What I’ll miss … and What I Wont

2 12 2011

I’ll be home in 12 days. This seems a little bit crazy, but it is what it is. So here are some things I’m definitely going to miss.

1. Monica and Alvaro. I’m not really sure how to say “thank you” and “I love you” enough or in the right ways to express my gratitude and admiration for them.

2. My new friends. So grateful that social networking sites have made the world a little bit smaller. It’s definitely not the same, but I’m grateful we’ll have something.

3. Hot dogs.

4. My students. This should probably have been listed before hot dogs, since I will miss them more. They made me laugh and taught me, by far, more than I could have ever taught them. so grateful for this opportunity.

5. Vacation. I’m going to have to get a job again when I move back. I will have gone roughly six weeks completely unemployed when it’s all said and done…so yea, I’m going to have a hard time switching out of lazy mode.

6. Juices. They make juice fresh for every meal. And they are all really good. I’m going to miss Lulo juice especially. I just shed a tear over the Lulo.

Now, here are a few things I will not miss.

1. The smell of the soap used in mopping here at the house. It burns my nose 😦

2. Everybody honking at everybody on the road. It really stresses me out.

3. rice.

4. not being able to drive. 5 months without driving is waaaayyyy too long. I’m looking forward to being behind the wheel again.

5. Not being able to understand what’s going on. I like being fully in the loop. That doesn’t happen often when there is a major language barrier.

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What a week

18 09 2011

So, this has been one strange week.

Sunday I stayed home from church because my cough had just worn me out. Did the same on Monday and Tuesday. So, I didn’t go outside for like 3 whole days.

Then, Tuesday night I went to stay with some friends until today because Monica and Alvaro were out of the country on a pastor’s trip. Fortunately, I really like the family I stayed with so it wasn’t unpleasant at all.

Wednesday I finally went back to school but was ridiculously ill-prepared. I even forgot my class schedule so I just tried to wing it. I will never do that again! Ever!!

Thursday I went to visit another school and I loved it there too. One of the students there was so impressed by me that she sent a gift for me with her teacher today. Toblerone chocolate 🙂

Also, on Thursday, when I got back to where I was staying, I learned the my Grandpa had died that morning. It is very difficult not getting to be there with my family during this time. It makes you re-evaluate things. And my family has been so understanding of why I can’t be there for the funeral. Their support has made it easier to be so far away. I need to see them more, and before the next funeral.

Friday was the school’s celebration of Love and Friendship Day (Colombian Valentine’s, basically), so the kids were distracted by their excitement and the classes were having parties so it was another weird day.

Today (Saturday), Monica and Alvaro got back. I really missed them. I was glad to have my Colombian mom and dad back.

But then Monica asked for my passport. We were planning on going to the immigration people this week to extend my stay. Well we discovered that I was only given 30 days….I’m on day 66. We may have some issues with that extension. I’m praying everything works out because I’m just not ready to come home, despite the homesickness. If it doesn’t, it looks like I may be deported, or worse: fined.





It Hurts Like a Billy-Oh

30 08 2011

This post is very personal.  It’s a bit more personal than I’m comfortable with, but I think that I should share it anyway because people want to know what this whole experience is like, not just the good parts.  Right?

This week was rough.  We’re talkin’ curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-cry-myself-to-sleep rough.

I was lonely.  Not the kind of lonely that made me want to go home.  Not the kind of lonely borne out of self-pity.  It was an entirely new kind of lonely.  It was isolation.  Yes, I have friends here.  Yes, I live with people who speak English.  Yes, I can call home whenever I want.

But I was still lonely.

Have you ever had an experience of loss (a break-up, death, end of a friendship, etc.) ?  Do you remember how it felt like something was literally ripping open your chest?  That’s what this felt like, except without the loss.

I emailed by pastor back home asking him to pray with me and for me.  I told him that I needed an English-speaking friend that was fully, 100% fluent that I could have an easy conversation with (perhaps even a thoughtful, deep conversation) or I was going to have a meltdown.  In typical Chris Green fashion, he encouraged me to embrace the isolation, to lean into God, and to not resent the process.

I’m trying. It’s not easy.  And I’m fairly certain I have some more time in this lonliness before I get the friend I so desperately want…if I get the friend.

Upon reflecting on this time, I was reminded of the book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (part of The Chronicles of Narnia).  In the story, there is a character named Eustace.  Lewis writes, “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

He is not very likeable and he doesn’t try to be.  He resents the fact that he is in Narnia and that he is stuck on the ship, “The Dawn Treader,” against his will.  The crew lands on an island where a dragon lives. Eustace, in attempt to avoid work,  stumbles upon the dragon only to discover that it is dying.  He decides to tell everyone that he killed the dragon.

Now, as we all know, dragons are hoarders of treasure.

With the dragon dead, Eustace finds that he is surrounded by all sorts of gold and diamonds and jewels.  He finds a golden bracelet and puts it as high on his arm as he can so that it won’t come off.  Then he falls asleep.  When he wakes, he discovers that he has turned into a dragon overnight.  This discovery of his dragoned self humbles Eustace and he seeks to make amends with the crew for his behaviour, but that’s difficult since he’s a dragon that can’t talk. It seems that he is set to be a dragon forever now.

But then comes this beautiful scene. Aslan comes to Eustace and tells him to unrobe.  Eustace tries to remove the dragon skin several times, but each time he finds that he is just as much a dragon as he was before.  Finally, Aslan helps him.  The way to remove the dragon skin is deep, painful clawing into the flesh.

