America, Celebration, Family, Funny, Missions, Summer, Travel

BFBFFL

It seems like every day the Internet is coming out with a new saying. Call it slang, call it an abbreviation, call it annoying, but I can’t keep up. I got the original ones: the lol, idk, idc, even the wbu, the ily, omw, I’ve got it. I got a little lost around the time when smh came about and I’m not sure I’ve caught up since then. But, I did catch the BFFL. 

Two things about this post to keep in mind:

1. I wrote this in November. Before they were even engaged. Because I knew. 

2. Jordan doesn’t know I’m posting this. Love you, Jorj! 

My BFFL (also known as best friend for life) just found her BFFL (a term recently coined by me, also known only by me as: boyfriend for life, which we can now call her fiancé. Or, we could just call him Jade) My big question is: can I call him my BFBFFL? (Best friend’s boyfriend for life) 

I’ll probably just continue to call him by his first name and save us all the confusion and explanations. 

They always say when you find “the one”, you’ll “just know”. I’m not sure who “they” is. I’m also unsure of who my “one” is because I’ve never “just known”. I’m pretty unsure of a lot of things in life, but in this case, my uncertainty produces certainty in the fact that I don’t think I’ve found “the one” yet. 

I think sometimes maybe it takes a little while to recognize “the one”. Which is what your friends are for. Here’s my version of the saying: when you find “the one”, you may not know it, but your best friend certainly will. 

Which is where I come into play. I just need it to be universally known: I called this. 

Let us rewind and I’ll take you back to the exact moment. Let me set the scene.

We were at a sweaty, dusty, tiny little airport in southern Laos and I was anxiously awaiting Jordan’s arrival. We’d made plans in the preceding months that I would arrive in Laos a week earlier than her to begin teaching a nutrition program with a missionary there and she’d join me to finish up. She would’ve come with me, but she had the small matter of graduating with her master’s degree standing in our way. So, she stayed to graduate.


After impatiently waiting for an hour, I finally spotted her. It wasn’t hard, being that we were the only two blonde people in the airport and stood a head taller than most everyone else. 


She’d told me on the phone from Thailand the night before that she had a lot to fill me in on from her graduation week. I got the story on the ceremony, the festivities, family updates and the guest list. Then, she mentioned that she’d met someone. They’d gone out with a group of mutual friends and he was sweet. They’d had a great time together. She proceeded to tell me about all of his best attributes and we both agreed that a lot of his qualities were what she was looking for in a significant other. There was only one down side to the transaction: he didn’t ask for her phone number.

Jade, we may never let you live this one down.

Note to all boys everywhere: if you meet a girl and you are interested in seeing her again, ask for her number. It’s the universal sign of interest. It will also save her (and her friends) the agony of trying to figure out if you really do like her and allow us all to skip to the “but how much do you think he likes me?” conversation instead. 

So, that’s where 75% of Jordan and I’s conversation ended up at for the next week. We went over the meeting, the conversations, the background, the exact exchanges. A Facebook friendship had begun, which was a decent substitute for the lack of phone number exchange. We atleast had that established. 

But, even though he hadn’t asked for her number yet and even though we weren’t 100% sure he was even interested, the more and more I heard Jordan talk about this guy, the more convinced I became that he was “the one”. Remember, she’d only met him the weekend before and I’d never even met him at this point, but I “just knew”.

So, I told her that. 

We were both in our cramped little hotel room, in the air conditioning, in the hottest part of the Lao afternoon, laying backwards on our twin sized beds, talking about this boy from Texas and I said: “Jordan, I think he might be ‘the one.'” 

And, she laughed. 

Not just like a light laugh, like haha, very funny. But, a real laugh. I was pretty certain though. 

I called it, ya’ll. From the very beginning. 

I’ll fast forward for you: phone numbers were exchanged, dating ensued, followed by a relationship, and here we are. 

I officially have a BFBFFL. 


Congrats, Jade and Jordan! I can’t wait to celebrate you guys (and the fact that I was right) for the next few months! 

