Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NaBloPoMo - November 27

Question: If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?

I'm torn between Afrikaans and French. I would love to learn Afrikaans because I love the way it sounds and it would make me one step closer to sounding like a South African when I talk, which is one of my goals in life.

On the other hand, learning French would open so many doors to different parts of the world. From Africa to Europe to South America to North America, there are people speaking different variations of the French language. Through the traveling we've done around the world, I've been constantly reminded of how much easier it would have been to communicate if I'd had any sort of knowledge of French.

While Afrikaans would be fun, French makes the most sense. Au revoir!


Monday, November 26, 2012

NaBloPoMo: November 26

Monday, November 26, 2012: Do you speak more than one language?  How did you learn the additional languages?

I am horrible at speaking other languages - though admittedly quite good at English :) I took Spanish classes throughout middle school, high school and college but am far from mastering it. Actually, I like Spanish and frequently try to get other people to speak Spanish with me but I still stink. While we were in Switzerland, David did a great job of picking up French (and Haitian Creole in Haiti) but I find French horrifying. The letters don't look like the word and nothing sounds phonetic at all. As much as I long to move to another country, the thought of learning a different language doesn't excite me at all. 

Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 22

Question: When was the last time that you cried? Why?

Here I was thinking this would be some sort of question about being thankful and NaBloPoMo goes in a totally different direction!

I'm not a crier. Nicole will tell you I struggle to have any sort of emotion whatsoever. Some people would call me apathetic. I like to think I'm actually Jason Bourne. So, when I say this is the last time I cried, let's assume my emotions were to the point of being close to crying and I had a lump in my throat and my eyes got a little watery.

A few months ago, Nicole's company had a large charity event and one of the charities they were raising money for was Homes for Heroes, an organization that helps build or find homes for veterans and other servicemen and women. As part of the event, there were two veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were there as the guests of honor on behalf of the charities all weekend. These men sustained major injuries during the war and I can't even begin to describe the daily challenges they and their families will face for the rest of their lives because of the sacrifices they made to protect our country.

During one of the nights, the company hosted a private concert by Darius Rucker, the artist usually known as "Hootie" from Hootie and the Blowfish. Darius played many of his new songs but also brought back some of the hits he is so well known for from his days of being "Hootie." At one point, he and his band began playing "Let Her Cry," one of his most successful songs during the 1990's. During the second verse of the song, I remember looking over to my left and one of soldiers was standing by his table and dancing with his wife. Because this was a "corporate" event, most people were sitting at banquet tables or in rows of chairs so it's not like anyone was really dancing or jumping around. The moment with the soldier and his wife was a completely spontaneous, amazing moment I will never forget. I remember sitting there watching them and being so thankful for what they've done to protect our freedom and so grateful they were able to have that dance together, despite their difficult circumstances.

Even from someone who never cries, it's hard not to when you experience a moment like that.

- David

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 21

Question: Where is your favorite place to read?

In a word: outside. Most of the places I can think of involve being outside in some form or another. I enjoy reading books when we go on vacation and I can sit by the pool or on the beach. The same could be said when I'm at home - if the weather is nice, I like being able to sit out on the patio or put a chair out in the front yard and have a book or magazine with me. When I'm able to stay awake, there is nothing better than setting up a hammock and lying in that while reading. Seeing as how it's currently 31 degrees outside right now, I think I'll pass on reading in my favorite spot.

- David

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 20

Question: Talk about the opening of your favorite book.

Nicole really should be answering this question because she is the book connoisseur but I'll take a stab at it. My favorite book is Spud, a South African fictional novel about a young boy who goes away to boarding school and writes about his time there through the form of a journal. It's written by John van de Ruit, who is South African and does a wonderful job incorporating aspects of the local culture with incredible humor.

The book begins with John "Spud" Milton getting ready to leave for boarding school. His parents are beyond insane and his grandmother is senile, both of which make Spud excited to get away to school. Once he actually arrives to school, he quickly learns that many of his roommates are just his crazy as the people that were part of his life at home. The rest of the book chronicles the adventures and trials of Spud and his roommates, who adopt themselves the nickname of "The Crazy Eight." If I could compare it to anything, I'd say it's a humorous and witty version of Dead Poets Society.

I can't think of another book that has made me laugh as much as this one did. If you can find it at your local library, I highly recommend reading it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 19

Question: If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?

The fact that you're going to be locked into this place alone makes it a little creepier and less fun. While spending the night at Disney World would be fun, it'd be weird to be the only one there. Instead, I'll chose to be locked in somewhere that offers plenty of opportunities to entertain myself, the man cave of The Dan Patrick Show.

