Quotable Ordinary Folks


My philosophy professor: “There are no movies nowadays that depict what true love is- not one single film”.
This shy guy in the front row: “Obviously you haven’t seen A Walk to Remember, like only the greatest Mandy Moore movie ever”..
haha got me to look up from my crossword puzzle because I love when quiet kids speak up and yes, if that’s not true love in A Walk to Remember then someone should tell nicholas sparks before he writes any more novels on the subject.

Same philosophy professor: “How do you people have sex with those thing in your ears? What do you call them, i-pods?”

My Spanish Professor: “I’m afraid some of you aren’t here for the right reasons…” – did he get that from The Bachelor?

My Economics Professor: “My nickname is the Avenger”
On his last economics class: “They hated me; I hated them- I am Hell on Wheels”

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Watching the World Cup

We are in second class and headed for Austria. The Czech countryside would make for a scenic trip- except the windows in our car haven’t been washed since Communism fell so instead I am journaling. A passenger much wiser than I has opened his window and has his entire head stuck outside of the train. His hair is blowing in the breeze—reminding me of my dog when we drive down the highway. This guy is well over six feet and is wearing an orange striped polo shirt so I wonder if he was in the crowd of drunk Dutchmen watching Holland play Cameroon last night. To pass the time on the trainI play pipe dream on his lime-green plaid pants.

I am excited for Austria and the Alps, but also sad to be leaving Prague and our Korean friends who we met there the night that Korea played Serbia. In the old town square, Hyandi set up a giant screen and from there we watched the World Cup matches.

It was interesting to see the Korean crowd cheer for their team. Most of the men were dressed in business suits and everyone was sittiing in super straight rows on the cobblestones. Criss Cross applesauce on squares of newspaper that they were so careful to keep between their well-clad bottoms and the street. I tried to mimick their perfect posture, but after packing 30 lbs on my back for a few weeks my shoulders have a tendency to slump forward.

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The Least Popular Person in the Parthenon

Pickpockets, drug pushers, and prostitutes. Those seemed to be the three prevalant professions in our neighborhood of Omonia. Although the economic gods have not been kind to Greece lately, business seemed to be booming in this district of Athens. Perhaps this is to make up for lost time becauseTuesday there was a 24 hour labor strike and another one is scheduled for Thursday.

The police have been congregating in front of ZARA and H&M in the main square, but clearly they don’t shop there. They get their accessories at some place that sells serious machine guns and shields the size of my fridge. The other night we were walking past a man shooting up heroin in the street and without thinking I yelled to one of the police officers. Then just last night we spent a good 20 minutes at the police station on the island of Naxos. They seem nice enough and their boots are cool, but I’d rather not have any more encounters with them.

I’d much rather continue to encounter stray dogs, although my heart breaks for them. I am semi-motivated to start an animal shelter in Athens and am trying to convince Merrick to do street ministry in Omonia .

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When you don’t speak the language

While I was in Rome in 2009, I had the pleasure of serving in a soup kitchen ran by a gaggle of older, Italian-only speaking nuns. Conversation with the (mostly) men who came in for a free, hot meal was also limited as many, including this man, did not speak much English.

One night I grabbed a black permanent marker, and I wrote my name and where I was from on his placemat. He got the gist and quickly grabbed the marker from me to write his. This exchange of information made my night, and I will never forget feeling like we were sharing the same wavelength despite not being able to have a simple, verbal conversation.

Speaking of verbal, I did get yelled at in Italian by the nuns because the marker bled through the placemat and onto the white table top. Try to get to know the locals wherever you go. It will enable you to scratch more than just the surface and in engaging yourself, you will be setting yourself up for having extraordinary experiences.  Speaking of surfaces, try not to leave your mark on white table tops.

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Va Va Va Voom

You know those “Wish you were here” postcards? If you want to send more than you receive, then this site is definitely worth your time.

I’m working on adding travel-related content to this site, but in the meantime…

Yesterday I was crossing the street, in a hurry as usual, when I noticed a woman in the middle of the street. She was bent over and frantically picking up pieces of something and putting them in a plastic bag. Although I was in a rush, since it is Lent, my inner-Samaritan is present far more than usual, and I stopped to help.

This woman, mid-fifties and Eastern European, was so upset that she did not seem to notice when I began to pick up fragments of what I thought used to be a porcelain bowl or vase. There was a grayish powdery substance also on the street, but I thought nothing of it. After we had picked up all the sharp, reddish color shards that could have done damage to a car tire or a dog, I finally spoke.

“What was it?” I asked. She replied, “It was my mother.” I’d like to think she said “it was my mother’s”, but I honestly don’t think I heard an “s.”

Just another Friday night in NYC…

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