Friday, December 24, 2010


I consider myself a well seasoned traveler.  From jumping on a plane in some of the most efficient airports the world has to offer, to crossing borders on foot amidst political chaos and on top of rusted bridges, not to mention boarding rotting ferries overloaded with people and freight, I have just about seen it all.  There is really no scenario you could think of that would keep me from getting from here to there.  I love to travel.

I would also consider myself a "good" traveler.  Even with no signs or guidance, I can pretty much figure out what is going on and where I need to go.  Now please don't get the wrong idea, its not so much a gift as it is an education.  The key is to keep your eyes open, keep your mind clear, and expect the unexpected.  Its being open to "learn" at every step in the process.

A key component in the travelers education is a review, or debrief process.  Looking back on the trip with great analytical detail will really help you in the future.  Also, sharing of information and experience is vital.  So I would like to share some things I gleaned from my latest journey home.

Hope it helps.

If you are going to do a missions trip to the third world predicting the end of the world in 2011 and your entire team is going to sport matching shirts proclaiming the same, try not to wear the latest shoes in the Air Jordan series.  While you may believe there are only a few more months on earth until Judgement Day and what better way to invest in the kingdom than a pair of comfortable basketball shoes that will NEVER see the hardwood, those "natives" looking at your $180 kicks may just see a couple months food for their family.

Likewise, after boarding the plane, in the same end-o'-the-world shirt, you may want to cover it up, or take it off if you are sitting in first class.  Nothing like showing the world how us missionaries like to live large on Jesus' dime.  I must say, that really attacks the idea that we must suffer for Jesus.

I know that we all have our own quirks, but when you are using the urinal in the public airport bathroom try and NOT brush your teeth.  I know connection times may be short and dental hygiene is of the utmost importance, but ew!  Nobody wants to see that.  

When you are flying in to pick up your kids for your visitation, and your ex-wife or baby's momma is trying to console the children before you head off to show how much you love the kids by buying them whatever they want, don't fire off smart ass little comments that are going to make her cry.  It was hard enough for the kids living in the middle you two before the split, but they really don't need to see it continue.  For goodness sake, you don't even have to live with her anymore.  Let it go!!

If you are waiting for your flight in the part of the terminal surrounded by folks heading off to Nicaragua, Los Angeles, and Mexico, and you want to talk shit about someones beard or their earrings, don't do it in Spanish.  You need to at least think that even though the gentleman may appear a stupid gringo, the very place he is sitting is a clue that just possibly he speaks your language and understands every word you are saying.  It is also possible that he doesn't say anything because a small tear is welling up in the corner of his eye.

Finally, if you are crossing the border into a third world country at midnight, regardless of how hungry you may be, DON'T EAT ANYTHING!! I don't care how good it looks, just walk away.  It may not affect you right away, but it will, and it won't be pleasant.  It may give you horrific diarrhea, excruciating gas, and an overall uncomfortable start to your holiday visit home.   (more to come on medical care during your travels, or how a fixed my tummy in a future post)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh Crap!!

Enough said!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am Boycotting "Christian"!

I am making an effort to be a little more socially relevant.  

My tendency is to isolate myself from the day to day goings on and focus on the task at hand.  That typically means I am behind the time on news, social events, and, if you have seen me lately you will know this to be true, fashion sense.  Couple that with a strong tendency to want to be "different" and you can see how this "perfect storm" (see, that is totally what popped into my mind, a 10 year old movie reference) could create a lack of connectedness.

Part of my plan is to read a bit more news, read a few more books, and try and stay connected with friends and family a bit better, and before you attack, its a process.  Be patient.

Anyway, today as I am reading the news I come across this on the New York Times website:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks Giving?

I walked downstairs the other day and there, sitting on the counter, were the remains of our Thanksgiving dinner.  The final bits of stuffing, the last drips of gravy, the oft leftover gelatinous clumps of cranberry sauce sitting in their small plastic coffins awaiting a final trip down the drain.  Just seeing it made me a little sad.  Sad not only because I would no longer get to eat those delicious leftovers, but also because celebrating the holidays away from your home, away from your family just kinda sucks a little.

I immediately start feeling a bit guilty.  Thanksgiving should make us happy, right?  Its right there in the name, we should be giving thanks for all the great moments we experienced during the year, for the friends and family we have, for the people that helped us or the opportunities we had to help others.  We are supposed to sit around and share these stories and think about how great the future will be.

Regardless of the memory, the story, the moment, it should always be a happy one, right?

So I took some time away from my pity party to think about all the good things in my life, and I realized something.  Many of those good things sprung out of some horrible times in my life.  Moments that I would rather not remember.

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