Sunday, July 17, 2011

Living Large in Singapore

So now that I've finally showered, put on some clean clothes, and got my boarding pass, it's time to wait for the boarding time. In the short time between my 4 minute post and this one I have definitely had my Singapore adventure!

So one of the guys I met on this trip, EJ, and I were riding on the tram system they have between the terminals and we had a car all to our own. Which immediately meant leaving our luggage carts unattended and swinging/climbing all over the inside of the car. Our luggage immediately rolled away and spilled over the inside of the car, but that just gave us more obstacles to dodge. Finally we started to slow down for our arrival and we had to quickly pick up all our luggage.

Then it was off to explore the airport looking for our group so we could find the showers. Not too much longer and we were successful! We met up with members from our team and were pointed in the direction to find the showers. EJ and I found the place which had exercise machines, a pool table, and a pool on the roof! We had seen the pool earlier and it was all shut down, but as EJ and I were exploring around we discovered another door that we could sneak in to the pool area. We walked around for a bit looking at the pool and testing the hot tub (it was cold) before heading back down to check on showers. Well the showers were available and I was ready to clean up, but then I really had the urge to go swimming. EJ and I snuck back up to the pool and after looking around a little bit again we decided it was time. This pool was great! No roof, nice floors and plants all around, and full of clear water we were ready to jump in. So quickly we stripped down, jumped in, and went swimming around for a bit. Then we hopped out, grabbed our towels, and ran to our showers to warm up and wash before starting in on the longest part of our trip home.

Now we have our boarding passes and are waiting at a Starbucks for our boarding time to come. Right now it's 4:30 in the morning so we'll be able to board in thirty minutes or so. We are all looking very dead, but everyone is excited to get a little closer to home. Everyone wants to crash, but they're all trying to wait so we can sleep on the flights. I'm just excited to watch movies and stuff! I'll probably end up asleep too. Give me a couple more hours and I'll have been awake for 24 hours. Never a good idea for me, but I figure with all the flights ahead of us catching some naps on them will be nice. I probably won't be getting online in Tokyo which is our last stop before landing back in Atlanta so this will more than likely be my last post from the trip. I'll probably have another talking about being back and reflecting on my experience, but that doesn't really count. So last post of the trip. Feels so weird to be headed home, but I'm really excited to be back too. Being with friends and family sounds amazing right now and I look forward to being with them. Until then, peace out!

My 4 Minute Post

Currently I'm in the airport at Singapore which is the nicest airport in the world. So far I agree. Amazing lounges, butterfly gardens, sunflower gardens, video games, free movie theaters, it's pretty tight. Apparently a really tall slide too. I'm kinda curious about that one. We landed here at about 9pm local time and our flight leaves at 5 am. We have some time to wander around a bit. Hopefully find a shower sometime too. After eating at Hard Rock Cafe I'm pretty stuffed, but it's a beautiful feeling. This airport is really built like a mall, but it's super cool. My sleep schedule is starting to get messed up, but hopefully I can confuse it enough that when I get home I'll be able to sleep through the first night and it'll correct itself soon.

1 minute left, okay that's most of what's been going on here, but I'll post again if I think of anything tremendous. Just wanted to see what I could get in!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sabbath Adventures

So this past Saturday I gave the sermon at church in the morning and sat through a Sabbath School that was nicely done, but in their language obviously, so I had my own little prayer session during that time. After the meal, we went to a member's house to eat lunch. It was really cool because most of the church was there all bringing different types of rice and toppings for the rice. Ever since that episode earlier that sent me to the clinic I haven't really eaten much, but I will admit I finally ate a pretty good meal that day. The food in my village is excellent and usually has more taste than what we're being served back at our cabins. When I finished eating I must have been falling asleep because they told me to go lay down on some mats and I was out. I woke up and everyone had left, my translator was sleeping, and so was most of our host family. We looked through some of their photo albums, we even spent some time feeding and playing with their pet rabbit, but one of the best things of the evening was getting to drive their motorcycle! We drove that around for a little bit and then decided to go check out Indonesia.

They were going to let me drive their car to the border, but it wouldn't start. So we just walked over to the rest of their family that was going and hopped in their car. So with a van loaded well beyond capacity we go driving up to the border to drive around and take pictures. We spent a fair amount of the day there just walking around, but it was really cool! I also get to check off one more country that I've been to on this trip! When we got back to the village of Entubah, we took the motorcycle out again and we went to the school where their daughter goes to school. It was a really fun drive on the bike and the school was actually really big! That about wrapped up the day because after that was just cleaning up and getting ready for the evening meeting. Even if it was a really chill Sabbath afternoon, I had such a great time actually getting to hang out with the people at my church! I've always loved these trips because of the friendships I make, but so far it's been really hard to spend time with the people here because of the rules we keep getting reminded about. Oh well, at least one day here has been really cool and productive! Since then it's been the same ol' same ol' of boring morning meetings, lazy afternoons, and then finally getting to go to our villages, but mostly just to preach. Sigh...

