November 20, 2007

Eat Pork? Please don't eat it from Smithfield

Please see the following notes from If you haven't heard of Smithfield, and especially if you eat pork, I really encourage you to check it out. DON'T WORRY - I'm not telling you to quit pork, simply asking you to choose your pork wisely....thanks!

Give the Gift of Smithfield Justice this Holiday Season!

As Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas fast approach, take a moment to do something this holiday season to support the men and women who have been fighting through threats, intimidation and brutal working conditions for over a decade to win a voice on the job at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, NC.

Choose from these easy ideas to contribute to Smithfield Justice:

1) Treat your family to a Smithfield-free Holiday
>>> Stay away from Smithfield pork products that are packaged with abuse: those with USDA Establishment Code 18079 or 79C correspond to the Tar Heel plant. (Click here to see where to look)

2) Encourage others to have a Smithfield-free Holiday by hand-billing in front of your neighborhood grocery store.
>>>Download flier

3) Send a holiday card encouraging Smithfield workers to keep up the fight!
>>> Cards can be mailed c/o
The Eastern North Carolina Workers Center
3450 Capuano Road
Lumberton, NC 28358

4) Donate money in any amount to the Smithfield Worker Justice Fund!
>>> The Fund is sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice and all proceeds go directly to Smithfield families in need
Contributions can be made online here.

5) Tell Paula to drop Smithfield!
>>> Celebrity chef Paula Deen has sold her good name to Smithfield Foods to help Smithfield present a wholesome, family-friendly image.
>>> Go to Ask Paula and tell Ms. Deen what you think of her support of Smithfield. Ask her to meet with the suffering workers of Tar Heel!

6) Become a Smithfield Sleuth!
>>> Follow our easy instructions to find out if your grocer carries Smithfield Tar Heel pork. If you find the problem pork, the instructions include an educational letter to your store manager.

These are just a few things you can do this holiday season to help bring peace and justice to Smithfield workers in Tar Heel, NC.

November 17, 2007

Life in November

It's hard to believe that finals are nearly here for me. Quarters are something that will take awhile for me to get used to, I think. My first final is due on Monday. It's for my Sexuality Across the Life Cycle class, which is a great class except for the super-uber anecdotal nature of it. I love stories, but do I seriously need to know the details of the sex lives of all the people in my class?! Do we need to preface every comment by saying "well, I'm straight, but..." or "yeah, I'm gay, but..." Seriously people!

So yes, now it is time to find the motivation to write my 10 page final for this class. The bright side is that once I finish, then I'm finished....the down side....well, I have to write it. duh.

I'm not feelin so hot (cold, cough, Rudolph-lookin face...) plus there's been a lot of stuff happening in my life lately that I don't intend to plaster all over my blog or facebook....but essentially it all adds up to making life and school more difficult. I'm not complaining though....well, maybe I am. I think I can allow myself some weeks of feelin crappy about life, and then get back on the horse in a few weeks right?

On a more exciting note, I played football with LSTC last weekend in Gettysburg, PA and we kicked ass and had an awesome time. brought home the trophy. AND I'm a new Nala, a sweet, mischievous, hungry cat. A friend of ours rescued her, brought her back to health for a month, and now I've had her for about a month. She is convinced we are starving her, although I swear to you we aren't. She also has been known to attack our friend's weiner dog (sorry Hannah!). We have had no squirrel incidents recently, and I thank Nala for that. She's also a total lover - of everything, but especially food and attention. She likes to sleep on my chest right in front of my face. It's also nice when I'm feelin lonely to know that I'm not alone, cuz she's sitting her with me as I write these papers :)

Here's some pics:

LSTC Football Champions!

Nala, chillin with my froggie

October 20, 2007

Please sign this petition and watch the YouTube video


I had to tell you about the energy bill that Congress is about to pass. Most of it is great--gets us more solar and wind energy and even makes cars more fuel efficient. But there's one line in there that was added at the last minute that gives up to $50 billion for the nuclear industry. Enough money to launch a whole new generation of plants.

If you thought we had beat back nuclear power in the 70's, you're not alone. A bunch of musicians who fought nukes back then have picked up their instruments and started fighting again.

