Friday, April 28, 2006

Countdown to Prague...

So things are really starting to come together for my summer in Prague. I'm getting very excited. I had been a little nervous because we hadn't had any group meetings, and I didn't know which other students would be going on the trip. Also, in case you weren't aware, accounting majors aren't the most social students. Sure, they're a pretty social group outside of class, but there's something about sitting in a classroom early in the morning and listening to a professor lecture about debits and credits and GAAP that pretty much sucks all of the life out of us.

Now I'm an accounting major, so that stuff does interest me, but it's just strange how it affects the classroom atmosphere. I'm not complaining. I'm extremely introverted and prefer to go to class, listen to the professor, not say a word, and then leave...however, the point I was getting at was that I don't really know any of these other people going anyway. There are accounting majors, finance majors, grad students, and then some who just want to go to Prague, I think (I'm not sure what they do). But the funny thing is that I found out a couple of weeks ago that my mom's best friend's (from jr. high) daughter is going on the trip, too! We've gotten together and talked about some of the things we want to do. My mom hadn't seen or talked to her friend in forever, but somehow, a friend mentioned my mom's friend, and my mom decided to contact her. Of course, they started talking about their kids like all moms do and eventually discovered we'd both be going to Prague.

Anyway, to wrap it up, we're going to be roommates and travel buddies. We've mapped out a general itinerary for our breaks (two 5 day, one 10 day) that includes some combination of Poland (Krakow and maybe Warsaw) Austria (Salzburg, Vienna), Italy (Rome, Venice, maybe Florence), Hungary (Budapest) and Germany (Berlin). We're trying to figure out the best way to travel...maybe using the Eurail Selectpass. I'm so excited because, although I've been to Europe many times, of the places listed above, I've only been to Italy (but I LOVE Italy). So, if anyone has been to those places and has any suggestions of things to see and do, please pass that info along.

Yeah, maybe that all sounds scary, but I'm pretty ambitious when it comes to traveling. I've been to Europe like nine times; wandered out in London, Paris, and Rome alone; lived in NYC all by myself. I've been on overnight trains, hauled massive pieces of lugguge through city transit systems, chased trams in the rain (still have the bruise to prove it), navigated crazy airports, dealt with flight attendants who insist I'm German even after I've told them I'm not, and experienced all kinds of other crazy situations. I love all of that excitement, which is weird if you know me because I'm so incredibly reserved, cautious, and laid-back (just ask my AIMS guy). I like plans and organization and assurance...but when I'm in big cities or in Europe, I get a huge adrenaline boost. I'm much more adventurous. I guess I figure I never know when I'll be here again, so the experience is worth the risks. So, scary? Maybe so. But exciting, too. Many people do it with less experience and knowledge than I have, so how hard can it be? Besides, I know how to say, "Go away, pumpkin head!" in Italian so I think I'm all set.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Caedmon's Call and "Share the Well" info.

Here's a great interview with Cliff Young of Caedmon's Call (my favorite band for as long as I can remember and unlike any other band out there) about a sequel that they are working on to their album "Share the Well." StW is a FANTASTIC album that deals with international missions, poverty and oppression in third world countries.

The entire album was recorded in India, Equador, and Brazil, and those foreign influences are very strong throughout the album. It's not a new album (it came out in 2004), but it's probably my favorite album (of all that I own), and it's one that I feel the need to promote every once in a while because I feel everyone should know about it and the causes it supports and issues it addresses (such as Compassion International, the Dalit Freedom Network, the oppression of the Dalits in India, and poverty and hunger in South America). This interview just brought the album back to mind, so I thought I'd mention it here.

I know several of my friends are familiar with CC, and the majority of people who own StW are long-time CC fans. It didn't sell very well due to poor marketing and lack of promotion, but that's another topic for another time. If any album deserved great promotion, it was this one. As a result, I believe the album actually lost money (apart from the proceeds that went directly to Compassion and DFN), but it's never been about money with Caedmon's Call. The members of the band actually hold "real" jobs in addition to being in the band, and the band is about to put their lives and jobs on hold and go out and do this all again because they believe in it so much. Hopefully, if we can do our part to let others know about Caedmon's Call and StW, the second StW will be able to do even more good than the first.

Anyway, there are a lot of people out there who would really appreciate this album but may not know about it, so check it out of you're one of them. If you like world missions, world music, or international travel, StW deserves your attention.

Here are some clips from and comments about the album:

And here are some links to the Dalit Freedom Network and Compassion International.

Friday, April 07, 2006

80 Things You Might Not Know About Me.

Stole this from Lorna....

80 things you might not know about me. Erase my answers, fill in your own, and re-post.

1. What is your middle name? Gail

2. How big is your bed? Full-sized

3. What are you listening to right now? The Fray.

4. What are the last four digits in your cell number? If you know me, you know the last four digits of my number.

5. What was the last thing you ate? A tangelo.

6. Last person you hugged? My grandmother.

7. How is the weather right now? This is one of the three or so days here that make me want to leave and never come back. 50 mph + winds and blowing dust; however, the wind did result in one of my professors getting smacked in the face by the lid of a trash can this morning, so that makes it all worth it. I don't really like him.

8. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My mom.

9. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Height. The first thing I notice about anyone is height. I'm still a little bitter that I ended up being short.

10. Favorite type of Food? Tex-Mex, Italian.....definitely NOT fish.

11. Do you want children? According to Allye, I'm going to have four of them and name them all after characters on Nickelodeon shows.