Tomorrow we're off to see Orangoutangs in the morning though so that should be a neat experience! Were driving all the way back out to the bigger city of Kutching so we might even get a little American food! The last time the group came out this way because of the culture village they got McDonalds and KFC if they wanted. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Culture Clinic

So the other day was one of our "outing" days here in Malaysia and the plan was to go to a culture village to see some of the traditional huts, dress, and dances of the different tribes here in Malaysia. We had practiced our sermons the day before so we were prepared for the talk that night. All that was left was to be up and out by 6 to head to the village.

Well around one in the morning I start feeling some pain in my stomach and soon found myself throwing up most of that evenings meal. Feeling better after that and thinking I had only over-eaten, I was back in bed and trying to fall asleep. Unfortunately this was far from the end. From about one in the morning till six I was either next to the toilet or on the couch feeling the pain in my stomach start growing again. It was at about 6 that my roommates woke up and according to them "heard me moaning" so I'm guessing I was in pretty bad shape. They had some anti-vomiting medicine that helped me sleep a little, but they also went and told our trip leader what was up and she came to check on me and said that a pastor and his wife would be here to take me to the clinic in a couple of hours when the clinic would be open. I think I actually got some sleep during that time because I faintly remember getting my computer and slipping in and out of conscious because I can remember a very choppy story line of Balto that I had playing the whole time.

Well the pastor and his wife showed up and we made it to the clinic where much to my dismay the line was out the door. For some reason though they took me straight into a back room where I could lay down. I think the pastor's wife said something about me being "very pale" so that may of helped. Anyways, so I'm in this back room and they start an IV on me to start getting some fluids since for the past 10 hours or so I hadn't really been absorbing much. So I think I dozed off a little with the IV in me and woke up sometime later still feeling pretty uncomfortable when the doctor decided that maybe some acupuncture would help. So apparently the acupuncture points for the stomach are one near the knee and one a little further down and to the side I think. I can't really remember. The acupuncture sort of helped I suppose, but definitely not for an extended amount of time. I kept getting a kick out of it though when I would look down and see two, fairly long pins sticking out of my leg. After the acupuncture I got another liter set up for my IV, some pills, and an injection for pain. In the end they gave me one more liter of fluids into my other arm since they had taken the first IV out, another round of acupuncture, and a few more pills before I finally got a fair amount of rest and stopped throwing up. Oh yeah, I guess I had thrown up a few times in the clinic too. Just not my day. Anyways, so finally started feeling better and went back to the cabins we're staying in and actually got to sleep for a couple of hours straight.

After sleeping I actually was feeling a lot stronger and I wanted to at least go to my church where I had been preaching, but when I got down to the parking lot my ride had already left without me since they thought I was sleeping the entire evening. I tried to find a way for someone to take me, but I guess everyone was still a little worried about me and I ended up just tagging along with another speaker. Looking back at it I'm kinda glad I got to go since most of us will never really experience any of the other speakers sights and it was neat to be able to just be a part of the audience and see what these evening meetings are like.

When we got back from the meetings I gave my mom a quick call where she promptly started making me list of my symptoms and quickly figured out she was putting them in to WebMD to figure out what was wrong with me. Then it was off to bed. I slept through most of the night for the first time and I'm happy to report that today I'm feeling a whole lot better than yesterday! I even gave the practice talk in our morning class and I'm feeling good about preaching the word tonight!

I have to say I'm a little disappointed that I missed out on the culture village, but I almost think getting to be in the clinic was almost an even better opportunity for me! I'm really excited about studying to be a nurse back home and I'm hoping that I'll be able to be a mission nurse and possibly work in clinics such as the one I was in and it was neat to be in one! Even if I wasn't very sound in mind and body when I was there. I remember saying to the pastor's wife that I was probably the laziest patient the clinic had ever seen since I spent all day just laying there.

I find that I'm still not too excited to eat the native food here, but I'm slowly working up an appetite again. Right now I'm mostly taking in simple fruits and these little round things that are apparently palm trees. I'm not exactly sure so don't ask, but they're pretty tasty and they are very easy on the stomach so I'm enjoying them. I am starting to feel a lot better and I hope that I can keep from over-eating and going through that experience again!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bored in Malaysia???

