Friday, February 16, 2007

My friends of course we have hot showers by Sunny Shervey. Editing and creative insight, Alexis Youngs

It's amazing how friendly everyone is when you're a tourist. I never knew how many friends I had until our team started our vacation from Spain to Morocco. Nearly every person I met, or didn't even meet but made eye contact with, actually in most cases just walked by, greeted me with, hello my friend (and then proceeded with telling me what they want to do for me because we are such good friends).

So it’s Sunday, and our team is trying to get from Spain to Morocco and we have to take a ferry to get there, however Mother Nature has ideas to spoil our plans. We go to the ferry dock and see that due to "hurricane level wind gusts" no ferries will be going to or from Morocco and Spain for the day. A bit disappointed that our Moroccan vacation is getting cut down by one day, we turn around and start looking for a good hostel. We find one shady looking place, and decide to stay there (there will be more posts about Hostel Marrakech, but I feel, rather strongly, that this is the most important post, and due to my lack of ambition with blogging, I fear the others may not make it on, so I want to start with the best).

After a long night of walking in a tsunami for food (raining really hard, no restaurants or stores open), our team heads back to our hostel for a good night’s sleep. It was colder inside our hostel than outside, so the ladies push our beds together to absorb body heat. Needless to say, we wake up in the morning, still damp from the previous night, and shivering. Before we checked into the hostel our new friends promised us there was hot water. In eager anticipation, Alexis and I decide to check them out because we tend to “manifest into nastiness” much quicker than other members on our team, so to honor them, since they have to look at us, we think, “we should shower.”

Because the place is a bit shady we go together and decide that one person can just wait in the bathroom while the other is showering to make sure no one else comes in. When we walk into the bathroom we are greeted by the potent smell of urine, and the floor has about 2cm of standing, brownish water, just waiting to be stood in. Alexis starts getting ready for the shower, it’s pretty standard, (hose out of the wall, with the shower head at the end, so you manually hold it over your body to clean you) and she gets in. I’m standing in the bathroom wondering if it’s possible to blow smoke rings with your breath, you know when it’s so cold outside you can see your breath? So anyway, Alexis turns on the shower and some chunks of ice fall onto her feet (it wasn’t really that cold, but I’m guessing the water was only a smidge above freezing levels).
We come to a standstill. It is clear that we need to shower, but who knows if we will be able to shower in Morocco. What should we do? I’m reminded of the time we arrived in Croatia after 28 hours of traveling to get there, and after finding our apartment with the water heater turned off we took the plunge and endured cold showers. Alexis and I decide to just tough it out and shower, surely it can’t be any worse this time.

We look at each other and decide it’s go time. Alexis stretches her head and neck (I don’t think in normal circumstances it’s possible to stretch your head, but it happened this morning) as far away from her body as possible (we decided to just wash the hair – no use risking hypothermia just to put dirty clothes back on). She lets some icicle water trickle on her hair, and starts getting the shampoo ready. I am holding the hair dryer, trying to dry out my shoes from the night before and realize this could be a perfect heating mechanism for Alexis while she is showering. So I stand outside the shower and point the nozzle towards Alexis, she showers in record time, and then does the same for me.

Using a towel the size of my hand to dry off, we get ready and start brushing our teeth. At one point one of our guys, hearing the hair dryer and assuming we were presentable, knocked on the door and cried, “Housekeeping!” in a shrill voice. “Can I come it?” “No!!” we reply, with panic in our eyes. All of a sudden my eyes start burning and I start smelling something horrible. I look at Alexis. “Did she do this?” I ask myself. I turn towards her and can see she’s asking the same questions about me. “Did you-” we both say simultaneously. “NO!” we laugh out at the same time. See, the thing is, the smell was so much worse than a typical, I’ll say it, fart. But how do you turn to someone and just ask straight out, “Did you just crap your pants? Do you have wicked bad diarrhea? Do you need a doctor or a change of clothes?” We never figured out the origin of the fumes but pretty soon we got ourselves out of the room, out of the hostel, and eventually, out of the country.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

By far, the most random day of my entire life, that inculdes the future...