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America, Culture, Family, Missions, Religion, Summer

WWJD? 

My grandma can now text. This is quite a novelty, seeing as how she was the type who swore she would never send a message when she could call. She finally came around and now she’s got an iPhone and an iPad, both of which she can competently send me messages from. Wanna know what I was doing on Wednesday night at 9:30 pm? Texting my grandma about a jello recipe and the merits of different paint brands. Welcome to the 21st century!

Unfortunately, someone updated her phone for her, wreaking havoc on her new texting skills. This resulted in a phone call that went something like “there’s all these little cartoon faces and I don’t know how to make them go away.” Those are called emojis, Grandma. 

One of the most recent texts I got from my grandma said: Brittney, I keep checking your blog and nothing! Please post more.

I have a bunch of posts written that I have lagged in posting. So, now, they’re not as timely as they once were, but still applicable. This was one I wrote after I got back from church camp at the very end of July. So, here you go, Grandma, enjoy! 

I’m unashamedly a 90s kid. I think everyone is at this point, seeing as how the 90s seem to be very “in”. But, I got the good part of the 90s. I was born in 1991, so most of my childhood was in that era. I knew every word to every Spice Girls song. I had a Skip It, a Tamagotchi, inflatable furniture, and a beaded curtain on my bedroom door (which was originally from the 70s, but made a brief comeback).

And, I had a WWJD bracelet. I’m not sure when these made their first debut, but if you were a Christian kid in America in the 90s, you had one. 

What Would Jesus Do? 

These bracelets were to serve as a reminder, when faced with day to day decisions, to ask yourself that question. 

Even though I don’t still wear my bracelet, I do still find myself asking that question quite a bit. It’s straightforward. And when I was young, I think it was a little bit easier to answer. 

Fighting with your brother? What would Jesus do? Um, well, I’m not sure Jesus would be fighting over who got to ride in the front seat of the car this time. But, I’m guessing if He were, He’d probably be nice and let His brother have it. 

Today, though, I asked myself that question. WWJD? Just what would Jesus do? Or better yet, what does Jesus want me to do? And you know what my answer was? Laundry. 

Laundry isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I also don’t hate it. The worst kind of laundry is the “I sweat in these clothes, then stuffed them in a bag and forgot about them” type, which is what I was faced with today.

There was a mix up on bags when we left camp and some of our bags got loaded with another church and to make a long story short, I was the one who was designated to sort it all out. Thus, the week old camp laundry that I’m now doing.


To be honest, I wasn’t even going to do the laundry. I was going to deliver it back to it’s owner in the condition I’d received it in and let someone else take care of it. But, a thought flashed through my mind. What would Jesus do? 

I know the owner of these clothes. I know the conditions she lives in, what her home life is like. And I know it may be difficult for her to access a washer and dryer. I also know that I have a washer and dryer at my disposal to use whenever I want to. I know that this is a fact I take for granted every single day of my life. I’ve never really stopped to think about what a blessing it is to have clean clothes. 

So, I’m doing laundry. 

Someone else’s laundry. Not because it’s what I want to do. But, because I know it’s what Jesus would do. 

I pray to be more like Him. I pray to be used by Him. But, I often look for the big things. “God, what do you want me to do? I want to serve You, I want to be a reflection of You.” These are the sentiments I often pray. And I envision God doing mighty works. 

What if all God is asking of me is to do laundry? What if He’s saying: “slow down, listen to me, look around, see how blessed you are, bless others in that same way”? 

We are all called to serve. But, we were never told what that service would look like. There were days that Jesus raised people from the dead. And there were other days that Jesus washed people’s feet. 

I don’t always know what my life’s calling is. All I know is that today, my calling was to wash clothes. 

“Whoever is faithful in little things will be faithful in much.” Luke 16:10

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America, Asia, Food, Funny, Missions, Summer, Travel

Dear Passenger

Dear Passenger:

• to the person with their window shade up on the 7 hour flight, how do you not know that is inappropriate? Everyone else has their windows closed. The lights in the cabin are turned off. It’s nap time. 

