Monday, July 4, 2011

I grew up in church and I can laugh at myself

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well,said the farmer.It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses?" asked the wife. "What are those?"
"Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer.
"Well, what’s the difference?" asked the wife.
The farmer said, "Well it's like this . . . if I were to say to you, Martha, the cows are in the corn, well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN.Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus."
As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. "Well, said the young man, It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.
"Hymns?" asked the wife. "What are those?"
"They're okay. They're sort of like regular songs, only different" said the young man.
"Well, what's the difference?" asked the wife.
The young man said, "Well it's like this: If I were to say to you, Martha, the cows are in the corn, well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,
Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.
Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.
So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.
Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday: What Makes Me Happy

  • Payday!
  • Zumba. So far it's just been Youtube, but now I have an official DVD from the library.
  •  Clean Sheets.
  •  Agatha Christie's writing.
  •  Discussing the generational differences of the "Pete and Repeat" joke with my dad.
  •  Real Housewives of New Jersey. Yes, I'm addicted to trashy reality tv, and I can admit it.
  •  Poppy-seed salad dressing. If only I could enjoy it with Michele.
  •  Playing Wise and Otherwise. 
  •  Realizing the "down, right, backspace" keyboard motion I was making sounding like the "We Will Rock You" beat.....yup, simple things for simple minds!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And we're back to this blogging business again.....

 So this summer has been underway for about 6 weeks now. It's been filled with fun adventures: crossing things off my summer bucket list, more coffee runs than my wallet would prefer, and tons of procrastinating for the things I should really be getting done (online class, GRE prep, grad school searching).

I recently realized that I've been home (7 months today) for quite a bit longer than I was in Uganda (4 months). Earlier spring semester, I thought I would enjoy having a low-key summer at home. However, I keep feeling a growing dissatisfaction. I'm longing for the excitement, adventure, and prestige that goes with being a "traveler." Sometimes I wonder if I want to travel and do big things for the right reasons.  Am I being motivated by my "image" ? Contentment and humility are definitely qualities that I'm praying God would break in to me.

Anyhow, I was at my summer job at Jo-ann the other day, and I got to help a Thai woman look for some fabric. She didn't speak the best English, and wasn't finding what she wanted. We spent a half-hour doing impromptu sign language, laughing at each other, and generally being frustrated that we weren't understanding each other.  At first, I thought she was trying to make those capes you wear when you get your hair cut. As it turns out, she was making sari-type wraps. The combinations of fabric she was putting together were absolutely gorgeous and I wish I could dress like that. She probably didn't leave the store with exactly what she was looking for. Yet, the experience filled me with memories of all the hilarious conversations and miscommunications I had while in the Pearl of Africa. Cross cultural communication can be such a beautiful and rewarding thing, even though it can be frustrating!

I am so glad that life is an adventure, even when I'm working retail for the summer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

6 Weeks Later

I  have been back in the U.S. for almost six weeks now. Uganda seems like a distant memory, and sometimes I wonder if it really even happened. After spending a full 24 hours in transit, I landed in Columbus on December 15th just before midnight. Christmas break at home was a much easier adjustment than I had anticipated. After the first couple days of having a messed up sleep schedule and being generally disoriented, I got in to a normal routine. For the week leading up to Christmas, I worked quite a bit, which kept me busy enough that the full realization that I had left Uganda for good didn't hit me like a train. Before coming home, I was worried that I would be moody with my family, but that wasn't the case, and Christmas break was a great time of catching up with family and friends. 

Coming back to Cedarville was the challenging part of reentry. I walked around our students' center when I got back and didn't see a single person I knew or even recognized. I didn't think that much could change in just one semester! The first couple days were very surreal. I felt like Cedarville had moved on without me, like I was looking in on some sort of parallel universe: it looked like my school, but really wasn't. I had chosen to live off-camps, but was scared that that was a poor choice-- that I'd be so far removed from campus I'd never see anyone and be a hermit.Well, that was two weeks ago. Since then, I've been able to reconnect with many friends, attend my church here and reconnect with the amazing church family I have here, and get re-acclimated to American college subculture. I've learned that my true friends I see routinely, regardless of whether or not I'm in a dorm.

Of course, I get the same questions a lot, like the uber-vague "How was it?" (really, you expect me to give you a 30-second synopsis of my entire 4 months? really? I've found that the people who ask this are generally satisfied with an answer like "it was good") or the even worse "What did you learn? (this is a great question, but it's just hard for me to answer, since I'm still trying to sort out what I learned myself. Lately, though, I feel like I've been able to really open up about my trip. In an introduction letter I was required to write for a professor, I was able to share my struggles about coming home. As I get back into my friendships, my stories and experience from fall semester come out in conversation. I'm getting more comfortable giving tidy little ten minute summaries, that I feel do give an adequate description of my work, play, joys, and struggles while in Uganda. Tonight, we (the group of Cedarville girls who participated in the Uganda Studies Programme) did an interview with a student public relations worker for Cedarville's website, and tomorrow we're talking about our internships at the Epsilon Alpha Pi (Cedarville's social work organization) meeting.

So here I am , six weeks post-Africa. Still praying that I will continue to learn from my experiences and be able to integrate them well into my American life.