Monthly Archives: July 2011

Arrival

Today, I’m thinking about two arrivals–

One is the obvious: my team’s arrival in Santo Domingo.  Twelve days ago, we touched down on the little island of Hispanola, and as the Dominicans are quick to say, “The First Place of the New World.”  Columbus anchored his ship here first (three arrivals, I guess).  Our arrival was incredibly smooth, apart from a delay in Miami.  This is what I wrote the night we arrived, at two in the morning, when I was finally settled into my room:

          The overwhelming sentiment of my mind for the past few days has been, “I’m so grateful.”  I’m grateful to get to go on a summer project.   I’m grateful for the people I am leading with.  I’m grateful for my students.  I’m grateful to be back in la Republica Dominicana.  I’m grateful for my fan.  If I had to explain my gratefulness, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you why I have such a strong emotion and response of gratitude for these things, but I recognize the feeling.  In it is life and rest that I have been missing this year.  In it, is a reclaiming of my given ability and inheritance to choose joy.

As we waited and waited and waited today (for that is what traveling is all about–waiting), my anticipation simmered like a soup in winter.  When we stepped onto Dominican soil (or rather, tarmac and formica), all I felt was impatience to get through the airport to the faces I knew were waiting, Leyla and Prospero.  My rational brain says this is silliness.  After all, I can’t even carry on a real conversation with either one.  But to my rational brain I say, “Be quiet.  Go sit in the corner until I call on you.”  No, I can’t explain my affection or the movement of my heart towards this little island.  But it is a true movement or impulse in my being.  I felt glad at the humidity, glad at the prickle of Prospero’s cheek as we kissed hello, glad at the face of Jose, the taxi driver we knew last summer, glad at the feel of a little reckless island driving, glad at the beeping horns.  Just glad.

Here’s a picture to go with arrival number one:

The second arrival has to do with me.  It’s hard for me to jump into a new group of people and feel connected quickly.  I need a period of time where I can hang back a little and observe, get my feet wet before jumping in.  What helps me to feel comfortable and connected to the group as a whole is if I have been able to spend time one-on-one or with smaller groups within the large group.  It’s just my process and it takes varying amounts of time.  I jumped in sometime over the weekend, and it’s really refreshing to be in the pool with everyone else.  Just some musing on my own stuff.

The team trying to see a Magic Eye while I talk about the Holy Spirit

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Good Morning,

Right now, right now.

Today briefing begins, and I am very excited.  I (miraculously) got a good night’s sleep and feel very rested this morning.  I’m starting with a cup of coffee in a sunshine yellow cup.  Growing up, we had these colored sippy cups that became small glasses as Drew and I learned how to not spill (I realize some of you may question whether or not this lesson was adequately learned, but that is not the point today).  The cups were plastic and bright blue, yellow, green and red.  At ages like 8 and 6, Drew and I were very diligent in doing the work of siblings– fighting about everything from who rides in the front, to who’s touching who, to who gets what color cup.

Perhaps in an effort to stem the bickering, or maybe just to amuse herself and keep her sanity, my mom would give significance to each cup’s color.  Then, I think, we were distracted by the fact that we got the Bluebird cup or the Green Grass cup.  Distracted long enough to eat our breakfast.  (Of course, then it was time to get in the car for school and you know what happens next…)

Anyway, today I have a yellow mug, a green mug, a red mug and a blue mug.  When I pull one out of the cabinet, I still think “sunshine yellow” or “red like a rose”.

Thanks, Mom, for telling us stories.

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Think in English!

Sandy’s mom is here visiting from Mexico City.  Yesterday, we had a nice breakfast chatting in English and Spanish, sometimes entendimos, a veces we didn’t understand each other and called on Sandy to translate.

Carmen was telling us about the year she studied abroad in Mississippi (small world!) and about a teacher who would hit their desks and tell them “Think in English!”

It is less than a week until I leave with my team for la Republica Dominicana.  It is time for me to start “Piense en Espanol!”  I’m not sure I’ll ever get everything taken care of, but I’ll do what I can.  Perhaps I need to follow Jackie Robinson’s lead who said, “This ain’t fun. But you watch me, I’ll get it done.”

Today, I go to visit Lois and the First Christian Church of Leisure World.  Followed by a large trip to Target, Walmart and Sam’s where I’ll get as much of what I need as possible, though I’ll probably still need to make a couple last-minute runs.

If you’re reading this, you’re an aunt, sister, friend or mom, so know that I love and miss you very much!

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