Archive for the ‘General’ Category

R.I.P. Laptop The Dog, my dog

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

My dog of 12 years, Laptop, has gone where all dogs eventually go… and I wasn’t there to be with him his last months. His breed was Schnoodle. He was the best and only dog I’ve ever had. He was loved by many and feared by few. He was a crazy little mutt who thought your lap was the best place in the world. He wouldn’t even ask. He liked to eat chocolate (and later, un-eat it). He loved going on vacation with us and he loved looking after my niece.

This past year, his old age got the best of him and he could barely move on his own anymore. He was in so much pain. From the first year of his life, Laptop was literally a miracle dog and no one in my family thought he’d last this long… I’ll miss you, buddy.

R.I.P. Laptop The Dog (photo circa 1998)
^ April 1998. I’ll never forget the day I finally got a dog. I had prayed for a dog every night for 14 years. This was a very special thing. My mother came up with the name “Laptop” and it just fit so perfectly.

R.I.P. Laptop The Dog (photo circa 2000)
^ Circa 2000. He liked to drive my truck. And ride in the car in general. He would never leave our side. Whatever we were doing, he wanted to be right there with us.

R.I.P. Laptop The Dog, Jan. 4 2010
^ January 4, 2010. Last picture ever taken of him. He didn’t even open his eyes for the picture. So sad.

Please leave your condolences and memories in the comments or send them to my email…

Chinese Caption Contest #449

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Chinese Caption Contest #449

What the crap is this!? I know it doesn’t have any Chinese characters to help try to figure it out, but I still can’t even imagine…
This is all I came up with: “Santa’s New Pet of Choice” or “The Big C Gov’t has finally banned reindeers”
What do YOU think it’s for?

And then it was Christmas…

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

It’s Christmas night, and there I sat… in my apartment, by myself, watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. I had worked all day (teaching about Christmas to Chinese kids), went to a grand dinner with a Chinese friend (more on that later), and had a nice long Skype conversation with my family back home (who was all snowed in). It was different than any other “Christmas” I’ve had before, but I think I can get used to it. Different, but awesome.

Some people wish for a White Christmas, but I knew I’d be lucky if I didn’t get a pollution-filled Smoggy Christmas. And it turned out to be a very nice day! No snow, but I wasn’t expecting it.

(Interesting article: Why Christmas is increasingly popular [in China])

So yeah, now the holidays are almost over and I’ll have a new year in a new country… I kind of like it! I didn’t get a day off of work for Christmas, but I do get a day off for New Year’s Day this week. Ironically, I finally found someone to let me use their oven, so it looks like I’ll be baking New Year’s Cookies instead of Christmas cookies this week!

About Christmas dinner: I’ll choose to only write about dinner on the 25th because dinner on the 24th was a waste of money and left me hungry afterwards. One of my Chinese friends had backed out on plans, so I contacted a different friend to see if he was available. He was! I’d have some company, at least, on Christmas night. We went to the amazing restaurant/buffet that is Golden Hans. In China, I think it’d be classified as “western” food, but it’s not like those horribly-tasting, misspelled ones down the street. Golden Hans is the real deal. The best general way to describe it would be a huge Brazilian BBQ and microbrewery with a Germanic Amish feel. I’ll get pictures of it someday, I promise. Remember, we were going on Christmas Day night in China and I had no idea what to expect. We made our way up to the fourth floor of this strip mall and oodles of people were lined up to get in. Good thing I brought a Chinese friend! He was able to put our name down and we waited for a table. The place was packed. They were hauling in new tables and stools for people to sit on. Since there was only 2 of us, I think we got in sooner than expected – it only took about 30 minutes.

After sitting down and paying, the waiters dressed as German yodelers come around with huge skewers of meat and brush them off to your plate. They mark a sheet when they bring it, so you sort of know what you’re eating. Don’t worry, they’ll come around again if you liked it! They gave me honey-basted ham, lamb, beef, and pork. They had sausage. They had chicken heart and ox tongue. I had barbecued chicken and fried banana. Needless to say, this meal was amazing. The buffet left me wanting, but the meat skewers that kept coming around were quite fulfilling.

And to top that, one of my English students and her family was sitting in the table next to me! (In a city of over 10 million people, how does this happen!?) Her father was so excited to meet me and kept toasting me with his soda every few minutes and saying, “Sheng dan kuai le!”, the Chinese equivalent of Merry Christmas. It was wonderful.

A truly memorable Christmastime for me… I wish you all could have been here!

My Christmas presents from afar:
An awesome drawing from my niece (and an awkward magnet from a friend)
A sweet Hannah Montana Puzzle (complete with Miley charm)
LEGOs from my family (exactly what I wanted, actually)

Mailing Address in China

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

UPDATED: December 2012

Many people have expressed interest in sending me mail while I’m in China, and to say I’d be more than happy to oblige is an understatement. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a letter or care package from a loved-one is worth at least a million and one. BUT, sending mail to China isn’t always easy. It’ll take some work (Aside: Doesn’t all snail mail take a little work these days, though?). And that’s why I’d be all the more appreciative when I receive things, from the smallest postcard to the largest box of heavy books.

I do have some minimal advice:

FedEx and UPS charge random extra fees for sending things to China. The US Postal Service does not, making it a bit cheaper.

Postcards from exotic American tourist traps are one of my favorite things in the world.*

If you live by a Chinatown, there are usually small shops that sell books and magazines that also offer cheap overseas shipping services.

It’s always lighter to use a padded envelope rather than a box.

I miss the Sunday morning comic strips in English.*

Packages under 4 pounds cost exponentially less than packages over 4 pounds. I speak from experience.