Click here to check out the music video and sign the petition:

Nukes present a real security threat and environmental hazard. We've got to get Congress to strip this money before they pass the energy bill.

So, pass this on!


October 3, 2007

Have you heard about the crisis in Burma?

(The following is a email forward with a link at the bottom to sign a petition. I have a good friend here in Chicago who comes from Burma. While I am definitely not an expert on what's happening there, I know that this is something I would encourage others to support. Peace.)

Burma is ruled by one of the worst military dictatorships in the world.
Last month Buddhist monks and nuns began marching and chanting prayers
to call for democracy. The protests spread and hundreds of thousands of
Burmese people joined in -- but they've been brutally attacked by the
military regime.

I just signed a petition calling on Burma's powerful ally China and the
UN security council to step in and pressure Burma's rulers to stop the
killing. The petition has exploded to over 500,000 signatures in a few
days and is being advertised in newspapers around the world, delivered
to the UN Security Council, and broadcast to the Burmese people by
radio. We're trying to get to 1 million signatures this week, please
sign below and tell everyone!

September 25, 2007

Squirrel Update

Apparently nothing generates comments like talking about squirrels!! :)

Well our situation has only gotten worse. I'm sorry for those of you who actually like squirrels but my opinion has not changed...much. I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the things. They must be incredibly confused about their environment and all that to think that my apartment might actually be a good place for them to eat and live.

Yep, that's right. Turns out the squirrels found our stash of Hershey kisses. We found the container knocked over in our living room. Along with chocolate crumbs and wrappers nearby. My roommate swears it wasn't her doing :) So then for several days we started finding kisses hidden throughout the apartment: in the couch, behind a bed, and yeah, IN my bed. Um, I thought I hated squirrels and then I discovered that one (or who knows how many) had actually been scurrying around hiding hershey kisses in my bed. Now I'm furious. And like I said, feeling some pity towards them. But more on the hateful side unfortunately. So now we never open our door or windows, even when we're home we have to watch pretty carefully or they actually try and "sneak" by, like I don't notice or something when I'm sitting right there on the porch!!! No more hershey kisses in our apartment and I keep my door closed. And my bedding and everything in my room is sparkly clean in order for me to get every possible squirrel germ out of there!!!

So I challenge you - do you still want to tell me that squirrels are cute? :)

(I love you Sarah - thanks for trying to stick up for the squirrel community. I should really work on my compassion!!!)

September 18, 2007

I hate squirrels

I know - hate is a harsh word. I try not to use it. However in this case, it is completely acceptable. Squirrels apparently want something in my apartment. I'm not sure what. I mean, I know my roomie and I are pretty cool and all, and we have lots of cool stuff. But I didn't know squirrels would be so interested in it. I also had no idea that squirrels have gotten so brave. After replacing our screen on the back door after a squirrel had bitten through and come into our apartment, one promptly made another attempt - while I was sitting on the porch in front of the door. They hang out outside and wait for an opportunity. They've actually been on my roommate's desk and knocked down picture frames. I don't want squirrels in my apartment. I still have a bit of a grudge from a few years back when one ate my infamous geranium plant right in front of me. And now this. I think I'm jinxed.

In other news, I'm officially a University of Chicago student - have the id card, and even my first assignment. Mind you, classes have not started yet. Nope. I have a paper due on the first day! I'm not sweating it though. I am so ready.

September 12, 2007

21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle

(found at Co-Op America's website: click here

21 Things You Didn't
Know You Can Recycle

Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less.

Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle.

That’s why our editors have spent the summer investigating the state of waste management in our country, and putting together information for you, our Co-op America members, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling. Supporting members of Co-op America can expect to receive this issue of the Co-op America Quarterly this fall. If you’re not already a supporting member, join us now to get this special issue mailed to you.

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances,, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN,

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110,

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they Boxcan use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local listserv or on for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223,

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. ShirtsDonate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling:

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses Glassesare reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340,

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local or listserv, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000,

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell Cellphoneit to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927,

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249,

17. “Technotrash”: Easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, cell phones, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK,

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from ToothbrushRecycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups. 888/354-7296,

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.

