Monday, July 21, 2008

Seven Strange Facts Unearthed While Moving

Alright, Angela, you Meme’r- here you go.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Since the story of the day is that I’m moving... I think today’s little factoids are going to be things unearthed while packing.... not to mention that I’m procrastinating on some packing right now.

1. Something about being artsy is seeing endless possibilities in things. Not to mention, I know the best thing to do with many objects (recycle, take to Goodwill, reduce, reuse, etc) but that all takes time and organization. Anyway what that all adds up to is piles and piles of junk stashed away in boxes, closets, under the bed. I’m trying to weed things out. A “less-is-more” friend has been helping me let things go. She noticed I have a lot of collections.
- movie ticket stubs (maybe every movie and playI’ve ever seen)
-bottle caps
- postcards
-flattened pennies (from those tourist machines)
-foreign coins
-one fashion magazine from every year of my life
-old makeup (for Halloween!)
-dress-up clothes (i.e. out of style, bizarre, or thematic clothing, saved for costume-y events)
- old pieces of ribbon and string
-old canvases
-pieces of wood (to paint on)
-coffee cans (the metal kind)
-sample size soaps and shampoos
-pens (lots and lots and lots of pens)
-empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap (for wrapping gifts, etc)
-empty jars and plastic containers (art projects or maybe recycle?)
-old computers (how to dispose of properly?!)
-pretty much everything I’ve ever written, from journal entries to short stories from elementary school
-every old card and gift ever given me (practically!- Sentimental value, right?)

My friend has been helping me since I seem to have trouble tossing anything with as much life left in it as a paperclip or old barrette. Her reminder that none of it will go with me is helpful!

2. In some kind of prophetic foreshadowing, I had a bit part in the play “Meet Me in St. Louis” in high school. (That’s St. Louey)

3. In high school the (1972?) Volvo I drove had the bad habit of slipping out of park into reverse. When I was delivering papers at 4 a.m. one morning, it kicked into reverse while I was running a paper up to a lady’s porch. It chugged straight back and hit a policeman’s house. I’ve had trouble with the police ever since. ;)

4. My brother and I used to set up a pretend “Double Dare” course in our backyard in Texas.

5. On the plane to the Congo, I sat next to a Congolese rock-star named Serge. He even had groupies to meet him and the band at the airport!

6. I got a scholarship in high school from a sorority and forgot to cash the check. I found it when I graduated from college and wrote to them apologizing my forgetfulness. They were so happy to find out what had happened to the “missing?” money (new treasurer), they reissued the check for grad school!

7. I just got promoted at work to “Behavior Specialist!”

Ok. I meme Tina, my mom- (just kidding Momma- I know you don't blog), Heidi V. and Neil. I don’t think anyone else reads this blog that also blogs! Ok, but if you are ever online again, I also nominate you- Laura and Meg! That's all for now, folks!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back from Africa

The Congo was amazing... How to describe? I loved the people. We stayed in the city of Kishasa most of the time. The people were incredible in their graciousness, their welcome, their hospitality. I noticed that the culture is more communal than the States, and there seemed to be a greater willingness to offer a helping hand to one another.

There is obviously a breakdown in the government, from war and in the supporting infrastructures that is so oppressive and difficult to live in. Imagine many potholes in the road, 6 inches deep, some that stretch for the length of a house! Imagine 11 million people and only 1 million cars, the rest trying to get rides through public transport, or the enterprising "taxi" (we counted the people on one Volkswagon bus and estimated 35). We complain about the roads here! We complain about the traffic, the healthcare. Let me just say, things can and do get much much worse!

Even so, life was everywhere, vibrant and struggling, but still rising against the pressures. I'm so thankful that the country has entered a time of relative peace and stability. Our new friend, and driver, Benjamin, shared with me his struggles in finding employment after his job at DHL was cut. He had loved his job, now he was trying to operate a small grocery to make enough money to get by. His car is broken down, but there is no money to fix it. Official employment is only 10%, but truthfully, it is a city of entrepreneurs, everyone working hard, and seeking ways to survive, either through vending in the street, picking food and selling it, breaking rocks into gravel (I would see young boys doing this). I long to see justice and even a decent chance at a life for these beautiful people. The world is a very big place.

My friend (who left a day later than me) shared that some of the military were hassling her and some missionaries at the airport, demanding money, but fortunately she was traveling with a liaison whose entire role in the trip to the airport was to field such demands, and he was able to placate the military men and get her and the missionaries safely off without having to offer bribes or pay fines. Despite that difficult ending, everyone was so gracious and friendly to us, even strangers on the street, and I felt very safe in the city, safer than I sometimes feel in St. Louis!

It was neat to see missionaries in the context they are serving in! It was wonderful to eat with and talk to the Congolese in their own homes and it was difficult to meet the orphan children, and see the horrible conditions they simply accept.

God help us!

My heart loves and aches for the people of Africa... we are all one Body... If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.