I don’t even know how to start this story.. This may be a long post, but just stick with it, it’s worth the read.

So we have some American friends, Robin and Carol who have been living in Croatia for a few years now. They are and older couple working with a church in Rijeka, and they lead a youth service for young people. We have had them over for dinner a few times, and they wanted to have us over for dinner, but their apartment isn’t big enough to have all six of us, so they invited us over in shifts. It was Allison and my turn to go over first. We have both never really driven our scary car before, Allison has taken it around the block once, so that’s already a bit nerve wrecking, then we both know the least Croatian on our team, so we have a lot of odds against us before we even leave our apartment.

Carol had given us great directions to her house, but due to the lack of lighting; and by lack of, I mean no lighting in our car, not even to light up the speedometer, so at night it’s always a rough guess as to how fast we are going, it was really hard to read the directions. Luckily Allison and I have the original Nokia cell phones with these cool flashlight things on the end, so I’m trying to flash the dash board so she knows how fast she’s going, and read the directions all at the same time..

We reach the last few directions, Carol described her apartment to me on the phone, but never gave me a apartment number. The street sign that they lived on was parallel to the road we were driving on, my directions said we should have taken one more right and then we would see their apartment, but I just thought we must have made the turn already. I was later informed that someone hit the street sign, to make it not perpendicular to the road we were on, thus telling us we are supposed to take the last right turn, but made it parallel, telling us, “great job, you made it to their apartment!” So, we see an apartment with colored Christmas lights, white lights, there are snow flake decals pressed against the window, I can see a tree inside the apartment all decorated, and if you knew Carol, you would just look at this apartment and think, oh ya, this is her house..

So Allison and I walk up to the apartment knock on the door and this cute elderly Croatian man opens the door. We say sorry, obviously this is the wrong apartment, and turn to walk away. The man is confused, and keeps speaking to us in Croatian. I inform him, in Croatian, that I only speak and understand a little Croatian, that I am from America, and then I say “Where Carol and Robin” in Croatian. I had no idea what I was doing, but knowing Robin and Carol, I thought everyone on their block would know who they are.. So he just laughs, because I am speaking the most broken Croatian ever, and tells us to come in. We keep walking the other direction, and he gets a little louder, still very kind though, and tells us to come in. I start thinking, oh maybe Robin and Carol do live here, and he’s just hanging out with them, and since he heard their name, he knows we are looking for them. That is not really a plausible explanation because Robin and Carol don’t speak Croatian, so there is no way they would be hanging out with this family if there was no one to interpret.

So we start walking into this man’s apartment. It’s long and narrow, and the kitchen is the last room in the house. We make our way to the kitchen, where his wife, who has the most outrageous set of bed head I’ve ever seen in my life, starts taking out plates, cups, napkins, cakes, cookies, cream puffs, ext. and putting them on the table.. We both instantly start laughing so hard, knowing that we are now trapped, I start biting my lip so hard, and pinching my hand so I will stop laughing.. I knew that we were close to Robin and Carol’s apartment because remember I saw the street sign of victory, or at least that’s what I thought it was when I saw it, so I knew we just needed to turn down that road. We had one, no two problems though, this cute man and woman would not let us leave. The husband took the directions out of my hand, and started calling the phone number on the bottom.. It’s not working so he doesn’t know what to do. Allison in the mean time is trying to peer over the mans shoulder, snatch the paper out of his hand, anything to get that phone number because we can’t call Robin and Carol without it..