August 11, 2007

Presidential Debate on Tuesday

Last Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend a presidential debate at Soldier Field. It was for union members and their families only. The focus was "Working Families" and each of the Democratic candidates were present: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Kucinich, Obama, and Richardson. I was looking forward to going, but I wasn't overly excited. Once I got there though I realized how awesome it was that I was there. I've seen debates on TV but never in person. It was great to be right there where the action was. Unfortunately it was 8000 degrees out, but we survived! There were 17,000 people in attendance - imagine that energy! Some pics from my cell phone:

This is one from before it started with all the candidates up front. I haven't been a huge Hilary fan, but I must admit it was pretty fabulous to see a woman up there! Maybe that will be me someday?!

Here's a pic of Barack Obama on the big screen...a beautiful beautiful man with lots of good things to say :)

And Kucinich, by far the best candidate at the debate that night - at least if you're talking about someone who will support the rights of workers everywhere. I'm not saying I'm in the Kucinich camp at this moment, but I definitely need to do some more research before the primaries!

If you'd like to watch the debate online or read an article about it, click here....

August 4, 2007


Today at the Congress Hotel Picket line Senator (and presidential candidate) John Edwards stopped by. Granted, he only stayed about 10 minutes and only walked around a few times, but it's still good for these candidates to stop by. It gives the strike more publicity, and it's important for these influential people to show their support. We had a great time making some noise and there were probably about 100 people there. Barack Obama came a couple weeks ago (unfortunately I missed it) and I heard he stayed a bit longer than Edwards. Here's a picture of Edwards during his mini-speech (taken on my cell so not the greatest quality)....and don't forget to tell all your friends if they come to Chicago to NOT stay at the Congress!!!

August 2, 2007

Is it seriously August???

Where has the summer gone??? I honestly don't think it has EVER gone this fast! After only 3 weeks at the union I left for the lovely town of Gettysburg, PA for what I think might be the best 2 week trip I've ever taken. Hard to believe considering I didn't want to go in the first place! I was there for the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event - ask me if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyway, I really learned a lot about myself and about what I want to do with my life, plus I met some amazing friends that I know I'll be friends with forever. Yeah, they were all guys, most of them married, and all of them wonderful :) Who ever woulda thunk I'd be the girl bonding with all the guys?! But we had great times playing lots of Ping-Pong and....shoot, I can't remember the name of the card game - it was this game with tons of rules to try and follow all at the same time. Anyway....

On a way different note, I can't stop thinking about Minneapolis - my home. I think I have heard from most of my loved ones up there, but I'm still pretty traumatized that something like that happened, and that that's actually the way people had to die. Freaky.

Much love to all...

July 1, 2007

Week 1 Complete

Well I have survived my first week! There was never any doubt really....

I had a big week of meeting lots of new people, learning lots of new things, and adjusting to the schedule of a dedicated union worker. :) Some of the best experiences I had this week were getting to know some members of the union who are working in food services. Each person expresses a deep desire for something better. They know that the wages they receive and the benefits they do not receive just aren't cutting it. These people are leaders and they are trying to help others in their workplaces find energy to fight....but this task finds opposition. People are tired and overworked, and the thought of adding another thing to their schedule doesn't seem possible. And yet, they keep on fighting. I am in complete admiration of each person I met this week, and I only hope that I am able to keep the same constant passionate energy that I found in each person.

June 26, 2007


Hey everyone!

So I started my internship yesterday. I have survived 2 days of working in a union!!!

So what am I doing exactly???

Well, I got an internship with Interfaith Worker Justice called Seminary Summer. They are a way cool non-profit that focuses on rights for all workers. Check it out here. Anyway, they set up internships with labor unions for us seminary students (and rabbinical and muslim students - hence, the interfaith part...). I was placed with a fabulous union right here in my city of Chicago called UNITE HERE. Specifically I will be working within the food service industry - mainly cafeteria workers. There is so much I'd like to write, but I definitely need to get to bed. We are working about 10 hours most days, 6 days a week. Yipes!

