Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Amazing Finish

I believe I left you at the massive amount of horse meat I consumed. Terribly sorry about that. 

After that, we scrutinized an outdoor photo gallery, located a World War II bunker, charted with a Slovene couple, and I took on a ridiculous calligraphy job. After finding things that begin in Slovene with all but one letter of the alphabet, we ended in second place AGAIN at the end of day 2! Hashtag killin' the game. 

Friday, after waking before 5am, when most of you Indiana folk were probably still awake despite our 6 hour time difference, we took a train to Maribor, where we helped at a local youth center before starting the last leg of the race. 

The first task led us to the top of a hill. Disclaimer: for the rest of this post, this Indiana girl will likely refer to the hills of this city as mountains. All of the locals, literally every single individual in the whole city (besides one confused lady), sent us to a hill with a chapel at the top. Or the second day in a row, we had an early morning steep uphill hike. We finally made it to the top with another team hot on our heels. Two more teams arrived, but no race helpers were to be found for our next clue. We all simply knew there bad to be some mistake. After all, these were bit just any teams, these were the top 4 teams, the best of the best. We called to ask if we beat the helper there. We didn't. We climbed the wrong mountain. 

Some men doing landscaping kindly pointed us along a path to the next hill over, where we found the elders while another team had turned around and had to hitchhike and climb over 400 stairs to get to the same place. That in itself was a victory. 

We passed vineyards, went to a wine museum, met at a wine cellar, took communion, and in the process managed to drink no wine. 

I also have a question for y'all. It's about swans. Are they not solitary/couply creatures? I have never seen more than 2 swans together and yesterday I saw SCORES of them together paddling their elegant selves down the ever. Slovenia is a magical, magical place. 

The rest of the race involved obstacle courses, choreographed ballroom dancing on the square, public surveys, and translation and geography lessons. Early in the afternoon, we sprinted off, backpacks bouncing to the finish line at a gazebo. 

For the third day in a row, and once and for all, team VW got SECOND PLACE. Such consistency and excellence is unmatched. We are blessed, and we are fierce. 

Peace and blessings,

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Time I Ate Horse Two Days in a Row

I am here! For all y'all keeping up with my journey, I am safe, enthusiastic, and running on adrenaline and van naps (it's my energy plan for the summer) in the Czech Republic! How did I get here, you ask? Well, beloved children, gather around my metaphorical rocking chair, for my literal one is in Bloomington and no offense, but if you all gathered around it, you'd frighten the sweet girl subleasing my room. You also wouldn't hear my story.

On Tuesday, I embarked on my journey. On my long flight, I bonded with a girl going to study abroad in Germany over the Lego Movie, as we laughed about 3 seconds apart despite our best attempts at synchronization. I arrived in Munich Wednesday morning with maybe an hour of plane sleep to claim for the day. Along with a billion or maybe 50ish other interns, I hopped on a bus to drive through 5 hours of beautiful scenery and the Austrian Alps to Slovenia. 

When we arrived in Slovenia, we started THE AMAZING RACE. I don't know if you've ever seen the show The Amazing Race, but I saw part of an episode once a couple of years ago and am an undeniable expert. 

The first challenge was at GORGEOUS Lake Bled to swim to a buoy quite close to shore and grab a key. So this is why they told us to bring a swimsuit, I thought. I CAN DO IT RIGHT NOW, I yelled, thinking of how light my breezy, loose Indonesian pants were and what a piece of cake it would be to swim in them. Out of all 19 teams, probably to no one's shock, I was the first one to dive in the lake. I am a decent swimmer. But I made a crucial mistake. Never, ever, ever swim in pants with yards and yards of extensive, flowing fabric, for they will turn on you. First, they will try to humiliate you by falling down, leaving you horribly indecent, especially considering your very Christian audience. Next, when you resist that, they will try to drown you. I overcame  these perils, however, it was unfortunately the slowest, most pathetic looking swim of my life. And that was how my team started our Amazing Race.

After a rowboat challenge and a bridal shower game gone physically demanding at an island chapel, we took a train to Ljubljana. This train ride evened the playing field, since we all ended up on the same train. In Ljubljana, the overwhelmingly charming capital of Slovenia, we located, learned, and performed in public the Slovene national anthem, finishing the day in an impressive 2nd place out of 19 teams.

