Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Eventful Escapade


As another weekend flies by, I am not really sure what to think. Starting this next week I’m getting a couple more classes and having to start a kids summer camp English program. That means that some days I will be working from early morning to late night. While I’m sad to give up my reading time and my wake-up-whenever-I-want way of life, I am excited to get back into the working mode. I haven’t had much demanded from me since I’ve been here and while I have relished the free time for reading, writing, and thinking, I have not been challenged and thus, I have not done too much growing. Sure I’ve grown, but not in the push-myself-to-accomplish-difficult-tasks way. I don’t want to get back home and be appalled by having to do a full day’s work. This was after all my Sabbatical and now it is coming to an end.

This weekend was yet another crazy eventful escapade. Saturday we were in charge of church and we enjoyed listening to Emily preach for the first time and share some things she’s learned in the year she’s been here. Her boyfriend got in on Sunday and so she has been on cloud 9 as she is packing her bags and enjoying her last couple weeks in Kazakhstan. After church we went to the fancy Opera House and watched a Ballet. I’ve never been to a ballet before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All the girls seemed to be thrilled by it, but most of the guys I talked to said it was oozjas (horrible). Turns out, the ballet is definitely more of a woman thing. I enjoyed it, because it was new and because I got to put another Kazakhstan experience on my page, but ultimately it was weird. The first act was a shirtless man wearing tights doing these nasty sexual moves while prancing around the stage. We were all kind of wondering, “What did these people bring us to?” The second act had a man and a woman who were doing crazy sexual dances, but were quite funny and entertaining. Then there was a Romeo and Juliet style dance and a Don Quixote style dance and all these other dancers that featured twirling dancers and intriguing music. After intermission the “real” ballet started and it seemed to be a story of a woman with three lovers or something and a little demon and in the end she died and her demon died with her and the three men were all standing together. As you can tell, I have no idea what they were trying to get across, but it was entertaining nonetheless. I came to the conclusions that ballets are really sexual and children should not be allowed in the theater.

Today however, we did not have to sit through any crazy dance performances. We woke up early and headed to the monthly craft fair. We spend about an hour there and I bought a few things to give to some people when I get back. However, I am really trying to hold back because I don’t want to have overweight bags when I get on the plane to go home.

After the craft fair we went to meet some people. Of course, everyone was late, including us. We waited, got on a bus and drove far, then got in a taxi, which ended up circling and going back to where we started, and then we looped around a few more times to finally arrive at our destination. This was the result of a lot of disorganization of a company we used. Anyways, our destination was some field with some old buildings and rubble with a van filled with guns and cameo suits. We went paintballing! I’ve never gone paintballing in the States. Too much money, always looked painful, but in Kazakhstan I got the opportunity to go for cheap and without all those overdone American safety regulations. So we got in our cameo suits, put on our masks and started out with some capture the flag. The first round I was put on the front lines and we charged forward. I didn’t last long though, before taking a shot to the face. The ball hit my mask and splattered red paint along my goggles which was kind of freaky, but luckily didn’t hurt at all. However, I was dead and had to wait for the next round. The second round I chose to hide out in some building, but when I saw the building didn’t go through I had to leave. On my way out I got some guy hiding in the bushes, and felt proud of my first paintball kill. So I crept towards their flag and got to their “base”. Inside I could hear a bunch of “enemies” talking and waiting for someone to disrupt them. I knew I couldn’t take all of them so I decided to just bolt for their flag and run as fast as I could to my base. Unbelievably, I made it. That has always been my style, whether it be in video games or real life. I like to make strategies, but when it comes down to it I like to see the “flags” in front of me, abandon all reason and precaution, and just go for it. So we were tied and we started a new game. This time we were in a building and the other team had to try and steal our flag. I killed many people this round and we ended up winning. The next time we switched roles and we ended up winning that one too. So everyone was either out of bullets or tired. Finally it came down to Steven and I versus 5 Russian guys we didn’t know. The guy told us we were survivors and everyone else had a mission to kill us. It was pretty much a glorified hide and seek with guns—amazing! We found the best spot in this building and once they found where we were they tried to get us, but only ended up being showered with our paint. Steven and I came out victorious. It was a blast! But after running around in the heat of the day, wearing heavy cameo suits and carrying around our guns, we were exhausted and in serious need of water. I think after today, I have a newfound respect for our soldiers in the Middle East. They have to walk around with a ton more crap than I had on today and in an even hotter climate; and after waiting in a room with my special mission, hearing gunshots all around me, waiting for the enemy pop up so I can shoot them—Mercy...I’m glad I’m a missionary and not a soldier. That’s all I have to say. But, I thoroughly enjoyed the battle, the adrenaline, and the mission. It was a kind of adventure that I believe men crave.

After getting all hot, sweaty, and nasty we went to a fancy mall (that is very popular here, but that I’ve never been to) and had dinner at some pizza restaurant in order to say goodbye to Emily and one of Emily’s students that is going on a work/study program to America. All these goodbyes are starting and I still have a month left!

So with all this busyness piling up and all these goodbyes welling up I think this last month is going to fly by especially fast. My feelings are of course mixed. It will be bittersweet, but I have had, and keep having, amazing experiences here that will never leave me.

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