Monday, February 08, 2010

A week and some change

Well lets just say my first week was BUSY! :-) But that is life now - and I like it.
Let's see, we got here on Friday towards evening time. And I moved some stuff out of my car (I'm done now, but it rained for several days and I wasn't able to get everything up the stairs

Saturday we went to the market (silly me, you get can get just about everything here) and then it began to rain again so I spent most of the day unpacking what I had and talking on the phone via Skype (yay!).

Sunday I went to church with everyone and was invited to go with another translator to her home in Tlaxiaco. So after lunch we headed to the bus stop (well, it was a van) and began the 3 hour journey while the Padillas (the couple I followed here) made their way to Mitla.

I got to meet Karina's friends and we went to the zócalo (town square) and had some hawaiian style hamburgers (delish) and churros (way better than taco bell) and some fruit water. We walked all over town and made it back to her place around 12. She has a really cute apartment:

the outside, so we were facing the sun

and a little smarter, not staring at the sun
here is the view from her place

I “helped” her with some homework (I’m sure I was more pest than help) and fell into a nice, deep sleep (no dogs! Or party noise, which was suprising because there had been a procession outside her place with singing, fireworks and all sorts of noise – it actually ended before we went to bed so that was great – they can last until the wee hours of the morning).

The next day we went to look for flowers/decorations with her friends (they are getting married) and visited her profesor of theology while she dropped off her homework. He and his wife were very nice – and he has a lot of wisdom to impart.

After a rush back to the apartment and stopping by the store for some tortas “to-go” (oh my goodness they were SOOOO good) we headed back to Oaxaca. I think we got back around 4:30ish and I fell asleep (talking only in Spanish makes me sleepy…that and everything else-hahaha).

Around 7:30 we went to eat dinner with some more translators at their house, and I got to see another friend from my training last year, which was awesome. We played a game called Blockus and my theory was confirmed – I can’t strategize :-)

So the next day we left for Mitla (where I stayed last year) around 11 (it is about an hour away). We unpacked for Inga and Karina (who were staying for a few days at the center) and then went to see all of the new people at CLI. I got to meet some great people and reconnect with others I met last year. Needless to say, we got back to Oaxaca sometime around 8pm.

Wednesday Sue took me to the market again and gave me a tour of the offices here in Oaxaca, and that night we went to a prayer meeting where I was able to meet MORE people (yeah – I’m no good at names…but luckily there is a wall of faces and names at the offices – I will have to study it).

Thursday I was finally able to unpack, as it didn’t rain too much during the day. I then had meetings at the office in the afternoon so I left at 2 (I was walking and didn’t really know the way or how long it would take so I took my time). Yeah – I got lost  But luckily I had grabbed the ID card I had just received and on the back the address of the office was written so I hopped in a mototaxi and got there in a couple of minutes.

After my meetings I went with Rosa (she is one of the daughters of the family I stayed with last year) to the zócalo and she helped me find a place to buy post cards and showed me where the post office was. We then went to her old apartment and had coffee with the owner, and to a store to buy stuff to hang curtains (I got to walk all through downtown with this giant curtain rod – I looked like I had bowstaff skills), and to this evangelical mission downtown. A long bus ride later and I made it back to my apartment here around 9pm.

Friday we went back to Mitla after a quick trip to the offices. I stayed the night with Karina in the house of the family I stayed with last year. We ate pizza and watched movies until about 1 in the morning  My favorite combination. Rosa, Chela, Luci, Edith, Karina and I had fun! Then the next day I got to try all sorts of new foods – which were delicious – but I just don’t know how people can eat so much! We got to go to the market (Saturday is open-market day) and I apparently drew a lot of attention (but I didn’t really notice), but it was cool because we got to see a wedding procession – those are always cool. (I even tried to help in the kitchen later). It was so good to see this family again – they are the most wonderful people!!! We got back to the apartment in Oaxaca (after a taxi and bus) around 8:30pm on Saturday.

Well, Sunday I got sick. I felt the nasea coming on the night before, but I was hoping it would pass. It didn’t. Let’s just say I began the Mexican diet :-)So I missed church and the superbowl party :-( (boo hiss) but Karina directed me to a TV and we watched it in Spanish from the middle of the 2nd quarter on. Then we watched the Invincible (good movie). Of course it was all in Spanish, so now I need to write down my new football vocabulary :-)

So that brings us to today. I feel good, but I'm still not eating anything but toast and bananas - just to be safe. I've learned how to steam my dishes and boil water for drinking and I have finally unpacked everything and put it away (they even gave me a desk to use so I have a place for my computer, printer, and books). Now I just need to wash clothes.