In the meantime please check out the Interfaith Worker Justice website, and UNITE HERE's site...along with a couple other informative sites:

Service Workers Rising - This includes part of what I'll be working on this summer.

The Congress Hotel Strike - the workers at this hotel on Michigan Ave have been on strike for FOUR years. PLEASE PLEASE check out this site, and never ever stay there. PS Friends don't let friends stay at the Congress....or any nonunion hotel for that matter!!! Why? I'll save that for another blog entry, but you'll get a big glimpse if you check out this site.

Hotel Workers Rising - See how UNITE HERE got most hotels in the city of Chicago to allow their workers to organize and in effect get MUCH better contracts!!!

Sleep With the Right People - Come on the name itself makes you want to check out this site doesn't it??? :)

Dreams Across America - a recent (and ongoing I think) campaign on immigration reform.

Peace out friends - hit me up sometime!!!

May 8, 2007

Makes Me Wonder

Becky's Song of the Moment:

Makes Me Wonder

Click on the link and go to "Launch Audio Player". This song is fabulous. It makes me feel like wearing bellbottoms and an afro wig and groovin around my apt. I hope it gives you the same joy it gives me.

Luther Blows?

Someone is clearly not happy with my people!!! Thanks to Marie and Tim for texting me this pic all the way from good ole St. Paul, Minnesota. What do the Minnesotans have against Luther?! You maybe can't tell, but it is actually written in tar, not spray paint. Someone had some serious issues with Luther and wanted to share them with all who drove down this road. Interesting. I will admit, I have some issues with Luther too (predestination anyone?), however I wouldn't go so far as to tar my issues onto the street. Oh well. Freedom of speech is a good thing and I will not complain!

I would personally change it to say "Finals Blow" ....however I can't complain really. Two classes down, only two more to go. I can do this!! Maybe I should stop procrastinating this morning...

April 23, 2007

April in Chicago (Take 2)

Well it finally stopped snowing in Chicago (I have a feeling I'm going to kick myself tomorrow-the temperature is dropping as I write!). We had an absolutely amazing weekend of not-a-cloud-in-the-sky-sunny-days and temps reaching 80. It's awesome what a little sunshine can do for a stressed out student :)

On Sunday Richard and I went to Green Fest. Super cool. Click on the link to read about it....or else you're clearly not cool. Yesterday was EARTH DAY - and if you didn't know that - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!! What's the easiest thing you can do to help care for our dear earth?? How about:

*Buy energy saving light bulbs - sure, they may cost a bit more, but they last forever (almost) and they will help your electric bill go down.

*Ride your bike - get off your arse, you know you need the exercise!!!

*Recycle - especially your paper. Do you realize how much paper you throw away?! There's a website you can go to to stop getting junk mail too. Don't know it off the top of my head but I'll post it another time.

That's only a few. Don't tell me you can't think of others!!!

Let's change the subject and honor my most amazing honey. Richard and I had such a fabulous day yesterday, and he (finally-sorry honey :) took me out for a celebratory dinner, for getting into the University of Chicago. We went to Chinatown. Really the entire day was perfect - and so is he.

I'm gonna come back and read this entry whenever I start complaining about life.

April 16, 2007

A disturbing dream

Well a research project was turned in today...and I survived singing for the worship taping last week (Even got told I have a "good voice" and to "keep working on my chanting.") Impressive, eh??!

Anyway for the research project, I wrote a Bible Study exploring salvation, both in the context of the book of Romans, and the Confessions of the Lutheran who gets saved, who doesn't, why not, that sort of thing.

Which led to this disturbing dream...

Richard and I are on a cruise ship and it's sinking. Just about everyone is pretty calm, seemingly accepting the fact that they are going to die. I however was not calm; I was freaking out. I didn't want to die, and I didn't want Richard to die too. I also was terribly concerned about what would happen to us when we die. A friend of mine was on the boat, and he also was calm. I was crying and said to him, you're lucky because your fiance isn't on the boat, so you must be happy to know that she will keep on living. He told me, no that's not true and that Richard and I were the lucky ones because we'd be dying together, living together in eternity. I then went to check out how far sunk the ship was, and found many people standing in the bottom, letting the water come up over them (again, apparently just letting death come, rather than fighting or going to the top and waiting for it a little longer). Then I also saw a former pastor of mine, who I haven't spoken with in a couple years, and just as the water was about to go over head, we hugged and said goodbye.

