Tag Archives: tea

Cold Days and Dream Jobs


The weeks of sunshine deceived me. “I have to wear flip-flops,” I told myself. Also, “it doesn’t matter so much if I forget to bring a tea bag. I don’t NEED to drink tea.”

Yesterday I went on a field trip with BMS to the wildlife safari. It was a lovely trip, only the flip-flops combined with the lack of tea left me chilled to the bone.

I went into the warm restaurant to splurge on a cup of tea. There was a group of college-age guys in there who wore dirty baggy clothing and dreadlocks. I couldn’t figure out what box to put them into. They looked like gangster hippies. But why would gangsters become hippie, and then go hang out at the local wildlife safari?

That had nothing to do with the story I’m telling, I just thought it was interesting.

Today I ran shivering into the coffee shop, still wearing flip-flops, with no tea in my backpack, but too cheep to spend money on tea again. So I sat down and ate my lunch with some of my friends who were in there.

Then I looked out the window and couldn’t believe my eyes. There were two of my friends from Grocery Depot.

I had once very enthusiastically tried to convince these ladies to go to college, only to be told that their church didn’t usually allow people to go to college. So needless to say, I was very surprised to see them on campus.

“Hey guys!” I said, running out and giving them a hug. “What are you doing here?”

“I just got my GED,” said one of them. “I’m going to do the bookwork for Grocery Depot, and so I want to take some accounting classes.”

“I’m here for moral support,” said the other. “We’re trying to find McKenzie Hall…”

“Oh, I can show you where that is!” I said. I took them down to McKenzie Hall, and helped them find the offices they were looking for. They wanted to talk to the academic advisers for accounting, but both advisers were out of their offices right then.

I showed them how the paper on the door shows when they’ll be back, and how to go online and find the advisers’ email addresses and set up a meeting, etc.

Then we parted ways and I went back to my friends in the coffee shop.

Have you ever read “The Catcher in the Rye?” If so, what do you think of it? I’m reading it right now, and while I’m not sure I can say I recommend it, it is very interesting.

In it the main character, Holden, is talking to his sister Phoebe about why he is failing school. He says it just doesn’t interest him.

“Doesn’t anything interest you?” she asks him.

He thinks about this for a while. Then he says, “You know that poem that goes, ‘if a body catch a body, coming through the rye?”

Phoebe tells him that the poem actually says, “if  body meet a body, coming through the rye.”

Holden says that he always thought it said “catch.” He used to imagine a field of rye where children would play, but there was a cliff on one end, and he was the only adult around. His job would be to catch the children if they were running too fast, and not looking where they were going, and headed for the cliff.

So even though he seemed to not be interested in anything, he would like to be a catcher in the rye.

Like Holden, I sometimes do random things and think, “if this were a job, I would like to have it for a very long time.”

Today, that’s what I thought when I showed my old friends where to go and what to do around campus.

I would like to find people that haven’t the first clue how to navigate college, and just answer all their questions, and show them where to go, and who to talk to. I wish that could be my job.

A random side note: Trying to find an image for this post, I googled “cold days and dream jobs” and came up with pictures of swimsuit models. Somehow I found that extremely humerus.

10 Quirky Things I Do that Make Me Feel Cool


I’ve noticed, throughout my short life, that most people think they are weird.

Often, people will say things like, “I am obsessed with olives.” Then they’ll say, “I know, I’m weird.” But you can tell that they’re not putting themselves down, they think that this quirk makes them unique and interesting.

For a long time I put many random things about myself on my blog. Things like, “I love to clean out hairbrushes.” Every time I did I thought, “someone is going to read this and think I’m so unique and interesting.”

Well today I thought of something quirky that I do, and how it makes me feel cool. I thought, “I haven’t posted for a while. Why don’t I post a list of random things I do that make me feel cool, even if they aren’t really that cool at all?”

1. I Read

I guess reading isn’t quirky, but I like to take it up a notch and read while standing in line or stuck in traffic. Then it looks like, not only am I smart and well-read, but I ALSO manage time well. No one needs to know that I go home and waste time reading about celebrities on the internet.

2. I drink tea

Obviously, tea is the drink of the refined and the artsy. I used to go so far as to bring pretty teacups saucers and teapots into class with me which made me feel SO cool, but eventually I got lazy and started using mugs.

Random fact: I once decided to do a blog post on why tea is better then coffee, but I obviously never did.

3. I watch VHS tapes instead of DVD’s or movies downloaded from the internet.

I’m not sure why this makes me feel so cool. Maybe because of all the money I save. Maybe because I can quote old classics like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” while my friends can only quote “27 Dresses” and “The Hunger Games.” Maybe because I’ve boughten into the notion that retro is automatically cool.

Another random fact: I also once decided to do a post on why VHS tapes are better than DVD’s.

4. I drive slow.

Think of it this way. Most people have to wait until they’re elderly to discover how much more fun (and safe) it is to drive slower than faster. I got to join the club at a young age.

Or…maybe I had a driver’s ed teacher that told me I was a terrible driver and now, even five years later, I’m still paranoid.

