Monday, April 26, 2010

The First Month

I’ve been in Germany now for almost a month. I’m sorry I haven’t updated before this. About a week and a half ago I had a blog post written, but never had the time to edit it well enough to post… and considering It was sort of time sensitive it would kind of be silly for me to post this late.

The truth is that my life has been crazy since landing. I had a day to unpack, repack, and then the next morning I drove out to where we held our annual Easter camp… where there was no internet connection and the only sure way to “call out” was to use a pay phone in the building we were in… translation… for almost the first half of my time here I was disconnected to the world. In a way it was kind of beautiful.

I spent the first few days of my time in Germany helping to set up for kids camp and making “semi-legal” van trips through the German countryside to either pick people or supplies up, sweating the whole time hoping my three months out of the country was enough time to reset the validity of my Ohio license in Germany. In retrospect it wasn’t, but that was always floating at the back of my mind. To quote Junior Bevel from Cool Runnings “Sometimes a man has gotta do what a man has gotta do.” In retrospect I found out it definitely wasn’t legal for me to be driving… oops.

Kids camp went well, overall… It wasn’t my best performance at a camp, but God got me through the tough times – I hate when people make a bland vanilla statement like that. As a former “English Major” it screams “I don’t want to tell you more, divulge my dark secrets, and get into the ‘interesting stuff.’”

So here goes on the interesting stuff. My German definitely got left behind in the States for at least half the camp. The other half of the camp I was sick. I was a counselor for a group of ten hyperactive boys. They weren’t bad kids necessarily, mostly normal pre-teen and early teen energy, not to mention they had about the attention span of an overly caffeinated squirrel. Translation --- my German skills lagging behind and kids with a short attention span: all too often chaos. There were times I honestly felt like a fool sitting or standing in front of the group, and there were honestly times I didn’t even know how to explain what I was thinking in English; that doesn’t happen often. So the truth is I ended up strongly feeling my own limitations at camp whether that be fatigue, a nasty cold I picked up from a camper, the yips during room time.

But like I said, God is good. At times I’m sure despite my weakness he ended up reaching kids with the Gospel. And that’s more important than whether or not I had a “good outing.” And the guilty truth is despite struggling, I personally had a really good time at the camp. Between some really cool campers and having the privilege to be part of a wonderful staff I’d go back, get sick, and struggle any day.

Since then I’ve been back in the office, trying to settle in before the summer blitz comes. Preparing for summer is like knowing there’s a hurricane coming: you know it is going to make landfall, you know you’ll be subject to high winds, and torrential downpours so all you can really do is put up sandbags, board up your windows, and if you can get to higher ground. That’s kind of what my summer is like, the storm of work is riding out on the horizon somewhere and we all know it’s coming. All of us on the English camp team have experienced it, more than once. But again, knowing what happens in the lives of the teens who come every summer make the long days more than worth it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Its a beautiful fall Saturday, and I'm in the office... Well, it's actually not as bad as it sounds. I'm in the office at about noon since I don't have internet at home. I end up coming into the office for at least a little bit every day to check email, read the news, catch up with a few people, etc. (Obviously in this case update the blog).

So you may be wondering what the average Saturday looks like for me? Well... I spent the morning doing... well nothing of earth shattering importance at home. I slept in until about 8:30, had breakfast, cafinated myself (French Coffe Press = a little bit of wonderfulness) cleaned a little bit, played the piano for about 45 minutes, packed some stuff up to drop off at one of the recycling depots around town, and then headed off to the office (doing some errands along the way). So its not like I'm completely wasting my time now.

I'll be in the office for a little bit yet, but eventually I'll leave to go shopping... I don't have a car, so I'll end up hitting up the three different grociery stores on smaller shopping trips (Easier to carry everything that way... plus I like one store's produce better than the others, one store's brands of drinks better than the others, and one store's dry and frozen goods better than the others... If I can't carry it all at one time anyways why not make 3 smaller trips... plus its great exercise). This afternoon will be spent cooking --- odd as that sounds. I'm having people over on Monday for pizza night, so I'll be home making italian sausage and pasta sauce (looking forward to that... one of the fringe benefits of pizza night is that it gives me an excuse to make a huge batch of pasta sauce... which is in the end a lot cheaper than buying it premade... and I like the end result better anyways).

Then I also need to do some cleaning around the appartment. I did tne first half of it already this week, but its time to clean out my bathroom and bedroom again. No big deal, just needs to be done before it gets bad. I'm also doing "Fall cleaning" which means rather than shaking out or vaccuming all the rugs, I'm in the process of washing them all... which takes a little bit longer than I would like (I have no dryer so they have to air dry, and I don't really have enough space to dry them all at once... plus for some reason things are taking FOREVER to dry in my appartment... clothes takes about 2 days. Not sure why).

