Tag Archives: friends

Electronic Communications Captain

Verging on the front of blog failure…

The longest time between posts (ever) has just past and I am left with these thoughts.

1) In its own inexplicable way, I am facing “busyness” with a new urgency.  I literally could not let an hour pass today without a massive pileup of meaningful (read: necessitates a thoughtful response) emails.

2) I am in pain.

Yesterday, I hurt my back (again).  I’m always cautious about doing academic work while on pain killers, but that fact that I can’t move doesn’t make the world stop.

It was actually quite comical.  The pain was mild enough that I was mostly fine so long as I didn’t move.  This led to a rather epic conception of how to get around the house.  I slid across the floor, pushing myself with my legs and a pillow under my head, and my friend, who came over because I couldn’t reach my food (shelves/drawers are a bit high from the floor), pulled my arms.

3) This is going to be great.

Sleep flew out the window with spring break, and I’m due for another pack of highlighters (I spend $60/year on highlighters, true story).  But I’m lost in what I love, doing new things, and filling new roles.

…and I’m going through it with all the right people.


Dead giveaway

that your an American? “Oh, hi nice to meet you.”  Then stick out your right hand.

I didn’t do it on purpose.  I was just trying to be polite, and I was, just not following local custom.  Everyone smiled, and said they knew where I was from.  I’m still not completely used to the European ear-cheek kiss thing as a greeting.

Friday night was by far the best night I’ve had in Spain so far.  I’ve been aching to really connect with some people here, and I did.  Shortly before I left the states, I scoured google for some proof of a Christian student group at Carlos III.  I ended up on the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship national website (I’m apart of IV at Wes), clicked on a link, and another link, dug a little bit, and found something called GBU that listed a contact person at my school here.  Score.

I sent an email, was added to something on facebook, and invited to some welcoming meeting.  I didn’t really have any idea what to expect.  I knew no one going to it or what exactly was going to be happening.  [fyi: For anyone worried about my safety here, I’d done enough research to know what I was going to was legit.]

I met someone at the metro station, so there would be no getting lost (this time at least!).  There had to be something like 40 students in the room from universities all over the city.  It was a little hard to understand everything because the acoustics weren’t the best, but I picked up enough to follow.

I met a bunch of Spaniards, which was amazing.  So far, I’ve had classes where I didn’t really talk to anyone and conversations with other lost foreigners, but that’s about it.  I’d never been a social setting with locals before.  AMAZING.

Other amazing thing, the foreigners that were there.  I’ve spent a lot time with folks in my program and some folks from Boston and the UC system, but it was really cool to hang out with other internationals with so many interests similar to mine.

The girl I mistakenly greeted with a handshake and I ended up talking a lot and grabbing dinner after the meeting.  It was great, and equally hilarious.  Some things you just can’t learn in grammar book, like how to tell when your waiter is hitting on you.  We got that lesson now.  It got a little awkward at the end as we were paying for our meal, but it was still funny.

Truly, the best night so far in Spain, and I think part of what made it so great was not just because I smiled more than I have in the last 4 weeks or laughed harder, I think it was so great because of what I know I have ahead of me because of it.


Falling Forward

I am continually amazed.

The ideas are fascinating, and sure, the lectures have been wonderful, but never in my life have I been surrounded by so many people like this.  Although, there really is much more to it than that.  It is as though all the quietness and solitude that characterized so much of my summer has been swallowed and consumed this week, and I love it.

Furthermore, it’s not just like all the loneliness of certain times earlier this summer suddenly doesn’t matter anymore or has somehow been compensated for.   I know the work that I am doing in New York is exactly where I need to be right now and the solitude that accompanied certain times was necessary because of the purpose it served.  I learned how to pray for people abandoned in the city.  I considered what loneliness really was, and I was not, to quote dear Anne of Green Gables, “in the depths of despair” by any means.  I had purpose, I was sometimes working alone for long term relational ministry that people are going to be able do because of what I’ve done, and I, of course, had God.

It’s just like something new is happening, and whatever that something is more meaningful than than some good company and lighthearted conversation.  I’ve hardly had any downtime whatsoever, but I’m finding myself in more constant and continual prayer than I have in a long time.  I can’t quite get over talking to Jesus about what I should be thinking, doing, deciding, and anticipating.  It’s all quite cool, though I’m not quite sure where it is going yet.

Seriously Lousy Timing

Last night was by far the best so far.  I went out with the Getz’s to a Memorial Day picnic and met a bunch of great people.  We played a few games of wiffle ball and spent the evening talking.  It was really a good time.  At sunset, we went outside and caught the manhattanhenge, which is the semiannual occurrence at which the sun lines up with the east/west streets in Manhatten.  I have a couple of nice photos, but for reasons I will soon discuss, I cannot post them now.

So, like a said, a great evening.  Most of the people were from Apostles Church, which I will definitely be checking out next Sunday.  Tonight, I was suppose to be attending a community group with a bunch of people I met yesterday.