I never thought I would admit it, but I'm afraid that our morning classes here in Malaysia are going to be a little boring. Especially this morning I don't know how long we spent in class but here is a little video to clue you in:

Now I know we need to go through these meetings, especially when we cover our talks, but I'm in Malaysia! If I wanted to be in class I would have taken summer school! I want to be out even if it's just hanging out with the people at my church that would awesome! Unfortunately it appears that my university is ridiculously strict and if they could assign us all a personal babysitter they would. It's getting a little ridiculous, but I'm hoping to work with my pastor to at least get out and do what I can while I'm here! I don't want to go back home only to tell people that we sat in class and preached, sat in class and preached. Just to go out and do anything would be more interesting!

Luckily last night there was some dance going on in the village that I go to every night so I got to ride a motorbike with the only other teen guy at that church to go check it out! That's the kind of thing that I can write about! I bet if they heard about it back home they would freak out and be talking about how we shouldn't be doing things like that. Anyways, it was cool and I even got some sticky rice out of it! Riding around the town was incredible and I hope to be able to check it out in the daylight too! Well the good 'ol laptop battery is about to die and I need to go practice my talk for tonight! Check back in later!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

12 Hours Away with the Weather the Same

I guess this really does mean I'm on the other side of the world. After flying from Atlanta to Tokyo, Tokyo to Singapore, and Singapore to Malaysia, we are exactly 12 hours different from everyone back home. Right now I'm sitting in a nice restaurant not too far from our lodgings. We are all staying in cabins speckled along a hillside which gives us a little bit of exercise every time we leave or come back. They're nice little cabins with one room air-conditioned, so in mine we put all the beds in the air-conditioned room which we leave shut up so we can pass out in that room whenever we need to escape the humidity!

We start preaching this Friday night and I'm super excited to go out tomorrow and see where I'll be doing these meetings! Most of my time here will be spent working on sermons and actually preaching, but they do have a few down days where we'll be going out to check out a few awesome sights. For example one day they said we'll be checking out an Orangutan wildlife preserve so that sounds pretty rad! We've walked around the town a couple of times already and it's been fun to see the markets and little shops. One store was actually a complete department store that was fun to walk around.

Today's big experience was probably the pizza we had for lunch. Most of the group got rid of theirs pretty quickly, but I didn't think it was all that bad. Though I've never had carrot, corn, and pea pizza before so I can't really rate it. I really did think it tasted pretty good, but it was kinda sweet and I could only eat it after accepting that it wasn't pizza. That helped out a little with the taste.

It looks like internet will be easily acceptable so my updates should be pretty constant, but I might not have much time so they will probably be pretty condensed. I may even get some pictures up though! Anyways, I can't wait to come back with updates about my church, pastor, and members that I'll meet tomorrow! Until then, have a great day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Malaysia or Bust

Starting Captain's Log - stardate: Tuesday, July 28 2011 at approximately 0303 hours.

We've been on planes for about 20 hours now. Traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to Tokyo Japan easily takes the record for longest flight I've ever had. We had an entire library of movies at our disposal which made the trip quite enjoyable, but even I have to admit that when you start your fifth, full-length movie, no matter how good it's going to be, you just can't enjoy quite the same.

Right now I'm sitting at a Starbucks in the Singapore airport enjoying the fact that I can stand up, move around, and stretch out my legs whenever I want. Our 13 hour or so flight from Atlanta to Tokyo left us quite tired of airplanes, but soon enough we were back in the air headed to Singapore. On this flight I caught a few extra Zs, but even I'm wanting to find a soft cushion to crash on.

It looks like we have located some showers and a place to crash! I'm definitely in the mood for a good shower. I'm getting quite gruff looking and we're about to be hit with some nice humidity I believe. A nice shower should feel amazing. Our first native meal here came in the form of some "soft"-boiled eggs? (Not quite hard-boiled but not raw?) You cracked these eggs into a dish and then add some soy sauce and white pepper. Then there were some delicious slices of toast that you could dip in this concoction. Quite a delicious little breakfast food really. A little sketcky looking but what foreign food isn't! Currently we're headed to go shower and sleep so I'm signing off for now, but hopefully I'll be able to update again soon! This is Chris signing off from Singapore bound for Malaysia!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Now on to Lifeguarding!

