returning to a sort of home for a while. Tonight, we're going to the American Embassy for what I've heard is a massive 4th of July celebration. I'll miss spending the 4th with my family, but this promises to make one pretty awesome memory.

Happy Indepedence Day!!