This is how Eustace describes it:

“Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep and I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

All that to say: If I need to be undragoned, so be it.  It hurts like a billy-oh, but it is necessary.  I cannot undragon myself.  If this is part of the process, I welcome it.  I don’t want to be a dragon anymore.





The Sacraments

7 08 2011

I’ve been going to church here now for basically a month. Sometimes I have a translator, but mostly I do not. I know some of the praise and worship songs in English. I try to sing along to those, but it is difficult singing in English when they are singing in Spanish. And everyone greets everyone with a kiss on the cheek. I forget sometimes and there’s an awkward half hand-shake half kiss between me and some poor Colombian citizen who was unfortunate enough to try to greet me.

Most of the time I feel very out-of-place and totally confused.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy it. I try really hard to listen to the words of the songs and sermon. I pray that I will pick up on the gist of what is going on. So far, I am failing. But I have ample opportunity to try again and again.

But today, for the first time, I understood what was happening.  We took communion together.  It was a very powerful moment for me.  Yes, I’ve taken communion in other churches and in another country before, but it was not this meaningful for me.  I noticed my excitement for understanding something in the service.  Then I realized it was an excitement for the Meal.  I remembered something my pastor Chris back home said once: Any Christian at any time should be able to go to a service and know it is Christian by this meal.  Or something like that.

This meal transcends the awkwardness of being a gringa in a Latin church.  It made me a part of this community in ways that I will never understand.  It was the first time that I wasn’t just following someone else’s lead (sit down, stand up, pray, sing, etc.).  I was following the same lead as everyone else. I was responding to the invitation, “Come and eat.”

Then, there were three baptisms.  It was very moving to watch these three officially enter into the family, especially considering my revelation during communion.

These Sacraments are what make me a part of this body, not my ability to speak Spanish or play guitar or any of that.  It was good to remember that.





more lists. I really REALLY like lists.

12 04 2011

Duh! Whining!

I think I have the beginnings of a sinus infection again.  This would be the second one for the year.  Awesome.  NOT!  My nose burns, I have one tooth that has become overly sensitive to cold in the last three days, a cough that won’t stop, and a pounding headache caused by said cough.  I’m a tad bit miserable and I feel like whining.  So I will.  I really want to be resting, but I can’t.  I have to work and I have to write a paper. I think the stress of the paper is the instigator of all my health problems right now.  boo.

30 Day Push Goal Challenge:

On Sunday, I had to rewrite my 10 goals for the year.  I decided I would share with you.  I didn’t look back at last weeks so this is all fresh from my head:

1. pay off credit card
2. apply for PhD
3. successful VBS for Divine Life
4. $500 in savings/emergency fund
5. send out resume to schools so I can teach
6. buy a bed
7. visit my dad in Phoenix
8. improve my Mary Kay sales
9. lose the weight!
10. Save up $300 for Christmas

I love goals.  They make me happy, especially when I knock them off the list because they are complete!!

Top Ten Lists:

Because I love lists, I have two more to share with you:

Top 10 cities in US that I must visit:

1. NYC – check!  went in Dec 09
2. Boston – check! went in July 09
3. D.C.
4. Miami
5. Vegas – went once as a kid, would like to go as an adult
6. Orlando
7. San Diego
8. Los Angeles
9. Seattle
10. San Francisco

Top 10 Non-US places to visit:

1. Ireland
2. Russia
3. Greece
4. Egypt
5. Italy
6. New Zealand
7. Australia
8. France
9. Germany
10. Spain

I love to travel.  I need to travel!

Today in History:

1633: Galileo is convicted of heresy

Anyone want to guess his heresy?????  Heliocentrism.

Galileo believed the earth revolved around the sun. What a wingnut!  The church, under Pope Urban VIII, believed that it was scriptural fact that the earth was the center of the universe.  Galileo was condemned, his book of Dialogues was prohibited, and he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Around 300 years later, the church cleared his name – turns out, he was right!

click here for more details.

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter J – for baby Jack.  GET HERE ALREADY!!!





What is it all about?

6 12 2008

So I decide to start a blog.  I’m 25 now officially and I think that makes me a grown up.  Blogging seems like something grown-ups do.  We’ll see how this goes.  Chances are, if you are reading this, it’s months, possibly years, since I actually posted it.  You probably just found me and are looking through my archives to see what I have to say.  I suppose I will share what a quarter-century of life has taught me:

1. never wear matching shirt and pants, especially if it’s flower print.

2. mid to late 90s pop and alternative rock is the best.

3. Laziness equals weight gain.

4. War and hatred are overrated.

5. People resort to manipulation and “doomsday” prophecies when things don’t go thier way.

6. Traveling is well-worth the expense.

7. Not all that glitters is gold…sometimes it’s radioactivity.

8. Radioactive materials don’t glow.

9. Love people. Use things. don’t get that turned around.

10.  I’m the only person who thinks I’m right all the time.

11. You can see russia from some places in Alaska.

12. There are some people worth getting up at 6 am for.

13. No job is worth losing who you are.

14. Money is not God.  Don’t let it fool you. (oh yeah, I assume a lot in this blog…like God).

15. Hair will grow in strange places on your face.  Deal with it.

I guess that’s all I have for tonight.  Welcome to the synaptic misfire that is my life.  Keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times.  If you are pregnant or have a heart condition, perhaps you should reconsider.  Enjoy the ride.