Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Site

I haven't disappeared, in case you were worried!!!!!

The reason I haven't posted in a while is that I have been working on a new website---it has a lot more freedom than my blog and all sorts of fun sections (music, art stuff, photos, blog, etc.). Come on over and see it! click on the link below, or if that doesn't work, copy this link and paste it into your browser

  • Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Bad Day

    Sunday was a bad day.

    Bad day is an understatement for Sunday. Sunday was such a bad day that it is my new standard for bad days. Anytime from now on that I think I'm having a bad day, I'll ask myself this question:

    "Are you having a threw up twice on the sidewalk outside the Amsterdam airport and then got on a plane for 2 hours of turbulence, only to come home and have your body continue to try as violently as possible to expel whatever neon green thing you ingested kind of day? No? Then it's not that bad."

    New term for a bad day: stomach flu in the airport bad.

    So next time you have a bad day, ask yourself, "Was it a stomach flu in the airport bad day?"

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    A Bit of Poetry

    The Exodus--(written during worship at Zolder 50 in Amsterdam)

    I have been a slave.
    To performance
    To others
    To food
    To that never ending need for approval.
    I have been a slave
    But I am not a slave now.
    Now, I look out at the desert
    The forty years of wandering to cross
    and slavery beckons
    "Come, rest.
    Come back, leave the desert
    Your masters are waiting
    Come, rest."
    My mouth waters
    My head turns back to what was
    To the call to rest.
    But that rest is death.

    In my exodus, God
    You are the sea that let me pass
    You are the finish line out of slavery
    and the beginning of the journey
    Cloud and fire
    Water upon water
    Point of no return.
    You are the point of no return
    and you are the promised land.
    You are present in my exodus.

    You are the God who brought me
    over and over
    out of my egypt
    from my masters
    I will open my mouth wide
    and wait for you to fill it.

    You are the sea that let me pass
    You are the point of no return
    You are the end in sight
    You are the beginning of the journey
    You are master of my exodus.

    I was a slave
    But I am not a slave

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    four percent

    He's raising the rent 4%. Decent news, considering he could have raised it much more, but still a bummer that it's an extra 40 a month. Praise God that it's something we can afford!

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    Please Pray

    Just a quick post tonight.

    I got an email today from my landlord saying we need to get together to discuss next year's contract (September is the last month on this year), so we're meeting for drinks on Tuesday night. Legally he has the right to raise the rent a certain percentage if he wants--most people raise it along with the cost of living each year. It's not a ton of money, but we can't really afford to raise the rent much more.

    So pray that God will provide in one way or another, be that through no raise, small raise, or finances to handle the raise.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    The Best Kiss

    I was kissed yesterday. It was a wonderful kiss, the kind you never forget. Other than family, I've been memorably kissed by very few people--a couple silly boys in high school, a peck on the cheek from a friend. Everyone I meet in Spain. Two kisses (one on each cheek) is how we greet, and since I've moved here, it has become as casual as a handshake.

    But yesterday, this kiss moved me. I'm still thinking about it.

    Her name is Consolación. I would not even venture to guess how old she is, but by her bent back and lined face, I know she's older than my 25 year old joven brain thinks I'll ever be. Consolación wears all black, from her dress to her headscarf, and she bends over double over her cane as she begs on the street. Victoria wrote about her today. Click on her name to go to a wonderful, beautiful description of this woman. I'm not even going to try to describe her after reading that.

    But back to that kiss....actually, back to 45 minutes before the kiss.

    I didn't feel like taking sandwiches out yesterday. We had done the shopping, made the tuna, put them together, wrapped them, and loaded up the backpacks, and I just didn't feel like going. I was tired. I was having people over for a dinner later that night and hadn't even gone to the fruterí­a for the zucchini or the pollerí­a for the chicken yet. I had things to do.

    But these sandwiches are important to the people who get them, people who don't take their meals for granted and who don't have the luxury of going to the fruterí­a for zucchini and the pollerí­a for chicken to make dinner for 6. I know this, but I still didn't feel like going.

    So as Amy, Victoria, and I prayed before going out, I reluctantly, silently, prayed in my heart: "God, help me to be where I am and not thinking about what comes next. Help me to give my time freely and joyfully."

    We started to walk. One sandwich down, two, three, four. A couple familiar faces from the weeks before. A couple new names to try to commit to memory for the next Friday afternoon. And then there she was. Consolación. I hadn't really seen her face in the few weeks before, even when I bent down to help her put the sandwich and juice box into her pouch. Something in me lifted when I saw her hunched frame.

    "Hola, Consolación," was all I said, starting to unzip my backpack to pull out the sandwich. Her head turned up and her hand reached out. Her whole face smiled as she pulled me toward her and kissed one cheek and then the other.

    "Aquí­ vienes para traerme comida" she said. Then she kissed Victoria and Amy as well.

    My head was swimming from the kiss still, from the touch of her old hand on the back of my head, the pull that was so strong, bringing my face down next to her face.

    Her eyes shifted to the people across the street watching our exchange. She raised her voice a bit.
    "Esos allí nos están mirando porque estamos besando. ¡MIRA, GILIPOLLAS!"
    Translation: "Those people are looking at us because we're kissing. Look, ***holes!"

    I held back my laugh as she patted my face before we walked on. "See you next Friday!"

    I couldn't stop smiling.

    The rest of the afternoon, that night during the dinner, and today, I keep thinking about that kiss, that pull, that face, her name. Consolación.

    Those are the best kinds of kisses.

    More thoughts on Home

    I was just going to title this post "Home," and then I realized that my last post was about home as well. For some reason, the theme of home is coming up. Odd.

    Living cross culturally makes home a very fluid concept sometimes. I remember reading something when I first moved here about cultural adjustment. I don't remember the quote exactly, but it goes something like this :

    First, you miss home. Then you feel like no place is home. Later, you realize that every place is home. Finally, you come to the realization that your home is not of this earth.

    It's not an exact quote, but that's the general feeling of it. I read the quote over 2 years ago, in early 2004. It stuck with me then because I missed home and needed to be reassured that this would pass. It did pass.

    It sticks with me now for different reasons.

    The culture a person comes from shapes them--their worldview, their language, their mannerisms, the way they think and process information. But what happens when you experience more than one culture? What happens when you see your own from the outside?

    Your opinions change and then change again. Your working definition of normal usually lasts about 3-6 months before it has to be redefined. "Where are you from?" becomes an increasingly difficult question to answer.

    And once in a while there are these moments of clarity--sometimes wonderful, sometimes painful. Sometimes it comes through an article on the news, a movie, or a conversation. A sudden realization of something else that has changed. I am watching The Motorcycle Diaries with a couple friends right now, and am typing this quote from the movie as I watch because it sums it up better than I can.

    "Yo ya no soy yo. Por lo menos no soy el mismo yo anterior"
    Translation: I'm not me anymore, at least I'm not the same me I was.

    This is where I am right now. But as I started to whine about it today, this is the conversation that happened in my heart.

    I don't know where home is.
    "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

    I may never be understood again, in Spain or in the U.S.
    He was despised and rejected.

    I can't have a normal life anymore--not even sure what it is--not even sure I want it.

    Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    but made himself nothing.

    God, I long for the day that I can honestly know down to my very bones that my home is with You. When I no longer need to be justified, understood, right, accepted, or normal. When I can rejoice in seeing your reflection on the faces of everyone, and that reflection reminds me I am home. I know this in my head. Jesus, teach my heart.

    "Yo ya no soy yo. Por lo menos no soy el mismo yo anterior."