• to the lady boarding with her family and acting like she’s settling everyone in for a week at church camp, while announcing personal family instructions loudly: I appreciate your enthusiasm, I really do. However, I don’t really need to know when everyone needs to be taking their medicine. If you do need me to help you remind certain family members of their duties throughout this flight, I will be more than happy to do that for you. Just give me a copy of your schedule and I will keep an eye on the clock. 

• to the screaming child: it’s tough, I know. I’ve been up since 3:51 am too. It’s a long day. You’re hungry, I’m hungry. We’re all cramped up on this plane together. I feel your pain. And if it were socially appropriate for me to be screaming and crying right now, I might consider it. But, it’s not really “in good taste” for me to join you. Also, thank you for the reminder that I am, in fact, still not ready to have children of my own. I knew that already, but you’re really helping to nail down that point. Thanks, kid, message received. Loud and clear. 

• to the sweet Japanese flight attendant who keeps bringing me water: thank you for recognizing the fact that I am drained and dehydrated and semi-miserable at this point. I wish you would do something about the annoying person with their window shade still up. But, you won’t because you’re too nice and too busy bringing me water. So, I’ll choose to be thankful for hydration instead. 

• to the business man, clacking away on your laptop, I am glad you are using your time productively. However, I am currently on hour 4 of the Hunger Games movie trilogy and you’re just a little distracting. I’ll let it slide, but try to keep your vigorous typing to a minimum. Please and thank you! 

• to the singles posted up by the galley, I know you’re both trying to get your game on at 30,000 feet. It’s a good time to chat because you have nothing else to do. I know that. However, I need immediate and direct access to water and coffee. Which is in the galley. So, could you move your little meet and greet to another location? 

• to the person choosing the meals to serve on these flights, can I lock you in a closed in, airtight container in the middle of the night and open a tray of lukewarm fish over rice? Can I let you experience that smell? It isn’t pleasant. Who is designing these meals?! Who thinks this is a good idea? What happened to a simple sandwich? Maybe some chips? I don’t understand. 

• to the girl who got too little sleep and is overly ready to be home, take a chill pill, It’s going to be okay. The baby will quit crying, the sun will set, the stench of the gross airplane food will fade (slightly), you will eventually pass out on your tray table from sheer exhaustion, you’ll get where you’re going. And when you do, you’ll soon be ready to go again. It’ll be okay, Brittney. Sit back and enjoy the ride. 

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America, Asia, Beauty, Culture, Family, Health, Missions, Travel

Mother Roasting

I saw Mama Lao today. In case you missed hearing about her, you can see Be Nice. for reference. She saw me and immediately said (in Lao): my foreign daughter! I’m so glad to have you back! I’ve picked up the word for foreign: it’s pronounced like falong. So I always know when people are talking about me. Which seems to happen quite often around here.


I’m a little late on a Mother’s Day post. Things move a lot slower in Laos, so according to our standards, I’m probably right on time for Mother’s Day. Plus, they don’t really celebrate that holiday here, or atleast not at the same time as we do. 

It just so happened, though, that my Monday lesson was about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and introducing children to new foods. Did I mention that I was teaching this lesson to a room full of Lao ladies who have almost all been through this process? Did I also mention that I have never been through any of these processes? I think that should go without saying, but still. Book knowledge vs. real life experience never compares. 


And, as with everything else, they had quite a bit to teach me. Our sessions are really informal, with me introducing topics and then asking them questions about it. Then, inevitably, they’ll ask me questions about America and the way we do things. It’s a learning experience from both sides. Which I love. 

They asked me about water births. That’s something that is so foreign to them, so they wanted to know how it works, if it’s beneficial, etc. I know a little about the subject, so I was able to share with them what I knew. 

Then, they said: do you do mother roasting in America? 

That’s the literal translation of it. Mother roasting. 

I had read about it before, so I wasn’t unfamilar with the process or terminology. But, I’d read about it in the context of villagers in Cambodia. So, to be in a roomful of doctors who had experienced this surprised me.

