February 28, 2007

Culture of Complaints

I may have commented this before, but someone recently pointed out to me that our culture bonds over complaints. Want to strike up a conversation with a stranger? Complain over the weather, the slow bus, the crappy sports team... Someone asks how you're doing? "Not bad, except for..." It's way too easy. And I don't like how often I do it. Maybe I should give up complaining for Lent. (I know Lent started last week...in the chaos and excitement of Scotland, I didn't really think about whether or not I'd be observing it.)

Spotted today:
Button on a backpack: "Jesus is coming back. On three, everyone say, 'Surprise!'"
Old Navy gift-card slogan: "Who says money can't buy you happiness?"

My Grampie, after losing weight due to his recent illness, comments that he's thinking he might get a job as a Fruit of the Loom underwear model, now that he's got the figure for it...Oh, and today is his 88th birthday.

February 27, 2007

Scotland Pictures


portobello surfer
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
What, you weren't expecting a surfer?

Well, there might be other pictures you're not expecting either...and even if they're predictable, they're still great. I hope. Enjoy!

Scotland Summary

This post is a mile long. But someone asked for it, so here goes...Corresponding pictures are pending.

SATURDAY:
Arrive in Edinburgh at 10:30am. Meet everyone and bus it to the city centre. Walk to our hostel. We congregate on a corner and I’m reminded how much I dislike traveling in big groups. It is hard to be discrete.

Head to orientation where it all seems a bit surreal. Do some sort of orientation. Then split up for a scavenger hunt, which is ends at a restaurant, where we eat supper. I am exhausted, having slept only 25 minutes on my 10 hour flight over Friday night.

After supper we have a staff team meeting, where we make many Spirit-filled decisions. I eat a delicious strawberry-mousse type cake. In bed by 9:30, I’m awake at 5:30 in the morning. I lie there, thinking and resting, until 7am.

SUNDAY:
I like our hostel, especially the view from our window. It is the back of Edinburgh Castle. Kelley, Terra and I have a little room together. When I turn around between our beds, I accidentally touch bums with Terra.

All day orientation today, back at the cute little restaurant of yesterday afternoon, Iglu. We are served bison burgers for lunch, with sundried tomato and a massive mushroom, which I take off. After lunch, we divide into our smaller teams for strategic planning time. My team is heading to George Square – a campus of Edinburgh University. We start making plans and assigning roles and asking many questions of Alasdair – he’s on staff and works mostly at George Square, which makes him our go-to guy, whether he likes it or not.

Eventually, we head for dinner as a campus team – Deacon Brodie’s Tavern, I think, then catch a bus that we hope will take us to Tom and Linda’s. They’re also on staff here, and while they’ve been in the UK for nearly 20 years, they’re new to campus ministry. We find their flat without any trouble. It’s lovely and we all fit into the front room for a time of sharing and prayer. I also meet Pete and Polly, the other staff couple, Linda, a George Square student with great curls, and Kyle, a Napier student who works with the two teams at his Uni.

Terra and I head to a pub for some quiet time. It is good. And we are only slightly distracted. We take note of a couple songs – the unfortunate Hilary Duff, and one song I decide to reclaim and reassign to be associated with this trip.

MONDAY:
Up and at-em for staff meeting and finding Carubbers Christian Centre, our training locale. It’s not too far, and the day starts off with a devotional and some training. We split up when the local staff come in and head to the campuses around 11. George Square is within walking distance, which I appreciate. We head to the Chaplaincy Centre, which is apparently where the Christian Union students hang out. Someone named Dave shows up, and he and Alasdair give us a little campus tour. Bristo Square, George Square, Teviot Hall, The Potterrow, David Hume Tower…as if I’ll be able to keep the places straight (I do, actually).