Then I woke up.

I was pretty disturbed, feeling like I wanted to cry. Poor Richard was wondering if it meant our love was sinking! But I think it's completely the result of working on that project all day yesterday and thinking about salvation.

I don't like to think about it. It makes my head hurt. Some might say that since I'm in seminary, or since I want to be a leader in the church, that I should really want to delve into these issues deeper, really hash out. But frankly, I'd rather just leave some things up to mystery that is God, the mystery that is faith...rather than spend my earthly life debating who gets saved.

Oh well, I like to be different. :)

April 12, 2007

winter haiku

The snow never ends
It snows then rains then snows then...
Rains more, it's April.

April 9, 2007

A busy week

It's going to be a busy week....or should I say month. April holds many exciting things for me, such as:

*a Lutheran Confessions Midterm (The day after Easter -yipes)
*Lutheran Confessions Research Project
*Lutheran Confessions Paper
*Worship Quiz
*Worship Paper to be presented to the class
*Worship taping of a whole service, in which I have to actually sing...IN FRONT OF PEOPLE
*Another paper

Did I mention I might be busy this month???

Thank goodness for all the amazing fabulous beautiful hot people in my life - you know who you are.

March 27, 2007

GREAT news!!!

Well, after much anticipation, anxiety, and the like, I finally found out today that I was accepted at the School of Social Administration at the University of Chicago!!!! Yay, I am officially $30,000 in debt!!!! :)

Not much else is new....just happy not to be living in the unknown so much anymore...should find out about my summer job soon too and then I will be super happy. Woohoo!!!

March 19, 2007

Here I am

I don't have anything too exciting to say at the moment...just not to worry, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth!

Yes, I made it back from Switzerland and I am in the thick of the Spring semester. April is going to be a crazy month homework-wise so I'm trying to be a responsible student and prepare myself for that by starting early. :)

In other news, I'm in the Twin Cities for a couple days. Tim played with my computer and I now have Google Desktop and Picasa photo album. So now I've been playing with that rather than studying!!!

January 16, 2007

Fun Weekend Happenings, and some rantings about globalization

I should update more because now there's too much to write and not enough brain power!! :)

I think I'll write more about my classes in another entry (Yes, believe it or not, I actually go to class every day here!!!). This weekend we had a couple days off so a couple friends and I took a train to Interlaken, a big ski town in central Switzerland, right in between amazing mountains and 2 gorgeous lakes. We went just to go walk around the town and admire the beautiful scenery. We also took a smaller train higher up into the mountains, to a town called Grindelwald. It was interesting to be over in the German speaking part of Switzerland, rather than the French part. None of us understood a word around us!!!

Here's a picture taken from the train, so it's not the greatest quality - but it still gives you an idea of how great the scenery was!

Many people here are expressing great anxiety about global warming. It has been unseasonably warm here in most of Switzerland, and therefore there's not nearly as much snow on the mountains as there should be. The ski resorts are really hurting for business because of this. It was quite disheartening to see how little snow there was in both Grindelwald and Interlaken. Once we got a little higher in Grindelwald we were able to experience some snow...but not very much. I hope more people in the US start to realize the reality of global warming, and how widespread its effects are. We are using way too many resources, and if we keep going on this way, we will continue to kill our Earth.

Well, I just started referring to class a bit without you even realizing it, because we've been discussing globalization, and climate change is a clear result of it. But like I said, I'll go into that at another time because I need to rest my brain.

To shift subjects, take a look at the following picture and tell me what's wrong with it...

Hmmm Latino restaurant?? With a map of Italy??? Any German speakers out there? Is Latino somehow the German word for Italian, cuz otherwise I have no clue what's taking place in this picture.