To send a package, you’ll have to fill out a customs declaration form, so don’t include any you-know-what.

The only LEGO I brought with me is a branded photo album from my aunt.*

If you’re sending a postcard or a letter, you just need the first part of the following address. If you’re sending a package, it’s probably best to put both the pinyin (Roman characters) and the Chinese characters on the outside. Just in case.

Make sure “CHINA” is always on top in big letters, so at least it gets to the right country.

My refrigerator is completely void of awkward magnets.*

Check that I’ll be in the country in the next month after you send it… the post office here only keeps packages for 30 days until they’ll send it back.

And FYI, nothing is ever 100% guaranteed to get to me. This is also spoken from experience. Please don’t give up, though! Maybe start small?

My current mailing address (last updated December 2012):
Tianjin, Hexi District
No. 51 Weijin South Road
Tianjin University of Sport – Library
American Cultural Center for Sport
Daniel Konold
手机:158 2200 6352
天津体育学院 – 图书馆
大牛収 300202

DOWNLOAD .GIF to print for your packages~

*hint hint

An Epic Moving Sale – This Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

For more information on specific items and directions, visit

I look forward to seeing you all there…

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of China…

Monday, May 11th, 2009

It’s official.

I only have two weeks of normal life left.

I’m quitting my decently-paying, full-benefits-giving, 9-5 job to become a nomad. Not just any nomad, I guess… a nomad with a destination in mind. For most of my life, I’ve known that I’ll be living overseas. And now that time is upon me!

These past two years living in South Minneapolis have been very beneficial, and I’m so thankful that I didn’t move out of the country right after college. The additional training, life experience, and friendships have meant so much to me and they’ll hopefully last for a long time to come.

China will be here by the end of the year, with a nice little journey along the way:

June 11 – August 7
Global Expeditions asked me to lead and direct another trip this summer – I gladly accepted! I’m taking a group totaling about 150 teenagers to Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. We’re going to be working with YWAM and Operation Mobilization doing mostly sports camps in the surrounding cities and villages of Herrnhut, Torino, and Rome.

August 13ish – September 30ish
Working a temp job somewhere around the world… I’ve narrowed it down to 3 options. Feel free to give feedback! 1. Working on a salmon boat in Alaska. (anyone have connections?) 2. Working on an organic farm in Sweden. ( 3. Teaching [English] somewhere in South America

First week of October
‘Back home for some very important dates and to say my “last” goodbyes.

Depending on what job I get, I’ll either be going straight to China in October or taking other temp jobs around the world and get to China by the end of the year. If I get an English teaching position over there, that’ll most likely start with a new semester in January.

People have asked what they can do:
1. Write to me
This is a very surreal part of my life and I’m definitely questioning and second-guessing a lot of decisions. A little encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

2. Come to my Epic Yard Sale / Open House on June 6 & 7, 2009, 9am – 3pm
Write this on your calendars now! This will be my last hurrah before I leave the country. I need to get rid of all of my stuff! Come over to my house and take away my old junk… You might even find some treasures in there. Buy a little memoir from my life to always remind you of me. ‘Not looking for money, just a chance to get my stuff into the right hands. I wouldn’t even mind you offering to take things to the thrift store for me. :) Location: 2933 Park Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55407 (If you’d like to help out with this, let me know!)

3. Open a free online savings or checking account w/ ING Direct through me
If you use the link that I email you to sign up, and you deposit at least $250 up front, you’ll get $25 free and I’ll get $10 for referring you. How simple is that? It’s really a slick, secure online banking system and I’ve been using them for over 6 years… Their interest rates aren’t too shabby either! Note: this is limited to the first 25 people, meaning up to $250 for me. If interested, send me an email and I’ll send you a “referral” link.

That is all.

I probably won’t have time for a cup of tea with all of you before I leave, but you’re welcome to try. Also, you’re all welcome to stop by my house on June 6 or 7! Thanks for everything!

delirious? has a new one

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

delirious - Mission BellI just acquired the new delirious? album and it’s hot. A couple of years ago, I was on tour with Acquire the Fire and these guys were with us almost every weekend. (Boy, do I have some stories…)

They’re very big in the UK and are becoming bigger here in the US…their new album is called “The Mission Bell” and it’s all about missions. I love it. The music is pretty much the same as always, but very solid, and the lyrics are amazing.

One song is titled, “Our God Reigns.” It speak of some of the injustice going on in the world today, but that through it all, God is still reigning true and in control…

God didn”t screw up when He made you,
He’s a Father who loves to parade you.

Forgive us all, forgive us please,
As we fight for this broken world on our knees.

Multiple “groups” of friends…

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Straight EdgeBefore last night, I thought I had two separate groups of friends. You know what I mean? I had my friends that I’ve known since high school and through church and that have stuck around the MN area… AND, I have my friends that I’ve met at the Honor Academy in Texas. After a semester at Northwestern, I was kind of even acquiring a third group.

Is this healthy? I didn’t think so because it was kind of like having two personalities. Or maybe because I’m full of pride and don”t want the two groups to meet each other and… I don’t know, be disappointed in each other or annoyed or… something. A fear of what they would think. A fear of what they might tell each other! Why would I even think this? I’m beginning to see that all the groups are closer than I realize, though. (more…)

MuteMath – Chaos

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

In honor of me having 12 days before I leave the country, I give you a live MuteMath video:

And I hear they”ll be in town in February….oh well.

My First Post

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Hey ya’ll… This is my first post in my new wordpress blog. I hope it goes well. And I hope that I survive it.