Finally, we hit the campus and start meeting students. I go with Hilary and the first two girls we meet are Christians – surprising, but encouraging. Barb and I have a great conversation and are able to share parts of our stories with a girl named Fiona – but maybe this is Tuesday? It’s already blurry…

We meet up to debrief the day, but I have to go meet someone about posters for Kirk Durston’s talk on Friday. His name is also Dave, and he’s from Northern Ireland. I like their accents. I have met people from all over the UK already, and I can hear the different lilts, but there’s no way I could pick which one goes with which region.

I miss team supper, but we debrief back at the hostel in the “posh” lounge (no riff-raff, please). I’m loving the hostel, and I’m loving my team. Staff meeting time – Kelley, Sean and I head to a little Italian place where we debrief Day 1 and wait for Terra and Drew, whose teams are still going hard. They come, we eat and talk and go to bed. Climbing back up the stairs to the hostel is killer. Then once we’re inside, we have another four flights or so to our rooms…(maybe this is why my legs feel like jelly).

TUESDAY:
Big team meeting at St. Giles’ Cathedral, where we have a little devo and then spend some quiet time. I love this place – I love sitting inside places where you know the history is extensive and the architecture intentionally extravagant and the music (someone was playing an organ warmup) is soothing. I write a bit in my prayer journal, which has been sadly neglected in the busy-ness of the week so far.

Back on campus, do some photocopying of posters and flyers. The guy in the CopyCat guillotines the flyers for us. That’s right, a paper-cutter is called a guillotine here. I think it’s great. Out sharing with Natalie and Dave (Dave that gave us the tour, not Dave that did the posters). I think we were all encouraged by it. Did a poster run with Dave and Natalie while the others found new friends, then we’re done for the day.

Supper at Oddfellows with my team and Terra. They have great-looking menus and a mirror-table. We watch the football game, although I think only 2 of us pay any attention. Alasdair and Dave join us, and there’s a group of CU students around too. We play many rounds of “Would You Rather…” which is pretty much my favourite game of all times.

WEDNESDAY:

Training time at Carubbers again, then off to Glasgow with my team and Terra’s! We leave Hobbe behind at Carubbers, but get him back before we catch the train. It’s a fun little trip, and feels weird to take pictures in George’s Square, remembering standing there almost 5 years ago with my Royal Servants team. Terra, Alasdair and I go into a ridiculous little restaurant for lunch (Terra’s choice). It’s called Davinci’s, and our waitress is biting her nails. I am not sure I understand her accent, but when Alasdair lets me know he doesn’t either, I feel better. (Glaswegians are notorious for having hard to understand accents) At first I think she doesn’t like us, but then she is super-friendly…I eat my lunch and am content.

The subway is ridiculously small. I almost have to duck to get on. We get off and walk up a massive hill to the uni – one of the oldest in the UK, it’s been around since 1451. The buildings are gorgeous and we walk around a bit, theoretically praying, but mostly just gazing (props to those who really did pray in earnest). Terra casts the vision for coming back with a STINT team and we pray again. Then we split up and head off to find some students.

I go with Rachel, and the first girls we talk to are polite, but mostly uninterested. We eventually find another girl, Catherine, and have a great conversation as she smokes outside a building. I can see a clock through the window, and as we talk I notice that we’re running out of time. It has been firmly stated that we have to reconvene at 3:15, as our train tickets are only good until 4:30. Catherine asks why we believe in God, and both Rachel and I share. It is 3:14. I tell her, “I really hate to run in the middle of a conversation like this. But we have to meet up with our group. Here’s a little booklet – a summary of what we as Christians believe about how we can each know God. My email’s on the back – I’d love if you’d take it and read through. Great to meet you.” We leave and run down some stairs nearby. I don’t know where we are exactly, but the steps take us to the right place and we find our way to the meeting place. We’re not the last to arrive.

We catch the subway and then the train. Barely make it onto the train – the guy is blowing his whistle and yelling at the last of us to hurry up. I stay at the door to make sure no-one is left behind, and Terra is the last one on. It’s much busier than it was at 11:30, and half of us are left standing. Alasdair loans his i-pod, and Colin and I watch an episode of the UK The Office. Tres funny.