Finally, yesterday after class we had the good fortune of meeting with a Human Rights Officer of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. I left the office fairly convinced that I'd be her someday....but who knows really. Tomorrow we'll be touring the United Nations as well. Something you should definitely check out when you have free time: the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights. This should be the key reason why any human, whether you're Christian or not, black or white, young or old, male or female, etc, should fight against the injustice that globalization has caused in this world. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, rather than increasing wealth for all which is what it should do. There are basic fundamental rights that we all have as humans and they need to be upheld. So check it out....and see what you can do to hold your church and/or government accountable.

Ok, I need to get off my soapbox. If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and thanks for being a part of my life! I don't know what I'd do without all my friends and family!!!

Peace for All,

January 15, 2007

Chocolate anyone??

If any of you happen to have these following qualities:
*you're cool
*you're hot
*you're my friend
*you like chocolate

then you'd better email me (or leave a comment) in the next couple days and tell me if you have any special requests for chocolate from Switzerland! Tell me your favorite kind, tell me if you hate chocolate, etc....

I'll bring what I can fit in my suitcase....which if you are Richard or Krista you know isn't much!!! ha

January 10, 2007

Brain Dead

We finished up our 3rd day of classes today. So far so good, except I've been very tired because I'm still not sleeping well. :(

The set up of our classes are nice. We have chapel at 8:30 then from 9-12, with a 15 min break, we hear different lectures from really great people who work for the World Council of Churches or Lutheran World Federation, and we get an opportunity to ask questions. We eat lunch in the cafeteria (which thankfully is a pretty good deal compared to finding a restaurant in Geneva!). Then from 1ish to 3 or 4 (but today 2:30) we discuss with our small groups.

The evenings have been fun. For Monday and Tuesday night we went to France. I love saying that. :) Anyway, we're only minutes away from the border, so we go over there and go shopping, it's a bit cheaper, they have the Euro, and it's a fun adventure crossing the border and hoping they don't stop us to check our passports because we'd get fined because we don't have the appropriate ticket!!! That's me, always living on the wild side. :)

So then we go back "home" each night and eat bread and cheese for dinner. Fresh French bread, and new cheese every night. I'm hoping all the walking we're doing is helping me keep the cheese from going straight to my hips!!!! :)

Here's an assortment of the food we've collected...clementines, bananas, nutella, wine, cheese, yogurt, etc....

Tomorrow we are going to ecumenical institute in France for the whole day. Friday is a normal day here, and then we'll probably head on a train to somewhere in Switzerland or France for a day trip on Saturday. Fun fun!

January 7, 2007

The past 2 days

The jet lag has apparently hit me. After sleeping for 14 hours the first night here (maybe NOT such a great idea?!), I've been hardly able to sleep at all the past two nights...but would be fine if I could sleep during the day :) Aaah....I think tonight is the night I'm going to get back on track.

Yesterday Krista and I did some more walking around the area we are staying and actually found what we were looking for the day before. There's this fabulous "balcony" that overlooks the lake and the beautiful mountains. Here's a pic of me and the mountains :)

We also found a fun little grocery store and bakery as well on our walk.

Last night (Saturday) almost all of the 23 in our group had arrived, so we ate dinner together and had a short meeting. Most were super tired as they had just arrived.

Today we got up and went to the worship service at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva...English speaking :) It was really cool, with people from all over the world, and many languages spoken. Here's a picture of the church....looks more like a chateau, which we found out is because churches aren't allowed to look like churches in Geneva!! Why? Because John Calvin was real big back in the day of the Reformation, and the Cathedral of St. Pierre where he preached is a great big cathedral that is very noticeable in Geneva's "skyline." And apparently anything that wasn't a Reformation church wasn't allowed to look like a church at all...

Since there's so much history here with the Reformation, they have a wall that is like a monument for it. We went by that wall, plus we even got to go to the Reformation Museum :) Here's me with Martin Luther's "statue" a big block with his name on it. Apparently there's some Germans in Geneva who are pushing for a "real" Luther statue - Calvin and others actually have their bodies as statues in this same park...but not Luther....oh la la

And finally near the end of the day we went up the 157 steps to the top of the tower at the St. Pierre Cathedral. As you can see below it was a pretty amazing view. We found out at the bottom that one of the guys in our group proposed to one of the girls!!! (Yes, they knew each other before today!!!) How romantic!!

