Thoughts aboard the Plane

Trip Start Sep 04, 2008
Trip End May 19, 2009

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Flag of Kazakhstan  ,
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My mind has been racing for the last 12 hours, so as I sit here on the airplane, the best possible thing to do with myself seems to be blogging.
First of all, I need to give some props to God. This blog entry probably wouldn't be possible without him, the thoughts I'm currently thinking would have been forgotten if he didn't intervene and fix my broken computer.
As odd, stupid, weird, or dumb as it may sound, I prayed that God would fix my computer, or give me the power to fix it. AND IT WORKED. What you need to know is that for that last few weeks, more and more often programs have been freezing up, and it has been taking a L-O-N-G time to start up and shut down. Today on the plane, I started writing this blog, launched iTunes, and then the world came crashing down. The whole machine (4 gigs of ram and all) came crumbling down into a heap of rubbish, and it brought my Mac ego all the way down with it. I tried to start it back up, but it turned into looking at a scrolling circle for over 30 minutes, waiting for my machine to boot. That time included anger, frustration, fear, raw shock, intense prayer, and alot more anger. I was just sitting here on a plane barreling through the Soviet skies destined to land in Russian speaking countries, my Mac was my only connection to the outside world. Just put yourself in my shoes for one second.... my one comfort, the only thing familiar to me, my only connection to all of you, and my main tool for the project that casts purpose on the whole trip... and wait 30 long minutes watching a blank screen. I wont go into the details about how I fixed it (ask me later if you're that interested) but i'll leave it at this, unless you can decipher the 128 lines of code it spit out at me shortly before fixing itself, it was a God-thing.
Now, that was enough excitement and flooding emotion to fill a week, but much more has happened in the last 12 hours.
The flooding emotion started shortly after breakfast this morning, when perusing my emails, I found out that my then beloved MacBook has been replaced by a much cooler and much more awesome version. If the total system meltdown is what reduced my Mac ego to garbage an hour ago, then reading this email is what caused it to start teetering on the pedestal I had placed it on. Watching the video of the new MacBook is what sent it toppling downward, and all flight it (my MacEgo that is) has been screaming downward, until it shattered into a million peaces an hour ago.
Now, I don't want you to think my world revolves around my computer, it really doesn't, but it was on the top of my mind.
Another crazy emotion roller coaster I rode along during the last twelve hours was called The Shack. Ever heard of it? Its this crazy book, really odd, and it really gets you thinking. Now, the fact that I read it cover to cover in essentially one sitting is a testament in itself to the book's intrigue (I don't know that I've ever cover-to-covered a book that size (250 pages) before in my life). It really is too good for me to spoil the plot, by divulging my innermost thoughts about it, but I am actively encouraging you to read it - if you've already read it I'd love to talk to you about it. I know there is at least one other person reading this who has read it - yes I'm talking to you Luke. To everyone else, Luke is the one who told me about it and prompted me to read it, and luckily, Faith actually had a copy (literally a copy - here in thailand they just take one of the original books and hold it down to a copy machine page by page, leaving an end result of a taped book of half A4 pages :-). Making it even more of a chance find (english text books are surprisingly difficult to find here), Faith was only borrowing the copy from a friend of hers. Whacky.
I'm really excited to go to Jalalabad next week - if you're googling it, I'm not going to Afghanistan, but close - It's a city in Southern Kyrgyzstan - and from what I've heard, it will be a pretty eye-opening experience for me. It's a ten hour mountain drive from Bishkek, and it's not a tourist destination. About half the population is Muslim, and it's about as close to the heart of radical Islam as I can get while still maintaining my Dad's strict 100% "return in 1 piece" policy. Besides, I can't grow a thick enough beard to get any closer :-)
Okay, now for the rest of the update. The biggest thing thats happened since the last update is that I got on an airplane headed for Kazakhstan. The next biggest thing in that same time period would be my new-found ability to check my YFC account donations on-line... while I haven't been able to find the time to thank each of you who have donated to my trip individually, I can now see what has been donated, and I want to offer a big, hearty THANK YOU to all who have donated, and I hope to put it too good use, as I'm growing and changing faster than I ever even thought possible. The third biggest thing, thanks mostly to the second biggest thing, is the purchase of a video camera. In my classic, unfailing, and unbetrayed last-minute style I picked up the camera the morning before I left.
Let it be on the record that it was not always my plan to get a video camera, but one thing - unexpectedly generous donations - has changed that plan. Now the obvious generous donations referred to are financial ones, but it should also be noted that one of the best, and most unexpected donations I received was a book from Paul Mouw about making missionary videos, which was JAM-PACKED with good insight.
Its starting to cool off in Thailand, which is nice, even if it is only 1 or 2 degrees. There is a temperature at which you sweat even when your sitting still, and when it starts to get below that temperature, you really notice a difference of a few degrees. In an attempt at reducing my carbon footprint, I have started turning my fan down from level 3 to level 2 at night - hold your applause - I also turned my water-cooler off! That what I call making a big difference, oh wait, sarcasm doesn't translate well across blogs. Well I hope you picked up on it, I was laying it on pretty thick.
11 is my favorite number, so here are 11 things worth noting, in no particular order:
1) Russian is not as hard as Thai, but still hard.
2) I bought 3 sweet shirts and a pair of bannana yellow shorts for under $20 at a sporting goods store three days ago.
3) Don't tell my parents but getting up to almost 100 on a motorbike is lots and lots of fun (now, before you tattle, I want you all to know that I learned my lesson the first time I got a speeding ticket (2 months after getting my license), I was obviously only going 100 KILOMETERS per Hour - breath sigh of relief now... or for those of you who have forgotten a year of math for every year you've been out of school, thats about 60 miles per hour)
4) Its really hard to get a good deal on technology (video cameras) out here, even though they're manufactured down the road in China (I think).
5) I've never spent more time per page reading a book than I've spent reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded - every night for a week and I only got halfway through - if I can't figure out how to read dense and interesting material faster, I don't have much confidence that I'll make it through college.
6) The lady behind me keeps kicking my seat, its really annoying. Fortunately, I have a chocolate bar in my bag.
7) Bangkok's new airport - the largest airport in the world (don't google that, I'm not sure it's right) is a pain in the butt. They always seem to drop you off as far from your connecting flight as possible (I honestly think I have more miles on their terminals than I do on the Westerville North track - unfortunately that's not saying much :-)
8) My new video camera uses the same batteries as my DSLR - so that's pretty snazzy.
9) The awesome new Apple LED display is going to cost $900 - ouch.
10) I withdrew 17,000 from the ATM this morning. I felt like the king of money, too bad its less than $500.
11) Halloween is in two weeks, will someone mail me one of the free Chipotle burritos? - 
Much love,
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