12. Do you get high? No, I'm afraid of heights.

13. Ever get so drunk you don't remember the entire night? Not a drinker.

14. Hair color? Dirty blond. Someone needs to come up with another name for that hair color, because I wash my hair A LOT.

15. Eye color? Blue/Green. Depends on what I'm wearing.

16. Do you wear eye contacts? I have some. Wear them occasionally, but I prefer glasses. Don't really like things in my eyes.

17. Favorite holiday? Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July.

18. Favorite Season? Depends on where I am.

19. Have you ever cried over a girl/boy? No.

20. Last Movie you Watched? High Fidelity.

21. What books are you reading? Intermediate Accounting. Operations Management. Accounting Information Systems. Just finished a book and haven't chosen a new one yet.

(Where'd 22-29 go?)

30. Piercings? Just the ears.

31. Favorite Movie? Hoosiers, Mystic Pizza, About a Boy, Gone With the Wind, The Little Mermaid, A League of Their Own, Rudy, The Last Metro, Cinema Paradiso, Harry Potter, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Love Actually, The Princess Bride, French Kiss, Almost Famous, Braveheart, Die Hard 3. Oh, and the Pippi Longstocking movies. Seriously.

32. Favorite college football Team? Tech (because Mike Leach's offense is REALLY fun to watch...not because I like Tech) and anyone playing against UT.

33. What were you doing before filling this out? Checking my email.

34. Any pets? My grandmother's dog, Holly, but I love her like she's my own.

35. AIM? Once again, if you know me, you know my sn.

36. Dogs or cats? contest.

38. Favorite Flower? Tulips...and several flowers that I saw in Scotland and Ireland but don't know what they're called.

40. Have you ever loved someone? I love lots of people.

41. Who would you like to see right now? My grandfather. :( And I could say Lorna, but I ran into her once today already, and once is enough for me. ;) No...Lorna, you can see me anytime.

43. Have you ever fired a gun? No...Guns are scary, but I support the right to carry them, and I hope to learn how to use one someday. My host sister in France never believed that I didn't own a gun. She thinks all Texans do...and that we have gunfights in the streets at noon.

44. Do you like to travel by plane? YES! Once again...scary, but fun. I love when the takeoff slams you back into the seat!

45. Right-handed or Left-handed? Right-handed. But I shoot the basketball with both. It's strange.

46. If you could go to any place right now where would you go? The French Riviera, Tuscany, or Scotland. I'll go anywhere if you just give me a ticket. I'm going to Prague this summer and can't wait.

48. Are you missing someone? Yes.

49. Do you have a tattoo? No. I used to get fake flamingo ones in the summer when I was little, though.

50. Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings? No, but every once in a while, I'll find one I want to watch. Does "The Simpsons" count? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

51. Are you hiding something from someone? I'm sure I am. I used to hide things from my brother, and it's very likely that something is still hidden and I've forgotten about it.

52. Are you 18? No.

53. What is the wallpaper on your cellphone? A picture of my grandfather so I am reminded of him everytime I use my phone.

54. Did you get enough sleep last night? Yes, surprisingly.

55. First thing you thought about this morning? Why was it so freaking hot in my room?

56. What do you have handy at your bedside? Water, books, alarm clock.

57. Grilled or fried? Depends....mostly grilled.

59. What makes you unique? I don't know. You tell me. I'm not good at those kinds of questions. My jaw subluxates each time I open my mouth past a certain point. Not so much something unique as it is something really painful and annoying. And I can make my kneecaps dance. I guess I've seen more of the world than most people my age have.

60. Are you afraid of the dark? It depends. What's the setting?

61. Favorite hangout? My room.

62. 3 things you can't live without? Faith, family, friends.

63. First thing you would buy if you were given $1,000? I'd use it to go somewhere fun.

64. Favorite song? Too many. If you're want to know my favorite current hits, I really like "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter (although it's being way overplayed, so I expect to start disliking it pretty soon), "How to Save a Life" and "Heaven Forbid" by The Fray or "X&Y" by Coldplay.

65. What are you afraid of? Heights (especially "small" ones), sharks, those floor-to-ceiling windows freak me out, snakes, bad guys, my brother.

66. Are you a giver or a taker? Both.

67. What are your nicknames? Whit, Whitter, Whit-Whit, Sha Whit Whit (thanks, Powells), Oh But.

68. What is your dad's middle name? Whitney.

69. What's your mother's middle name? Gail.

70. What if you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one thing? A fully-functioning airplane (that comes with a pilot). Then I wouldn't really be stuck. But it's an unrealistic question so I can give an unrealistic answer. Okay, maybe it's not so unrealistic since my parents just told me they were once almost stranded on an island.

71. Favorite TV commercial? Definitely NOT that Harley one that played during every commercial break of March Madness. I really like the light beer one right now where the guy tackles the girl on the football field and then she tackles him in the bar. Or the one with John Lovitz (for Subway, I think) where he says, "She makes me anxious! And now, dinner!" in that funny voice. Sure, the commercial's pretty stupid, but that makes it worth it.

72. Who's your cellphone provider? Cellular One. No,'s Alltel, now.

73. First thing you'll save in a fire? Myself, it I'm the only one there. Wait....what's at risk in this fire?

74. Favorite color? Blue, green.

76. What did you wanna be when you were a kid? First, a whale trainer at Sea World. Then, a doctor.

77. What do you usually do when the clock goes off? hit "Snooze" about 8 times.

78. Color of your bedsheet? White with reddish flowers.

79. Who do you want to meet? Joan of Arc, Tim Duncan, Donald Trump (I'd have so much fun!)

80. What do you think about before you go to bed? What I have to do tomorrow.