I'm sure that was all TMI...but oh well. My brain isn't working creatively and I must just stick to the facts. Oh - I start classes next Monday (language school). I'm listening to Elvis, wishing I could see New Moon again, and missing everyone at home (though I am very happy to be here). Good times were had by all.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 2: Trip to Oaxaca

We got off to an early start...and the countryside was beautifully interesting, for the first hour :-) What can I say, today was a LOOOOOONG day. Here is a little slide show:
This is what it looked like out of my right window
And my left window
Which I obviously think is cool...5 hours later
NOT!!!!  Why?
Because this is how fast I'm going...on a ridiculously straight road with no traffic.
LOL - Bad picture. Anyway - it was long, but I got to see some cool stuff too. Tomorrow is a shorter day so that is awesome, and right now I'm staying in a sweet hotel! So goodnight all - love you and miss you!

Day 1: Trip to Oaxaca

Day 1

No problems – except for the connecting to the internet…but that finally worked too. We left san antonio around 9:30-10:00. The hotel was nice – and ecologically friendly “green.” Driving through Texas was like herding cattle in Lonesome Dove. I keep my eyes peeled for Woodrow and Gus, but to no avail.

We reached Eagle Pass around noon and stopped for about an hour. Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes to cross the border! I did immediately get lost (hehe). I pulled into a different lane and got ahead of the Padillas (who have the map and GPS) so I drove down the road until I found a place to park and wait (the walkies came in handy here!). It took forever to get to the next checkpoint (mostly because the posted speed limit is often 40 km/h which translates to 28 mph) –fun times. Someone almost pulled into me once, but other than that, driving was actually pretty fun. It was very desolate – but the rolling hills and mountains in the distance were beautiful. I’m almost finished with the first book I took (though I did take a Vallejo break to make it across the border).

We got to the hotel in Monclova around 6, and weren’t sure if we could get rooms at first. We waited about 30 mins to see if those who had made reservations would show; they didn’t so we got the rooms (there was only one available to begin with, but another opened up). It took us about 30 mins to find the restaurant we were looking for (I need to brush up on my Spanish), but we finally found it and enjoyed a nice meal and got to know each other better. After returning to the hotel to find our stuff still safe and intact (I wasn’t sure that would be the case) I spent about 30 minutes trying to connect to the internet. I was able to talk to my family over skype (coolest thing ever!) and now I’m watching the first episode of Chuck in spanish (awesome!).

The only difficulty I’ve had so far is finding a place to change my money. ATMs are much easier to access, but the line at the back we visited today was ginormous. Ugh. Oh my! They have a commercial for this season’s 24…Maybe I will be able to watch it! Wow!

Well I’m sleepy and I have to get up at least by 6 tomorrow. Night!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Original post date: 2/21/06 mistakenly deleted: Matters of the Heart

Matters of the Heart

Why is it that we can know and comprehend everything about a situation and still choose, against our better judgment, to disregard that knowledge and base our decision on the desires of our hearts rather than the logic and reason of our minds? We can choose to look blindly into impossibility and see only hope. We can choose ignorance over enlightenment. Of course we can choose, we have free will, but the astonishing factor is that we do choose to hope, against all measures of impossibility. So my question is: is it foolishness? Is it possible that the heart knows more that the head?

To answer that question, I find I need to take a closer look at its variables. King Solomon was a logical and rational man, but I have always believed him to be led by his heart as well.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Prov.9:10) "To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." (Prov. 16:1) "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Prov. 16:9) "A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction." (Prov. 16:23) "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you." (Prov. 2:10-11) "Hope deffered makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (Prov. 13:12) "A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered." (Prov. 17:27) "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." (Prov. 20:5)

Well, from this, it seems to me that the head and heart go hand and hand. I skimmed the entire book of Proverbs and this is what I came up with. But it still isn't clear to me. I believe in the power of emotion and its ability to cloud our judgement. I also believe in the clarity of thought that deep emotion brings. Yes, it is possible to feel irrationally about something, but when the matters of your heart are the result of thoughtful searching, then maybe it is possible to follow your heart even when it doesn't quite make sense.

But I guess I should also try to find out what "foolishness" really is. Is it the disregarding of your own safety? Well, add on "for a greater cause" and you find courage. Rahab threw caution to the wind when she hid the men of Israel in her apartment, knowing full well what the consequences would be if she failed. She had no real rational reason to do what she did. This was before the promises of God applied to both Jew and Gentile, sinner and saint. She certainly was no saint, and had nothng to hope for personally by committing treason. But she did. And it was good. Esther knew she could be killed for approaching the king, but she did it anyway because she felt God's calling to do it. So, is it foolish to hope beyond possibility? The Hebrew slaves of the Egyptians did, and God granted them freedom. The oppressed people of the world choose to hope for a day when justice will reign. We, as Christians, place our hope and faith in God and his son Jesus that he will return again for us one day. Is it logical and rational? No. Not always. That is why we call it faith. That is why we ask Jesus to dwell in our hearts and to transform our minds, because they are inextricably woven together in the fabric of our beings. So I believe that the heart and the mind go hand in hand. And that there are occasions where we see the world and know God more clearly with one over the other. I don't believe that I am wrong. I hope I don't make mistakes in following my heart. But I did find these words from Solomon to help me: "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" (Prov. 27:5-6)

And this is the kind of woman I am: "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her lifeShe opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needyShe is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongueCharm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (Selections from Proverbs 31)