That that don't kill me, only makes me stronger

Trip Start Sep 04, 2008
1
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Trip End May 19, 2009


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

That that don't kill me, only makes me stronger: I'm listening to some Kanye and it gave me the theme for this entry... at least the beginning of it.

I was desperately seeking structure, or at least a theme for my blogs, so here's the first themed blog. I hope you're ready. It's pretty exciting; strenuous and near death experiences.

First near death experience: I went back to my place last night, and had to battle two huge (3 inch) geckos out of my room. Dangerous stuff man. You can't even grab 'em by their tails because they can still get away (they're not all as cute as the Geicko thing.) Anyways, they had to leave for 2 reasons. The first being that I didn't want to hear them squack at each other all night. The second being that if one crawled up on my face while I was sleeping I would most definitely freak out and end up untucking my sheets. (I can't sleep with my sheets un-tucked, so I would have to get out of bed and tuck them back in... ugh)

Second near death experience: I told you there were stray dogs in the last blog right? Well if I didn't, I meant to tell you that there are lots and lots of street dogs. If you're driving down the neighborhood roads, I guarantee you don't go a full 60 seconds without seeing one. Anyways, the experience: I was riding my little motorbike home last night, and I turned a corner to find 4 street dogs chillin in an empty lot. Nothin new there... until they jumped up and started chasing me down the road (It's like I was wearing eau de dog). I had to speed up to 60 km/h to loose em, and I ended up driving past my road.

Third near death experience: This morning, when I showed up at the Cougill's, I parked the bike in-front of their gate, and walked up to open it. I looked around for the dog, Daisy, who tends to sunbathe in the middle of the drive way, because when she's out, you have to be careful not to let her run out the gate, and get away. All Clear. I opened to gate wide enough to drive my bike through, and walked back to the bike, at the road. I hoped on the bike, drove it up through the gate, and as soon as I was through, before I could even park the bike at the house, I heard a rustle behind me, and Daisy jumped out of a bush and ran out the open gate. AGHH. She'd hid until the perfect time, and then made her great escape. Anyways, I'm terribly out of shape, but I only had one option, go get the dog. Man on man, it wasn't even my dog. I've been here a week, I can't loose their dog already! I shut off the bike and ran after Daisy. She pulled a hard louie and ran through an empty grassweed lot (did I mention their was a mini-monsoon this morning, and everything was soaked; puddles were abundant, especially in empty lots). So here I go, through the mud and weeds (more thankful now than ever that I sprung for the 100 dollar closed toe sandals) flinging mud everywhere, less than half an hour after I got out of the shower. I chased her through the lot, into another neighbor hood, half a mile down the street, trapped her in a corner, then all the way back to the house.


So that was the end of the themed part, here's the rest of what I've been doing.

The first thing I've got is a conversation I had with Katherine on AIM last night. It summarizes alot of things, so I think it will answer alot of questions you wanted to ask (and I don't have to type it all again :-)

AIM IM with Katherine Touzinsky

S: I don't have any where near as much free time as i though i would have
I want to go take a bunch of pictures but I have been kept pretty busy

K: what have you been doing?

S: here's my responsibilities from now until I leave for south africa on tuesday


"In summary, for you to get the most out of this time here you need to become:
1) A student of YFC
2) A student of Central Asia
3) A student of Media communication
4) A student of living in Thailand.

So, the more you bring that attitude into each and every opportunity you have, the more you will get out of it and the better you will serve others.

So, for this week, the week of September 8th:
1) Read through the YFC Asia Pacific Area website (www.yfcasiapacific.org) and maybe the YFCI website (www.yfci.org). Especially spend some time on the GA sections
1) Read the http://www.yfcasiapacific.org/silkroad info thoroughly

2) Learn about Central Asia. Prepare a written report which overviews Central Asia (3-5 pages). Due Monday at 10am. The report should focus on:
a) History of Central Asia
b) Comprised of what countries?
c) A brief overview of each
d) Focus on religion, challenges, youth culture, youth issues, problems
2) Watch the Kyrgyzstan video

3) Develop a list of interview questions that you will ask each CA team member in South Africa
3) Read the book you were given about media and ministry 1 hour each day.

4) Thai language learning and homework
4) Become fluent in the numbers up to 10,000. Use Rosetta Stone to assist.
4) Motorbike practice
a) neighborhood
b) Rim Ping
c) Carrefour"

K: you're only in thailand until tuesday?

S: im coming back on sept 28th
I got those assignments yesterday
until then I was just hanging out, and finding my way around, and stuff of that nature

K: have you been able to talk to people
... do they speak much english

S: depends
the family that I'm (kind of) living with, are native english speakers
the "international community" speaks english
aka, all the people at their church and so on
but the natives speak limited english
I have a Thai lesson from 1-3 today

K: that's in a couple of hours, right?

S: right
it's 11:19 AM right now

K: i'll bet that was hard to get used to
so is there a group of ministry people that are doing what you're doing
or are you a trainee of sorts?