Last Friday was my last day working grounds at my University. No more weed-whipping or mowing for me this summer. (except around my own house, of course...) Instead of working outdoors I will be moving on to my lifeguarding job at the University pool. My University has two indoor pools, one therapy pool and one 25m lap pool with a sad excuse for a diving board. This is my fifth summer working at this pool and it's amazing the changes I've seen. When I first started working, there was only the one 25m pool with its original diving board that was pure amazing. Since then they have added the therapy pool, a jacuzzi, and steam rooms and saunas in the new locker rooms. So much has changed and each summer brings a whole new slew of problems, personalities, and adventures. So I made a video to represent the exciting, extremely difficult job that is lifeguarding.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Where Did It All End, So That I Know Where To Begin

I've been instructed to keep my family updated with my adventures involving work, fire department, and mission trips and since my first year of college is over and that blogging gig is up, it's back to my personal blog! Yay! There's been so much going on since school left out I don't really feel like I have much more free time besides staying up later since I don't have to think as much mowing and trimming (but don't tell my boss!). Currently I work full time at my college on the mowing crew of landscape. We do fun things like run around in golf carts, trim grass, edge the sidewalks, and if you're really good they'll let you take out one of the mowers to actually do some mowing. I've affectionately deemed the mowers "pod racers" since they're the mowers with the two handles for gas and steering. Super sweet.

As far as the fire department goes I've practically been living there since school let out. I have my sleeping bag, mac, and two bags of generic walmart cereal so I think I'm set. I've run a few neat calls, including rescues from the aftermath of the April tornadoes, including an EF-4, that ran through a fair amount of our districts. Another big call was a wreck on the interstate involving two semi trucks and several smaller vehicles. Most of the smaller vehicles only had small amounts of damage, and the two semis were only rammed into each other. The cargo of the semi in the back was what really had a big effect. This particular semi was hauling four sections of railroad track. The top three sections must have broken loose in the wreck and slid up all the way into the back of the semi in front, reducing the cab of the second semi to a very thin section. The miraculous part of it all was that the driver and the passenger of that squished semi survived and I know the driver even walked out of the hospital the next day.

Those have been most of the major going-ons in my life and I'm sure I'll have many more, but until then I'll take my leave, the fire department calls!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Fools And More

I have had a crazy week. On April Fools day the Jeep was covered with toilet paper bows and lipstick saying I was “hot stuff” and “just married” (sorry mom, I guess I should have told you!). I thought that was pretty cool and went along with life. Then I woke up on Thursday to the Jeep covered in party streamers and saran wrap. I was a little upset about the saran wrap, but it didn’t take long before I was inside. That was when I saw the real damage. Below I have supplied a photo of what the Jeep has been through and at the end you will see the cause of my utter dismay.

That’s right. Easter grass. Everywhere. Spread throughout was a few Easter eggs (without candy!) and confetti. The Jeep had been severely pranked. Also I still have yet to clean it out. That’ll be a long day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Help Me Stand When I Should Fall

I’m tired. Not just, oh-it’s-college-everyone’s-tired tired, but completely exhausted. I stayed up all night Saturday night competing in the race held here on campus called Dusk till Dawn. The race is spread out over the entire campus and consists of several stations involving different tasks, physical and mental challenges, and teamwork. As a team of four you must make it to each station throughout the night and complete each task. The race started around ten or so at night and my team finished at about seven Sunday morning. I think that it won’t surprise you to know that I slept till three in the afternoon on Sunday.

Unfortunately my day wasn’t complete. Thinking that I should at least get up and try to complete a few chores, I went down to the fire station to wash my truck. After finishing up, a call went out for a grass fire. The grass fire wasn’t very large, though it did cover a pretty good area, but the thorns and brush surrounding it was a pain. About five hours after leaving on the call, we finally made it back to the station. I was tired, dirty, smelly, and bloody. Definitely not in the mood for homework. I did finish some, but not what I wanted to. My weekend has been fun, but now I’m feeling a bit unprepared for the week. I know I’ve written about this before, but it is days like this that I remember how much I need to pray. I’ve mentioned it before, but I wanted to bring up something else today.

Our dorm room isn’t very clean. My roommate and I have kept ourselves busy and one thing we have slacked on is the housekeeping. Surrounding our room is piles of clutter and some days the floor is hard to see. This makes our room seem a little dismal and the single window we have doesn’t help too much. I’m so thankful for this one window though. Whenever I have a day like this, I can only clear away a patch of floor and kneel down in front of this window to pray. Days like today really bring me to this spot to talk with God and to give him all my pains and worries. Even when the week ahead looks so impeding, I find comfort and peace from the time I spend talking with Him.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hard Work

I’m exhausted. It’s been a long day, my bed is just a few feet away, and I’m ready for today to be over. I know this does not mean good things for the sanity of my blog, but I’ll try to keep it toned down.