Back in Edinburgh, we are off. Dinner with Kelley, Terra, Alasdair, then off to a pub to watch football. This game is more interesting, but we’re at the back of the room and people’s heads get in my way. I also am not feeling well (ate way too much ‘wannaburger’) and only half pay attention. Dave comes by and after the game there’s a house band. They play a song by Bryan Adams and another by CCR, so Kelley requests another Canadian song for us…they play Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler. We three girls are singing along, and Dave and Alasdair inform us that it is very “North American” of us to do so. Two girls come by – Kirsty maybe? And someone else…at this point I’m exhausted and now I’ve stayed out too late. But great conversations, football and great music get me every time.

THURSDAY:
Training at Carubbers after staff meeting. At the end, Sean tells us of Kirk’s travel woes – his plane is turned back an hour into the flight, then a reserve pilot doesn’t show…end of story: he’s not coming. I am surprised, but somehow not. Frustrated, but what can you do? The students are ridiculously positive, and I am glad. We pray, thanking God that Kirk is safe, and throw out some “now what” ideas.

Back on campus, I’m still reeling a bit from the major shift in plans, and also feeling the effects of not-enough-sleep and not-feeling-well. Sean is with us today, and he laughs at how flushed I am (not meanly, though). Thankfully, I am heading to the airport to meet Louise, who is coming in early, and so I get to just sit for awhile. I nearly fall asleep on the bus there. I get her, go with her to her hostel, then head back to my own and have a nap. I debrief with my team when they come back, but I don’t even leave the hostel for supper. It is nice and needed to relax. Kelley and I watch an episode of the UK Office.

FRIDAY:
We all catch a bus to Portobello. There is a song by the Rankin Family called Portobello Road. I love the song, and I think it’s based on this place. We get off and walk to the waterfront, where I give a brief devotional, tying John 15 (which we’ve been looking at all week) to John 16 and the promise of the Holy Spirit. Sean says something inspiring about how the ocean we’re looking at reaches Western Europe, which is where we’d like to see this partnership with the UK head. We have time to wander and pray and then come back together to pray and throw rocks into the ocean. The hope is that just as these seemingly insignificant ripples actually has an effect, so too will our individual involvement in the Great Commission have far-reaching ripples.

Alasdair drives me back to campus (I go to the wrong side of the car at first, but I love driving on the left and going around roundabouts. Alasdair informs me that the person on the right has the right-of-way, in case you ever need to know.) and I print off Kirk’s handout. Our plan is, since we have the room and some people will probably show even though the Facebook event is cancelled and we didn’t promo it on Thursday, to give out his notes and see if people want to hang out and chat. So I copy the notes and wait for the team. We have time, they say on arriving, to go out sharing once before we have to be in Teviot. So we go.

At Teviot, I pray while we wait. I’m not sure whether I want to pray that many people come anyway, or that no-one comes at all. I pray that God would align my heart with His, and that whatever happens, I would be confident that He is good. Six people come, and are generally kind about the change of plans. We talk. And talk. Two hours later, the three guys I’m talking with head out after an engaging philosophical discussion on God, freewill and whether the Bible is morally accurate as well as historically. I am emotionally exhausted, but feel good. I was challenged to think and wrestle with my beliefs, and I think they were too.

My students are eager-beavers to have one last go on campus, so I let them fly. Then it’s supper and back for the weekly CU meeting. The meeting is a bit long, but the speaker is great, the students are friendly, and Marc and Terra both have a chance to share. Terra and I are laughing often over something, but I forget what… My students and I head back across the square to Teviot, where there’s an independent-film-and-discussion night that we’ve sort of helped promote. Brian and Tyler are a bit disappointed that Jason, who they introduced to Christ earlier this week, doesn’t show. Alasdair is disappointed at the general low-showing. This is understandable – when we run events that hinge on Christians inviting their friends for fun and discussion, there’s only so much you can do to guarantee a “success.” Marc and I stick around and I enjoy the films. I couldn’t tell you what they’re called or who they’re by…The people who are there seem to have had good conversations, and Alasdair says he’s made a list of things he’s learned, so I’d say it’s a success.