Tomorrow class starts....which means I have to go do some reading to prepare! And I have to be up at 7 am tomorrow - eek. Please feel free to email me and let me know how you're doing!!!

January 5, 2007

Busses, Phones, Walking and Fondu

Well we have almost made it through our first whole day in Geneva! It is about 7:30 pm here and we thought we'd check our email before heading to our room to watch a dvd on my laptop and eat Swiss chocolate :)

Several interesting things to note today:

*Bus. We waited in the rain last night for a bus that only comes once an hour. It came. We stood right outside the doors and waited for them to open. The people on the inside looked at us. The bus drove away.

So we learned the hard way that we are in control, and we must push a button to get the bus doors to open or it will drive away from you!!!

*Phone. When we finally arrived "home" last night, the phone cord was mysteriously pulled out of the wall so much that all the little wires were separated and it wouldn't work anymore - how? we don't know. And we'll never know. They fixed it while we were out exploring today.

Here's Krista trying to figure out the phone situation...

*Sleep. We went to bed at 9 pm and woke up at 11 am. Aaaah.

*Walking. We decided to "hang low" today, so we took a walk around the block. Which turned into walking all the way to downtown and the lake and such.

This picture doesn't do justice to the amazing view of mountains we have right behind the place we are staying...

The famous jet d'eau in Lake Geneva.

*Fondu. We had some delicious, and expensive, cheese fondu today, with a lovely waiter who smiled at our silly American-ness. I kept blanking out and couldn't remember how to say a single French word. Also, the restaurant was pretty fancy, fancy glasses, fancy tableclothes, etc...however, there was some lovely rap music playing the whole time. And not just regular ole rap, but Shaggy and Salt N Pepa....all I can say is"very interesing."

Yep - that's me eating fondu :)

January 4, 2007

We made it

Hey everyone! Well, my roomie and I are safely in Geneva, Switzerland after a mostly smooth ride. Well, ok, we DID miss our connecting flight from Zurich to Geneva...but hey missing flights really isn't a new thing for me unfortunately!! ;) We got on the next one immediately after, and our luggage even made it too. Bizarre thing though - we had to go through security again at the Zurich they took my water that I saved from the earlier flight. Weird.

There was supposed to be someone picking us up at the airport in Geneva but there was no one to be found (and it turns out they just forgot or something - it WASN'T because we missed the flight...which did I mention was not our fault? We sat on the runway in Chicago for almost an hour...). Anyway, we were adventurous and took a city bus to where we are staying...the John Knox Center. What little French I have left has come in very handy so far!!

So it's almost 5 pm here, but our bodies are telling us something much different. We are 7 hours ahead of the central time zone by the way.

Roomie and I are gonna head into town for some breakfast...wait I mean dinner. What time is it again??!!!!

January 3, 2007

Happy New Year

I rang in the New Year in New Orleans this year. I was there for my 7th and final National Gathering, and this year happened to be an ecumenical event called Celebrate.

For all those who go to New Orleans and only stay in the downtown area, they may be deceived by how the city looks. The downtown area is a fun place to be, and mostly redone and making tourists happy. As soon as you head into actual residential neighborhoods, however, you can still see the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, a year and a half later. Entire neighborhoods are still empty. For sale signs and construction crew ads are everywhere. Trees are down. Water still sits. You can see the flood line on many buildings that you pass. Perhaps the toughest thing to see was the markings on each building. Each building had to be marked that it had been gone through, and the number of bodies found inside was included in this marking. I suggest if you have the opportunity to go down to the Gulf Coast area and help out, do it! They still need so much done. The people of New Orleans have an amazing spirit, and were so so thankful for our presence there. I have a new hope for that city than I did before I traveled there this New Year's. Some pictures....I have more if you're interested.

Gutted out houses...

Vacant strip mall...

Torn up house...

It was hard to get a good picture of the markings on each house, but this is an example...