In the morning, we awoke to a day of fresh fruit at the market, a hike up a steep hill to a castle, a frustrating Lego teambuilding challenge, Andrew jumping off a bridge into a river, and going to a cemetery. After a decided a penalty was great for snackie time, we headed into a FOOD CHALLENGE. I was at first relieved to find that we were to eat a horse burger. That is real food. However, the sheer amount of food and unwanted toppings made this challenge super...well...challenging. But we did it. And you know what? It tasted exactly like our dinner the night before, so that is the story of when I ate horse two days in a row.

I'm getting kicked out of WiFi land, so this is TO BE CONTINUED.

Love you all,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Summer 2014 Bucket List

That’s right friends, it’s time. Time for the annual Jenna B. Pinkston summer bucket list – a list of all the wonderful activities I will attempt to do while school is out. As two of my favorite fellows, Phineas and Ferb, so eloquently state, “There’s 104 days of summer vacation ‘til school comes along just to end it. So the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to speeeend it.”

Good news, though. I have 107 days of summer vacation (I just counted), so that gives me some cushion (sorry high schoolers). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete more items on this list than I do. If you do, you will win a prize. (Prizes are negotiable.) Here is the list:

1.       Step one: make a summer bucket list
2.       Burn some homework (Reusing school work as campfire fuel is a most satisfactory form of recycling)
3.       Create a summer playlist and listen to it too many times
4.       Go crick stompin’
5.       Make a new friend
6.       Learn a Bible verse in Czech
7.       Get a window seat on an airplane and be fascinated by how small everything is
8.       Blast country music with the windows down
9.       Eat Handel’s ice cream on the wall
10.   Watch fireworks
11.   Write a letter to a friend in a different state
12.   Write a letter to a friend in a different country
13.   Catch up with someone I haven’t seen in 2+ years
14.   Write an ode to summer and publish it somewhere, even if only on the refrigerator
15.   Read a book about a topic that I know nothing about
16.   Blog, blog, blog
17.   Make a strawberry pie
18.   Watch the sunrise
19.   Make a perfect s’more
20.   Hike
21.   Try to like watermelon again (it’s kind of an annual thing)
22.   Go laser tagging
23.   Make homemade ice cream
24.   Learn to locate a new constellation
25.   Give someone a happy Wednesday gift
26.   Go barefoot
27.   Water fight
28.   Ultimate Frisbee
29.   Learn a good campfire song on guitar
30.   Try to like iced tee
31.   Climb a tree
32.   Try new foods
33.   Go to a state park (I have an annual pass so I am pretty important in those places. Seriously, such a great investment.)
34.   Stay at a park until it closes
35.   Babysit
36.   Play outside with someone under the age of 10
37.   Road trip
38.   Practice my henna skills
39.   Get a library card for the county my parents live in
40.   Send a postcard
41.   Get a new stamp in the passport
42.   Find a baseball mitt and play catch
43.   Sit outside and read Ecclesiastes
44.   Watch the sunset over water. Probably take a picture that looks 3.4% as majestic as it does in real life.
45.   Make homemade lemonade, but make it fancy. Put raspberries or cucumbers or something in it.
46.   Make limeade. Some parts of the world don’t even have separate names for lemonade and limeade. I learned that from experience (SURPRISE LIMEADE). But they are very different, so they count and two different things on this list.
47.   Watch a baseball game and eat overpriced concessions
48.   Go to a farmer’s market
49.   Eat a snow cone, then probably become sad as you realized you could have spent that money on ice cream
50.   Try skiing again, even though it is one of the most frightening things on Earth, given you could do the splits and die
51.   Do a craft
52.   Make a piece of hemp jewelry
53.   Make a friendship bracelet
54.   Challenge someone to a kayak race
55.   Freeze fruit and eat it
56.   Eat one of those icy freeze popsicle things that taste like sugar water, just to be festive
57.   Go to a concert
58.   Skip a rock at least three skips
59.   Tie dye
60.   Sit around a bonfire with friends, even though my hair will smell like smoke to infinity and beyond
There it is. An abbreviated list compared to years past with some old ideas and some new. If you exhaust these ideas, find them lame, or are just curious, check out these lists