SATURDAY:

Another early morning. This time we’re headed up Arthur’s Seat. We catch the bus and get off the bus and start walking. It’s a fair little hike, but we spot some stairs and take them. Stairs turn into not-stairs and we scramble up it. I have fun but am wishing I had proper hiking shoes. Near the top we assemble and Sean does more of his vision-casting magic, then we split off to pray. I pray, although I feel like God already knows what I’m going to ask. Probably because he does. Terra comes down and we pray together, and then take a couple pictures. As we shepherd everyone back down, we stop Drew and tell the camera why everyone should come to Scotland. Everyone should come, you know. I won’t tell you why – that’ll spoil the surprise of the promo video.

Luncheon debrief: we go to Garfunkel’s and I try a bit of Brian’s haggis. It is good to hear everyone’s thoughts – Marc, Brian, Tyler, Amarea, Hilary, Barb, Rachel. I like them and am glad we were a team. I hope and pray that God has taught them things and that they figure out how to integrate their experiences here into their lives at home. We take a team picture outside after they all balance their $ envelopes. Then it’s free time.

I rest. Then Kelley and I go shopping. I pick up a ring – Charles Rennie Mackintosh style. I love his art/architecture/furniture. Kelley is great fun. We come back to meet Terra, who is busy settling in team #2. When she is free, we go back out, shopping and wandering some more. I buy a shirt. It is not a tourist-y shirt, but a regular brand name I saw others wear but have never seen in Canada. Not that I’m by any means aware of most brand names here. But I like the shirt, so I buy it. We wander and laugh – Terra and I have been talking in psedo-Dutch all day, after my attempt to find out information about the Amsterdam airport was slowed by the fact that it is largely written in Dutch.

We arrive for dinner at Assembly, all the students from week 1 and week 2 and Canadian and UK staff. I need to balance my own $ envelope and somehow keep coming out ahead. It seems I’ve made money eating out for a week…I finally get it right after dinner though. The food is too greasy for me to eat, knowing I’ll be traveling all day on Sunday. I’m told the students no longer plan on going to a ceilidh at Teviot, and since they leave sooner than the staff, we decide to hang out. Off to a pub! It’s fun to chat with Pete and Polly and Tom, since I didn’t get to see too much of them during the week. Then they’re off, and the four of us – Alasdair, Kelley, Terra and I – head somewhere else. We’ve followed Alasdair around a lot in the evenings, I realize. We end up at Favourit and meet a couple of Alasdair’s friends. We all get our orders except Alasdair, who is the actually hungry one. There is something wrong with the waffle-maker, apparently. So we go to the Piemaker, for savoury (not sweet) pies. This is something we don’t really have in Canada.

SUNDAY:
Back to the hostel. I pack and then go on my computer to stay awake. I do my evaluation form, but I’m not sure it’s coherent. We leave with 25 students in tow at 2:45 in the morning. Catch the bus to the airport (someone throws an egg at us while we’re waiting. Not cool). Wait for the check in to open. Wait for security to open. Get on our flight. I fall asleep before we leave the tarmac. Arrive in Amsterdam. 8 hour layover…I sleep for much of it. So do many of the others. Then they leave and I still have a couple hours. I survive.

On my flight home, I have a great conversation with my seat-mate. It’s encouraging to be able to talk about spiritual things outside of a work context. I sleep and watch some TV and listen to my music and am thrilled that Wendy is waiting for me at the other end. We hang out and I stay up til 10:30. Officially home. Time to start processing.

Caved.

It's true. My conceit has won out over my desire to be different (just like everybody else), and I've joined Facebook.

