Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Thirds

I am now about two-thirds through the most memorable summer of my life. In May I embarked with two other students to Germany where I have been working as an intern at Böhringer-Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company. My German has been getting steadily better, but I worry about what will happen when I return to the States. The work and travel experiences that I have had here have been incredible, and I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity. Germany is a fantastic place, and I stand by my belief that it is the people that live in a place which makes it special. It was the same way with China, and I know that I will remember the people that I have interacted with much longer than I will ever remember the places that I have visited. The places are wonderful and beautiful, but the relationships much more so.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cartwheeling through life

So Dave's bachelor party was pretty great last night (kudos Ben). Some great paintballing was done, welts were received all around and a good time was had. We retired to Brasser's house for pizza, gaming and spirits (some more than others). Hopefully Dave had as good a time as I did, for we both had to drive home, and I enjoyed myself immensely. This morning brought a great breakthrough in Wushu. I was able to perform some cartwheels for the first time...quite the accomplishment for my too-tall, rather uncoordinated body--pretty much the best moment of my life. We'll see how much I enjoy doing engineering homework for the rest of the weekend. Probably a lot.

As of two minutes ago: if one more person complains to me for me not being their partner for beer pong, I might have to take drastic measures.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Ein hundert

Apparently this is the hundredth time that I've attempted to communicate something on the internet via this space (probably 96 times too many). Today is Easter, praise God for the Resurrection! It's even a nice day outside today, which is rather fitting. This morning brought a combined breakfast with Open Bible and GRCCC. It was a great mix of Chinese and Western fare, with some new friends. Lixin was baptized today! They did immersion for the two younger people and sprinkling for the older two. That adds up to four baptisms! It was wonderful. I couldn't stop grinning :D. Also, lunch with Grandpa, Grandma and Nathan was delightful. That is all.

等一等! Jetzt, yo voy 走一走. Guten Nachmittag.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Mountain bikes are not for touring

Nathan and I went on our first longer bike ride of the year yesterday: from Calvin to Rockford via the White Pine trail. It was quite the beautiful day, and our fellow road dwellers weren't even being jerks. Knapp Street was delightfully downhill (which made me worried about the way back), and Riverside park was full of vim and vigor. We made it to Rockford just fine, and had some lunch/supper before heading back.

At the outset of our return trip however, it became apparent that we would have to battle a headwind the whole way back. Twas quite the trip, and like the title says, I have to implore you not to tour with a mountain bike, unless you want a good workout, which is what we got. In general though, it was a fantastic ride and rather enjoyable. I think it was about 40 miles round-trip; perfect for an afternoon jaunt.

Man sagt auf Deutsch: ich konnte gestern Rad fahren.

Monday, March 22, 2010

武術 (Wushu)

So I had my first Wushu lesson today. Wushu is one of the Chinese martial arts. It employs staffs and swords pretty often, but luckily today was just the basics for me, other than some of the more basic staff work. This is going to take a while. I can barely even get the warmups yet :). No matter, it will just take a lot of practice.

Alotalotalot...of practice.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

I have the best friends

This is just a quick post, but I have to because I'm floored right now. This evening a couple of my housemates gave me a Chinese-English Bible as a belated birthday present. I was very much caught off guard and could not appreciate it more. I'm fortunate that God blessed me with amazing friends/housemates who are incredibly thoughful. Wo xihuan tamen henduo.

Gute Nacht, buenas noches, 晚安 and good night.
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Sunday, March 07, 2010