Mother roasting starts right after child birth. They keep the new mother in a room, with coals under her bed and keep the temperature extremely hot. It’s supposed to be a cleansing process for her body. In some cases, the mother is also required to squat over hot coals as well, for cleansing purposes. And, they insist that every new mother take a scalding shower a few days after childbirth with water as hot as they can get it. 

The time for mother roasting varies from woman to woman. It’s essentially a time of confinement for the woman, where she stays in the house, alternating between time on the hot bed. Relatives will come visit and the woman does not cook at all during this time. A lot of them see it as a treat. It’s almost a welcome to motherhood. 

Most of the doctors said they had done it only for about two weeks after birth. Other mothers had their roast for 1 to even 3 months. It’s been 111 degrees here for a few days, so I can’t imagine being trapped in a hot room on top of the already unbearable heat. But, it’s a very culturally accepted and necessary practice. 

So, I’ve decided that I’ll wear the Lao skirt, I’ll eat the Lao noodles, but I don’t think mother roasting is a practice I’ll adopt. Once a falong, always a falong. 

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Asia, Auto, Food, Health, Missions, Religion, Travel

Not of this World

I’ve done it, guys. I think I finally have mastered the art of riding side saddle on a motorbike. Hands politely in my lap, balancing carefully as we go around the corners. I’m officially a Southeast Asian lady. 
So far, I think I’ve had my picture taken about 73 times since I’ve been here. This morning, I saw one of the ladies in our nutrition training session trying to take a picture of me as we were preparing to begin. So, I stopped what I was doing and stood still to smile for a picture. Because, if you’re going to take my picture, I atleast want it to be a good one. Then, that opened the door for personal pictures, so some of the other women took pictures with me. 


I forget sometimes that I stand out here. I’m trying my best to blend in. I wear the Lao skirt. I sit side saddle on the back of the motorbike as we navigate the streets of the town. I know their greeting, so I greet the people that I meet in their own language. I fold my hands and bow politely when I meet someone. 

Today, one of the women brought me a Lao traditional basket of black rice (because I had asked some questions about it yesterday), so I took it for lunch. As we were walking from the hospital back to the motorbike, with my Lao skirt on, carrying my Lao basket of rice, I thought to myself, I am blending in. Adopting a few of the customs. Dressing like them. Eating like them. 


Then, I looked up, came out of my day dream, and realized that I am a blonde girl, who is about a head taller than everyone here, and people are still staring at me. Actually, they’re staring at me more than if I were dressed in my normal clothes.

Why?

Because they can see by the way I look, by the way I act, by the way I speak, that I don’t really belong here. Not that I’m not welcome here. I feel very welcomed here. But, by taking on some of their culture and adapting to some of their ways, they’re wondering even more: who is she and what is she doing here? She’s obviously different, why is she trying to be the same?

The Bible speaks about this phenomenon a little bit too. In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul urges the believers to not conform to the pattern of this world. Again, in John 18:36, Jesus reminds us that His Kingdom is not here in this world, but beyond. 

As believers, we are called to be different. The way that Christ lived, the example that He gave for us to follow, doesn’t look anything like what this world promotes. Where we want to hate, Jesus said to love. Where we want to judge, Jesus said to forgive. Where we want to fight, Jesus said to make peace. 

Like me in a Lao skirt on the back of a motorbike, true believers stand out, even in the midst of the world all around us. Why?

Because we don’t belong here.

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America, Animals, Asia, Food, Health, Missions, Travel

Southern Fried

In the South, we fry things. Like everything. 

I’m pretty sure if it can be dipped in a batter and thrown in hot grease, it’s been tried in the southern states in America. We can all agree on this, right? 

Well, apparently in Southern Laos, they fry things too. 

Like things we’ve never thought of.

Our friend , Jenny


Fried june bugs, anyone? 


Haven’t seen that one at a state fair yet.. 