End of story. Please, no "I told you so"-s.

Thirsty

I almost didn't go to small group tonight. I am glad I went, and not only because the cookies were good. I'm glad I went because we took 20 minutes to go through some questions personally, and it was a much needed time with God. One of the questions was about thirsting for God - when was the last time we thirsted for Him, when was a time we remember thirsting and then being satisfied. And I realized that I left Scotland thirsty. I spent the whole week thirsty, actually. I know that God worked while we were there, but I felt like I was standing on the other side of a glass divide, watching it all happen but somehow removed. I don't even like to admit that - I'm a leader and am supposed to be in on what God's doing (at least, that's what I think). Tonight was one more piece in a puzzle that's slowly getting clearer. A puzzle I've been piecing together for a couple months now. I have a feeling breakthrough/breakdown is almost here. I hope so. It might mean some tears, but if it means peace - even if it's coupled with a 'holy discontent,' I'm okay with it.

Walking home listening to Jennifer Knapp was good for me. I post way too many lyrics on this blog, but here is my favourite verse from her song "Say Won't You Say:"

My eyes fear to close
This reckless letting go is hard to bear
On the edge of all I need, still I cling to what I see
And what have I there?
Bred my own disaster; who have I to blame?
When all I need is waiting to be fanned into flame


Tomorrow afternoon, theoretically 'off' - I promise I'll upload some photos and a more coherent, less pointform summary of my trip (that's for you, Jev and Shelly).

February 26, 2007

More In-Transit Thoughts

Ok, so the last leg of the journey home was the 10-hour flight from Amsterdam to Vancouver. Stellar food by KLM, and decent entertainment. I had a great conversation with the guy sitting next to me - a part-time DJ who was on his way back from a tour somewhere in Europe...We spent nearly the first three hours of the flight talking about God and morality and Jesus and life. It was the most significant conversation I think I had all week. It was a good reminder that "ministry" isn't my job, but my way of life.

I fell asleep listening to my music, and one song I must have heard somewhere along the flight stuck in my head. I can't find the lyrics to The Normals "We Go On," but here's part of it:


Cause around here everybody's tryin' to find
Someone to be
Every guy's trying to find respect in the eyes
Of a girl who just wants to be loved
We're children playing with guns
Children playing with hearts

And we go on
We go on

Driving out of the city
Sometimes you just got to leave
Scream out at the dark now
And believe what you believe
Cause it all seems too simple
And it all seems too wild

Our questions grow in number
Their answers loom with fear
But still we ask and we trust You
Because You've held us here
Chains of grace and longing
Longing to be loved, longing to be known

And we go on

All I want is to be someone
All I want is to be real
All I want is to feel alive
All I want is to be with You
And you know what I think that means


Also in my head was Coldplay's "Talk," which was a more fitting fit than I'd expected for the past week.

February 25, 2007

Written In Amsterdam

Gravol. I don’t understand how it works, but I love it. Flying doesn’t stress me, but my body doesn’t like it much. One little pink thing, and everything is a-ok again.

Gonzaga University. It’s a real place. I saw someone wearing a sweatshirt. Oh, Barats and Bereta…

8 hour layovers bite. The way to make them better is by not sleeping the night before, so that you are so exhausted it doesn’t matter if you are curled up on a single chair and end table, you can still fall asleep.

Little Cultural Nuances:

Arthur’s Seat is not King Arthur’s Seat.

White coffee is different from black coffee because it has milk in it.

George IV Bridge isn’t just a bridge. It’s a street (I think? Maybe I’m wrong on this one).

‘Cheers’ vs ‘Cheerio’ (see previous post)

Holding two fingers up with your palm outward is fine. Turn your palm inward, and you might as well have given someone the finger.

St. George’s Square is in Guelph. George Square is a campus at Edinburgh University.

You can’t get a Tom Collins’ to drink at the pub. Not that this surprises me…Lime Cordial and some sort of alcohol tastes quite nice too.