Then tonight... Tonight I'll probably curl up on the couch with a nice cup of tea (either Roibus, fruit, or herbal tea... not looking for any extra caffeene) Read a book or watch a movie... or maybe do both.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is... Yeah... Its a normal life over here. Oddly enough as broken into it as I feel right now its kind of wierd to be contemplating going home in a couple of months. I can't believe its only 2 months and some change away. It feels like just yesterday that I got here. I'm really not looking forward to reverse culture shock. Although it will be nice to see everybody again.

**** Update****
Boy genius just realized that today is a holiday... ooops. Should've done my shopping yesterday. No groceries until Monday now. I've actually got plenty of food to last the weekend (not worried about that in the least) Just uh... pasta sauce and meatballs on Monday are going to be a little interesting... whooops. Oh well if after 6 years in food service I can't swing it... Seriously this is where the hobby pays off... :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Post

After a totally uninspired post title and, well, way too long without updating here's a bit of what's going on with me. Life's been a little weird lately. I haven't had internet connection at home in a couple of weeks, so updating from the comfort of my own couch is, unfortunately, impossible right now. And actually, that shouldn't be that much of an excuse as I'm encouraged to use some work time to keep up with supporters (whether prayer supporters or financial) back home.

So what's new: I'm older... yeah, the big 25 was about a week and a half ago, and its kind of a weird feeling. although I don't necessarily feel over the hill yet. I was getting laughed at last weekend when Stephan, the guy doing his year of social service with Janz Team, was laughing at me for being older than a lot of the current soccer stars... Oh well... good thing I never really wanted to be a professional athlete. And I keep telling myself that I've still got half a decade to be in my 20s.

Other than that. I'm working on putting together a new staff brochure for English camp next year, as well as some other projects that need to be done for the camps. I now understand why this is considered the "down time" for English camps. I've still got some serious work to do before I leave, but it all looks... well... managable from here, and its nice not having a ton of time sensitive projects to be working on... just a few.

And in other news, I'm working on a possible new project. Exciting stuff. Unfortunately until a little bit more falls into place I can't say too much more on the blog... aside to say that I'm cautiously very optimistic about the project and am hoping an praying things keep moving forward. Hopefully sometime next week I'll be able to share a little bit more.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So Its my birthday today. I'm not sure which is stranger, turning 25, or being away from home on my birthday. Even in college I ended up making it home on one of the weekends around my birthday to see everyone. That's not really possible here and now though. Its not really "homesickness" just kind of a weird feeling. Almost like the feeling thats starting to sink in that I'll be home in a few months. Really, my term here is almost over and its really time to be making decisions about the "future" (Nebulous, I know).

SO... That all being said, I'm doing well. I'm going to go home this evening, go to some friends' for dinner... watch a movie and go to bed. (I guess if that's my birthday itinerary then I'm getting older).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Baseball = Cultural Experience

I invited the guy who just started his year of civil service with us over for dinner and a baseball game last night --- It was a great cultural experience. We at calzones (homemade) and watched the Indians loose (horribly). But it was still a lot of fun. Its amazing how many little rules or concepts we take for granted in a game like baseball though: tagging up, leading off, infield fly rule... Seriously at the beginning I was explaining everything from Balls vs. Strikes, and how a Pitcher has to go about trying to get batters "out." But yeah... Loved doing it. It was a lot of fun (I told him that if there's any way to get a football game in over here he's got to come over for that... Good news with football games is that with the time change they'd be on Sunday evenings over here... which means... it'd be a nice way to relax for a little while after Sunday evening soccer (I'm a weekly regular there... my skillz are still terrible, but I'm getting better Scored twice last week).

Monday, August 31, 2009


So today my friend Stephan is starting his year of civil service. I'm actually pretty excited about it as he's doing it with Janz Team... which means I get to harass him for the next couple of months!!! Seriously though, I'm really happy that he's here. He was one of "my boys" the first time I came over to English camp in 2005 (I can't believe its been that long). He and his brother are both reasons why I've kept coming back... and I'm just thrilled to get a chance to work with him together on a couple of projects this fall. I'm just kind of dissappointed that I won't be able to be here the whole time he's doing his civil service (I go home to the states in December).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Ok... So this is not the famed English Camp update article. That's coming. I promise. This is a little bit more mundane than that. I've had this song stuck in my head for about two weeks now. The band came up on my internet radio station, I liked the song I heard, so... like we all do in the age of iTunes, and online music services... I went and checked out some of their other music. Long story short I've had their CD on constant rotation for the past two weeks... and it hasn't let up. So I'm sharing the love, and embedding their official music video from YouTube on my blog. The band's name is Metric ... They're an indietronic group based out of Toronto (Yeah Great Lakes region... even if its on the other side of the border... gotta represent). The song is called "Gimme Sympathy." And to answer their question in the chorus... The Beatles, hands down (2 words on that "White Album")