One thing I have definitely learned from college is that it requires some work. Whoever believes that college can just be breezed through and that life will be just as easy has many lessons to learn. I don’t write these words to scare anyone off, college can be difficult, but it is very possible to do well no matter how hard, or bad, the teacher, class, or degree may be. Putting in the hard work and pushing through the difficulties only makes graduation that much sweeter. So I encourage all of you, no matter how rough college may seem, stick with it. In the end, you will see how much the hard work has paid off.

Okay, now that I have been nice I’m going to have to whine and complain a little bit so that you will understand where I’m coming from and why I write this today. On Sundays I have my fire department’s rookie school skills training. We do have some fun, but most of it is pretty tough stuff. Today went extremely long and I’m trying not to blame some of the other rookies, but it’s hard and I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m still a little peeved about it. I don’t have much time during my week. Classes and work fill my schedule so the time I get to spend actually working on firefighter skills is very, very minimal. I feel bad about this, but school and job come first. Some of the other rookies I know don’t have much to do with their life, but I still spend more time at the station, learn more, and remember more than they do. I talked with another rookie about it and he really believes that it may have something to do with being in college and having to work harder. I wasn’t sure if he was right back then, but now I’m really considering it as an option. It’s embarrassing to watch some of the other guys stumble over this and I’m telling you now, all it takes is a little planning and hard work. Buckle down, do the job, get it done. Sometimes it may not seem worth it, but keep working at it. Try your best in everything and I promise it will be worth it.

I feel bad for ranting too much, but I had to get it out there.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Backcountry Skiing - Day 1

Here's the video I made of our 27 hour drive out to Denver, CO

Back Where I Came From

Well...not exactly.

The West might not be my actual home (unless Tennessee somehow counts), but I sure believe it will be one day. I started this blog on a trip out here, and I think it appropriate to post again during this visit.

I'm on my spring break and right now am currently reside at the Colorado Mountain School in Estes Park, CO. I'm technically taking two upper division college courses called Avalanche Safety and Backcountry Skiing, but it's a lot more play than school.

I love being back out West. The weather, the snow, and the mountains are all so beautiful that I don't understand why I keep leaving it to go back to the Southeast. Tennessee is nice and all, but I am always amazed at the grandness of the mountains around here. No matter where I go out West it never fails to impress me. I'll have more to post as our adventure continues, but right now I'm exhausted from hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park running practice avalanche rescue scenarios, digging holes to examine the snowpack, and climbing up the base of the mountains to check slopes and do field observations.

I have a video showing our travels out here (all 27 hours) and I'll post that soon. Until then, take it easy and I'll check in later.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stand Back!

I'm going to try science!

So this might be an ongoing thing, but today I performed a science experiment at my job which is Director of Swimming Lessons (I'm a glorified babysitter). Today's experiment was "What happens when you place a skittle into a cup of water?" I used three different-colored skittles in three separate containers (Powerade cups) and then sat back to watch. Unfortunately one session of swimming lessons ended during the middle of my observation so I had to rush off and make sure all the kindergarten kids got changed instead of playing tag, naked, in the locker rooms. Upon my return I observed that in water, skittles completely disintegrate. The coloring is washed off and left at the bottom of the container while the insides float to the top. I think that since my observations were interrupted, I will have to perform this, and many other, experiments in the future. Luckily I have containers, tables, fridge with freezer, microwave, a/c, and stopwatches (and the internet!). I think there will be plenty to question, observe, and answer so stay tuned!

p.s. It would appear that out of orange, green, and red skittles that the red leaves the most coloration at the bottom of the container. This I believe is due to it being a darker color than the other two. Just a heads up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chase's First Shot

Just a video I made up of one of my friends giving his first shot of nursing school. Poor guy still might need some practice...

The exciting news is that on my youtube channel you can see some other videos of poorer quality, but this video was now filmed on my new Flip cam that I got! It's pretty awesome, and hopefully there will be more videos to come!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jesus Paid It All

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
--Elvina Hall

If you’ve never listened to this song, I would take the time now, instead of reading my blog, and go listen to it. Either find a group singing the traditional hymn version, or search for the more contemporary version by Kristian Stanfill. No matter what your musical tastes may be, the important part of this song is the lyrics. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. This song has really gotten me through this school year. I only recently purchased it and have it on my iPod, but with 28 plays, it is my top song. I hope that the message in this song means something to you and lifts you up through this coming week.