Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Blog, Personal Stories | 0 comments

So I’ve been running around like crazy the last month or so. I mean crazy. I met my deadline at the end of last month and released my first novel, which took a lot more out of me than expected. I was working all day, then staying up until 4am working to get White Shores off to my printers in time. Then we had a release party on my birthday which was a blast (thanks Liz and everyone that put that on)!

Jannelle-Reading-White-Shores

White-Shores-Signed-By-Fans

John-Foster-with-White-Shores

I had the Goins family here for almost a week, then met someone I ended up spending a lot of time with as well. More on that someday in the future. Thanks though Jesse. Things then got all crazy as we prepared for the AMIFF 2011 (Africa Mercy Independent Film Festival). My buddy Beau did a ton of the leg work on the most amazing, creative prizes I think any film festival has ever seen. And yes, you know him – the Beau Chevassus – he went to Whitworth – is You Tube famous – kicks really hard.

Cathy-and-Kyler-Goins-observing-surgery-Africa-Mercy

The-Goins-in-Africa-with-Jay-Swanson

AMIFF-2011-bottle-caps

Gary-Parker

I was involved in multiple projects, but put most of my energy into editing a “So You Think You Can Dance  – Sierra Leone” and a ton of energy into Beau and my “Chicken Fight.” I’ll link to it once we get it up, but it was disqualified for like 23 different reasons. Chaplaincy intervention and all. Granted it was intentional – how lame is it to have two guys set up a film festival only to try and win it themselves? We just wanted to participate.

 So-you-think-you-can-dance-sierra-leone-best-picture

Chicken-Fight-Beau-and-Liz-Chevassus-and-Jay-Swanson

Beau-narrowly-escaping-death-by-spoon

We won the Razzie award – last place… a bag of rice as the prize. Ha… ha… thanks Beau. Thankfully my other project took first, so I’ll be enjoying the spoils on both ends.

Jay-and-Beau-and-the-Razzie

chaplaincy-intervention-chicken-fight

As for answering questions, since that’s what this was supposed to be about, I’ve been receiving a lot along the same lines. They go like this:

“How are you feeling now that your time is wrapping up with Mercy Ships?”

“When are you getting back to the States again?”

etc.

 

I guess there’s smoke in the air so let me try to clear it up. I’ve been with Mercy Ships for over a year now, yes, this is true. However Mercy Ships officially recognizes my time starting when I got to the ship, not when I started any form of training. So I’ve only technically been with Mercy Ships since December 1st – or 8.5 months. Confused by the math yet? I am… but I was never all that good at math.

I’ve signed up for 2 years, so I’ll be here for another 16 months. Or – until December 1st 2012. Unless God moves clearly I’m staying where I’ve been called. That said, you might be wondering when I’ll be coming home for vacation. The thing is, I don’t think I will. There’s a chance I might next year, but I probably won’t. This might make you unhappy with me, so I’ll try to explain. Here’s why:

I’m going to spend 25 days vacation in France for about the same amount I would have paid for just a plane ticket to Washington. Possibly less. And it will be a lot less stressful. Don’t take this the wrong way if you’re one of my home-friends. The thing is that Spokane, and the West Coast in general, is so spread out it makes seeing people really difficult. My family is in Texas and Portland and north-central Washington. My friends have dispersed to the wind. You all have busy lives, and in the end I’d end up sitting around Starbucks on Hamilton and Sharpe for a few weeks before a 2-day trip back to Sierra Leone.

Doesn’t sound particularly relaxing in the end.

And it would cost a lot more. AND I have friends in France and Switzerland that I haven’t seen in 3 years! It’s time to pay them a visit.

So if you want to bring me home, I’d love to make the trip for a bit. But I think I’ll spend some time under the Eiffel Tower and on the beach at Nice for now. Besides, I’m hoping to avoid people for a while. I live with 400+ people in a tin can, I need space. And I’m REALLY hoping to finish the first draft of my second book. I think Paris should be a good spot to do that, don’t you?

I’m dying to speak French again – dying for some pain au chocolat – dying for strawberries! And college football, but I won’t be getting any of that.

And that should answer those “when are you coming home/what’s up with your vacation” questions. If you’d love to add to the “Feed Jay Fresh Strawberries” fund, you can do so here =)

I also learned how to draw blood and pierce ears – in case you needed more ridiculous photos. Consider this a reward for making it this far into the blog post.

Jay-Swanson-learning-to-draw-blood

Jay-Swanson-piercing-Rachel-Bethke's-ear

Jay-Swanson-successfully-pierced-Rachel's-ear