But still, if there’s no one on the road and I don’t have to be anywhere fast, I slow down to 30 mph and roll down the windows and blast the radio and for some reason I feel like that is the epitome of cool.

Oh yeah, that reminds me…

5. I listen to the radio

I don’t like to spend money on music and I like the surprise of not knowing what will come on next and I like listening to people that talk on the radio and say random things like “men eat more potato chips than women do.”

I once read this book called How To Say Goodbye In Robot, and the two main characters were obsessed with listening to the radio. They were really cool, and so now that I listen to the radio I feel like I’m as cool as they are, only not quite, because the radio stations I listen to aren’t quite as cool as theirs were.

6. I am not glued to my cell phone.

If I’m in a group of people and they’re all getting on their phones, I start feeling holier-then-thou. Like, “I can have a meaningful conversation without being glued to some impersonal device.” But then when I get home and dig my phone out from under a pile of clothes and books I have no texts, though I’ll probably have a voicemail from someone saying “how come you never have your phone on you???”

7. I write letters to people longhand.

8. I dream every night and remember them if I try.

One year I wrote down 365 dreams. If I had two dreams in one night I couldn’t count them as separate dreams unless I woke up between them.

9. Sometimes I use the home phone to call my cell phone and then I put one phone up to each ear and I talk and my voice echoes back to me multiple times and for some reason I think that is so much fun.

10. I like fairy tales.

I mean, I really love fairy tales.

I have seven books of fairy tales, and eleven books that have some fairy tales and some folklore, and a book of Arabian folklore, and a book of African American folklore, which adds up to twenty books.

That is not counting the novels that are re-tellings of fairy tales.

All This and Sunshine Too

Today is just a happy productive day. I weeded flower beds, went shopping for sunglasses with Jenny, and picked buckets of strawberries, all in one morning and early afternoon.


I wish I could take a bath in sunshine instead of water, because I don’t really like water that much.

Drinking sunshine instead of water would also be pretty stellar.


Here is a random picture of fabric and tea from Thailand.


And now a more realistic picture of my current life….


That is the top of my head and lots of stuff. Amy came home a week ago, and when she did, I had to clear most of my clothing out of her closet. So now it basically looks like a closet threw up in my room. Cleaning it is my next project for the day, I guess.


Random picture of my purses. I was lying on the floor, taking the previous picture, and I thought, “I have some cute purses.” So I took a picture of them.

Tomorrow I’m leaving, visiting Virginia, then heading to the Faith Builders college student retreat, and then spending a few days in Landcaster. If you are back east and want to hang out, give me a ring!

(Like, on the telephone. Chances are I don’t want to marry you.)

Anyway, I’ll probably forgo the well-thought-out full-of-pictures posts I’ve been doing lately in favor of posts like this–that is, information and instagram pictures.

For those of you who don’t like instagram pictures, I am sorry. I have a fascination with heavily edited bad quality square pictures that are a cinch to make because they just make everyday life look mystical.

Until next time…


I Am Alice

I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I stood in the hallway of the big Victorian house, beside my friend Lucia, who looked like a boy but wore a dress. There was a cake on the table. It was covered in blue icing, and there was a sign on it that said “Eat Me.”

Lucia had tapped me on the shoulder as I sat in the library, killing time until my brother Ben got out of class. “Do you have a car?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Is there any way you could take me to downtown Albany? I need to check into a homeless shelter.”

“Yes,” I said, “Of course.” I logged out of the computer and grabbed my backpack. “Just tell me where to go.” We walked across campus to my car.

(I will pause here to clarify that Lucia is transgender, identifying as female though she is biologically male. I do believe that a person should stick with their God-given gender, but I will be referring to Lucia as “she” in this post out of respect for her.)

Lucia stuck her red purse in the back seat, and we drove off towards downtown. Somewhere along the line she mentioned that she had been arrested the day before.

“Really?” I asked, “what for?”

“Mental health issues. I tried to kill myself in plain sight of a policeman.”

“What?” I freaked.

She gave a sort of sad laugh. “Sorry,” she said. “I forget that normal people don’t just nonchalantly say things like that.”

I told her about my cousin’s suicide, and how hard it was on my family. “Was it hard for your family when your mom killed herself?” I asked.

Lucia shrugged. “My dad and sister pretended to be upset for a little while. I was the only one who really missed her.”

If we were in a movie, these lines would have been delivered in a sad and introspective voice, and I would have said the perfect thing in response. Something like “Jesus is the answer,” only in a totally meaningful and non-cliche way. As it was, Lucia laughed at the tragedy. She looks at her terrible life with a cold irony, that what is normal to her is horribly unspeakable to others.

What could I say to her? I have found the answer in Jesus, it is true. But there she is, in a world where she has been hated by hypocritical Christians because she chose not to follow Biblical teachings on gender distinction. And here I was, here I am, trying to show my classmates the hope of Jesus, trying to show instead of tell.

I prayed. “God! What do I do? What do I say? Am I a terrible person for saying nothing about You? For not even turning on a Christian radio station? For doing nothing?”

It was then, as I turned left on a one-way street, that I got an overwhelming sense of peace. I don’t have to be a perfect missionary all at once. I am in training. I am learning. The first step is the learn to love.

