Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hot Stuff's Still Got It

We are at our destination finally. We are getting used to this new culture. It is always weird to go to a country where you can't speak the language. We are learning some words but the learning curve seems quite steep. In order to be here for longer, we would need to learn the language.

Our first experience with this culture was on our airplane ride from Singapore. We had a great time on our last day in Singapore. We had spent pretty much all our time in malls going to and from our conference. On the last day, the Ehrmans, a family from home took us to the orchid garden, to the famous merlion statue and out to eat. We also got to spend time in their luxurious apartment. It was an awesome blessing.

On the airplane, we witnessed an intense argument. We did not need to know Mandarin to understand what was going on. The crotchety old man was insistent that the window shade stay up during take-off. The young professional lady next to him wanted it down. The man made a big scene and started yelling at the lady who yelled back. This went on for a few minutes until the steward came over. He brought the woman to a new seat away from the intense old man. After this, the man proceeded to stare grinning out the window for the duration of the flight.

After this outburst, we knew this guy was one to watch. We encountered him again at the baggage claim. A lone brown bag was circling the carousel for about ten minutes. Apparently the grumpy, obnoxious old guy had an identical suitcase. He kept grabbing the bag and loudly exclaiming. Finally the officials came over and tried to placate the man. Finally his suitcase arrived and he was escorted out, probably as not to make another scene.

Most of the people here are not like this man, though they seem to speak a lot louder here than in other parts of Asia. Yesterday we got a tour of the city by the security guard in our building. He is not on our team but he has been reading our book. I think there were some cultural differences as he didn't speak much English. The 14 year old son of the people we are staying with was our translator. After telling me that I was fit, the guard starting asking me things along these lines: Why aren't you married? What do you look for in a guy? What do you think of long distance relationships? Do you want to go to a Chinese wedding? How do guys and girls show they like each other in the USA? Do you believe in love at first sight? This was all through a somewhat naïve 14 year old boy. So apparently I am hot stuff even overseas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I only have seven minutes left at the internet cafe so this is bound to be brief. We are in Singapore at our Go Asia conference. It's been really cool to be with other like-minded people from around the world especially Asia. We've already run into contacts from Borneo and the Phillipines. I am so glad all our visa stuff worked out for our next country. We have heard many stories of people getting denied. We feel very lucky!

Singapore is hard to fully understand. It's like some other Asian countries and then totally different at the same time. There are so many cultures together here. Everything is in English but things are not cheap like they are in most of Asia. Cheerios are over $10 US! The shopping is not near as much fun. They do have some spectacular malls here. Sarah and I are sleeping on mattresses on the floor with a team from Pittsburgh. That part has not been very luxurious.

I gotta go before they charge me more.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Asian Update

I didn't anticipate writing a blog entry so soon into my trip but I also didn't expect some of the things that have happened so far. I am currently in Taipei, Taiwan. We were supposed to be here for a three hour layover after our flight from Honolulu. It turns out that our flight to Singapore was canceled. This stinks because a family from my church who are living in Singapore was going to give us a tour tomorrow since we had a free day before the conference started. Now, the airline has put us up in a hotel and provided us meals. We will now leave tomorrow afternoon. One good thing is that we will now be on the same flight as the other half of our team- Pete and Will.

We are currently deciding what to do with our unexpected time in Taipei. We are a bit tired from last night. We spent the night in Honolulu after a flight from Maui. Before the flight, I decided to charge my cell phone. We even moved closer to the plug so I wouldn't forget it. But, I did. I figured this out during the 30 minute flight. I called the airport but they seemed pretty incompetent and directed me to some sort of state lost and found, which was closed. I was obviously unhappy about this turn of events. I canceled the phone so I don't have to worry and a friend is going to the airport to check today. Ugh! Not at all the way I wanted to start my trip.

Our friend, Kimo picked us up in Honolulu. He took us around Waikiki and took us to this funny little Hawaiian diner place. It was fun. He graciously let us stay at his place, actually giving up his bed to me and Sarah to sleep on the floor. Then in the wee hours of the morning, he drove us to the airport. Now that is a good friend!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gawking at the nudes

I don't have a lot of time to write since I still need to pack, take a shower and make a trip to Wal-Mart before leaving for Honolulu tonight. I can't believe I am already leaving for Asia! I have had a good time while I was in Maui. It's indescribable how it feels being surrounded by so many other Christians who are passionate about missions. Besides being spirtually uplifted. I have also been having some quality Elizabeth-style fun. I went to Makena beach with my former students, Kera and Rachel, their friend, Natalia and Kera's fiance, Steve.

I knew there was a nude beach just over this rocky cliff-type thing but I had never been. Rachel and Natalia were also curious so we snorkeled around the big rocky cliff. It was harder to get around than I thought and I definitely thought of sharks- bad idea. We made it and then started treading water several hundred feet from shore. This was pretty much the perfect way to experience a nude beach. We were far enough away so that we couldn't fully make out details but could still see that these people were indeed nude. We could also giggle to our hearts content since we were fully out of the nudes' earshot.

