Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Notice anything strange about this car? I was ecstatic over the U of O and Trail Blazer stickers!

Brother Andrew

Sunday I had the awesome privilege of hearing Brother Andrew ("God's Smuggler") speak. It was so energizing to hear his stories of sharing the gospel with Muslims. His ministry Open Doors does a lot of peace-making between Christians and Muslims and it was eye-opening to hear how forgiving others prepares the way for sharing about the forgiveness that Christ offers us through His death on the cross--Muslims experience the Gospel firsthand when Christians return their attacks with love instead of hate, with steadfastness instead of fear. His ministry also actively informs the Western Church of the persecution going on in the rest of the world. Did you know that Christians suffer more today than ever? Persecution is not bad for us--it strengthens our faith and prepares us to share in Christ's glory--but we must pray for those who are being persecuted that they will persevere and be comforted in the midst of their suffering.

Verse of the Week:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7

Friends of the Day: my faithful comrades and brave fellow surveyors--Erin in Thailand, Thom and Margaret in PNG

Family member of the Day: My dad who I thought of today when I visited the local pool hall! Miss you, Doo-doo!

On Saturday I visited Bern. Does this look like a capital city to you?!

The river is amazingly clean!

Everyone who goes to Bern visits the local mascots. This bear was catching food being thrown down to him.

We saw some amazing landscape as we drove from Italy back to Switzerland (back when I went to Venice)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Ne t'inquiete pas!

aka: Don't get your panties in a wad!

So after receiving rather distressed emails from both my mother and my sister over the use of the word "savage," I must clarify. In French this word is used quite often, for several different meanings. Ex: Noisy children are called "petits sauvages." A savage is also just someone who is lively. If you know me you know "lively" is often an apt description! A third meaning of the word savage is authoritarian. There you have it, the uses of "savage" in French. No need to take up offense on my behalf!

Also a defense for the Swiss...well, what I wrote still stands...but remember that this blog is only 2 dimensional (1 dimensional? Ach, took geometry like 10 years ago). What I write must be taken with a grain of salt. The Swiss are great people! I've experienced wonderful hospitality. I've eaten amazing cuisine. This is a beautiful country.

OK, that's all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

On a scale of one to wacky, I'm totally weird


The following three acts are considered bizarre in Switzerland. Two were done by myself, the other by a Swiss guy. The one done by the Swiss was considered slightly less bizarre. See what you think...

a) Dipping strawberries in Nutella (a creamy chocolate and hazelnut spread)
b) Eating spoonfuls of applesauce and Nutella
c) Dipping a chocolate-covered cookie in a cup of coffee

OK, so in my mind, only one of the above activities is bizarre--eating applesauce with Nutella? Weird! Weirder still, is the fact that this was considered less bizarre than the other two. What?!! How in the world is mixing strawberries or coffee with chocolate remarkable?

This is just one of many examples of how it is absolutely impossible for me to predict what my next cultural faux-pas will be. I have no warning before I offend someone! Oh well, the Swiss can use a little stirring up. My Dutch housemate recently commented that they are "too normal." If by normal, she meant "clean" then yes, that is true. If by normal, she meant "rule-abiding" then again, that is true. If by normal, she meant "having lots of formal etiquette" once again, that is true. Indeed, the Swiss are too normal. Normal and bizarre. I'm not normal; I'm American. No coincidence that the monsieur of my house calls me a savage almost daily. It's become a term of endearment to me, to my dear little strawberry dipping savage self.

Verse of the Month:
"'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42

Yogurt Flavor of the Week: Coffee

Friends of the Day: Carrie and Maggie--voyaging through China!

Family member of the Day: The Good Sistah, Cathie Jo--Always good, always my sistah

Friday, May 20, 2005


I'm back from Venice! I had an incredible trip. Venice has to be among the most beautiful cities in the world! The prices were great compared to Switzerland and I ate lots of pasta, pizza, panini, and gelato! We stayed at a nice hotel in Noale--only the rich and famous can afford to stay in Venice itself--and every morning we ate an enormous continental breakfast with the most exquisite coffee. I was well pleased.

For those of you who don't know, Venice was constructed atop a mosaic of more than 100 islands in the middle of a swampy lagoon. The entire city essentially rests on wooden stakes. There are no cars in Venice! Canals wind throughout, so there are many boats, including the famous gondolas and also "water taxis" packed with dozens of tourists.

All went well with helping Marceline. The things I thought would be hard (like going to the bathroom and bathing) weren't a problem and what I thought would be easy (ie: pushing a wheelchair) was hard! Venice is not the city for the handicapped! Luckily her son Julian is in good form...every time you want to go anywhere there's another bridge with stairs to cross! And I dare you to keep a wheelchair steady on cobblestone streets! But the museum curators and restaurant workers and boat operators were very accomodating. Plus, everything is free for those in wheelchairs! It was an enriching experience to see life from another perspective and I was happy to be able to help make the trip possible for Marceline.

All went well, so I don't really have any amusing stories of my trip (barring the time I cried at the restaurant because I couldn't read the Italian menu...), but I'll describe more of what we did in the photo captions below. The pictures are the best way to tell the story of Venice because it's really a trip for the eyes--not a lot of activities necessarily, but plenty of beautiful sights to take in. It was extremely difficult to choose these photos because there were dozens more I wanted to show you!

This was one of my first glimpses of the beautiful city of Venice.

I traveled with a Swiss family: Marceline, her son Julian, and his girlfriend Manon.

Canals wind throughout the city and everywhere you look there's another beautiful photo to be taken.