The homeless shelter was in a big Victorian house downtown. People lounged on the porch, smoking and chatting, looking very homeless and making me feel kind of preppy and snotty in my nice clothes. I mean yes, I got them all for free, but I also have regular access to a washing machine and a huge closet. Just saying.

I sat down on the porch railing beside a man with a camo baseball cap, waiting for Lucia to register. Me and the man started talking about all kinds of things. Healthcare, hypocrites, all the places we’d lived, the beauty and freedom of road trips, etc.

The sun was shining and things seemed so beautiful. I wanted to come back, and I wanted to bring tea.

It was beautiful. Lucia, the homeless man, the sunshine, the listening. And, of course, the “Eat Me” cake, which I didn’t actually eat. The Alice-In-Wonderland sort of fascination with this little world of homelessness that I was completely unfamiliar with.

When I think of being a missionary, I imagine moments like this.

A few parting snaps

We are leaving

I will miss you, tea

I will miss you, little frogs

I will miss you, my elephant true love

I will miss you, random man selling ties on the street.

He was excited when I took a picture of him. Then he said, “where are you from?”

“America,” I replied.

“Show that picture to Obama!” he said.

I will miss you, Kenya.

The Dangers of Slight Miscommunications

The last agenda for the trip was to see cool animals. Enough with people and shopping.

Now before I go further, I will say that except for a short layover in Nairobi, the capital city, all our time in Kenya has been in Kisumu. That is the town where Steven grew up and also the place where we lived for three months when I was thirteen.

It is on the shores of Lake Victoria which is a very big lake.

The Monday Morning Agenda was to go on a boat on lake Victoria and see hippos. After that we were going to take off for a game park, where we would spend a couple days before heading back to the airport.

Now, I have a confession to make: I am scared of hippos.

No those are not real giraffes in the background, but those ARE real hippo heads poking out of the water.

A few facts about hippos:

  1. They can snap a crocodile in half with one bite.
  2. They can swim 30 mph.
  3. They are the second biggest killers in Kenya. (The first is mosquitoes.)
  4. If a hippo got mad at us, we would be dead.

This is what our boat looked like. Cute. Also, easy for angry hippos to tip over.

Still. I was not going to let my fear of hippos ruin my trip.

First we saw a small group of hippos. That wasn’t too bad. But then, wonder of wonders, we saw a BIG group of hippos.

Those black dots are hippos. They kept ducking under the water. And then re-appearing. I was all ready for one of them to pop up under the boat and tip it over.

And then, the engine on the boat died.

No, I am NOT KIDDING. There we were, drifting towards the scariest animals on the planet, and the engine would not start. Our boat driver pulled and pulled and pulled the cord. It would not start.

Did I mention that we were drifting TOWARDS that HUGE group of HIPPOS???

Yes I was scared. Yes I was pretty certain that I might die. But I didn’t. Because the guy at the front of the boat grabbed a pole from the top and began, very slowly, taking us back.

When we were a safe distance from the hippos I mentioned how scared I had been. That was a bad idea. Jenny and Steven found it beyond hilarious to say “look there’s a hippo!” and try to scare me.


We got back an hour later than planned, packed up our stuff, and headed off on the bumpy Kenyan roads. We stopped and bought soda in glass bottles to drink on the way.

Here is where the slight miscommunication came in: Mom had told Dad that she had brought plastic cups along. She was planning to use the cups when we were at our little cabin in the game park. Instead, Dad thought they were for using on the road when we ate our lunch.

Therefore, he bought big huge bottles of pop instead of little individual soda bottles.

Let me just say that I was the one holding the cups while Dad tried to pour orange soda into them.

Also, the roads were VERY bad and we bounced all over the place.

So did the soda.

That evening we arrived at the game park and saw lots of animals before it got dark.

We stayed in a very cute cabin thing with animals outside our windows and cool stuff like that. There was one problem. We were informed by the lady who worked there that there was a big mouse problem.

I saw a mouse. I screamed.

The bedroom that the girls stayed in had one enormous bed and one normal sized bed. Jenny and I stayed in the big bed, and Amy got the normal bed.

In the middle of the night I heard a very annoyed Amy say, “go away and leave me alone!”

I asked if she was okay. She said, “Is there room in your bed for me to crawl in with you?”

Jenny and I scooted over and the three of us kept each other safe from the mice.

A mouse, by the way, had bit her finger. Or it could have been a rat. Because in the morning we found a dead rat on the floor, which Ben apparently stepped on and killed in the night without even realizing it.


Yes, I screamed when I saw that.

The pen in the picture is for size comparison.

Before you feel too sorry for me I will add that in the morning Mom and I sat on the huge bed and drank tea and watched zebras and monkeys and impalas and cape buffalo out of the bedroom window. That, in my humble opinion, is the ideal way  to observe Kenyan wildlife. It sure beats bouncing around in a van while dust gets up your nose and in your eyes.

Kenya is such an odd mix of classy and crude. I will never tire of being called a lady and drinking tea all the time and having someone help me put my life jacket on.