My Stupid Mouth

"I just want to be liked, I just want to be funny. Looks like the joke's on me..."

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Location: Iowa, United States

Thursday, December 30

Greece & Turkey: Itinerary and Info

I figured I would put some information here so anyone who is interested can see what I am up to on any given day and whatnot. Some of this is just info that I have looked up that I think is interesting, such as the current exhange rate of the US Dollar to the Euro, which is currently 0.734 USD per Euro. You'll notice the steady decline in the value of the dollar over the last month. It is even worse if you go back three months.

The weather for Athens will be about 55-60 and sunny for the five days that I am there. Here is the current weather for Istanbul, and the current satellite for all of Europe.

I bought the book Angels & Demons by Dan Brown for reading on my trip, and started reading it last night. It's the "prequel" to The Da Vinci Code. I've never read the Code but what I have read of Angels & Demons so far is really good. I digress.

1/3 - Travel to Minneapolis
1/4 - Leave from Minneapolis, USA
1/5 - Arrive in Athens, Greece
1/6 - Athens, Greece
1/7 - Athens, Greece
1/8 - Athens, Greece
1/9 - Athens, Greece
1/10 - Meteora, Greece
1/11 - Meteora, Greece
1/12 - Thessaloniki, Greece
1/13 - Thessaloniki, Greece
1/14 - Alexandroupolis, Greece
1/15 - Bergama, Turkey
1/16 - Bergama, Turkey
1/17 - Pamukkale, Turkey
1/18 - Seljuk, Turkey (Hieropolis springs)
1/19 - Seljuk, Turkey (Didyma)
1/20 - Seljuk, Turkey
1/21 - Seljuk, Turkey
1/22 - Istanbul, Turkey (Aya Sofia)
1/23 - Istanbul, Turkey (Sultanahmet)
1/24 - Istanbul, Turkey (Topkapi Palace)
1/25 - Leave for Minneapolis, USA

I mentioned this before, but I am going to try my best to update this blog throughout the trip. I don't know if/when/how I will have access to the internet, but if/when I do, I will definately post. Please leave comments below where it says "(#) comments" so that I may keep up with you as well. All comments are forwarded directly to my email.

Monday, December 27

Post-Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is over. Finally. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it is really exhausting. For me it begins Christmas Eve and continues for 48 non-stop hours of both nuclear family and random 4th step-cousins. Christmas with my step-mom's side of the family could be filmed and aired as the Blue Collar Christmas Special. I mean, really, it's ridiculous. After last year's gifts of a spark plug and a coffee mug heater, my grandparents flew in out of left field got my little brother and I each a poker table. I got a bunch of cash for my trip - some of which I used along with gift cards to buy some new khakis and a couple of shirts. I got Hannah a book of poetry by Pablo Neruda, and I am going to get her the rest of her "Christmas gifts" while I am abroad. My mom also got me a TempurPedic® pillow which is simply glorious.

Although I did not have the best semester ever academically, I ended up doing better than I thought I would. I submitted a proposal for my own independant major - "Religious Education and the Arts" - and in order for someone to completer his or her major, he needs to get a C or better in all of the classes within the major. Two of the classes I was taking this semester were a part of my proposed major, and I was scared that I might not get a C or better in one of them, but by God's grace, I pulled off a C. I am hoping and praying that my extended absence from campus, spending time with loved ones and studying abroad will rejuvinate me and so I can come back and kick second semester right in the arse.

I am currently listening to a song called Someday by the British band Embrace. They are a phenomenal group who sound a bit like Coldplay. If you get a chance, listen to some of their stuff. Someday happens to be my favorite - a tough choice - on their album Out of Nothing.

Hannah is leaving for a Campus Crusade conference in the Twin Cities tomorrow, so I won't really have anything to do for the rest of the week except play Need for Speed: Underground 2, which I got from Santa.

Friday, December 17

Jumps and Oceans

This was an interesting day. I had my last final - Sociology of the Family - in the morning, and then I came back to my room and lounged for several hours. It was glorious. Then Shawn, Joe, Mark and I all went to Bookends & Beans to celebrate the end of the semester. Once again, the Chai was ridiculicious. Because it was the last day of the semester all the RAs had to go through the residents' rooms and make sure that they checked out properly and that there were no empty beer cans or meth labs lying around. Luckily, it was a breeze. Last year, though, Nick and I found a couple of empty 20 oz. Pepsi bottles with pee in them. It was disgusting, confusing and akward... but funny now.