Eventually, one Rafiello (cocoanut cream cake) and one cream puff down, the man calls this friend of his who knows about 2 words in English to translate what the heck is going on. I start talking to him, his kid is yelling in the background, everything I say in English to him, he translates to Croatian to his wife, we are getting no where, but I manage to tell him that we are looking for our friends apartment, we know what road the live on, we just mistook this apartment for theirs, and we are now 30 minutes late for dinner.. Hoping he would translate this to his friends, so the captives could be set free, he says, “ok super” and hangs up. Thanks for the translation help friend.

While I am talking to this fellow on the phone, Allison is calling every student, friend, anyone of hers she knows who can tell this family that we just need to leave. That we aren’t in any sort of trouble, that we are going to dinner, and just thought this was the apartment we were supposed to be at… Oh ya, and the wife was wearing a giant sweater that said “bears” and “cats” on it, and there were all these pictures of bears and cats on it. Weird. So anyway, Allison finally gets a hold of her friend who lives in Opatija and is trying to explain the situation, “We were going to dinner at a friends house and we had never been there before. This apartment fit the description, so we knocked on the door. It is the wrong house, people are waiting for us, and we need to leave, but every time we try to leave this jolly old man blocks the door and tells us to eat another cream puff.” Ivana’s response, “I’m in Opatija (a town about 15 minutes away) I can’t do anything, and I don’t understand, text me what’s going on.” Ahh no Ivana, you were our last hope..

Then Allison’s phone rings, CAROL! Carol has no idea what’s going on, and thinks we are just late for dinner, so she’s a bit upset, rightfully so, then Allison tells her that we are lost, and that we are very close, that we are just at the end of their road. Carol tells us to stay put, not a problem, and that Robin, her husband will come find us, good luck Robin were in a house! This is all very confusing, Robin leaves, so we know that we now really need to leave because it’s cold, and he will be outside waiting for us.

We make our last attempt to leave., then Allison’s phone rings again. IVANA! “Ivana, can you please tell this family, that we are late for dinner, we were going to dinner at some people’s house, but got lost, thought this was the apartment, but it isn’t. They live at the end of the next road down, and are waiting outside for us. We need to go out and meet them,” Allison pleas. “Ok, no problem,” replies Ivana. The phone passes to the old man, “Indistinguishable Croatian, some more, some more.. Opatija! Some more Croatian, he hangs up.” He looks at us and says, “Opatija!” This is what his face told me, “If you are trying to go to Opatija you are VERY lost.” So we reply in English, so I don’t even know why we were trying, “We are not trying to go to Opatija. We just called that girl so she can translate for us, and we can leave..” We get up to leave again, and then they tell us five minutes. Five minutes for what? I have another cream puff, they were so good, and just relax. In the mean time, this woman keeps showing me all this grass she is growing, some Christmas wreath she spray painted silver.. Then the five minutes pass, and this college student walks in the door. She playfully yells at this couple, and then asks us, “So what is going on?” We explain the story, how we are trying to go to dinner at someone’s house, but we didn’t know the number, this apartment matched the description, we knocked on the door, we saw it was the wrong on, so we tried to leave, but this man kept telling us to come in, we did, they fed us, put me on the phone with some guy, he thinks we’re trying to go to Opatija, I feel like I’m going to throw up because I haven’t eaten since 11, and I just had two glasses of Coke, a piece of Coconut cake, some cream puffs.. As soon as we tell her what happened he starts laughing so hard, and starts telling this couple..

Then she starts asking us why we want to go to Opatija, which takes another 5 minutes to explain, and finally she says, ok I can show you where you need to go. I live on Njemichka (the road we have been trying to get to).. She then asks us if we are meeting two boys, “nope sorry,” we reply. “just a married couple in their 60’s.” She laughs, and tells us that if we ever need a place to sleep this man and woman said we can stay with them…

She takes us to the apartment, there are a few more minor confusions and we make it. Anyway, this girl is so cute and funny, and she’s a college student, so we got her number and we’re going to hang out soon. I’m sure we will visit this family sometime soon, and I bet I’ll have another story..