Potterrow is a street that has several different names at several different points. The Potterrow is a building at George Square.

Bathroom is neither a UK nor American term.

Dodgy = sketchy

“Well-looking,” “Ace,” and “Brilliant” are all quite positive adjectives.

Scots are British but they’re not English (again, I think this is right, but I could be still confused). Welsh, Scotch, Northern Irish and English people are all British.

Pancakes are more like crepes than North American ‘flapjacks.’ Wish I’d known this earlier, as I would have eaten pancakes.

What the UK calls lemonade, we call Sprite.

A Shandy is half beer and half “lemonade” and is a “girly” drink.



Are you sick of hearing about Scotland? I’m afraid it’ll be on here for awhile…

February 24, 2007

Cheerio and Cheers...

Quarter after midnight. My suitcase is pretty much packed (minus the slightly wet socks that I'll take off if my shoes are dry when I'm ready to go). A few more paperwork things to fill out before I can be officially finished with Project.

Goodbyes are an unfortunate thing I don't know how to do properly - students I may never see again, some people I'll miss more than others, the inevitability of getting on my flight back to Vancouver; it all makes it...something I don't look forward to.

Nor do I look forward to an 8-hour layover in Amsterdam followed by a 10-hour flight home. I'm thankful that Wendy will be meeting me at the airport. The plan is to catch up on Studio 60 (apparently going on hiatus!) and The Office. How's that for some non-spiritual downtime?

I still need to process the week. I've mentioned this a few times. I haven't thought through what God has been teaching me and what that menas for my life at large. I'm not quite ready to think about that either (it's easier to just hope for what I think it means), so I sit here...do some paperwork...and listen to some mellow music.

Not too mellow though, or I won't be ready to leave the hostel at 2:30. Yes, AM. Yes, ridiculous. Yes, reality.

Alasdair tried clarifying the difference between Cheers and Cheerio tonight. Cheerio is a general farewell, while Cheers carries the connotation of thanks. So, Edinburgh, I bid you Cheerio. And I think Cheers as well. Thanks for the fun. And the people. And the growth I hope will come from this.

February 21, 2007

Disconnected Things I Don't Want to Forget

a) I love walking on cobblestone, even though it hurts my feet.

b) I'm a sucker for social times, even when I'm tired and know that I need time to myself.

c) This city is gorgeous at night.

d) Glasgow "Uni" is even more beautiful architecturally than Edinburgh. But yes, overall, Edinburgh wins the best-looking card.

e) I still don't like playing tourist. And although I pull out the "I'm Canadian" card, it grates on me a bit. A wee bit. It means I have taken far fewer pictures than I would like to have. I guess it's the cost I have to pay.

f) God is so gracious. To my team, and definitely to me. I haven't taken much time for processing yet. Maybe I will tomorrow. But I know that He has given me more than I've deserved this trip. I may post more on that later. I may not. The problem with the growing popularity of a blog is that it's harder and harder to be fully honest. I like to be selective in who sees my weaknesses. When I don't know who's reading this...I can't do that. Or when I know who is reading this, I can assume they read the bad along with the good.

g) Hostel life: if I ever need a break from the rat-race, I'll kick around Scotland and work in a hostel for a few months. I think it could be grand.

February 19, 2007

Travel Log


soldiers
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
It's official. I'm in love with this place. I love the history that you see even in the cobblestones. I love the accents and the little vocab differences (a paper-cutter is called a guillotine, which is not that reassuring, but definitely humourous). I love that I can relate to these students, or at least I think I can. I love how friendly people have been. I love that men wear scarves and it isn't weird. I love that Kirk Durston is speaking on Friday. I love my coworkers.

I am in an exceptionally content mood this evening.

February 16, 2007

Going, Going...

...Gone.

Last year when I went to the UK, I had a broken arm. Everyone is nice to you when you have a broken arm. If I still had my splint and sling, I'd be tempted to wear it tomorrow.