I had the most delightful Sunday, kind of. Let me rephrase that. From 2:15pm-3:45pm was the most delightful time I've had in a while. Today I decided to go to Chinese Church instead of Ada Bible. The church is about a minute's walk from my house, which is convenient to be sure. I have some friends who go there, and apparently some I didn't even know go there. At the last minute I got Scott to go with me (he was literally driving in as I was leaving and decided to go on the spot), which was fun. I was ok with going alone, but it was great to have a housemate along.
Just like in China, the church was incredible hospitable. The pastor spoke to us for a while after the service (he's originally from Malaysia, just like Wen!) I was especially very happy to see Penny (Lixin), Yang and Yujing there; they are great.
The pastor who preached was visiting, and originally from Indonesia, so he knew three languages. Since it was the first Sunday of the month, it was in English and Mandarin instead of the typical headsets. The pastor spoke about the Bible as God's gift to us, and our most important tool.
There was food afterward as well, which reminded me of Chinese breakfast in Shanghai...yummy. I will be going back next week :)

Oh, and the title says Chinese church. The first two characters mean China (middle kingdom).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rangeela 2010

Epic, wonderful, inspiring, beautiful. Oh, sorry, just describing Rangeela over here. It is a showcase of the many diverse cultures that Calvin is host to, put on by students. And it is awesome! One of my favorites was the Chinese act that combined a traditional fan dance, wushu martial arts sequence and an energetic Taiwanese hip-hop dance. I also enjoyed the Indonesian act, which had a kecak chanting sequence done by a small choir, accompanied by dance. These two were particularly interesting to me because I had experience Chinese culture in a very real way over interim (and knew some of the students) and had studied Indonesian music for my World Music class last year. It was cool to see an actual performance, even if it wasn't actually trance-induced ^_^. The last dance was great too. It was an African dance, all of the performers were dressed very colorfully and had lots of energy. I can't help but smile when I see all of the people up there. It's quite the event.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What makes you happy?

I like my roommate a lot, because he makes me think. Don't get me wrong, I think a lot. About heat transfer, thermodynamics and how to compute surface integrals. Those are all fine and good, but I think that other questions are usually more important.

On the way to Founders last night Mark asked, "Are you happy Steve?" Wow. I had to think about that (I think the question may have been in response to some of my bellyaching). I concluded that I was happy about some things and not others. The learning that I am able to do, and the problem solving are my favorite parts about studying at Calvin. Those parts that pertain to my future career. No problem there. The things I'm not happy about are maintaining a GPA at a certain level, trying to keep scholarships up and the constant nagging feeling that I should be working on hw, when I'm not. I think that these things have a place however; they help build character and mold you (just so long as you don't let them break you that is). I hope that I can keep asking myself this question with little deviation in answer.

That said, I think that we put too much stake in being happy. Perhaps fulfilled is a better way to be, or even are you in a position to make a real difference? I want to be both, but I'm not there yet.

How about you? Are you happy/fulfilled/doing something about something?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Una otra vez por favor!

Well, my time in China is done. I could not have enjoyed it more, in fact those were the most amazing 20 days of my life thus far. Immersion in another culture was amazing, especially in one so foreign to me. We're back now though and another semester must begin. It's been nice to be back in the house; I really enjoy living with these guys. Thus far the semester is looking pretty ok. I'm very much enjoying my German class as well as the engineering workload. This Monday I even did something crazy: instead of sitting in my room and doing hw all night, I went out and hung with new and old friends. Can you imagine that? This semester should be a little less busy for me, so I might have a social life for the first time in years. We'll see how this goes.


P.S. Shrews in haus; woher kommen sie?

Saturday, January 02, 2010


The loss of memory, a sense of self and knowledge of family is devastating. Similarly is it devastating to watch a loved one slowly succumb, knowing that nothing can be done. To see them confused, trying desperately to remember details, names and faces that once were ingrained, seemingly impossible to forget. For all of the anguish you feel for them, their experience is all the worse, you can't even understand. It's heartbreaking, but you give them a hug and talk all the same. I almost think it's worse in the middle, because the realization is there, that something is not right, that there is something missing. They know what is happening, but they know that there is nothing to be done. Everyone knows, but everyone is powerless, except to be a shoulder, to be a hug, to comfort. To comfort once, twice and many many more times. But that is what is family is for.

We went to clean the house today. Sometimes it seems we will be cleaning that place for years. I don't know how to end this post so I think I'll just leave it at that.