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here is a profile written about me by one of my team members.. you could read it or not, I don't care because I'm stoic

Adventures in Croatia: Summer Sprinkles#links

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm working on this.. i'm sorry i'm a blogging failure.. I will try harder.

Matt Mikalatos said...
Sunny? Where are you? Hello? SUnny?
7:39 AM
zoran said...
I agree with Matt. Sunny write something!
1:33 AM
zvrki said...
Are you okay?write something...
11:25 AM

Sunny said...
sorry guys.. I guess I'm just not too blogger savvy.. am I supposed to comment back to you, on my comment page, or is it more proper for me to find a post of yours and then comment back? Let me know how this works
1:50 PM

Monday, November 13, 2006

What's the going rate?

First, let me apoloigze for the lack of writing, Matt, Zoron, Zvrki.. I'm not sure i'm cut out for professional blogging like some of my friends, but I will try to work at it..

So this weekend, I heard an alarming conversation among some of my team members over a nice dinner while we were having a team weekend in Bojinj this weekend..
"So how many camels did we think we could get her for?" team member 1
"I can't remember what we ended up with." team member 2
"I wonder how much camels cost in Morocco." team member 1
"Ya I'm not really sure, but we should be able to get quite a few. Moroccans like blonde hair, so I'm sure they would pay a decent amount for her." team member 2
"Are you guys talking about selling me for some camels when we're in Morocco?!? It sounds like this conversation is a continuom of a previous conversation which frightens me a little." Me
"Oh ya, when was that..? A few days ago _____ and I were talking about our vacation to Morocco, and we were just wondering how many camels we could get if we sold you to some guy to be his wife?" team member 1

This is how much I am loved by my team.. they would sell me for a pack of camels.. The conversation ended with me actually being onboard with the idea, as long as my team promises to steal me back, and then we can ride our camels back to Rijeka.. They could be a great ministry tool!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Our staff meetings get pretty intense sometimes.. They usually end in tears.

Just kidding.. My team didn't do this to me.. I blame the onions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Say hello to my beautiful Croatian friends..

One thing I have been wanting to attempt to express to my friends and family at home, is the beautiful heart of the people of Croatia. Since arriving I have been taken back by the value people place on community and friendships, and their hospitality and willingness to bend over backwards to serve myself and my team.
When we first arrived in Croatia we were greeted by a student, Dario who picked us up at the bus station with our car, packed all of our luggage in the car, and then made multiple trips from the bus station to our apartment to help us get all our luggage in. Without him, we each would have had to carry our 5 bags, each weighing 50 or more pounds multiple block home.. If that weren't enough, he felt the need to treat our entire team out to lunch on him.
Zoran, the crazy man I wrote about above is one of the students who I have seen serve my team in so many ways, and he never does so in hopes for self recognition, which I admire and I think am learning a lot about. I joked above about how much he helped me with my computer, which seems like a small task, but without that help I would have been lost.
Two other students who have made similar impacts on myself and my team are actually sisters, Doda and Ines. Doda is a student our team developed a deep friendship with last year. She is so full of energy and life. She reminds me of friends from home.. Her sister Ines is amazing. She is like my Croatian little sister, she makes me laugh and she teaches me Croatian. She refuses to call my by my name, and refers to me only as Blondie, which I love.. I now have a nick name for her, Zvrki, it translates something
like a top that spins on a table, somewhat out of control ;)
Doda invited our team and Zoran to spend the weekend with her and her family in Novi Vinodolski and it was such a huge blessing to be invited home with a student and to have the opportunity to live with them.. Although our team wasn't able to communicate much with her parents (they don't speak English, and I'll speak for myself, I speak poor, if any Croatian) their joy and sincere love for our team were clearly expressed in the ways they welcomed our team into their home..
I think I am going to learn so much about true community here and I am just so excited to see the ways that God is going to use the deep relationships students have for one another for His purpose..