Unfortunately, I’m currently immobile.  I mean, I’ll be fine, but for the next day or two walking will likely be near impossible.  I pulled something in my back playing wiffle ball, and now I can’t move.  That’s why I can’t go get my camera and upload photos and why I can’t go out tonight.  I must say, lousy timing indeed.  I’m trying not to think about it, basically because I’m really bummed.  I finally met people, had a good time, and the first night that I have plans, I can’t go out.  I don’t mean to complain.  In fact, I’ve made a point of not thinking about it all day, although I’m pretty sure that has more to do with my not admitting to myself that the pain has gotten worse throughout the day.

Prayer for recovery would be much appreciated.  Can’t say I really understand the time of this.  I finally connect with some folks, and now I can’t go out.  Kinda stinks.

Sunday Endeavors

I was really looking forward to church this Sunday for several reasons, but there was one reason unique to this week.  Like I said earlier, I don’t know a lot of people in the city, and I knew church would be a place that I would be able to connect with people who would understand what I’m doing this summer and begin building relationships.  I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to join a small group or something for a couple of months.

I went to a church that Jeff recommended, and it was a good experience, although I’m not sure I’ll be going back.  Of course, I’m not sure that I’m not going back either.  I spoke to a couple of people at church yesterday, but I still don’t really know how everything is set up.  I read something about small groups online, but no one said anything about it yesterday.  The girl I spoke to after service invited to an event the church is having this Friday, and while I didn’t quite get what it was, I think I’m going to go.  It will give me an opportunity to find out what they’re all about, but between now and then, I think I’m going to have some conversations with Jesus about where I should get connected.

I’ve been in lots of different churches with lots of different kinds of people in different size congregations with all kinds of different styles of worship.  I like that.  I think it’s really cool to see people sincerely worshiping and seeking God and see them do it in totally different ways, but  I also have a strong inward aversion to church-hopping.  I’m here for three months, which is enough time to go someplace, get settled, and build some relationships.  I don’t really have the time or interest in taking a month to visit various churches in the city, which to a extent would be cool.  I would learn a lot by observing, but not much in terms of getting to know people or having any system of accountability.

After church, I came to the church I live in and enjoyed a nice long nap.  (fyi: I can’t go to the church I live in because service is in Portuguese).  In the evening I had a rather comical run-in with a bug.  Gerald and Miriam were out showing some friends around the city, so there was no one here to kill it.  I ended up turning all the lights on, dancing around the fellowship hall, and calling my mother for directions about how to catch it.  I hate actually killing bugs, although not for the dear humane reasons that some people cite.  I mostly just don’t kill them because that requires that I actually get close enough to the bug to touch it.  I ran to the kitchen to grab a pot to trap it, and then resolved that it would be better to use an empty trash can.  I figured I could throw the trash can from a longer distance with greater accuracy.  Mind you, during this whole fiasco, I’m still dancing around, now talking to my father on the phone, and still in pursuit of just one bug.  Anyways, by the time I emptied the trashcan the bug was gone, although I did stuff a towel under my door to make sure it didn’t make it into my room.   I’ve been facing bugs and spiders my whole life, I should really be over my fear by now, but I’m not.  At least I have the sense to recognize how silly I look, even if it isn’t enough to break my fear.

A Weekend

Given that I spent last weekend back on campus for commencement, the last couple of days serves as my first official weekend in the city.  To a degree, it’s slightly overwhelming, at least in the sense that there is more to do here than I could ever see/do/visit, but in another sense I also really don’t know what all is available to me.  I have a couple of friends from school in the city, but I’ve only met a couple of people since I’ve been here.  My goal this weekend was to hopefully make a few personal connections with folks.

Friday was fun.  Gerald and Miriam Steele were missionaries in Brazil and Portugal and are now here pastoring the Brazilian Church.  They live half a flight of stairs beneath me.  On Friday, they took me out the Brazilian pay-by-the-pound lunch buffet, which was great for two reasons.  1) It was just a good lunch and 2) I never would have gone in their alone not knowing how to get my food or what the various dishes were.

Brazilian lunch with the Steele's

Despite being able to move into the church last Saturday, I still was unable to fully unpack.  The new carpet was put in several days ago, but there was a big wedding this weekend.  I was told that my room was going to be needed to hold the food.  Turns out my room wasn’t going to be needed, so I was finally able to empty my suitcase and scotch tape a couple of old photos to the wall (mostly 1-2 year old Christmas card photos I swiped from my mother’s refrigerator door last time I was home.)

On Saturday, I joined the Getz’s for an afternoon picnic at Central Park.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot.  The park was pretty densely populated, but it was still nice.  I had a really good time talking to Christina (Jeff’s wife).  In the evening, the Getz women showed me where to go shopping downtown, which was excellently helpful with the whole getting-my-bearings-on-where-I-am-actually-at-and-knowing-how-to-find-my-way-home-from-wherever-that-may-be objective.