August 12, 2009


Last night Caleb and I played Monopoly. I found a complete Monopoly game at the Reuse Centre in Burlington a few months ago which I'm pretty sure is at least twenty years old, but still has enough of the pieces to be able to play a complete game. I love my Monopoly set. I wouldn't trade it for a newer version or an adaptation of it (you know, like Simpsons-opoly [at 3:30 on link] or the electronic version). It is just so very 'classic board game' and makes me think of family time, good-hearted competition, and laughter. Sitting down to the board with a Jones Soda as company we began the game that sometimes seems too too long.
Even though I love playing it, I never win at Monopoly. I don't know if it is that I can't strategize, I'm a fool with Monopoly money, or I just roll the dice poorly, but I always seem to lose. That is, until now.

Caleb has won every game of Monopoly we've ever played together, and I'm becoming quite a gracious loser. But last night when we started a game, I collected a few properties, was able to still keep some money to pay my taxes, community chest items, and jail bail - those things that usually catch me in the end. We stopped playing mid-way through because it was getting late, but I feel I might be on track for winning this one. Now, hopefully this mild gloating does not harken my downfall, but before we closed the game for the night something spectacular happened to me that might help me towards finally winning a game of Monopoly. When we play we put $100 in the centre of the board so if someone lands on the "free parking" spot they get the cash. But it is not just the $100 that end up there. We put into the pot all of our community chest and chance payments, our luxury taxes, and income taxes too. Caleb had landed on "free parking" a couple of times, and so did I. We each picked up a couple of hundred dollars in the process, a great incentive to buy more properties and play a little more ruthlessly. After a while though, no one had landed on the coveted square and the pot was growing to be quite large. A jackpot really. We both realized this and suddenly the game wasn't about the rest of the squares on the board, just that one. We would go through the motions on our turns until we headed down the stretch of the board with "free parking" at the end. "Come on dice!" we would shout while tossing the dice in hopes of landing on the spot. It was beckoning us. But, it was a little coy too. So often did we go around and just miss the square by one or two moves. And it just kept growing larger and larger. Caleb was in jail and needed to roll a ten. Miss. Rolled an 11 so paid the $50 (into the pot I might add) and moved just one beyond the jackpot square. I looked at him when it was my turn. "I'm so nervous," I told him. I don't know why, but I was really nervous that I wouldn't land on it. We had gone around the board so many times without landing on it, we just wanted the suspense to be over. One, two, three, four, five, six. Six on the dice was all I needed. It was late and we just wanted one of us to land on the coveted spot. Shaking the dice in my hand I tossed them onto the board and gasped in shock. SIX! I slowly bounced my little thimble the required number of spaces to "free parking" and reached over to the massive pile of money on the table. $1265 in total.
That climatic event is how last evening's game ended. The board is still set up on the table and tonight we might finish it. If not, I think I might be able to say that I have at least won one (half) game of Monopoly.

August 5, 2009

peeking through a pin-hole.

What I love most about traveling is the chance to experience a new culture. With that, new people. This summer I had an opportunity to travel to Kenya. After landing in Nairobi and making a 100km two-hour bus ride to Ndalani I knew I was in for a treat. I was part of a team that visited the Mully Children's Family where children rescued from a life of drugs, crime, and commercial sex are rehabilitated, educated, and integrated back into society. Out of all the great experiences I had while in Ndalani, one of the things I think I will remember best is the phrase "you are most welcome."
You are most welcome. It can be used in the same way most Canadians say "you're welcome" or "no problem!" but it can also be used as a greeting. I loved stepping off the bus and having Charles Mulli greet us saying "you are most welcome." The sincerity behind those four words was so great and you actually did feel like you were the most welcome. I want to try to integrate this greeting into my own vocabulary. And with it, the sincerity that lies behind it.
Spending time in Ndalani, Kenya was great because I was able to experience just a small portion of what Kenyan culture is. It was like peeking through a pinhole and catching just a glimpse of the greater image.

Tonight I made a pin-hole camera out of a mint-tin using these directions. I took one picture from the balcony of my apartment of the trees with the sun light shining on them. I'm going to save the rest of the film for another time and better photo opportunities. In the age of digital photography, using film is a little weird, and, it's making me a bit anxious because I do not know what my photo looks like. I'll post some of the photos once the roll is complete.

Well, since this is my first blog entry, I haven't decided yet if I want to have a catchy sign-off or not. But, I guess for now...

You are most welcome.
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