S: I was told it takes one day to recover from each hour of jet lag
so 13 hours is 13 days
or 11 hours
depends how you look at it

K: that's fun
what about my 2nd question

S: Well...
there is an international group called Youth for Christ
they strategy is to equip indigenous leaders
to minister to the youth of their own region
and it is run by americans, but they're not directly involved in the ministry
(except in America of course)
so they guy I'm living with and working for is a regional director
He is the guy between YFC international, and each of the local YFC ministries in 20+ asia and pacific located areas
so his job is to keep up with the local leaders in all those countries, and report back to the main agenices
and my main purpose while I'm here
is to go to 2 of his countries
Kazakhstan
and Kyrgyzstan
and take pictures and videos
because they are new ministries
and they need more money

K: so you're like a publicist

S: yea, essentially
so my pictures and videos (and the slideshows and presentations i make out of them) will be used to raise money
and in a week
almost alllllll (near 700) of the YFC leaders
from the whole world
are meeting in South Africa
for a two week training conference
and while I'm there, I'm supposed to establish contact and begin asking questions to the leaders from Kazakhstan
and Kyrgyzstan
I'm going to save this
and post it to my blog
this is the first time I laid out exactly what I'm doing here
in text

K: so you're going to south africa to visit the kazakhstan people and basically talk to them?
are you living with one of them when you go there?

S: yea
because my purpose here for YFC is to create the best possible promotional materials for this region
Here's my living situation
While in Thailand - I have a dorm... you've read about it in the blog
I hang out at the Cougill house mostly though, because they have chairs and things of that nature
that my place doesn't have
desks,
internet

K: haha
sounds like my dorm

S: my dorm is pretty bare
a bed, a water cooler, a chair (that acts as an end table, and holds my 1 lamp) a mini primitive bathroom, and a wardrobe
In South Africa I'm living in a camp style bunk house
with maybe 10 to 20 bunk beds in a big room

K: improvement............

S: and in Central Asia ( the K-stans)
I think I'm living with the Indigenous leaders
but I'm not exactly sure
they only speak russian

K: thai and russian are pretty ambitious languages to begin with...
i'd stick with thai though. asian languages are pretty basic

S: im not even attempting to learn russian

K: good
i'm afraid you might fail
i definitely would

S: the worst part about thai
is they don't use roman letters
characters
whatever they're called
for all intensive purposes, their written language is a series of shapes

K: yea its an entirely different writing system
it's fascinating though

S: so I get 0% help on figuring out how to say stuff from reading it

K: there is romanization....
i'm not sure how available that is

S: exactly
or how uniform it is
or if it even exists out of learning textbooks

K: yea..
too bad you're not staying longer

S: exactly
they're only in learning books
and then they can be written in a way that they would be written if the spoken words were english
or they can be written in a phonetic based way
to help with proper pronunciation
and thats how my teacher teaches it
let me give you an example:
to me
hello sounds like
"so what the crap"
but the thai tutor taught me from phonetics
which is "sawatdii khrap"
that was a poor example. Let me offer a better explanation of the problem

K: when i was learning chinese there was lots of stuff like that

S: the phonetic romanization
contains alot of not real english characters
upside down letters
backwards letters
ng is combined into one letter

K: yea that sucks
we were never taught that stuff

S: heres the worst part about thai though
there are five tones
and the same word
"cow"
for example
rising
falling
can mean completely different things based on the tone

K: exactly

S: rising cow means rice
falling means white
or maybe that's backwards
and half the words have rolling rrrrrs
which my mouth straight doesn't do

K: haha should've took spanish

S: i did
that's why i quit :-)

K: there's words in chinese that mean 5 different things
so i know what you mean

S: did it have all five tones (rising, falling, flat, high, and low)

K: there's only 4
rising falling high and one that dips

S: these are the characters placed above each word to represent tone
rising (v)
falling ^
flat -
high /
low \
so falling goes up then down
and rising goes down then up




If you read all of that, good for you.

I have more to say, but I'm going to put in in a future update so people actually read it, because lets face it... at this point, my blog is way to long for you to have read the whole thing without skimming, scroll reading, or skipping sections entirely. I have a few pictures too, from the photo-safari that I talked about last blog. I think I'll put those up too.

Again, thanks for caring enough to read this, and making me feel loved. 300 visitors!

Stephen
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

martha717
martha717 on

Death trap
Who'd of thunk... so many near escapes from the cluctches of death. Any ginormous bugs in the story line, yet? I could handle squaking geckos before I could handle cockroaches the size of my head.
I did not realize your visit to Thailand meant travel to other continents and countries. This sounds very interesting to me. You have your work cut out for you. I think this time will fly by so quickly.

Listening to the Chin kids try to talk to me with their interpreter, or my nail techs (Vietnamese) makes me feel for you as you try to learn how to speak with all the tonalities and nasal sounds and grunts. Amazing. You a language person? Hope so.

Hope you have a great night of rest as you restore the jet lag hours back to your energy bank.

Much love-
Aunt Martha

mamoh
mamoh on

All caught up
Hi Stephen - Great to read about your adventures so far! I really enjoyed 'evesdropping' on your IM. Very informative. I know you will do well with the languages. It slows us speedy Americans down a bit - eh? Sounds like time will fly by as you are in South Africa. Mark enjoyed the people of Uzbekistan very much and so we are looking forward to hearing your impressions of the people in the region. Please avoid all other near-death experiences :)... Lifting you up -- Mrs. Morehart

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