Dan Patrick, a former Sportscenter anchor for ESPN, left the network a few years ago and decided to start his own radio show. Now, his show is on radio stations across the country and has its own television show. The studio where the show is produced is a sports fan's dream. It is full of memorabilia from historic moments in sports and gifts from great athletes. There are televisions all over the studio to keep up with what is happening. And there is also a basketball floor and golf simulator. The place even has its own sports bar! I'd have no trouble at all being locked in there for the night.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 16

Question: Would you buy your dream house if the price was right BUT you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?

Very interesting dynamic here. I don't think talk of ghosts would prevent me from buying a dream house and this question seems vague enough for there to be lots of options.

First - even if we were told the house was inhabited by ghosts, we could have been told that by an idiot who has no idea what he's talking about. He mentioned there might by ghosts and he also mentioned that the neighbors were very friendly. Wrong on both accounts.

Second - if the house is inhabited by said ghosts, who's to say this would be a bad thing? Why do ghosts always get a such a bad reputation? If it's our dream house, I'm hoping it's inhabited by ghosts who enjoy doing the laundry, making dinner, and using the vacuum cleaner. Perhaps it's a ghost who always makes sure no important things are missed in the scheduling of the DVR. Maybe it's a ghost who enjoys inviting women over and having romantic dates involving pottery wheels.

The possibilities are endless. Bring on the dream house and the ghosts!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 15

Question: Tell us about your favorite pet.

When someone has a chocolate lab puppy and a hedgehog, you'd think one of those two would easily fit the category of favorite pet. Unfortunately, the hedgehog appears to hate human interaction of any kind and the puppy is a ridiculous mess that eats everything in sight - including rocks, acorns, sticks, and anything else you find on the ground in the woods.

When I was in middle school, my family decided to get a chocolate lab puppy. We named him Buckwheat and he was an awesome dog. Some of Buckwheat's highlights included - making friends with a baby deer in the woods and walking the deer home with him; finding an inflated balloon that a school in North Carolina had released into the air and holding the balloon in his mouth without popping it; sitting in the driver's seat of my car and refusing to move when I was trying to go back to school after the holidays one year. Buckwheat died last year but the memories of him will stay with us for a long time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 14

Question: Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.

There are two meals that immediately come to mind and I didn't really have a lot to do with the cooking of either one but I did contribute some. The best meal would have to be what we made for my birthday two years ago. My birthday was on Easter Sunday and we made BBQ chicken on the grill, macaroni & cheese, roasted vegetables, and strawberry shortcake. To be honest, Nicole deserves credit for the shortcake, my dad deserves credit for the BBQ chicken, my mom deserves credit for the macaroni & cheese, and I was responsible for the roasted vegetables. I may have made the easiest part of the meal, but it's close enough to count. Right?
- David

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 12

Question: Where is your favorite place to blog?

Hmmmmm....good question. For the boring, traditional, cliche answer, I'll say Starbucks. The biggest Starbucks in Roanoke has an upstairs area where they have larger chairs and plenty of tables for spreading out. It's a quieter space, but you can hear people talking downstairs and the staff making drinks, which is kind of a cool atmosphere.

For the more creative answer (and place I wish I went more often), I'd have to go with the new library in Roanoke County. The South County library is one of the coolest library buildings I've ever seen. It's beautifully designed and they have some awesome areas where you can sit, read, study...blog! The designers of the building also took advantage of the surroundings and put in huge windows where you can look out at the surrounding mountains. It can be a very inspiring place.

South County Library
- David

Friday, November 9, 2012

NaBloPoMo - Day 9

Question: If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

Wow. These questions are getting a lot more serious than anything I typically care to write about on the internet. There is so much I would like to change about my life right now that it's tough to figure out where to start. One thing I know Nicole and I would love to be able to do is find a church home. We've tried a variety of different churches since living in the Roanoke area and we haven't been able to find a place where we felt comfortable or connected. I know a big part of it is the fact that we were spoiled and had the opportunity to be part of some incredible churches (Athens Church, North Point, First Orlando, Christ Fellowship) and it's always a challenge to not compare churches here to those four. Another challenge is finding a church that is more concerned about preaching the gospel than spreading a political agenda. And considering that we just had an election, many churches have displayed their true priorities over the past few months.

For now, North Point Online is our church home. Hopefully we can change that in the near future.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 6

Do you like how I initiated this idea of participating in NaBloPoMo so that it would make me write everyday....and then I left it up to David? Oops. I do that a lot (laundry, cleaning, etc.) and he always pulls through. So there, David, if you don't feel like you have received a valid compliment lately - you are an awesome husband!

...and your curry was pretty fantastic too.

Okay, anyways. Today's prompt is:

Thursday, November 8, 2012
If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

In reality, I would really like to own my own bakery or cafe someday. Especially a Great Harvest. But if I could do anything...wow. I think it'd be awesome to be a food critic and travel the world trying new restaurants (and crazy stuff, like Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods). Besides the money part, I think I have the qualifications to do that already though - I have no tact at all when it comes to eating strange things (...or things past their expiration or that have fallen on sketchy floors...). 