We enjoyed seeing what these nudes liked to do at the beach. Unfortunately even with a less than perfect view, we could see that most of the nudes had strange, undesirable bodies. One nude was doing sit-ups. Who does that at the beach, nude or not nude? Another guy stretched before surfing by leaning back and thrusting his pelvis towards the ocean, or us. This surfing guy spoiled a bit of our fun. There aren't really waves there but he was determined to surf. He paddled out uncomfortably close to where we were treading water and gawking at the other nudes. He started making comments about how we should get nude and that it was so freeing. Eww! I told him we were working up to it though there was no way I was going to get naked. I didn't know what else to say. We left shortly after these as the inviting nude surfer made us a bit uneasy. All in all, though, it was a great day!

I don't think they'll have any beaches like these in Asia.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Home Sweet Maui

I have been back in Maui for a few days and it has been pretty busy. It feels a little strange. It feels like home and yet it doesn't feel like home. Right now I am kind of hiding out in my friends' room. I am tired of having to catch up with people. I want to be automatically caught up so we can just have fun and make new memories. Luckily there are several people here who I do keep in touch with so we can just be regular friends. Actually hiding in my room is a bit like what I did when I was on staff and needed a break from community. Back then I would have had an Amy Kirk by my side, though. I miss her a lot when I am here since we spent 90% of our freetime together. I also miss my friend/mentor, Maria who is fun to be around but can give the often-needed kick in the butt when necessary. Maui isn't the same without the two of them. There are certainly others I miss but those are the two whose faces keeping coming back to me over and over again.

I have been going with the flow so far but I am fast realizing that this won't work for the duration of my visit. I have now started making myself a schedule so I can see all the people I want to say. More than half of my Maui friends live away from the YWAM base where I am staying so I have to make an effort to meet up with them. Tomorrow I am going to Kihei with two of the amazing girls from the team I took to Bangladesh, Rachel and Kera. Kera's longtime boyfriend surprised her with a proposal on July 3rd so she's still on cloud nine. This development got all the YWAM boys talking about how much they should spend on a ring. I told them one month's salary, which for some of these missionaries is $200. Hello Wal-Mart. I have since learned that it is supposed to be three month's salary, which seems way too much to me. That Wal-Mart ring is sounding better and better.

Later in the week I have other friends to hang out with and beaches to vist. My friend, Gena, wants to hike bamboo forest. I have been there twice with slightly disasterous results. The first time I went, my shoes were unnaturally slippery and I fell down repeatedly. It was embarassing and humbling since I was the only one who seemed to have that problem. The second time I went with my friend, Katie H and got us hopelessly lost in the woods. I had a vague idea where the car was but not where the path to get to it was. I just started climbing up this cliff-like thing to get to the car. It was a perilous journey but I made it. Unfortunately Katie couldn't make it and was forced to find another way while I was at the car with no keys. It was a scary time but we both made it out alive. I can only hope this trip goes better.

I got to meet with most of my Asia mission trip team today. It got me excited about our trip. I have recently learned that two of the team members are looking to be in the country longterm so what we are doing is trying to clear the way. We should be praying a lot as well as figuring out the logistics to make this happen. I am also hoping to make some friends at the university. Apparently many students want to practice their English so they are very eager to talk to foreigners. So exciting!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles, (actually no trains)

I leave for Maui early tomorrow morning. It seems pretty surreal at this point that I am actually beginning my Asia adventure. I had high hopes of getting a lot done this week but I have had a small case of the Lazy-ees. I have gotten some stuff done but I have also played a lot of Guitar Hero. Oh well, I will accomplish all I need to accomplish just like how I wrote a paper in college- the night before.

My family has had some good and bad car experiences in the past few days. On Sunday, I was at Urban Outfitters looking for a Jesus action figure for my upcoming Asia trip. As I was leaving the parking lot, another car hit me. It's really debateable whose fault it was. It's a strange road. The area we were in makes a T. The top of the T is parking spaces you can pull into off the two lane road. There is a stop sign at the middle of the T, where this lady was stopped. I looked behind me and to both sides before backing slowly into the intersection. No cars were moving. I guess as I was backing out, she turned left from the stop sign and hit me.

According to the insurance people, it is my fault because I was backing up. Apparently everything is your fault if you are backing up. This hardly seems fair. I feel like backing up involves a bit of risk and the other drivers are supposed to help the backer upper out by not ramming them in the back. It's like when you are going straight in a parking lot and someone in front of you backs out. You stop and let them go whether you have right of way or not, you don't ram them. This lady was facing forward and should have been able to see me and stop. Anyway, the insurance company doesn't see things my way so I will have to pay about $500 to get my car fixed. Because I am about to leave, my mom will have to take care of a lot of the hassle. Thanks, mom.

Speaking of my mom, she is now the proud owner of a red Prius. Grandma drives a Prius. She used to have a bowl cut and drive a mini van. Now she has long hair and drives a Prius. She's come a long way. The car is pretty cool and we're still trying to figure out all its features. It has a navigation system, back-up camera, integrated phone thing and a lot more. I am not going to lie, it's pretty cool. Now, I am driving the mini van while my car is in the shop. Don't be too jealous.
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