I said goodbye to Shawn and a few other RAs and then Joe and I put the first of the Indiana Jones trilogy in. After the movie we went to Ocean's 12. This is where it gets good. We walk out of theatre and get in my car. I put the keys in the ignition, turn the key and my car goes " ". Silence. Yep, I left the lights on. It must have been 7º outside and we were a mile from campus, which is where Joe's car - my jump - was. We walked, I froze. Then it took nearly a half hour for us to get the cables hooked up correctly because the geniuses at Buick decided one day that it would be funny if the battery was buried beneath a maze of steel and hozes. Good one, guys. Alas, the car started and we got some drinks at Kum & Go. Now we're watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with one more to go.

I'm going home tomorrow and can't wait. I think I am going to sleep for a few days and then get up for Christmas and then go back to sleep until I have to leave for Greece and Turkey. Mmmmm, turkey.

A picture of Joe and I from earlier this evening.

P.S. Disregard anything that you have heard. Ocean's 12 is awesome.

Wednesday, December 15

Speed 3: Athenian Antics

"A Greek public bus with about 27 people aboard was hijacked and shots were fired at police. Initial reports said that at least two people apparently armed with shotguns apparently took control of the bus just before dawn." Full story.

Hopefully it doesn't happen while I am over there. But hey, it was only "the fifth time a bus has been hijacked since 1999." Note to self: walk.

Tuesday, December 14

'Twas the Night Before Finals

‘Twas the night before finals, and all through the college, the students were praying for last minute knowledge. Most were quite sleepy, but none touched their beds, while visions of essays danced in their heads. Out in the taverns, a few were still drinking, and hoping that liquor would free up their thinking. In my own room, I had been pacing, and dreading exams I soon would be facing. My roommate was speechless, his nose in his books, and my comments to him drew unfriendly looks. I drained all the coffee, and brewed a new pot, no longer caring that my nerves were shot. I stared at my notes, but my thoughts were muddy, my eyes went a blur, I just couldn't study. "Some pizza might help," I said with a shiver, but each place I called refused to deliver. I'd nearly concluded that life was too cruel, with futures depending on grades had in school. When all of the sudden, our door opened wide, and Patron Saint Put-It-Off ambled inside. His spirit was careless, his manner was mellow, and all of the sudden he started to bellow, "On Cliff Notes, on Crib Notes, on Last Years Exams. On Wingit and Slingit, and Last Minute Crams." His message delivered, he vanished from sight, but we heard him laughing outside in the night. Your teachers have pegged you, so just do your best. Happy finals to all, and to all a good test.

Monday, December 13

Finals and Vanilla Chai

I am testing out a new look and location for the blog. At the bottom of the post, leave a comment and tell me what you think. The new setup has various bonuses. It is online based, so I can post from any computer any time I want. I was previously limited to only my personal computer at school. Now I will be able to post at home and - hopefully - while I am in Greece and Turkey during January. That way I can save many people from getting annoying emails. Let me know what you think.

Finals week. I just finished my first and easiest final: Greek. I have three finals left, all three of which require papers 7 pages or more in length and 2 of which have tests as well. I don't have any tests tomorrow, but two on Wednesday and one on Thursday. I could leave for home on Thursday night if I wanted (and would have to if I weren't an RA), but I am going to stay on campus until Friday afternoon and hang out with Joe. We currently have plans to go see Ocean's 12 and then come back and watch all three movies in the Indiana Jones trilogy. I also have to pack everything that I will need for all of break and January, so that could take a while. Knowing my luck I'll forget something important here at school (i.e. passport) and have to make an 8 hour drive to get it.

I just got back from Bookends & Beans, my new favorite place on the earth. I am currently sipping the best (prounounced "thee" for emphasis, even though the following word begins with a consonant) cup of vanilla chai I have ever had. Because it tastes identical to all of the chais I have ordered from there, one could argue that it is one of the best cups of vanilla chai I have ever had. I disagree. It's this one.

More later.