My real story starts out with me being smart. Like all the best stories do. I thought ahead before I came, planned my packing list, brought smart things. Like a clip fan. Because I knew what the rooms were like and air flow is important, so I thought, this is a smart bring.

And it was. So I got it out once I got here, proud of myself for thinking ahead, plugged it in (using a power adapter that I was smart to bring), and went about getting ready for my day. 

I noticed before I plugged it in that the plastic had broken slightly around the part that attaches the fan to the clip. So, being the smart Arkansas girl that I was, I thought, no problem, I’ll buy some duct tape. 

No problem, quick fix


About two minutes into putting my makeup on, I thought I smelled something. Slightly sweet. Maybe hair spray. But, I hadn’t used hair spray. Maybe my straightener. But, it wasn’t plugged in. Because the fan was plugged in. 

So, I lifted up the fan, no problems detected, went back to my task. But, the smell was getting stronger. So, I unplugged the fan because I thought it was circulating the smell and I wanted to identify what was causing it. Smart idea, right? 

Until I picked up the fan again. 


Fried. Fried in a whole new way. 

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Asia, Culture, Missions, Religion, Travel

Passport Pile Ups

There are literally 18 people on this flight. I know because I counted. This is my 4th trip (7th flight) on Lao Airlines, which I think should qualify me for Frequent Flyer status. 

Waking up from a jet lag induced sleep is probably like waking up from a coma. I wouldn’t know, but I feel like that’s maybe accurate. I slept really, really soundly and woke up in a dark, strange room by myself, wondering where I was at. I set my alarm for 9 am, to make sure I made it in time for breakfast. Which I did. A bowl of miso soup, a salad, rice, watermelon, and coffee. 

Breakfast of champions


Now that I think about it, I’ve had a salad for breakfast three mornings of the last ten mornings.. Strange. 

You always have plenty of time, until you don’t. I’m not the best at managing time, as noted in my number 1 instruction from my brother before I left: “Pay attention to the time.” 

I needed to leave the hotel in Bangkok to go back to the airport at 1:30 pm. That gave me the morning to work out, chill at the pool for a bit, then get ready to go. I made it to the airport perfectly on time, checked in with no problems, flight boarding at 3:15 pm. 


“Hope the lines aren’t long!” Famous last words. Security was fine, my bags only got searched once. Passport control: another story. I can tell something is going on as I approach the escalator to go down. Sure enough, I look down to see a sea of people. The passport control is so crowded that they won’t let anyone else go down til it clears. Looks like plenty of time just turned into running late. 


I’m at the front of the line to go down, so when I get on the floor, I go as far forward as I can and start trying to figure out how I can make my way ahead faster. This is where it comes in handy to be blonde. One older Chinese guy sees me looking a little concerned and yells at his friends to let me ahead. I take the small pass gladly and focus only on what’s in front of me. Which happens to be 300 other Asian tourists. 

I hate it when people start yelling in a crowd. But, add in the element of not being able to understand what is being yelled and it’s slightly terrifying. I’m in the middle of trying to elbow two Asian women out of the way because I was in line in front of them and they knew it, when I hear the yelling from behind. 


As I turn in the direction of the commotion, I quickly realize the escalator is going and people are still coming down, but we’ve run out of floor space. There’s a pile up at the bottom of the escalator, literally. People are just running into other people and falling down on top of each other. The ones coming down realize too late what’s going on and can’t turn around. The people on the floor have no where else to go. 

One American guy decides to bail off the side of the escalator as he gets closer to the bottom, which sends people into a panic, trying to get the escalator shut off. Which causes all the more yelling in about 5 different languages.

Finally, someone shuts down the whole operation, as people are trying to shove forward to make more room. My flight is boarding in 30 minutes and the line is still forever long. Causing me to panic. Because there is one Lao Airline flight per day. And I don’t wanna be stuck in Thailand. 

Somehow, I successfully manage to keep the Asian ladies from cutting in front of me, get my passport stamped and make it to the gate with a little time to spare. Check ya later, Bangkok! 

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