February 15, 2007

Singles' Appreciation Day

(Title courtesy of Nadine.)

I was going to post about how great the UBC boys are. Nancy corrected me, "No, they're not UBC boys. They're C4C men." I stand corrected.

A wonderful surprise for the girls: dinner, music, a small speech, and even chocolates. Appreciation all around...and no hidden motives. Just genuine brotherly love. Setting the standards high for all y'all other men.

You might notice my drawl there...I'm watching Sweet Home Alabama, undoubtedly one of the funniest love stories of all times. Sweetest too. With great male characters. Yup. Love it.

Scotland in 2 days. Super excited, as I have been these past few days. I was reading through my journal from my trip 5 summers ago (as if it were 5 years ago!). And it hit me - some of these kids could be at university now. They probably won't be, cause they probably won't even finish high school. I hope I'm not being pessimistic, but by the time they're 13, most of these kids are in gangs drinking and playing football.

I wrote, "Fiona told me that the gang guys (who hang out across the road from where we play soccer) said that I'm pretty good at football. And then one of the little guys, Sean, said that I'm "alright [at football], but the other lassies are crappers." It made me feel good, that I haven't lost all my skills. But I find I have trouble keeping up with the 10-year olds when it comes to football!"

Jake Perry...what a character. Still watching the movie. Still loving it. Almost done packing.

February 13, 2007

Blueberries and Travelling Mercies

I am eating frozen blueberries. They are the most delicious things I've eaten in quite awhile. (I am taking a break from sweets/desserts, and man, do I love sugar.)

With only three days before I leave for Scotland, I am starting into my pre-travel-sickness-paranoia. I cannot get sick between now and then, and fear it with many fibres of my insides. I'm even taking the vitamins someone gave me - something I haven't done since elementary school.

Speaking of Scotland, I will be staying here. I am so ridiculously excited. I even wore my Scotland t-shirt today. It has a bagpiper on it. This time, I want one with a highland cow.

I also borrowed a book tonight: Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamont. It will be my travel read.

Mmmm, blueberries, you are delicious.

February 11, 2007

Lent and Chocolate

I was in a Lenten conversation today, about people's experiences in the past and plans for this upcoming Lent. Chocolate came up as something a few of us aren't sure we could give up...I, forgetting that Sundays don't count, can't quite conceive of the thought. But as another girl pointed out, some people have coffee, some have their tea, I have chocolate.

Not a Mr. Big or KitKat kind of chocolate, but dark, smooth, 40% cocoa or higher, $4 a bar chocolate. Unreasonable for chocolate you say? I beg to differ. Say a coffee drinker buys one latte a day (not at all unreasonable here in Vancouver). Let's even say it's a tall, which I think is a small. Roughly $4. Lasts 10 minutes. My chocolate bar, however, at $4 a pop, will tarry over a four day period. Anyone who eats dark chocolate knows you don't eat the whole thing in one sitting. So economically, my chocolate is a better choice. Caffeine and calorie-wise: I can't say for sure, but I'm guessing they're significantly lower too.

I feel justified in eating chocolate every day. And no, I don't think I'll be giving it up for Lent. TV, however, might not make the cut...(good thing Sundays are a freebie and I can watch The Office and Studio60 then)

February 8, 2007

The Idea of You

I watched a new release this past week, and in the big break-up scene, a man says to his wife, "You don't love me. You love the idea of me."

This seemed profound, until I realized it's something I've heard a lot of recently, in movies and conversations. And it sounds a bit like a cop-out to me. This is leading me to ask: what exactly is the difference between loving someone and loving the idea of someone?

I mean this: whenever we're attracted to someone, or have even a friendship with another person, we have in our heads a perception of what/who they are. And at least for me, I can sometimes put parameters around who I expect my friends to be: I have an idea of them, and I like that person. So when they act outside of my expected borders for them, it forces me to reevaluate and redefine who I perceive them to be.

