Notes that I made during my recent trip to Chicago and Istanbul:
1. Turkish Airlines safety video features… Rooney, Nani, Smalling, Fletcher, Fabio, and Rafael. I really should have taken the Emirates. (Enjoy playing in the Europa League, though.)
2. I spent my time on the plane watching The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Friends. Just realized that the housing agent in Friends is Dr. Reid’s mum in Criminal Minds.
3. Went to Willow Creek Chicago. An anti-war US Evangelical church is not an oxymoron after all.
4. Still wondered why KFC needs to change to KGC.
5. Chicago is damn cold. I had cramps in both of my legs during the first night. And this conference is huge.
6. In America, paradoxically, the poorer you are, the fatter you will be. You know what to expect if junk food is the cheapest food around. Obesity and spending- or consumption-based economy do make a perfect pair, though.
7. I think the world’s food problem can be partly alleviated by reducing the size of U.S. servings. It is a win-win solution as well, as it will improve significantly the health of its population and reduce the extraorbitant cost of its healthcare, especially as they are trying now to reduce their budget deficit.
8. Speaking of healthcare, I am definitely getting fatter. Really must shed lots of weight, not only for the wedding, but also for long term prognosis. I believe obesity is the single highest risk factor for a lot of diseases.
9. Just knew that Walgreens is not related to Walmart.
10. IFES is very well known in Wheaton. Not surprising, though, considering Wheaton’s status as the Evangelical Mecca. And Nick Perrin (NT prof at Wheaton, former research assistant of Tom Wright) used to be IVCF staffworker.
11. Authors prominent in Wheaton bookstore: Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, Wright, Piper, Willard, and Bonhoeffer.
12. Lesson #1: Day of most conceptions: Friday. Least: Wednesday and Sunday. #notsurprising
13. Lesson #2: Surgeons who play video games make fewer surgery errors. #iloveangrybirds
14. Lesson #3: Apparently eating curry and drinking red wine will reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
15. The Turkish must be my long lost friends, since everyone will say to me, “Hello my friend!” Nah, they just want to sell their things.
16. Just knew that tulip is huge for Moslems (more specifically, for Islamic art), as the word for tulip in Arabic is similar to Allah. Now, any similarity with Calvinists should be (ironically) coincidental, right, although it is indeed remarkable that a sovereign god seems to have a preferential option for a particular type of flower. Don’t ask me why, although perhaps we know the answer already: because he chooses it freely.
17. I saw the sword of David, the rod of Moses, the turban of Joseph, the bones of John the Baptist, and the beard of Muhammad in a former-palace-now-museum in Istanbul. I think this justifies historical criticism. We need it badly.
18. Ride the metro if you are going to Istanbul. It is much cheaper than airport transport provided by your travels.
19. To explain a visit to an Orthodox church is an impossible task, as it involves not only your sight, which can still be replicated by current technology, but also your scent. It is fascinating to say the least.
20. And, now I understand why Protestants are doubly heretics for the Orthodox. These ancient Christians are simply… different. We have gone a very, very long way from them.
21. Chora Church is gorgeous. And this is how the ancient Christians picturing Joachim making out with Anna. They are the parents of Mary, by the way.
22. I shared the same plane with Bishop Robert Solomon. I think he just came back from a tour to Israel.
23. Listening to Singaporean voices in Istanbul is good news to these ears. By the way, I shared the return flight with Indonesians coming from a tour in Turkey and Singaporeans coming from a tour in Israel. To the Indonesians I become like a Singaporean, to the Singaporeans I become like an Indonesian. I am an anti-Paul. #identitycrisis
24. I am running out episodes of The Big Bang Theory for my return flight to Singapore. #firstworldpains
25. Hitler wanted to rule Europe. Merkel has achieved it without having to wage a war.
26. I bought Kindle Touch. The big question now is whether I can restrain myself from purchasing books promiscuously given the sheer simplicity of the process now. Buying books is just one-click away.