Gondolas take three months to be constructed by hand. The traditional gondoler outfit is a striped shirt, black pants, and a hat. Very charming!

Many streets are filled with vendors.

Me and Marceline (and my gelato!) on a bridge over the Grand Canal.

We used these water taxis to get us around the city and out to the islands.

Piazza San Marco is the most famous place in Venice. The Palace of the Doges is on my right and the Basilica on my left. Note also the pidgeons!

Saint Mark's Basilica is incredible on the inside, but photos are forbidden. The first church on this site was built in the 9th Century.

I went to the top of this 98 meter Campanile for a breathtaking view of the city

View of the domes of the Basilica and of the city.

View of the Piazza San Marco

This is a view of the Santa Maria della Salute, a church built in the 17th century to thank Mary for stopping a plague that decimated the population.

On Saturday we visited a couple of islands. This is Murano, an island known for glassmaking.

All the stores in Murano are like this!

This is Burano, another island which is known for its colorful buildings.

Sunday was called the Vagalonga and people came from all over the world to participate in a race through the canals.

Our last day in Venice we visited some more of the neighborhoods. This is the staircase of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. It was so special the family was known as the family "of the staircase."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Vacances d'Ascension

Hello! I don't have time to write much BECAUSE I'M LEAVING FOR VENICE IN THE MORNING!! Yes I will be gone until Monday on an all-expense-paid trip to Italy! I'm going with my new friend Marceline and her 26 year old son and his girlfriend. Marceline is wheelchair bound, so she invited me along to help care for her. In many ways this trip will be a new experience for me!

For the moment I just want to post the pictures from last weekend. We had two days off of school for Ascension and since Marian has a car we took advantage of the time to see a bit of the surrounding region.

On Thursday I went to La Chaux-de-Fonds with Greta and Marian to visit the Musee d'horlogerie (clock-making). On Friday Marian and I visited 3 little villages: Echard, Le Landeron, and La Neuville. It was fascinating how in a 20 minute walk you can arrive somewhere that speaks a completely different language! (We were on the border between the French and German speaking regions). On Saturday Marian and I went to Fribourg, one of the larger cities in the area.

We saw many beautiful and interesting clocks at the clock museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds on Thursday

This is the 99,999,998th Swatch watch!

This is Echard, the first of 3 villages Marian and I visited on Friday

We enjoyed the sights as we walked from village to village.

This is Le Landeron, the second village we came upon on Friday.

This is La Neuville, the last village we visited on Friday.

On Friday we hiked Jolimont ("Pretty Mtn") and I couldn't tell if I was in Switzerland or Oregon!

On Saturday we went to Fribourg. Here's a view of the city with its impressive cathedral tower.

13th Century Augustin Convent in Fribourg

Inside a 13th Century Augustin convent

Inside the cathedral at Fribourg

This is an ancient map of Fribourg at the Museum of Art and History. You can see the cathedral that we visited.

We saw many beautiful old depictions of the Virgin and the Christ

Here is Babar at the Swiss Museum of Marionnettes

In a little town called Morat, you can walk along the remparts for a great view.

On Sunday the view by the lake was amazing!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Day of the Ascension

Today is a holiday in Switzerland, so I don't have school today or tomorrow! All of Switzerland closes down to celebrate the Ascension of Christ. I have never heard of this holiday before, so I spent some time today thinking about why one should celebrate it, and now I feel it is very important! Jesus' Ascension is one of the most thrilling stories and remains a key event in the lives of Christians today. Below are some reasons I found for why we should celebrate the Ascension:

1) Because Jesus conquered death. We celebrate this fact at Easter, but it's really the Ascension that clinches the deal. Other people have been raised from the dead, but they all eventually die and stay dead. Jesus rose never to die again. "Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay." (Psalm 16:10).

2) Because after Jesus ascended He sent the Holy Spirit. "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7).

3) Because now we can act and pray in Jesus' Name. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." (John 14:12-13).

4) Because Jesus is with the Father. "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." (John 14:28).

5) Because Jesus is exalted above all. "...That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." (Eph 19-21).

6) Because Jesus is preparing a place for us. "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2).

7) Because Jesus is coming back for us in the same way He went away. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3). "They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.' " (Acts 1:10-11).

8) Because we are left here to do Jesus' work through His strength. "After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it." (Mark 16:19-20). "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' " (Matthew 28:18-20).

9) Because it is cause for rejoicing and worship. "While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." (Luke 24:51-53).

The country you are in may not be celebrating the Ascension today, but you can certainly take a moment to do so!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Visitor!

This week my friend Kristen came to visit! We studied French together at George Fox University and coincedentally she is now in Dijon, France for the semester, just a couple hours away from me by train. It was so great having another young American girl to enjoy the shopping with and it's nice having a friend who has seen a bit of my life here. We'd dreamed up this rendez-vous in Europe long ago, so it was awesome to see it come to pass! Below are photos of our time together, including a walk by the lake and a guided tour of the castle of Neuchatel. We also went to the Museum of Natural History which is featuring a fun exhibit on the use of animals in French expressions.

Kristen was well-welcomed...Jean-Pierre fed us too much!

We really enjoyed this creative exposition on animals in French expressions.

We found that many French expressions resemble those in English, as you'll see below.

Like water off a...

« Comme un éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine » is like "Bull in a china shop"

"Monter sur ses grands chevaux" is close to our expression: On his high horse.

We got lost in some vineyards trying to find a path to the lake.

We walked along the lake. Note the swan in the water.

Kristen has her mouth shut and I'm grimacing because there were swarms of flies!

We finally arrived at the center. The tall building is the castle.

We enjoyed a free French private guided tour of the castle.