Other honorable mentions would be: Astronaut (for only as long as I get to float around in zero gravity. I don't have much of an interest after that), Olympic gymnast and some sort of artist. I am so uncreative that I can't even fathom what it would be like to be able to paint or draw.

Until then, hi ho, hi ho.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 5

Question: Talk about the last compliment you received.

Uhhh...this is awkward. I think the last compliment I received was related to my cooking. Nicole tried what I made for dinner and she was impressed. It was my first attempt at making green curry and I would consider it a huge success. Recipe, review, and photos soon to come on my other blog. Ironically, earlier in the day I received a compliment from a co-worker about a different recipe I'd given her to try and she enjoyed it very much. Food Network - here I come!

- David

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 4

Question: If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?

My first act would involve creating stricter policies and providing significant increases in funding and awareness regarding human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. I believe the most important function of the government is to protect it's people and those who are being sold against their will definitely deserve protection. There are women and young children that are trafficked into our country from around the world who are being sold and passed around to be used as commodities and we must be a nation that refuses to accept this in any way. As the leader of the country, I would make a commitment to providing resources to eradicate sex trafficking in the United States and partner with organizations who are providing resources to victims of trafficking and promoting awareness to the general public about ways we can recognize and put a stop to this activity.

After that, I'd make it against the law for any Mexican restaurant to charge extra for chips!

- David

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 3

Monday, November 5 - What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?

I love to talk about politics but it will probably get me in trouble. Honestly, I think tomorrow's election and nearly every election is a complete circus that means very little. People act like picking a new president is such a big deal, but they don't even take the time to learn about the local amendments on the ballot, which will actually affect their day-to-day activities. Similarly - people think it's such a big deal to know where the presidential candidates stand on education but they can't even name one member of their district's school board. We all sit and watch the presidential debates and then let the media tell us what our opinion should be because we can't think for ourselves enough to make up our own minds. It's a shame and I find the entire process to be a colossal embarrassment for our society every two/four years. 

The political ads are nauseating, even more so when you read the research that says they are effective. We get frustrated with the politicians and the special interest groups that pay for these advertisements, but the American people are to blame. Shame on us for not demanding more. Shame on us for not taking the time to do our own fact checking. And shame on us for being puppets in the political game. We act like it's such a big deal to have the "Right to Vote!" In my opinion, we don't deserve the right to vote when we don't even take the time to understand what it is we're voting about.

One last thing - before you complain about how a political party in our country is leading us straight down the road to hell, spend time in a country where the citizens live in fear of their government testing deadly weapons on them. Or a nation where the military does whatever it wants, including raiding villages to rape the women and steal children. Or a place where the government leaders sit in their mansions while children are dying in the streets because of starvation, AIDS, and a lack of access to clean water. 

Now, ask me how I really feel.


Friday, November 2, 2012

NaBloPoMo Day 2

Well, David was the one who promised to post more often back in September and then dropped the ball....but I can't say I haven't done the same thing in the past, so in honor of Thanksgiving, I'll grant him a little grace.

In fact, in honor of November and...new leaves...because they're falling from trees....I'm reaching here, but we are participating in NaBloPoMo, which basically is a prompt a day designed to inspire regular posting from those of us who are not so good at this. I like to think that means I am so busy with my accomplishments in real life that I don't have time for the cyber world. Let's be honest though, I'm just lazy :) Anyways, if you want to jump on the NaBloPoMo wagon, you can click through the banner on the right side of our blog and read some of the thousands of other participating blogs or see the prompts for the rest of the month so you can play along.

For Nov. 2, the prompt is: "If you could live anywhere, where would it be?"

Ahhh....tough one! There are a lot of criteria that would go into this decision for me, but the first place that comes to mind for me is South Africa. I absolutely fell in love with everything about the country while we were there. The real draw for me is the diversity, and I probably don't mean that in the way you are thinking. There are 11 national languages, mountains, oceans, 3rd world poverty, 1st world industry, Dutch accents, deserts, and safaris. There is an amazing history behind the country too, most recently around apartheid, and now (or "now now" or "just now") is an exciting time to be involved and a part of the changes happening.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thoughts of November

For some fun, we've decided to answer a different question every day in November. We will probably switch off on which days we answer questions and there might be some days when we both answer. Thank you to NaBloPoMo for providing the questions.

Question: Tell us your favorite quotation and why?
"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, 'Do your worst, for I will do mine!'"

This quote is from the movie, The Count of Monte Cristo. I love how it represents the importance of perseverance and overcoming adversity. Many times, we grow the most when we face the most challenging and difficult circumstances. This quote represents living your life in a way that isn't afraid of challenges, but instead looks at them as opportunities.

- David