Does that mean I never loved them? Or does that mean that love is about allowing our "ideas of you" to be continually reworked, with a commitment to maintain the friendship/relationship even as we admit that we don't fully know the other person. (I think we never fully know/understand another person, and if that's the case, we'll always love the idea of someone rather than the person alone)

Sheet Sets

I need to buy a second set of sheets. I want to be asleep, but I forgot to put my sheets in the dryer, so here I am, killing time (I don't like that expression. who wants to kill time?) while my sheets get nice and toasty warm for me.

Also, rotating a mattress does wonders for a good night's sleep.

Homelessness

One of the things I strongly dislike about myself (I am trying not to use the word 'hate' in reference to myself or other people) is my two-facedness on the issue of homelessness. I get so frustrated with the stereotypes and general ignorance that I often hear among my peers.

Then tonight, I am asked twice for money and reply with my standard, "Sorry, I don't have any change." Which is true. And I think to myself, At least I am stopping to acknowledge them and respect their request.

A man with a sign sits in front of the grocery store: My name is Jack. I am 71 years old... He looks pathetic (and I mean that in the actual sense of the word) and I think to myself, He could be someone's grandpa even as I walk past him...Two blocks later I am still wrestling with God. I know I could and should go back. I have a debit card and a credit card and money in my bank. I can offer this man food and compassion and kindness.

But I kept walking, knowing I wouldn't turn around, knowing that even though I talk the talk, I'm certainly doing nothing to actually be Jesus to the people I see on the street.

I am a hypocrite. And you know the worst part? Even as I was fighting with God, I knew I would go home and blog about it instead of actually doing something.

February 4, 2007

25 Word Vocab

So, a friend asked me if I would rather have a vocabulary of 25 words of my own choosing, or have a magnetic head that attracted all small metal objects within a 5-ft radius.

I opted for the 25 word vocab. You can say a lot in 25 words, especially if you've got good adjectives/adverbs. Sign language and pointing would be a boost as well.

This would be my list of words:
plethora, minute (not the unit of time, but the unit of size), exceedingly, assinine, quite, jarring, lovely, shortly, regrettably, fortunately, massively, thoughtfully, sweet, unfortunate, honestly

Key phrases would be:
Would you....?, Please!, Absolutely, No........(can be said SO many ways), Is that...?/That is..., I'm... (that's only one word! ha), ...and..., Jesus (just for good measure)

To stretch things a bit further, I think I could drop the -ly off my adverbs and end up with adjectives or nouns that could further my conversational skills.

February 3, 2007

Annoyed

Argh. I still have noise on my camera. Even after changing the ISO to 100. I don't know what that means, but I did it... and the noise problem isn't solved. The downside to having a new camera is figuring out how to work it. And that has to happen before Scotland.

Yeah, Right.

Someone apparently registered me for Facebook.

Well, I'm not finishing the registration. Nice try.

I wonder if it is one of my students. I made a joke at our weekly meeting that I think it would be fun if someone started a "people who wish Beth would join Facebook club." But really, it would just be another ego game. Which is why I'm not on Facebook in the first place. I'm only anti-Facebook because I know it's bad for me. Plus it's a trend, and I am anti-trend too. Ha, rebellious nature.

February 1, 2007

Last Waking Thought

Ok, maybe not the very last. But somewhere near the end of my coherency last night, I thought:

Sometimes, I admire (am jealous of?) girls with eating disorders, because they seem to have the will-power that I seem to lack. I know that it’s the other way around, that food rules them, and I know they are acting out of belief in a deep-rooted lie: If I am skinnier/prettier/healthier, then my life will be better. But at least they are doing something more about their discontent than changing the channel to see what’s on after CSI.

This morning, I know it doesn’t make sense. But it was there and it has been there before. I understand how easily girls can get dragged down that slippery slope.



Oh, and Happy Birthday, Stephen! Your card is in the mail.